SMOKEY MOUNTAIN FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE RULES AND REGULATIONS6-10 Teams: Single Division, play everyone once to determine playoff seating.Players: 7-14 players per team; a player must play at least one of the regular season games witha team to play playoffs. A player may not play on more than one team per season unless“Traded.”“Trades”: A player may play for another team if: 1) The other team has room on their roster (Max Players 14). 2) A fee of $25 is paid in full to the SMFFL. 3) Must occur before the middle of the regular season. 4) A player cannot play for 2 teams in same night/week.Playoffs: Every team makes playoffs and seeds will be determined based on records. Playoffsare a single elimination format.Entry Fee: $20 per person to go towards buying equipment, taking care of the fields, maybepaying referees and some a prize for the winning team such as T-Shirts.Waiver Forms: ALL players MUST sign and return a copy of a liability waiver form thatstates that we are NOT liable for ANY injuries that may occur on or off the field before theycan participate in any SMFFL activities.Referees: The game shall be played under the supervision of 2 to 4 officials with 1 statkeeper. The officials are: Referee, Line Judge, Back Judge, and Field Judge. It isrecommended strongly that a minimum of 3 officials be used. Referees some seasons willbe paid per game. We will need help with refereeing each week. A player must take this jobserious, pay attention to what’s happening on the field not off the field, and perform as expectedfrom a referee or they will not be asked to help again and could not be paid for the providedservice.Referees Authority: The Referee has authority to rule promptly, and in the spirit of goodsportsmanship, on any situation not specifically covered in the rules. TheReferee’s decisions are final in all matters pertaining to the game.Game Officials Authority: The game officials shall assume authority for the contest,including penalizing unsportsmanlike acts, 30 minutes prior to the scheduled game time,or as soon thereafter as they are able to be present. The official’s jurisdiction extendsthrough the Referee’s declaration of the end of the second half or overtime.
Team Captains: Each team shall designate to the Referee the team captain(s). If morethan one player is designated, a speaking captain must be selected to make all decisions.Persons Subject to the Rules: Players, nonplayers, and spectators affiliated with the teamare subject to the Rules of the game and shall be governed by decisions of officialsassigned to the game.Safety: Any player, who exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with aconcussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balanceproblems) shall be immediately removed from the game and shall not return to play.1.0 PLAYERS AND EQUIPMENT 1.1 Each team fields 7 players, but may play with 5 to avoid a forfeit. 1.2 Shirts must be long enough to tuck in so that they remain tucked in the pants/shorts during the entire down or short enough so there is a minimum of 4” from the bottom of the shirt to the player’s waistline. 1.2 Pants or shorts with BELT LOOPS are prohibited. Pockets are ok as long as the flags stay out of the pockets. 1.4 Baseball hats are NOT allowed. Winter hats without brims are allowed. 1.5 Metal or screw-in cleats are NOT allowed. Plastic/rubber cleats are legal. Plastic with flat metal tips are currently allowed unless later deemed unsafe. 1.6 Game balls will be provided, but offensive teams may choose to use their own footballs, provided they are regulation size. The offense is responsible for the retrieving of the football and returning it to the line of scrimmage after each play. 1.7 Each player must wear a one-piece quick release flag belt (provided) at the waistline with three flags permanently attached, one flag on each side and one in the center of the back. The flag belt must be free of any knots. 1.8 All players must wear jerseys, (shirts), each team must wear the same color jersey or shirt. If not, jerseys will be provided for one team. The jersey must be tucked in to allow for grabbing the flag. 1.9 Belt loops, pockets (see 1.2), exposed drawstrings, jewelry, or un-tucked hoods on sweat tops, and sandals are illegal. Players wearing such illegal equipment will not be allowed to participate until illegal equipment is removed. 2.0 The officials on the field will make any decision on the legality of any equipment on or being used by a player, and his/her decision will be final. 2.1 Each player must wear pants or shorts. The pants or shorts must be of a different color than the flags.
2.2 Shoes are required at all times. If a player is not wearing shoes that cover his feet he will be asked to go to the sideline. Failure to comply will result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. 2.3 Players may wear gloves which must consist of a soft, pliable and nonabrasive material. 2.4 It is strongly recommended that a mouth piece be worn by all players. 2.5 Players may carry a play book inside their clothing as long as it is not made of an unyielding material and is not visible. If carried on the field, a player must keep the play book rather than throw it on the ground. Players may wear a soft, pliable wrist/forearm band that contains plays. 2.6 Players may wear pliable and non-rigid sunglasses. 2.7 Players may not have any slippery or sticky foreign substance on any equipment or exposed part of the body.2.0 PLAYING FIELD, TIME FACTORS, SUBSTITUTIONS, SCORING 2.1 The field shall be a rectangular area with zones. The field is 100 yards in length, 40 yards in width. There shall be a 10-yard end zone at each end of the field, and four 20-yard zones down the length of the field. Cones should be placed at the corner of each zone and, when possible, at least two cones on the rear line of each end zone. Pylons or yard markers may be used in lieu of cones. 2.2 The defensive line of scrimmage will be set one yard away from the offensive line of scrimmage. 2.3 The winner of the pre-game coin toss shall have the first choice of options: Kickoff or receive, Differ, or which goal to defend and who wears the pennies if necessary. 2.4 The game shall consist of two 20-minute halves, with running clock. During the last 2 minutes of each half, the clock will stop for the following: Incomplete pass - starts on the snap Out-of-Bounds – starts on the snap Safety – starts on the snap Team time-out – starts on the snap Referee time-out – starts at his/her discretion Touchdown – starts on the snap (after the extra point) Penalty administration – dependent on previous play Touchback – starts on the snap Change of possession – starts on the snap Inadvertent whistle – starts on the ready * The game cannot end on a defensive penalty.
2.5 Mercy Rule: if a team is up 19 points after 18 minutes in the 2nd half, or anytime thereafter, the clock will run continuously, or if a team is up by 50 points in the first half the game will be called, or if a team is up by 35+ points with 10 minutes to go in the second half the game will be called.2.6 The offensive team has a 25 second play clock to snap the ball after the referee signals "ready for play."2.7 Tie games: Ties will be broken by the “Texas Tie Breaker” A. Play will begin on the 10-yard line and teams will have 4 plays each. B. A coin toss will precede the “Tie Breaker”. The team winning the toss has 3 options: offense, defense, or direction. The opposing team then has the remaining choice. C. The object is to score a touchdown and subsequent extra point (1 or 2 points). After team A scores, team B then has 4 plays within which to score. If no team has scored after their respective plays the process is repeated. D. After a touchdown is scored the teams have the option of going for a 1, 2, or 3 point conversion. Beginning with the 3rd overtime, teams must attempt a 2 or 3 point conversion. E. When a pass is intercepted the defense becomes the offense and begins their series of 4 plays from the 10-yard line. Interceptions can be returned for a touchdown. F. A team shall be given a new series of 4 plays when an automatic first down penalty is accepted.2.8 Each team is allowed 2 timeouts per half. 1 minute in length, they do not carry over. You must take the full 1 minute.2.9 Free substitution is allowed on any dead ball, and the substitute must join the team huddle.2.10 Scoring: Touchdown = 6 points; PAT from 3 yard line = 1 point; PAT from 10 yard line = 2 points; PAT from 20 yard line = 3 points; Safety = 2 points; after a safety, the scoring team will have possession at its own 14 yard line. If a PAT is intercepted and returned to the end zone = Always 3 points.2.11 Half-time will be 5 minutes. This can be shortened to save time.2.12 Half or halves may be shortened in any emergency by mutual agreement of the opposing captains and the Referee (i.e., darkness, inclement weather).2.13 If a touchdown is scored to end the game the extra point will not be attempted unless it will change the outcome of the game.
2.14 The Referee shall have authority to correct obvious timing errors if discovery is prior to the second live ball following the error unless the period has officially ended.3.0 KICKOFFS 3.1 No Kickoffs, play will begin on the offensive teams own 14-yard line.4.0 POSITION AND ACTION DURING THE SNAP 4.1 The center, after assuming the position for the snap and adjusting the ball, may not move nor change the position of the ball in a manner simulating the beginning of play. The ball must be snapped in one continuous motion. Penalty: False Start, 5 yards. 4.2 The ball may be snapped between the legs or to the side of the center. 4.3 The player who receives the snap must be at least 2 yards behind the offensive scrimmage line, and cannot be moving forward. Direct snaps are always illegal (under center). Penalty: Illegal Snap, 5 yards. 4.4 The offensive team must have a minimum of four players set within 1 yard of the offensive line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped (not necessarily lineman, but can include receivers). Penalty: Illegal Formation, 5 yards. 4.5 Only one offensive player may be in motion at the time of the snap, and this motion may not be towards the line of scrimmage. Penalty: Illegal Motion, 5 yards. 4.6 The defense is not allowed to say or do anything to interfere with the snap of the ball. Penalty: Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 10 yards. 4.7 No defenders or offensive players are allowed in the neutral zone until the ball is snapped. Penalty: Encroachment/Off-sides, 5 yards. 4.8 All false starts, illegal procedures, and offsides penalties will be blown dead at the line. There are no free plays.5.0 PASSING, BALL IN PLAY, DEAD BALL, OUT-OF-BOUNDS 5.1 All players are eligible for a forward pass. The passer may pass from anywhere behind the offensive line of scrimmage. 5.2 Pitches and backwards laterals are legal anywhere on the field. 5.3 Throwing the ball away in order to avoid a sack is illegal. Penalty: Intentional grounding, 5 yards + loss of down. 5.4 Defensive players must make a definite effort to avoid charging into a passer. Any contact with the quarterback is illegal. Penalty: Roughing the Passer, 10 yards + result of the play (if positive yards have been gained) + automatic first down.
5.5 THERE ARE NO FUMBLES!! The ball is declared dead when the ball touches the ground and that spot is the new line of scrimmage (except when the ball is fumbled forward). A fumble in the end zone is a safety.5.6 A ball carrier is ruled down when his/her knee touches the ground. The ball is considered part of the ball carrier’s hand.5.7 The sideline and end lines are considered out of bounds. Only one foot needs to touch in bounds in order for a pass to be complete.5.8 Once an offensive or defensive player steps out of bounds, that player is no longer eligible to touch the ball.5.9 Players may not hurdle teammates or opponents. Diving to gain yardage or to remove opponents’ flags is legal as long as there is no “charging” into other players.5.10 There shall be no bumping, checking, or other intentional contact between a defender and an offensive pass receiver. On pass attempts, both the offensive and defensive players have a right to “go for the ball”. Some contact is legal, provided the contact does not give one player a distinct advantage while putting the other player at a disadvantage. Penalty: Pass Interference, 10 yards + automatic first down/loss of down (plus additional 10 yards if blatantly deliberate).5.11 All players are eligible to touch a forward pass after it is thrown. The passer may catch his/her own forward pass provided it has been touched by another player first.5.12 If a legal forward pass is caught simultaneous by members of opposing teams, the ball is immediately dead upon returning to the ground and belongs to the offense.5.13 A forward pass is a live ball thrown towards the opponent’s goal line. A backward pass is a live ball thrown parallel or backwards. The initial direction of the pass will determine whether or not the ball is backwards or forwards.5.14 It is illegal to attempt to steal the ball while in player possession. Once a player has obtained possession of the ball, his/her opponent must play the flag, not the ball.5.15 Defensive players must not contact the passer at anytime during or after the play. They may only go for the flag. Rushers may try to deflect the ball, but they may not contact the passer even if the ball is deflected. If the defender contacts the passer, it is considered roughing the passer.5.16 Team Players are responsible for retrieving the ball after a down has ended. Officials are not responsible for retrieving the ball. The offensive team may take the ball to the huddle after each play.
6.0 FLAG BELT REMOVAL 6.1 Tampering with the flag belt in any way to gain an advantage including tying, using foreign materials, or other such acts is illegal. Penalty: Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 10 yards + player ejection. 6.2 When the flag belt is clearly taken from the ball carrier (determined by when the belt is “unclipped”) the down shall end and the ball is declared dead. The position of the BALL (not the player or flag) determines the spot of the new line of scrimmage. 6.3 The defensive player shall not (intentionally or accidentally) hold, grasp, or obstruct forward progress of a ball carrier when in the act of removing the flag belt. Penalty: Obstruction/Holding: 10 yards. 6.4 Players must have possession of the ball before they can legally be de-flagged. A defensive player intentionally pulling a flag belt from an offensive player without the ball is illegal. Penalty: Defensive Pass Interference, 10 yards + automatic first down. 6.5 It is illegal to steal or attempt to steal (strip) the ball from a player in possession. The object of the game is to de-flag a ball carrier, not to steal the ball. Penalty: Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 10 yards. 6.6 Players may not trip or push the ball carrier out of bounds to stop play. Penalty: Personal Foul, 10 yards. 6.7 When a runner loses his/her flag belt accidentally (no defensive player pulled it), play continues. The de-flagging reverts to a one-hand tag of the runner between the shoulders and knees. 6.8 Ball carriers shall not intentionally or unintentionally guard their flags by blocking, with arms, hands, or ball, the opportunity for an opponent to pull or remove the flag belt. Penalty: Flag guarding, 10 yards. 6.9 Following a touchdown, the officials will “test” the flag of the player who scored to make sure that it was legal by pulling to remove the flag belt.7.0 BLOCKING 7.1 All blocking must be “Screen Blocking”-- Offense cannot initiate contact with defense to prevent defense from reaching quarterback or ball carrier. Any use of the arms, elbows, legs, or knees to initiate contact during an offensive player’s screen block is illegal. Blockers may use their hands to protect themselves, but may not “push” defensive players away. A blocker may use his/her feet in order to gain position before, during and after screen blocking. Penalty: Illegal Block, 10 yards.
7.2 There is NO downfield blocking, or blocking on returns - only “screen blocking”. Teammates of a runner or passer may interfere for him/her by screen blocking, but shall not use interlocked interference by grasping or encircling one another in any manner. Penalty: Illegal Block, 10 yards. 7.3 Defensive players must go around the offensive player’s screen block without charging into the blocker in any way. The arms and hands may not be used to grab or push the opponent aside. Penalty: Personal Foul, 10 yards. NOTE: Screen blocking is enforced the same as the block/charge rule in basketball.8.0 PUNTING THE BALL 8.1 If a punt is to be made, the team punting must announce it before the down starts. There are no fake punts. 8.2 Offense must have 4 players on the line of scrimmage and the defense must have 5 players within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage until the punt is made. No one can move until the ball is kicked. Penalty: Illegal Procedure, 5 yards. 8.3 The ball may NOT hit the ground before being returned. Once the ball touches a receiving player, it cannot hit the ground or it will be ruled dead. Balls not caught by the return team will be ruled dead. 8.4 Punts that are downed in the end zone or kicked through the back of the end zone are touchbacks. Play will begin at the 14-yard line. For punts that go out of bounds on the sidelines, play will begin at the yard line where it went out. 8.5 Any kick caught by the kicking team behind the line of scrimmage cannot be advanced.Kicking the Ball: After receiving the snap, the kicker must kick the ball immediately andin a continuous motion. If a kicker drops the ball, it is considered a fumble, and the ballbecomes dead at the spot.9.0 PLAYER CONDUCT 9.1 Any act of tackling, throwing an opponent to the ground, or any physical contact deemed overly rough is punishable by a minimum of ejection and 1 game suspension. 9.2 Other prohibited acts: Constant complaining or disrespecting officials; using profanity, insulting, or vulgar language or gestures; threatening or intentionally making contact with an official; Excessive trash talking or taunting opponents. 9.3 Any player that receives two unsportsmanlike fouls for any reason will be automatically ejected from the contest and the next game.
9.4 Any player that throws a punch will immediately be ejected from the game and suspended for the remainder of the season. (To be reviewed by League Administrator) 9.5 Any team that receives 4 unsportsmanlike fouls in one game will automatically forfeit the contest to their opponents. 9.6 Team captains are responsible for the sportsmanship of all players. 9.7 A team captain is the only player with the right to address game officials respectfully.SUMMARY OF PENALTIES:LOSS OF 5 YARDS:1. Required equipment worn illegally2. Delay of game3. Illegally conserving or consuming time4. Substitution rules infractions5. Infraction of punt formation6. Infraction of punt7. Encroachment8. False start9. Illegal snap10. Offensive player not within 15 yards of the ball11. Infraction of scrimmage formation12. Player out-of-bounds when call is snapped13. Offensive player illegally in14. Player receiving snap within 2 yards of the scrimmage line15. Illegal shift (Line of Scrimmage)16. Intentionally throwing backward pass or fumble out-of-bounds17. Illegal forward pass18. Intentional grounding19. Helping the runner
LOSS OF 10 YARDS:1. Illegal player equipment2. Quick kick3. Kick catch interference4. Two or more consecutive encroachments during the same interval between scrimmage downs5. Forward pass interference-Offensive6. Forward pass interference-Defensive7. Illegally secured flag belt on a touchdown8. Unsportsmanlike player conduct9. Spiking, kicking, or throwing the ball during dead ball10. Unsportsmanlike conduct by Coaches, Substitutes, or Others11. Strip or attempt to strip the ball12. Contact with opponent on ground13. Throwing runner to ground14. Hurdle any player15. Contact before or after the ball is dead16. Unnecessary contact of any nature17. Drive or run into a player18. Position upon shoulders or body of a teammate19. Tackle the runner20. Roughing the passer21. Illegal Offensive screen blocking22. Interlocked interference23. Defensive use of hands24. Guarding the flag belt25. Stiff arms26. Obstruction or holding the runner27. Batting a free ball28. Illegal kicking29. Illegal participation30. Illegal substitute/replaced player31. Pretended, unfair substitution32. Illegal flag belt removal