Flag Football Rules (1st-2nd Grade)
1. The playing field is 40 x 35 1/3 yards, allowing for two fields to be created on a traditional 100-yard field at the same time.
2. The sidelines extend between the insides of the numbers on a traditional football field and should be marked with cones every five yards. Use traditional pylons, if available, to mark the goal line and the back line of the end zone.
3. Additional cones can be placed between the five-yard stripes and in line with the inside of the numbers to further outline the playing surface if desired.
4. All possessions start at the 40-yard line going toward the end zone.
a. This leaves a 20-yard buffer zone between the two game fields for game administration and safety purposes. Game officials, league personnel, athletic trainers and designated coaches are allowed in this space.
b. The offensive huddle may take place in the Administrative Zone.
c. Players not in the game stand on the traditional sidelines with one or more coach(es) to supervise.
d. The standard players’ box should be used for sideline players. With the field split in two, this keeps players between the 25- and 40-yard line on each respective field and side.
5. Line of scrimmage markers are administered in accordance with National Federation (NFHS) or local rules – starting from the 40-yard line.
Rookie Flag uses the NFHS rule book as a base and employs the following adjustments for 7-player football.
1. Because of the “all players, all positions, all skills philosophy,” there are no restrictions on jersey numbers or player positions.a. Not all players may play every position every game or even through the course of the entire season. All players should have at least one offensive and defensive line position as well as one offensive and one defensive backfield position to play each game.b.In practice, players should learn all skills of all positions for developmental purposes in accordance with the American Development Model principles.
2. All game action takes place on one half of the field with all possessions starting on the 40-yard line going toward the end zone.
3. A turnover on downs brings the ball back to the 40-yard line, and the teams switch sides from offense to defense, defense to offense.
4. a. Turnovers on interceptions are blown dead immediately. No returns are allowed in order to protect players from running toward the 20-yard Administration Zone between the two fields. Play restarts on the 40-yard line with the intercepting team now on offense. There are no defensive touchdowns.
b. All fumbles and snaps that hit the ground are blown dead immediately. Offense retains possession with a loss of down.
5. After each play, the ball is spotted in the middle of the field. Hash marks are not used.
6. Because of the limited field size, all 15-yard penalties are enforced as 10-yard penalties.
7. No penalty on the offense can take the ball beyond the 40-yard line to ensure the administration zone is free.a. Rule application: A five-yard penalty called and accepted on the 38-yard line would result in a loss of two yards and the ball spotted on the 40-yard line.
8. Penalties on the offense called between the 40-yard line and the end zone in which yardage is lost, even if limited in enforcement by the 40-yard line, are enforced as written in terms of down lost or replayed.
9. Penalties on the offense that are called and accepted on or behind the 40-yard line result in a loss of down. A penalty that would normally include a loss of down would not result in a second loss of down on the same play.
10. There are no defensive safeties. Tackles behind the 40-yard line are respotted at the 40-yard line with the offense still retaining the ball as long as a down remains.
11. All personal foul penalties include an immediate required substitution from the field for a minimum of one play to allow coaches to address misconduct and promote good sportsmanship. We call this a “cooling off period.”
a. If a team does not have any substitutes for the game, coaches and officials should discuss during the pregame meeting how to apply league standards for this situation.
12. All plays are blown dead and the ball is returned to the 40-yard line if an offensive ball-carrier or a fumbled ball crosses over midfield (50-yard line) or, at the official’s discretion, if the action of the play penetrates too deeply into the Administrative Zone.
Special teams adjustments
1. There are no special teams.
a. There are no kickoffs or punts. Each possession starts with the ball on the 40-yard line, regardless of whether there is a score, turnover or turnover on downs.
b. There are no extra points by a kick.
i. All PATs are attempted through a run or pass try. Coaches can choose to go for one point from the three-yard line or two points from the five-yard line.
1. Each play must include three interior offensive linemen wearing red flags – a center and two guards, one on either side of the center. These players are ineligible for first touch as the receiver of a pass regardless of the numbers on their jerseys and regardless if they are covered by an end.
a. Player rotations may result with traditional non-lineman numbers at these positions for the purpose of fundamental skill development.
2. Guards are required to play from a two-point stance. There are no three-point stances.
3. The center may only have his or her snapping hand down on the ball.
4. The distance (split) between a guard and center may not exceed three feet (one-yard) but may be closer.
5. Because of the all players, all positions, all skills philosophy, players should change positions during the game.
6. The quarterback-center exchange may be direct, pistol or shotgun.
7. Quarterback sneaks are prohibited in all situations because the defense is not allowed to have players aligned over the center or in the center-guard A-gap. Quarterback draws from the pistol or shotgun are allowed.
8. The offense must have four players on the line of scrimmage. No more, no less. The fourth player can be a tight end or split end. See figures below.
9. The four offensive players who are not playing guard or center may be deployed in positions at the coach’s discretion as long as one is on the line of scrimmage.
10. No trips formations are allowed.
a. For purpose of Rookie Flag, trips is defined as any three players outside the guard-to-guard box on the same side of the ball.
11. Motion is allowed by a backfield player as long as it doesn’t create an illegal trips formation.
12. All blocks below the waist, in any situation, are illegal.
1. Defenses may only have two defensive linemen unless an offensive formation includes a tight end. In that case, a third defensive player may line up over the tight end.
a. A tight end is defined as a player on the line of scrimmage and within three feet (one-yard) of a guard.
2. Defensive linemen must be in a two-point stance.
3. Defensive linemen over guards must be aligned in a head up or outside shade position.
4. Players in an outside shade must always have one foot aligned inside the stance of the opposing player.
5. Defensive line of scrimmage players may not penetrate the A-gap on the snap of the ball. Contact with the hands must be made with the offensive line player before defeating the block into the A gap.
a. Rule enforcement: Deliberate stunting into the A-gap is to be treated as an illegal procedure foul and enforced as a five-yard live ball penalty.
6. If the offense aligns with no tight ends, the defense may still align with three players on the line of scrimmage (press corner), but the player must be positioned over the receiver he or she is covering.
a. With the exception of the players covering the guards, the defense is not required to have additional players on the line of scrimmage but has the option to do so. If not aligned on the line of scrimmage, a player must be a minimum of four yards behind the line of scrimmage.
7. The defense must have one player at least 10 yards off the line of scrimmage.
8. The remaining four players can be deployed at the coach’s discretion but must be four yards off the line of scrimmage unless covering a tight end or split end on the line of scrimmage.
a. Example: If the offense aligns with its fourth line-of-scrimmage player as a tight end, then the defense may align a player directly over the tight end on the line of scrimmage to balance the running surface.
9. No blitzes are allowed. Players within the box at the snap can penetrate upon the snap. Linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks (both on the line and at depth) can flow to the ball naturally after a handoff is made, but predetermining penetration to a specific gap is illegal.
a. The box includes offensive players who line up within two yards of the ball and on the line of scrimmage along with the defensive players lined up over them.
b. On pass plays, anyone outside the box on the snap cannot rush the quarterback and must remain behind the line of scrimmage in pass coverage.
i. Rule application: The restriction on blitzing is intended to encourage skill development within the passing game and allow young players to execute a successful handoff with limited penetration.
ii. Rule enforcement: Illegal blitzes by a linebacker or defensive back shall be enforced as an illegal procedure foul and a five-yard live ball penalty.
10. If the ball is inside the four-yard line, the four non-linemen, non-deep players may align on the goal line.
1. Offensive touchdowns are worth six points.
2. PATs are the coach’s choice to attempt a one-point try from the three-yard line or a two-point try from the five-yard line.
3. With no special teams, there are no field goal attempts.
4. There are no defensive touchdowns as all turnovers are blown dead immediately. No returns are allowed to limit play back in the direction of the administrative zone.
5. There are no two-point defensive safeties. All tackles behind the 40-yard line result in a loss of down, but the offense retains the ball, and the ball is re-spotted at the 40-yard line to preserve the Administrative Zone