1 2012 YMCA FLAG FOOTBALL RULESRULE 1: PLAYERS 1. A game is played between two teams consisting of eight (8) players each; unless mutual consent is reached between the two opposing coaches for a lower number in the case that one team has fewer than 8 players. 2. The offensive team must have five (5) players on the line and three (3) in the backfield. The defensive team must have two (2) players on their line, and must line up at least one yard off of the ball. They must be lined up 1-yard outside of the ball and no further outside than off the outside foot of the offensive tackle or outside the normal pocket width (1 yard either side of the ball), whichever is smaller. Linebackers must be at least two yards behind the defensive linemen at the snap. Inside the 5-yard line, the defense may bring their line to within 1-yard of the scrimmage, however only (2) defensive ends may blitz. Defensive lineman cannot penetrate between the guard and the center, unless the offense splits their guards out 2-yards from the center. There is a no rush zone in the middle. 3. No player may play offensive skill positions (i.e. quarterback, running back, wide receiver) more than half of the snaps of each game. This does not mean that the player is limited to the first or second half, but that they can only play quarterback/running back/wide receiver half of the snaps of the entire game. The player(s) may play any other offensive position or on defense or remain out the other half of the game. All players must play a minimum of 10 plays. The intention of this rule is to encourage coaches to spread the ball around to all players. Referees are not required to keep count. It is therefore incumbent upon each coach to keep track and communicate with each other to ensure compliance. 4. For the 5-6 division, a team will have 45 seconds to put the ball in play after the ready signal. There is no penalty for the 5-6 division. For the 7-8 and 9-10 divisions, a team will have 30 seconds to put the ball in play after the ready signal. 5. In order for a play to start, the ball must transfer from the center to another player. 6. Opposing coaches must meet prior to each game and at half time to discuss any issues that may arise. 7. Flags must be different color than player’s shorts. 8. In order for a play to start, there must be an exchange of the ball from the center to one of the players in the backfield.RULE 2: PLAYING FIELDS 1. The playing area shall be 80 yards long (if available). This field shall be 100 yards in length, divided into 4 zones of twenty yards each between two end zones of ten yards each. It is 40 yards wide. 2. Goal posts are not necessary.RULE 3: TIME 1. There will be two 20-minute halves. The clock will run continuously with the following exceptions: The clock shall stop: a. at the end of a scoring play b. when there is a change of possession from one team to the other c. when there is a charged time-out to either team. d. in the last 2-minutes of each half, the clock will be stopped on out-of-bounds and an incomplete pass. When these plays occur, the clock shall be stopped and re-started when the ball is next snapped.
2 In any other instance (such as an injury) that requires the clock to be stopped, the clock shall be re-started when the ball is pronounced ready for play. 2. Two (2) time-outs per half. 3. The officials shall announce when there are two minutes remaining in either half. 4. Five (5) minutes between halves. 5. There are one official for the 5-6 division and two officials for the 7-8 and 9-10 divisions.RULE 4: BLITZING 1. Only the two defensive linemen will be allowed to ―blitz‖ or penetrate into the offensive team’s backfield, until the ball has left the area between the two guards/tackles. Once this occurs, then any player can cross over the line of scrimmage.RULE 5: TEAM COACHES 1. Up to two coaches for each team will be permitted on the field during play. 2. Coaches on the field are prohibited from talking to/directing/touching any player once a play has begun. 3. Head coaches are responsible for the behavior of their assistant coaches and parents on the sideline. Officials will implement a sideline warning followed by a penalty for inappropriate behavior.RULE 6: COIN TOSS 1. Before the game begins, each team shall have up to four (4) captains to meet at mid-field for a coin toss. The ―visiting‖ team shall call the toss. The winner of the toss shall have four options: A. be on offense first B. be on defense first C. defending a goal D. deferring their option until the second half 2. The team that did not have the option to begin the game shall have the following three (3) options for the second half: A. be on offense first B. be on defense first C. defending a goal 3. Once the coin toss is complete, all players and coaches of both teams will meet at mid-field to recite the YMCA Players Creed.RULE 7: DOWNS 1. There are no kickoffs in this league. A half will begin on a team’s own 20 yard line. Each team will have four consecutive downs to advance the ball into the next zone or to score a touchdown. 2. Once a team enters the next zone, it is a first down and a new series of downs begins. 3. A team failing to move the ball into the next zone will lose possession. The opposing team takes over at the point where the ball becomes dead and begins it series of first down and zone to go, unless the offense chooses to punt the ball away. 4. At the conclusion of each down, the ball will be placed in the center of the field. 5. For 5-6 teams: a team may use the ―punt‖ option on any down. If the offensive team elects to use this option, then the defensive team will be awarded the ball on its own 20-yard line. There is no actual ―punting‖ of the ball.
3RULE 8: DE-FLAGGING 1. There shall be no tackling of the ball carrier, passer, or kicker. 2. The player carrying or having possession of the ball is down when the flag belt is removed from his waist (de- flagging). The defensive player shall hold the flag above his head and stand still. 3. The defensive player cannot hold or push the ball carrier to remove his flag. An accidental touch of the body or shoulder while reaching for the belt shall not be considered a violation; however, touching of the head or face shall be considered a violation. 4. A defensive player may not run over, push, or pull a blocker away from him. He may not push him sideways if he gets past him. He cannot push the blocker down. 5. A defensive player must go for the passer’s flag. He cannot touch the passer’s arm. 6. A defensive player may not leave his feet in attempting to remove an opponent’s flag belt.RULE 9: BLOCKING 1. A blocker must be on his feet at all times while blocking. All linemen, except the center, must not assume the three- point stance. Instead, they must simply stand at the line of scrimmage and await the snap. 2. Cross body and roll blocking are not permitted. 3. A blocker cannot push with their hands. Hands must be kept into chest. Elbows may not be extended more than 45- degree angle. No flaring elbows will be permitted. Defenders can use their arms to shed blocks, but cannot forcefully push opposing players. 4. Blocking a player from behind is not permitted (clipping). 5. There shall be no blocking below the waist.RULE 10: BALL CARRIER 1. The ball carrier cannot use his hands or arm to protect his flags. The defensive player must have the opportunity to remove the ball carrier’s flags. 2. The ball carrier cannot lower his head to drive or run into a defensive player. 3. Stiff-arming and spinning by the ball carrier is illegal. 4. He may run in any direction until the ball is declared dead. 5. The ball carrier must have his shirt tail tucked in when carrying the ball, unless it was pulled out by an opponent during the play.RULE 11: PASSING 1. All offensive players are eligible passers. 2. Forward passing will be attempted from behind the line of scrimmage only.RULE 12: RECEIVING 1. All players are eligible to receive forward passes. 2. A receiver may catch a ball even if he steps out of bounds or out of the end zone as long as he comes down with one foot in-bounds. 3. Two or more receivers may touch a ball in succession resulting in a completed pass.
4 4. If an offensive and defensive player catches a pass simultaneously, the ball is declared dead at the spot of the catch and the passing team is awarded possession.RULE 13: DEAD BALLAll balls touching the ground are immediately dead (except the center snap to the quarterback for 5-6 and except punts for 7-8 and 9-10). For example, the ball is declared dead at the following times: 1. When the ball carrier touches the ground with his body, other than hands or feet. 2. The ball carrier’s flag belt has been pulled. 3. The ball carrier’s flag belt falls off. 4. Following a scoring play. 5. When the ball goes out of bounds for any reason. 6. When the ball hits the ground as a result of a fumble or muffed ball (except the center snap to the quarterback for 5-6 teams). 7. For 7-8 and 9-10 teams: If the center snap hits the ground before reaching a backfield man. 8. For 5-6 teams: If an airborne fumble or pass is caught by an opponent, the ball is dead, but awarded to the opponent at that spot. If caught in mid-air by the team in possession, the ball remains alive. For 7-8 and 9-10 teams, interceptions may be returned by the defense, except on extra points, when an interception results in a dead ball.RULE 14: MERCY RULE When one team is 4-touchdowns or more ahead, then the trailing team will retain possession of the ball until the spread becomes less than 4-touchdowns. The trailing team will be given the ball, first down, on their 20-yard line after each series.RULE 15: SCORING VALUES Touchdown 6 points Safety 2 points PAT from 3-yard line 1 point PAT from 5-yard line 2 pointsRULE 16: PUNTING - *NOT APPLICABLE FOR 5-6 TEAMS 1. The offensive team may punt at any time. 2. A punt is always a free kick. 3. Punting intentions are announced to the referee by the coach, or acting captain. 4. Rushing the punter is prohibited. No offensive or defensive player may move across the line of scrimmage until the kick has been made. 5. Free Catch. If the receiving team catches the punt before it hits the ground, they have the option of accepting the ball where it was caught, plus an additional five yards, minus 5-yards, or of accepting the ball where it was caught. Otherwise, it will be the receiving team’s ball at the spot where the ball comes to rest or is touched.RULE 17: PENALTIES (YARDS OF PENALTIES IN PARENTHESES)1. Line of Scrimmage-Centering A. Offside, defensive or offensive (5)
5 B. Illegal Snap (5) C. Illegal Motion (5) D. Illegal Formation (5) E. Delay of game (5) – not applicable for 5-6 teams F. Illegal blitz (5) – not applicable for 5-6 teams G. False start (5) – not applicable for 5-6 teams2. Illegal passing from beyond line of scrimmage (5) and loss of down.3. Pass Interference A. Offensive (10) and loss of down B. Defensive-first down from spot of infraction for offensive team4. Flag wearing and de-flagging A. Tackling (10) B. Wearing the flags illegally (5) C. Ball carrier using his hands to prevent a defensive player from de-flagging (10) D. Holding, pushing, or hitting the ball carrier while de-flagging (10) E. Leaving one’s feet while de-flagging (10) F. Ball carrier’s shirt-tail out (5) 5. Illegal hand-off A. If the ball is handed forward beyond the scrimmage line (5) and loss of down. B. Intentional grounding (5) and loss of down.6. Blocking A. Leaving feet to block (10) B. Illegal use of hands by blocker (10) C. Holding a defensive player (10) D. Defensive player blocking or pushing the ball carrier out of bounds (10) E. Defensive player using hands illegally (5)7. Ball Carrier A. Stiff-arming (10) B. Use of hands or arms to protect flags (10 from the spot of the foul) C. Hurdling (5)8. Unnecessary Roughness A. Offensive and Defensive (10) B. Disqualification of guilty player or players if repeated9. Unsportsmanlike Conduct A. Fighting (10)—offenders ejected from game B. Defensive player pulling offensive player’s flag belt to make him ineligible for play (10) C. Insulting and abusive language (10) D. ―Stripping‖ the ball from a ball carrier (10)