7v7 Flag Football
The following 7v7 screen flag football rules for men and women are USA Flag approved.
RULE 1. OVERVIEW
SECTION 1. THE FIELD
Article 1. 80 yards from goal line to goal line with two end zones of 10 yards each.
Article 2. Field shall be divided into 4 zones of 20 yards each.
Article 3. Field shall be a minimum of 40 yards wide and a maximum of 53 1/3 yards wide.
Article 4. Marking the five (3) yard line and ten (10) yard line are optional for use during the PAT. These may be marked as hash marks in the center of the field no more than five (5) yards in width
Article 5. Lines should be clearly marked and use of cones or yard line markers along the sideline to signify zone lines are strongly recommended for use during championship play.
Article 6. Teams shall use opposite sides of the field to use as their team area during the game. The team area stretches from twenty (20) yard line to twenty (20) yard line and no less than ten (10) yards wide of the playing field. Only the team manager, captains and players are allowed within the team area. Persons associated with the team and are not the Manager, captains or players must be removed from the immediate playing field and team area. Where grandstands, bleachers or seating areas are available this is the preferred area for these non-players.
Article 7. When teams and players are in the team area, adequate room along the sideline must be made available in order for officials to work the sideline and properly officiate the contest.
SECTION 2. THE GAME
Article 1. The game shall be played between two teams of no more than seven (7) players each, on a rectangular field with a properly shaped, sized and inflated ball.
Article 2. A team may legally play with no fewer than six (6) players.
Article 3. A coin toss determines 1st possession. The team can elect to have offense, defense, defer or direction. Choice in the 2nd half will be awarded to the team that did not have the choice 1st half. In order to keep to schedule, the game clock shall start one minute after the coin toss formalities have concluded, regardless if the teams have taken the field or not.
Article 4. The game is ended and the score is final when the referee declares the game complete.
Article 5. The game is conducted under the supervision of two, three or four officials including: a referee, a linesman, a back judge, line judge and/or side judge. Use of the line judge and side judge is optional.
Article 6. To start the game, half, or after a touchdown, the offensive team takes possession of the ball at their 14 yard line and has four plays to advance to the next line to gain.
Article 7. If a team fails to secure a first down, the defense will take control of the ball at that location.
Article 8. Game Time is FORFEIT TIME – upon approval by a USA Flag director. Guaranteed schedule blocks in scenarios where fields may be behind are the only exception, where teams will be given reasonable time to get to their next games at the discretion of the USA Flag directors.
SECTION 3. ATTIRE
Article 1. All members of the same team must wear the same color jersey.
Article 2. Jerseys must be tucked in. The midriff shirt is legal, if in the judgment of the referee, it does not hinder the defense from pulling the flag. No article of clothing may cover any portion of a player’s flag. Officials should warn violators of this between plays. If a shirt/jersey becomes untucked during a play, it must be re-tucked before the next play.
SECTION 4. GAME CLOCK FORMAT
Article 1. Tournament clock is 40 minutes long. Two 20 minute halves and a 2-minute halftime.
Article 2. The play clock is 25 second and starts once the official marks the ball ready for play. (Delay of Game penalty if exceed 25 seconds)
Article 3. Each team shall have two (2) time outs per half.
Article 4. After a team time-out, the game clock will start at the snap of the ball.
Article 5. Because the game clock is a continuous click, it does not stop during P.A.T. attempts or on change of possessions.
Article 6. The game clock will stop for team time-outs, official time-outs, and at the discretion of the official to retrieve long incomplete passes.
Article 7. The on-field captain or quarterback may request the amount of time left in the game from the officials at any time. Officials will be expected to give the correct time.
Article 8. A “stop-clock” will be in effect in the last two minutes of the first and second half.
SECTION 5. MERCY RULE
Article 1. At the two minute warning of the second half, if the score difference is 9 points or more, a pro clock will not be initiated and will continue with a running clock. Same applies if a team scores during the 2 minutes to create a 9 or more point lead. If a team scores to create a one possession game within 2 minutes of the second half, a pro clock will then be initiated.
Article 2. During bracket play, if a team is ahead by 28 points or more at any point in the game, the game will be over. This does not apply during pool play.
RULE 2. OFFENSE
SECTION 1. GENERAL
Article 1. Any number of players may be on the offensive or defensive L.O.S. at the snap. Defense line must be one (1) yard off the ball at the snap.
Article 2. There will be free substitution as long as players being substituted for are off the field prior to the next snap OR player is out of the area of play and is departing the field in haste. “Sleepers” on substitutions will not be allowed on any play. No player may line up closer than 5 yards from the sideline unless he came out of the huddle or unless he was on the field of play during the previous play and did not leave the field of play. (S-18) (5 yards)
Article 3. Two or more offensive players may be shifting their position at the same time prior to the snap. Their movement may be in any direction but they must become set for one full count before the ball is snapped or before another player can go in motion prior to the snap. (S-16)(5 yards)
Article 4. Only one player is allowed to be in motion at the snap and his movement must be parallel or away from the L.O.S. and must be continuous. (S-16)(5 yards)
Article 5. Any stance is permitted. Any number of players may be on the offensive or defensive L.O.S. at the snap. Defense line must be one (1) yard off the ball at the snap. No defensive player may be within 4 yards of the ball if lined up directly in front of the center or within one yard of the ball if lined up to the side of the center at the snap. (S-19) (5 yards)
Article 6. Shall be called if either the offense or the defense passes over the plane of their L.O.S. before the ball is snapped. A false movement of the football by the center shall constitute offensive encroachment. These are dead ball fouls and the play shall be immediately whistled dead before play begins and 5 yards automatically marked off against the encroaching team. (S-14) (Exception: Defensive encroachment resulting in an offensive first down will become an offensive captain’s choice penalty
Article 7. No direct snap may be taken at anytime. The snap must travel a minimum of 2 yards to be legal (either backwards or sideways).
SECTION 2. SCREEN BLOCKING
Article 1. Only screen blocking is permitted. Screen Blocking shall be defined as obstructing the rusher’s path to the quarterback or ball carrier, as long as it is done behind the L.O.S., with any part of the body except head, hips, and legs. There can be no independent movement of the elbows.
Article 2. Screeners must have his thumbs hooked in his pants and holding the flag belt with each hand or the screener must hold his arms behind his back with arms locked together in some manner. A screener may not leave his feet to screen or use a screen to imitate any form of contact with the rusher. The screeners feet must be set and planted when in proximity with the rusher.
Article 3. The main responsibility of avoiding contact lies with the rusher, however the screener may not step into the rusher or initiate contact in any way.
Article 4. Moving screens shall be penalized from the end of run (E.O.R.) or the point of infraction (P.O.I.), whichever hurts the offensive team the most. If the illegal screen is judged to have caused excessive contact, it will be penalized 10 yards and loss of down.
SECTION 2. PASSING
Article 1. There can be only one forward pass per play.
Article 2. The quarterback or any player receiving the snap, hand-off or lateral behind the line of scrimmage can run at any time, at any point on the field.
Article 3. There is no arm in motion, if the ball is in hand when the quarterback’s flag is pulled then it will be ruled a sack.
Article 4. Interceptions may be returned.
Article 5. The rusher may not have any contact with the QB (no hitting the QB arm or knocking the ball out of the QB hand).
Article 6. If ANY part of the players body is behind the LOS it is a legal pass
SECTION 3. RECEIVING
Article 1. All players are eligible to receive a pass, including the quarterback, if the ball has been pitched or handed off in the backfield.
Article 2. Players must have at least one foot in bounds when making a catch.
SECTION 4. RUNNING
Article 1. Teams may handoff (unlimited), pitch, or throw back in the backfield. UNLIMITED laterals or throwbacks behind the LOS are allowed for the player to remain eligible to pass.
Article 2. Pitching (backwards/laterally) is allowed downfield (unlimited). Handoffs are allowed in front or behind. A handoff DOES NOT count as a lateral/throwback.
Article 3. A forward pass DOES NOT have to cross the LOS to be a legal play.
Article 4. Ball is spotted where the ball is at the time of the flag pull. The ball must break the plane of the midfield or goal line to be considered a first down or touchdown.
Article 5. Players may NOT block down field in any form.
RULE 3. DEFENSE
SECTION 1. RUSHING THE QUARTERBACK
Article 1. A rusher must be one yard off the line of scrimmage and one yard outside of the center (not head up) in order to rush.
Article 2. A rusher may not run over a screen blocker. The rusher may not pull the screener toward him or push the screener away from him
Article 3. If the rusher touches the quarterback in the head in his attempt to block the pass a penalty will be called. This will also go for striking the passer’s arm when in a forward motion while attempting to block a pass. Roughing the passer will be called when the rusher, if while attempting to de-flag the quarterback or block a pass, lets his momentum carry him into the passer. Defensive player may not have any contact with the passer when he is passing.
Article 4. The defensive may rush as many players as it wishes.
SECTION 2. PASS COVERAGE
Article 1. Contacting receivers is not allowed
Article 2. Pass interference normally occurs above the waist; entangled feet are not considered pass interference. Incidental contact is not considered pass interference.
Article 3. A player may “find” their opponent by reaching out and placing a hand on them as long as touching does not delay, impede, twist, or turn their opponent. This is not considered pass interference.
Article 4. A player may use their arms or hands to intentionally obstruct the receiver’s view (face guarding) of the ball without turning their own head to play the ball as long as noteworthy contact is not made with the receiver.
Article 5. If defensive pass interference occurs in the end zone the ball will be placed on the one-yard line, automatic first down.
Article 6. Interceptions may be returned. Interceptions in the end zone that are not returned to the field of play will result in a touchback and the ball will be spotted on the 20-yard line.
Article 7. Contact away from the direction of the pass is not considered pass interference but may be considered illegal contact.
Article 8. Whether a pass is catchable or uncatchable has no bearing on pass interference. The benefit of the doubt is given to the receiver. Examples of pass interference include:
Shoving or pushing off to create separation.
Playing through the back.
Hook and turn: grabbing the torso and turning an opponent before the pass arrives.
Arm bars, hooking, restricting, grabbing wrists, or turning a receiver.
Blocking downfield before the ball has been touched, commonly seen through “pick plays”.
SECTION 3. PUNTS
Article 1. The offense may choose to punt on 4th down.
Article 2. If a punt is to be made, the offense must announce it to the referee before the ball can be declared ready for play. Offense must declare within 10 seconds after asked by referee on 4th down play. After offense declares, the referee will mark ball ready for play whereupon the offense will have 15 seconds to punt the ball.
Article 3. When the offense declares the punt, it becomes a guaranteed punt, and only if a defense penalty occurs after the offense declares punt can the offense reconsider, due to change in field position.
Article 4. After a punt has been declared, it must be made and neither team may cross the L.O.S. until the ball is kicked.
Article 5. The offense may have any number of players on the L.O.S. The punt returning team must have 4 players on the L.O.S. and they must remain in that zone until the ball is kicked.
Article 6. If the punt hits a member of the punting team, which has not crossed the L.O.S., it is dead at that spot. Any member of the punting team may down the punt if it is beyond the L.O.S. and has touched the ground prior to being downed. The punt will be declared dead at the spot where it is first touched by the punting team.
Article 7. The punt receiving team must be given an opportunity to field the punt in the air; therefore, there will be a 10-yard penalty if touched in the air beyond the L.O.S. by the punting team, from the P.O.I.
Article 8. The punt returning team may have 3 returners in deep positions. The 2 returners that do not carry the ball may not be moving screens. They may run forward to be maneuvering for a lateral behind the ball carrier.
Article 9. The punt receiving team may field a punt in the air, off of a bounce (one or more), or directly off of the ground, if fielded clearly. When a punt touches a player on the receiving team who is in bounds and the ball rebounds into the air, all players become eligible to intercept and advance the ball before it touches the ground.
Article 10. When a punt is left unattended, it becomes dead where it rolls still.
Article 11. Punts muffed by the receiving team in the end zone before possession, and ball hits in or out of end zone, it will be a touchback. If the ball is touched in the air or on the ground by the punting team in the zone, it is a touchback. If a punt receiver who has gained possession of the punt in the end zone is deflagged prior to crossing the goal line into the field of play, it is a touchback. If punt receiver remains in end zone 5 seconds after fielding punt, or downs punt by knee or ball touching ground after possession, it is a touchback.
Article 12. If at any point on a punt return (or interception) the ball is advanced or received out of the endzone, then lateralled back into the endzone and muffed, it is considered a safety.
RULE 4. SCORING
SECTION 1. POINTS
Touchdown: 6 points
Point After Touchdown (PAT)
1 point from the 3-yard line, run or pass.
2 points from the 10-yard line, run or pass.
Interceptions returned on PAT’s are worth 2 points
Safety: 2 points
SECTION 2. POINT AFTER TOUCHDOWN (PAT)
Article 1. Following a touchdown, once the scoring team has informed an official of which point conversion choice they want to attempt, the decision cannot be changed unless the scoring team uses a team timeout.
Article 2. If a penalty occurs during an extra point attempt, the penalty will be assessed but the extra point value remains the same.
Article 3. Decisions cannot be changed after a penalty. For example, if the offense attempts a 1-point PAT and is penalized five yards for a false start, they cannot change their mind and go for a 2-point PAT. They will still be attempting a 1-point try even if they call a timeout.
Article 4. Defensive unsportsmanlike conduct, personal fouls, or roughing penalties during a successful touchdown attempt will be assessed at half the distance to the goal during the PAT attempt (e.g., 2-point PAT attempts will be spotted at the 6-yard line, 1-point PAT attempts will be spotted at the 2.5-yard line). All other defensive penalties may be declined by the offense and the score will stand.
Article 5. Dead ball fouls committed by the offense that do not carry a loss-of-down penalty (false start) may result in penalty yardage assessed and the down replayed.
Article 6. Fouls by the offense during a successful PAT attempt that carry a loss-of-down penalty (flag guarding, illegal advancement, illegal forward pass, etc.) will result in the PAT being no good.
Article 7. Fouls committed by the offense in unsuccessful PAT attempts will be declined by the defense and the PAT will be “no good” and will not be replayed.
Article 8. Fouls by the defense during an unsuccessful PAT attempt will result in a retry after the options are administered.
Article 9. If the PAT-attempting team throws an interception and then commits a flagrant foul after the interception during the attempted return (physically contains the ball carrier; bear hugs, aggressively holds, tackles, etc. without making a clear, legal attempt to pull the ball carrier’s flag, the ball carrier will be awarded two points.
SECTION 3. OVERTIME EXTRA POINT SHOOTOUT
Article 1. A coin flip determines first possession, 1 timeout per OT period
Article 2. Teams will go in reverse order if more then 1 OT is required
Article 3. Teams can elect to go for 1 or 2 points
Article 4. Winner will be determined once the value of the extra point exceeds the other team’s attempt.
SECTION 4. PENALTIES INSIDE 2 MINUTES
Article 1. All penalties inside of 2 minutes of BOTH halves remain the same except:
Defensive delay of game (+ 15 yards Unsportsmanlike & 1st Down)
Leading Team – Offensive delay of game (LOD + clock stops)
Offensive Pre-snap penalties – yardage + LOD
Penalty Yardage Penalty Assessment Result
Flag Guarding 5 Spot of foul Loss of down
Illegal Advancement 5 Spot of foul Loss of down
Illegal Forward Pass 5 Previous spot Loss of down
Offensive Pass Interference 5 Previous spot Loss of down
Defensive Pass Interference 10 or spot foul 10 from Previous spot or spot foul (whichever the offense chooses) Automatic 1st down
Personal Foul/Unnecessary Roughness 15 End of the play or previous spot By the Offense: Loss of down
By the Defense: Automatic 1st down
Unsportsmanlike Conduct 15 End of the play or previous spot By the Offense: Loss of down
By the Defense: Automatic 1st down
Roughing the Passer 10 Previous spot Automatic 1st down
Delay of Game 5 Dead ball – Previous spot Replay down**
False Start 5 Dead ball – Previous spot Replay down**
Offsides 5 Previous spot Replay down**
Encroachment 5 Dead ball – Previous spot Automatic 1st down
Cool Down Period 0 No foul Player must sit out 5 plays
Illegal Substitution 5 Dead ball – Previous Spot Replay down
Illegal Shift or Illegal Motion 5 Previous spot Loss of down
Stripping or Attempted Stripping 5 Spot of the foul Automatic 1st down
Illegal Contact 5 Previous spot or spot of the foul By the Offense: Loss of down
By the Defense: Automatic 1st down
Early Flag Pull 5 Previous spot Automatic 1st down
Illegal Participation 5 Previous spot By the Offense: Loss of down
By the Defense: Automatic 1st down
Illegal Snap 5 Previous spot Replay down
Illegal Blocking 5 Spot foul or from previous spot if behind LOS Loss of down
Holding 5 Spot of the foul Automatic 1st down
Charging 5 Spot of the foul Loss of down
Last Man Rule 15 or TD Spot of the foul Automatic 1st down or TD if inside the 5 yard line
** LOD, if 2 min or less in either half