5v5 coed Flag Football Rules
The following 5v5 non-contact flag football rules for men and women are USA Flag approved.
Read through the General Rules first, as they apply to every style we offer, then also make sure and check out the style-specific rules below that are unique to this format.
RULE 1. OVERVIEW
SECTION 1. THE FIELD
Article 1. Standard dimensions of the field are 60 yards long by 25 yards wide with 7 yard endzones. Approved field sizes may fluctuate from 53-64 yards long when necessary, or 23-30 yards wide. Endzones should not be shorter than 5 yards.
SECTION 2. THE GAME
Article 1. 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.
Article 2. Minimum 3 players to start a game. May only have up to 5 players on the field at any one time.
Article 3. A coin toss determines 1st possession. The winner can elect to have offense/defense, defer or direction. The loser can select the next option, followed by the winner selecting the final option. 1st choice in the 2nd half will be awarded to team who deferred or loser of coinflip if no defer.
Article 4. The offensive team takes possession of the ball at their 5-yard line and has three plays to cross mid-field. Once a team crosses mid-field they have three plays to score. If the offensive team fails to cross mid-field, the ball changes possession. If the offense does not score, the ball changes possession. All drives start from the 5-yard line with the exception of an interception.
Article 5. No blocking is allowed. No intentional contact is allowed.
SECTION 3. ATTIRE
Article 1. Teams also must have the same color shirts and have an alternative color (one dark color/one light color). They do not have to be official uniforms. If both teams are wearing the same color, there will be a coin toss, and the losing team will need to change into a different color. Failure to provide a secondary uniform or unwillingness to change will result in a forfeit.
SECTION 4. GAME CLOCK FORMAT
Article 1. Tournament clock is 25 minutes long. Two 12 minute halves and 1-minute halftime.
Article 2. Each team has two 30 second timeouts PER GAME. If a time out is called after a TD the clock will not run until the change of possession and the offense snaps their ball.
Article 3. The play clock is 25 seconds from the end of the previous play.
SECTION 5. FIRST HALF CLOCK
Article 1. The clock will run continuously during the 12 minutes of the first half unless a team timeout is used or play is stopped by an official (e.g. deal with an injury, challenge, referee conference, game management purposes, etc.)
Article 2. The head official will give a verbal two-minute warning (for rule specific changes inside 2 minutes)
Article 3. The clock will run during point-after-touchdown attempts (PATs) in the first half unless either team opts to use a team timeout.
SECTION 6. SECOND HALF CLOCK
Article 1. In the second half the clock will run continuously for the first 11 minutes unless a team timeout or an official’s time out is used.
Article 2. The one-minute warning will stop the clock in the second half if the score difference is 8 points or less.
Article 3. The head official will give a verbal two-minute (for rule specific changes) and one-minute warning as close as possible to the actual marks but will not interrupt a live play.
Article 4. At the one minute warning officials will use a ‘stop’ clock mechanic for the remainder of the contest.
RULE 2. OFFENSE
SECTION 1. RUNNING
Article 1. The quarterback may not run unless the ball has been thrown back, handed or pitched to him or her in the backfield.
Article 2. 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 3. Pitching (backwards/laterally) is allowed downfield (unlimited). Handoffs are allowed forward or backwards when behind the line of scrimage, and only backwards beyond the line of scrimage. A handoff DOES NOT count as a lateral/throwback.
Article 4. A forward pass DOES NOT have to cross the LOS to be a legal play.
Article 5. If the ball is placed on the “Back” of ANY player, the player MUST run the ball (no give and go to the QB on the back)
Article 6. No run zones are located 5 yards before mid-field and 5-yards before the end zone. You may not run the ball in the no run zone (5-yards before the first down and end zone), only forward passes are allowed to advance the ball past the line of scrimmage. Laterals and handoffs are still allowed.
Article 7. 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 8. Players may NOT block down field in any form.
SECTION 2. PASSING
Article 1. The quarterback has 5 seconds to pass the ball if there is no rush. If the ball is not thrown, then the play is dead. After the ball is ruled dead it is returned to the line of scrimmage.
Article 2. Once the ball is handed off or pitched backwards the 5 second count stops. If the defensive team rushes, then there is no 5 second count.
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.
RULE 3. DEFENSE
SECTION 1. RUSHING THE QUARTERBACK
Article 1. Players that blitz/rush the quarterback must be a minimum of 7 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
Article 2. The 7 yards will be measured off by a referee.
Article 3. Players that are not 7 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped may not enter into the backfield until there is a change of possession.
Article 4. The blitzer/rusher is allowed a direct lane to the line of scrimmage as long as he or she rushes from either side of the center or outside the bunch formation. The offense must avoid interfering with the rusher if he or she has established a lane. Officials will announce LANE or NO LANE for rushers/blitzers prior to the snap. This is a judgement call/decision based on the spacing between the players in the offensive formation. A space of 12″ or greater in length between two players constitutes a lane at the officials discretion.
Article 5. The rush of a blitzer has to be immediately after the snap, quick and straight towards the point where the quarterback receives the snap in order to retain the right of way. If a blitzer is rushing late, slowly, aiming at another spot, changing direction during the rush or just does not rush the quarterback, the player loses the right of way but still can participate as any other defensive player.
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 5-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”.
RULE 4. SCORING
SECTION 1. POINTS
Touchdown: 6 points
Point After Touchdown:
(PAT) 1 point from the 5-yard line (no-run zone in effect)
2 points from the 12-yard line, run, pass (outside of no-run zone)
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 SHOOT-OUT
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. MERCY RULE
Article 1. No Mercy Rule during pool play games. If a team is up by 28 points or more during bracket play at any time, the game will be over.
SECTION 5. 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
SECTION 1. ELIGIBILITY
Article 1. 5v5 Non-Contact Coed flag football teams must consist of 2 females on the field at the same time or be subject to forfeit. A typical team would consist of 3 males and 2 females, but you may use more females than required, but no less than 2. As long as you have 3 females and a minimum of 3 total players on the field you are eligible for play.
SECTION 2. EQUIPMENT
For women’s and coed formats, a Junior size or Intermediate size football is allowed.
SECTION 3. GAMEPLAY
Article 1. To ensure coed participation, a penalty will ensue if the offensive team fails to use a female as an operative player within 3 consecutive downs. This applies to the full game. The penalty for running 3 consecutive plays without a female as an Operative Player will be a 5 yard penalty and a loss of down (i.e. if it was 1st down during the penalty, it is now 2nd down) and the female must now be the operative player on the next play.
Article 2. An Operative Player is defined as a player who:
Is the intended receiver in the eyes of the official
Runs the ball as the primary runner (must cross line of scrimmage)
Receives the snap as the QB and attempts a forward pass beyond the line of scrimmage.
Article 3. An Operative Player is NOT defined as a player who:
Hands off the football
Snaps the ball into play
Receives a hand-off only to give it back to a male before crossing the line of scrimmage
Receives a pitch downfield
Article 4. Examples of an operative player:
A pass deflected by a male and caught by a female is a female play
A pass intended for a female (in the eyes of the referee) that is deflected by a female, and caught by a male counts as a female play
A pass thrown by a male, received by a male and immediately pitched to a female (the “hook and ladder”) will not constitute a female play – no matter how far the female advances with the ball after the pitch
A pass intentionally grounded by a female in the last one minute of either half in order to stop the clock DOES count as a female play
If a female pitches the ball to a male behind the line of scrimmage this will not result in a female play.
A female intercepting the ball on defense in a pick 6 scenario would count as the operative player.
Article 5. Defensive Penalties: All defensive penalties will reset the operative player requirement for the offense.
Article 6. Laterals: If at any point in a scoring play a male player on the scoring team receives a lateral or handoff downfield, or in the backfield and runs past the line of scrimmage, the play will be ruled a 6 point play whether a female was involved as an operative player at any point or not.
SECTION 4. SCORING
Article 1. Touchdowns
6 points awarded for all male participation
9 points awarded for female participation as the operative player.
Article 2. Extra Points
1 point awarded for all male participation play from 5 yard line
2 points awarded for all male participation from 12 yard line
2 points awarded for female participation as the operative player from 5 yard line.
3 points awarded for a play featuring female participation as the operative player from 12 yard line.
Article 3. No Mercy Rule during pool play games. During playoffs, if a team is up by 48 points or more during tournament play at any time, the game will be over.
SECTION 5. SECOND HALF CLOCK
Article 1. The one-minute warning will stop the clock in the second half if the score difference is 12 points or less.
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