1. OBJECT OF THE GAME The objective of flag gridiron is to score touchdowns by advancing the ball down field into the opposing team’s end zone.  You simply want to score more points than your opponent.  Traditionally, touchdowns are scored when a team moves the ball down the field through passing and running, then crossing the plane of the end zone. 

2. DURATION OF THE GAME Games consist of 2 by 20 minute halves with the half time break being 2 minutes.  Each team will be granted one timeout each half.  Timeouts will not be carried over into the 2nd half.  If a team chooses not to use their granted timeout in the first half, then they will lose that timeout.  All timeouts are 30 seconds each.  The game clock will be stopped for the duration of the timeout.  Once the team (that called the timeout) is ready or the expiration of the timeout time (whichever comes first), the 20 second game clock restarts and the official game clock is resumed.

3. GEAR AND EQUIPMENT  Normal workout gear is fine.  Cleats or runners are allowed, but please no metal studs.  Urban Rec will provide all flags and belts.  You don’t need flag shorts, though you can use them if you prefer.

4. THE TEAM The number of players shall be 6 players on the field

  • Only six (6) players allowed on the field at any one time.
  • There must be a minimum of one (1 or 2) females on the field always. Please check with your league manager to see if your chosen league & location is min 1, or 2 female league. 
  • This league requires your team to have a minimum of four (4) players, including one male or female to start the game.
  • Please consider our Default, Forfeit, and Substitute Policy

5. SUBSTITUTIONS Unlimited substitution of players is permitted.  Substitutions must be made between plays (i.e. substitutions cannot be made ‘on the fly’ mid-play).  The game remains continuous and the time does not stop to allow substitutions

6. THE START OF PLAY A coin toss (or rock-paper-scissors match) determines first possession.  The captains of both teams shall meet with the Event Host in the middle of the field.  The winner of the coin toss can either choose to accept possession or defer to the 2nd half.  Losers of the coin toss (if the winners choose to accept 1st possession) have the choice of which end zone to defend.  Otherwise, if the winners of the coin toss decide to defer possession of the ball to the 2nd half, then they (the winners) will choose the side to defend.  There are no kick-offs.

7. POSSESSION CHANGES -> # OF DOWNS

  • The offensive team will take 1st possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has four (4) player to cross midfield. 
  • Once a team crosses midfield, it has four (4) plays to score a touchdown.  If the offense fails to score, the ball changes possession and the new offensive team takes over on its 5-yard line.  An automatic first down by penalty will overrule the other requirements regarding four (4) plays to make a first down or score.
  • If the offensive team fails to cross midfield, possession of the ball changes and the opposition starts its drive from its 5-yard line.
  • All possession changes, except interceptions, start on the offense’s 5-yard line. 

8. SCORING

  • Touchdown:
    • Scored by male = 6 points. (clock stops after each score)
    • Scored by female = 8 points. (clock stops after each score)
  • Extra point: 1 point. (played from midpoint of 5-yard line only)
  • 2 points (played from midpoint of 12-yard line only)
  • Safety: 2 points.

9. GAME PLAY

  • To start the play, the ball must be snapped between the legs of the snapper.
    • NOTE: If using a female as the snapper, and playing with only 1 female, the female MUST NOT be snapper for subsequent plays.  I.e. if playing with 1 female player, the female may only be the snapper every other play
  • Only one player may blitz, and teams must nominate which player prior to the snap by raising their arm
  • The center is the player who gives the ball to the quarterback via a snap.
  • The center cannot take a direct hand off back from the quarterback (no center sneak play).
  • The quarterback is the player who receives the ball directly from the snap. There is no direct snap to the RBs.  Only the QB is allowed to receive the snap.
  • The quarterback cannot run with the ball past the line of scrimmage, unless he/she has handed the ball off, tossed or pitched, and it has been returned to him.
  • QB only has 7 seconds in which to pass the ball.  Play is dead if the QB holds the ball longer than 7 seconds
  • An Offense may use multiple handoffs behind the line of scrimmage. Only backward & lateral handoffs are allowed during the down (as long as it is behind the line of scrimmage).
  • Tosses or sweeps behind the line of scrimmage are allowed and are running plays.
  • Once the ball carrier has crossed the line of scrimmage the ball cannot be handed off, tossed, pitched or passed in any way.
  • "No-running zones," are located at the 5 yard line in front of each end zone. When the ball is on or inside the 5-yard line, the offense cannot run the ball.   In other words, at that stage, the only way for the ball to be advanced is for the QB to throw the ball to a receiver.  The QB has to throw the ball pass the line of scrimmage.
  • The player who takes the handoff, toss or pitch can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
  • All defensive players are eligible to rush once the ball has been handed off or tossed, or there is a play action fake or fake handoff.
  • Spinning is allowed, but the ball carrier cannot dive forward or jump to avoid a defensive player or gain yardage (no diving).
  • The ball is spotted where the ball carrier's feet are placed when the flag is pulled, not where the ball is.

10. RECIEVEING

  • All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off or tossed behind the line of scrimmage to a different player).
  • As in the NFL, one player may be in motion, but not in motion towards the opponent‘s end zone at the snap.
  • A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception.

11. PASSING

  • Only players starting 7 yards from the line of scrimmage can rush the passer.
  • The quarterback has seven seconds to throw the ball. If a pass is not thrown within seven seconds, the play is dead, with a loss of down and the ball is spotted at the previous line of scrimmage.
  • Only one forward pass thrown from behind the line of scrimmage is allowed in a down.
  • Interceptions change the possession of the ball.
  • Interceptions can be returned by the defense.   New possession starts from where the interceptor is tagged (flag is pulled), unless the interceptor has scored a touchdown.
  • On Interceptions that occur and remain in the end zone, the ball will become dead and will result in the ball belonging to the intercepting team at its 5-yard line.  (Touchback)
  • Should an interception occur in the end zone and the ball carrier leave the end zone, the ball will belong to the intercepting team at the spot the ball becomes dead. However, should the ball carrier return to the defending end zone and be tagged or the ball become dead the result would be a safety for the other team.

12. DEAD BALLS

  • Substitutions may be made only after the play is stopped.
  • Play is ruled "dead" when an official blows his whistle.
  • Ball carrier's flag is pulled or becomes illegal.
  • Points are scored.
  • When any part of the ball carrier’s body, other than his hand or foot touches the ground.   In other words, if a receiver/interceptor has fallen while in process of running with the ball or after catching the ball, the spot where the ball carrier has fallen starts the new play (unless it’s the last down of the possessing team).
  • If a ball carrier's flag falls off, the play will be whistled dead and the ball will be spotted at the spot where the flag fell off.
  • Players are ineligible to catch a pass or receive the ball by hand off toss or pitch, if their flag has fallen off.
  • Fumbles are a dead ball

13. RUSHING THE QUARTERBACK

  • All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of seven yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
  • Any number of players can rush the quarterback. Players not rushing the quarterback may defend on the line of scrimmage. Once the ball is handed off or tossed, or there is a play action fake or fake handoff, the seven-yard rule no longer is in effect and all defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage. A special marker, or a game official, will designate seven yards from the line of scrimmage.
  • REMEMBER, BLOCKING AND TACKLING ARE NOT ALLOWED.

14. PENALTIES

  • All penalties are 5 yards. The down will be repeated unless otherwise noted, and will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.
  • All penalties may be declined, except a false start (dead ball foul).
  • Penalties will not exceed half the distance to the opposing team's goal line from the line of scrimmage.
  • Game officials determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play. All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.
  • Only the team captain and Head Coach may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations.
  • Players and Coaches cannot question judgment calls.
  • Games cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it.
  • Penalties after an interception shall be assessed after the return is over and/or the play is blown dead.
  • Flag guarding is prohibited.   The ball carrier cannot prevent a defender from pulling their flags.  The ball carrier maybe warned (at discretion of the refs) and will be penalized if they are found to be flag guarding.
  • Defender cannot prevent an offensive receiver from catching the ball, however, a defender has the right to catch the ball as well as offensive team receiver.  A defender found holding or tackling the receiver before the ball reaches the receiver will be flagged with pass interference and the offensive team will automatically be awarded a new set of downs.
  • QB has 20 seconds in which to get the play off on every down.  A play not in operation by the time the 20 second play clock has expired results in a delay of game and a loss of 5 yards and a loss of down.

15. RULES NOT COVERED HERE: any areas not covered in this rule sheet, refer to NCAA Football rules.

16. WINNING TEAM The winner is the team with the greater number of points at the end of the game. A draw will be awarded if both teams have an equal amount of points. The winning team receives 3 points, 1 point each for drawn game and no points for a loss. Your Fun Points will affect your position on the standings. If two teams are matched on competition points, the team with the higher fun points rating will be favoured up the ladder.

17. FAIRPLAY SYSTEM Each league night you will have an Event Host onsite, but these guys are not official referees. Urban Rec is a recreational league which practices a fair-play and fun-first policy, meaning you should be making your own calls on the game. The Event Host will be there to make the calls not made by individuals, keep time, and help guide the games within the game play rules. The Urban Rec Event Host has the final say on any issue that cannot be self-resolved.

18. SPORTSMANSHIP All Urban Rec participants have read and agreed to the Urban Rec Code of Conduct. We also exercise a strict Disciplinary Policy. If you are seen to be rude in any way or not playing within the respect of the rules and Code of Conduct, you will be asked by the Urban Rec Staff to sub out of the game. If after returning to the game your attitude does not improve you will be asked to leave the venue, and an assessment will be made if you can play again. We do not tolerate idiots. Play fair.


Note that the above details are generic Flag Gridiron rules. The rules for each specific league may differ.