Flag Football Rules

Download the 2014 Flag Football Rules

1. Rules and Regulations

1.1 The JCC Maccabi Games Flag Football competition shall be conducted under the following rules and regulations for all age/gender groups except as they may be modified by the Sports Advisory Committee (SAC).

1.2 The competition in Flag Football shall be conducted in accordance with the NFL Youth Football official flag football rules. In the event of a conflict between the NFL Youth Football official flag football rules and regulations below, the JCC Maccabi Games rules shall apply and be binding.

1.3 The Organizing Committee of the Host Community shall establish a Flag football Committee, with an overall flag football commissioner, to oversee and run the competition, and to resolve any controversies that arise. The decisions of the Flag football Committee and/or the overall flag football commissioner with respect to protests, disputes, and appeals shall be final. Protests must be submitted in writing within thirty (30) minutes after the completion of a game, and shall relate solely to the interpretation of the rules.

1.4 Prior to the start of the Games all rules questions shall be resolved by the Flag football Committee, in consultation with the SAC, in accordance with NFL Youth Football rules in force during the previous flag football season (See Rule 1.2).

1.4.1 A member of the host community must be available at each venue at which flag football is played to help manage the flag football tournaments in accordance with JCC Maccabi Games guidelines, control issues as they arise, and if applicable, to receive protests.

1.5 Rachmanus Rule–Rachmanus plays a key role in athletics and the JCC Maccabi Games. Compassion and good sportsmanship shall be displayed by athletes, coaches and spectators at all times during the JCC Maccabi games both on and off of the playing field. For more information on the Rachmanus rule please refer to Appendix 1.

2. Venue and Equipment Requirements

2.1 The Organizing Committee of the Host Community, acting through its Flag Football Committee, shall ensure that the following venue and equipment requirements are met:

2.1.1 All Flag Football fields should be in full size, 70 yards x 30 yards with including (2) ten (10) yard end zones and five (5) yard no running zones before the 1st down line and also before the goaline (in accordance with standards) and in proper playable condition.

2.1.2 The ball size shall be specific to Flag Football rules an adequate number of balls shall be provided for each field.

Note: Teams may provide their own ball (meeting specified size) for use while on offense subject to approval from the referee.

2.1.3 Two uniformed referees shall be assigned to each game. All referees must be at least eighteen (18) years old.

3. Participants

3.1 Teams must field a minimum of five (5) players to begin the game.

3.2 Teams consist of a maximum of ten (10) players – five (5) on the field, with five (5) substitutes and a minimum of seven (7).

4. Competition Format

4.1 Each game shall consist of two (2) twenty (20) minute halves. The clock will continuously run the first eighteen (18) minutes of each half (other than stoppages for called time outs). The last two minutes of each half, the clock will stop on all dead balls, including: change of possession, time-outs, incompletions, and out of bounds. The clock will also stop on a live ball, if a first down is made, long enough to set the first down marker; the clock will then begin again with the referee’s whistle.

4.1.2 Each time the ball is spotted, a team has thirty (30) seconds to snap the ball. Teams will receive one warning before a delay-of-game penalty is enforced.

4.1.3 Each team has two (2) time outs (one (1) sixty (60) second and one (1) thirty (30) second) per half.

4.1.4 Each team has one (1) – thirty (30) second time out per overtime period.

4.1.5 Teams should report to the field a half hour before the scheduled start. A team shall be allowed a ten (10) minute grace period after the scheduled start time before the game is forfeit. The game shall not be delayed if and when the coach and at least five (5) players on a team are present.

4.1.6 If a game is interrupted because of weather conditions, the game must be resumed at the point of interruption and played to conclusion. If a game is abandoned because of weather conditions in the opinion of the Flag Football Committee and the first half has been completed, the score at the time of abandonment shall be considered final.

4.1.7 Officials can stop the clock at their discretion in situations that deem necessary including but not limited to: injury or weather conditions.

4.2 A coin toss determines choice of first half option to start on offense or defer to second half option. The visiting team will call either heads or tails. Teams will switch sides after half time.

4.3 The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has three (3) plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield, it has three (3) plays to score a touchdown. If the offense fails to cross midfield or score, the ball changes possession and the new offensive team takes over on its 5-yard line.

4.3.1 There are no punts or kickoffs.

4.3.2 If the offensive team fails to cross midfield, possession of the ball changes and the opposition starts its drive from its 5-yard line.

4.4 Games in the preliminary rounds and medal round (i.e. any game after the preliminary round) will not end in a tie and will be played to their conclusion.

4.4.1 If the score is tied at the end of forty (40) minutes, teams move directly into overtime. Each team has four total plays to advance the ball as far as possible from its own 5 yard line. If a team scores a touchdown within the four plays they have the option to attempt a one (1) or two (2) point conversion. The team that scores the most points is the winner or in the event that neither team scores, the team that advances the ball the farthest is the winner. If each team scores an equal number of points in the allotted four plays, the number of plays it took to score will be the tie-breaker. If both teams score and on the same amount of plays or both teams move the ball an equal distance (i.e. four incomplete passes) then a second overtime will occur (See 4.4.2).

4.4.1.1 At the start of each overtime period a coin flip will be used to determine option to start on offense or defense. The visiting team will call heads or tails.

4.4.2 In the second overtime and subsequent overtimes (if necessary) both teams will be required to attempt a two (2) point conversion if they score a touchdown. Overtimes will continue until a winner is determined.

4.5 In preliminary rounds, teams receive three (3) points for a win and zero (0) points for a loss. If there are ties in the standings after preliminary rounds, the following procedures shall determine team rankings for the medal round.

If 2 teams are tied:

  1. Head to head competition (if applicable)
  2. Record against common opponents in preliminary round play (if applicable)
  3. Overall opponents’ total won-loss points in preliminary round play
  4. Score differential versus common opponents in preliminary play (if applicable). Maximum point differential of twenty one (21) per game.
  5. Draw names to determine seeding. First name drawn is the higher ranked (better) seed.

If 3 or more teams are tied:

  1. Head to head competition (used only if all 3 teams have played one another)
  2. Record against common opponents in preliminary round play (if applicable)
  3. Overall opponents’ total won-loss points in preliminary round play
  4. Score differential versus common opponents in preliminary play (if applicable). Maximum point differential of twenty one (21) per game.
  5. Draw names to determine seeding. First name drawn is the higher ranked (better) seed. Continue process until all names have been drawn.

Notes:

A. If 3 or more teams are tied, using the procedures listed above; the highest seed of the 3 (or more) shall be determined. If there are still 3 or more teams tied follow the same instructions above, pulling out one team at a time then restarting the entire process until there are two teams than only one left.

B. A member of the Flag Football Committee and/or the overall Flag Football commissioner or designee will draw names. Delegation heads will be notified of the results.

4.6 Penalties during play will follow these rules and all penalties will be called by the referee

4.6.1 Defense:

4.6.1.1 Offsides: five (5) yards

4.6.1.2 Pass Interference: ten (10) yards from point of infraction and automatic first down. If there is pass interference inside of the defense’s own ten (10) yard line the ball shall be placed on the 1 yard line and an automatic first down.

4.6.1.3 Illegal Contact (holding, blocking, etc.): ten (10) yards from point of infraction and automatic first down.

4.6.1.4 Illegal Flag Pull (before receiver has the ball): ten (10) yards from point of infraction and automatic first down.

4.6.1.5 Illegal Rushing (starting rush from inside 7-yard marker): ten (10) yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down.

4.6.2 Offense:

4.6.2.1 Illegal Motion (more than one person moving, false start, etc.): five (5) yards from line of scrimmage.

4.6.2.2 Illegal Forward Pass (pass thrown beyond line of scrimmage): five (5) yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down.

4.6.2.3 Offensive Pass Interference (illegal pick play, pushing off/away of defender): ten (10) yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down.

4.6.2.4 Flag guarding: ten (10) yards from point of infraction and the down counts.

4.6.2.5 Delay of Game: Clock stops, ten (10) yards from line of scrimmage.

4.6.2.6 Illegal Substitution: teams may not break the offensive huddle with more than five (5) players. If a team does not huddle, they may not approach the line of scrimmage with more than five (5) players: five (5) yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down.

Notes:
A. Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play.

B. Only the team captain may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations. Players may not question judgment calls by referees.

C. Games cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it.

D. All penalties are assessed from the lines of scrimmage except spot fouls. Spot fouls are flag guarding, charging, defensive pass interference, stripping, offensive unnecessary roughness, screening, blocking, running with the ball carrier, and defensive unnecessary roughness.

E. If an offensive spot foul occurs in one’s own end zone, a safety is awarded.

4.7 Game play will be regulated according to the following rules:

4.7.1 Scoring points within game play will be awarded in the following manner:

  • Touchdown: six (6) points
  • Extra point: one (1) point (played from 5-yard line) OR two (2) points (played from 12-yard line).
  • Safety: two (2) points

4.7.2 Running during game play will be regulated according to the following rules:

4.7.2.1 The quarterback cannot run with the ball across the line of scrimmage.

4.7.2.2 Only direct handoffs behind the line of scrimmage are permitted (there will be no laterals and or pitches including screen passes behind the line of scrimmage). Offense may use multiple handoffs. Runner may be in front of (“inside handoff”), next to, or behind the quarterback as long as handoff is direct from one player to another.

4.7.2.3 “No-running zones” located five (5) yards from each end zone and five (5) yards on either side of midfield are designed to avoid short-yardage, power-running situations.

4.7.2.4 The player who takes the handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.

4.7.2.5 Once the ball has been handed off, all defensive players are eligible to rush.

4.7.2.6 Spinning is allowed, but players cannot leave their feet to avoid a defensive player (read: no diving).

4.7.2.7 The ball is spotted where the ball is at the time the flag is pulled, not where the flag is pulled.

4.7.3 Receiving during the game will be regulated according to the following rules:

4.7.3.1 All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off behind the line of scrimmage).

4.7.3.2 Only one player is allowed in motion at a time. Motion may be backwards or lateral but can not be forward (player can not be moving toward the line of scrimmage).

4.7.3.3 A player must have a least one foot inbounds when making a reception.

4.7.4 Passing during the game will be regulated according to the following rules:

4.7.4.1 Shovel passes are allowed, but all passes must cross the line of scrimmage.

4.7.4.2 The quarterback has a seven (7) second “pass-clock.” If a pass is not thrown within the seven (7) seconds, play is dead, loss of down. Once the ball is handed off, the seven (7) second rule is no longer in effect.

4.7.4.3 Interceptions are the only changes of possession that do not start on the 5-yard line.

4.7.5 When dead balls occur during the game, they will be regulated according to the following rules:

4.7.5.1 The ball must be snapped between the legs, not off to one side, to start play.

4.7.5.2 Substitutions may be made on any dead ball.

4.7.5.3 Play is ruled “dead” when:

  • Ball carrier’s flag is pulled
  • Ball carrier steps out of bounds
  • Touchdown or safety is scored
  • Ball carrier’s knee hits the ground
  • Ball carrier drops the ball or ball is knocked out of ball carrier’s hands. There are no fumbles. The ball is spotted at the point of the fumble, not at the point the ball hits the ground. If the ball is fumbled forward, it goes back to the point of the fumble.

Notes: If a ball carrier’s flag falls out, she/he must be touched with one hand.

4.7.6 The following rules will apply when rushing the quarterback in game play:

4.7.6.1 All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of seven (7) 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.

4.7.6.2 Once the ball is handed off, the seven (7) yard rule is no longer in effect, and all defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage. A special marker, or the referee, will designate seven yards from the line of scrimmage. Remember, no blocking or tackling is allowed.

4.7.7 The following expectations of sportsmanship and Rachmanus will be upheld during game play:

4.7.7.1 If the referee witnesses any acts of tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, clocking, or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.

4.7.7.2 Trash talking is illegal. Officials have the right to determine offensive language. (“Trash talk” is any talk that may be offensive to officials, to opposing players or teams, or to spectators.) If trash talking occurs, the referee will give one warning. If it continues, the player or players will be ejected from the game.

4.7.8 Coaches of both teams must sign the game results card and return it to the referee, who shall turn the card into the Flag Football site director or member of the Flag Football Committee.

4.8 A team shall forfeit a game under the following circumstances:

4.8.1 If a team refuses to play a game or withdraws from the field before the end of a game or without a valid reason, as determined by the Flag Football Committee, in such an event, the team shall be disqualified from the tournament, and all previous and subsequent games shall be forfeited.

4.8.2 If a team cannot put five (5) players on the field because of suspended or injured players.

4.8.3 If the coach is ejected from the game, and no other member of the coaching staff remains and no credentialed adult from the delegation, excluding spectators, is available to assume the coaching duties.

4.8.4 The score of a forfeited game shall be 21-0.

5. Tournament Format

5.1 The format for all team and individual sport competitions shall be created by the Sports Advisory Committee (SAC). Final sports competition formats will be determined after consultation between the applicable SAC Chair and the Host Community.

5.2 Slotting of teams in the preliminary rounds shall be done by a blind draw conducted by a member of the Sports Advisory Committee.

5.3 Every effort will be taken to create a tournament that allows each team to participate in a minimum of five (5) games.

6. Dress and Equipment

6.1 Each player shall bring two (2) shirts to each game, one (1) light colored and one (1) dark. The home team shall wear the light colored shirts. The backs of the shirts shall have numbers that are at least six (6) inches high.

6.1.1 It is strongly recommended that all JCC Maccabi Games Flag Football uniform shirts have sleeves – per Flag Football guidelines.

6.2 All players must wear the same number throughout the tournament if applicable. Blatant disregard for this rule shall result in a forfeit.

6.3 If a question arises as to the suitability of the attire, the decision of the referee is final.

6.4 Metal cleats are not allowed but plastic cleats are recommended. Inspections of gear must be made by the referee prior to the start of the game.

6.5 All players must wear a protective mouthpiece. There will be no exceptions.

6.6 No jewelry shall be worn.

6.7 Athletes must wear shorts or sweatpants with no pockets.

6.8 A player taking part in the medal ceremony must wear shoes and his/her competition uniform.

7. Medals

7.1 The following medals shall be awarded:

First Place – JCC Maccabi Gold Medal
Second Place – JCC Maccabi Silver Medal
Third Place – JCC Maccabi Bronze Medal

Download the 2014 Flag Football Rules