Flag Football Tournament Rules

Code of Conduct (Applies to All Sports)


  1. The number one rule of all 5th Quarter Sports events is RESPECT: respect the game, the players, the rules, the officials, the coaches, and anyone and everything else associated with 5th Quarter Sports.  There are no scouts, no million contracts on the line, we are all here to have fun.
  2. All 5th Quarter participants are responsible for creating and maintaining a fun and competitive sports community.  The 5th Quarter coaching staff will especially look to our veterans and more skilled players to help us provide a positive sports experience for everyone.
  3. All players are to treat each other equally and with kindness and respect regardless of age, sex, color, creed, belief, sexual orientation, athletic ability and/or financial status.
  4. 5th Quarter sporting events are for everyone, and all players who step onto the court are field have an equal right to participate.  All players share the responsibility of making sure all of their teammates are involved, and during pick-up events, playing time will be shared equally among all participants.   
  5. Excessively aggressive play will not be tolerated.  Anyone whose play threatens the safety of others will be asked to leave the game.
  6. Competition is fun, but please don’t take it to the extreme.  We expect 5th Quarter athletes to use common sense – if your trash talk or other on-field antics are bothering another player, knock it off!!
  7. 5th Quarter pick-up games are self-refereed.  Calling a penalty on yourself alleviates the need for others to make a call.  All players share in the responsibility of maintaining an atmosphere of fairness and respect. Any disputes will be resolved by the two team captains.
  8. Respect the calls that are made on the field, whether they are made by a teammate, an opponent, or a paid official.
  9. Treat the facilities and equipment that 5th Quarter provides with respect, and please clean-up after yourself, and your absent-minded teammates, before leaving an event.
  10. The 5th Quarter coaching staff reserves the right to remove anyone from a 5th Quarter event that violates any of the above rules, or otherwise behaves in a way that takes away from the overall positive experience that we hope to provide at each of our events.

Co-Ed Flag Football Rules

  1. Field of Play
  2. The playing field is 96 yards x 40 yards and consists of an 80-yard field of play and two 8-yard end zones. Cones will mark the first downs which are to be twenty yards apart. End zone pylons will mark the goal line and end line.


  1. Equipment
  2. All players must wear either a dark or a white shirt / jersey. All shirts must be tucked in.
  3. All players should wear cleats (both molded and detachable are allowed). Tennis shoes are acceptable, but are not recommended. Metal cleats are strictly prohibited.
  4. All players will use flag belts (provided at the field). Belts are to be worn around the waist with flags on the hips (not at the back).


C.Determining Starting Ball Possession

  1. Officials will call each team captain for the coin toss prior to the game. The winner of the coin toss chooses to start the game on either offense or defense. The loser of coin toss chooses which end zone to defend. In the case of a tournament or league play (where games have 2 halves), the teams will change directions at half time, and the team that started the game on defense begins the second half on offense.


  1. Setting the Ball In Play
  2. Teams start possession at the 5-yard line (there are no kickoffs). The offense has 4 downs to reach a first down which is marked by a cone every twenty yards.


  1. Game Play
  2. Prior to the start of the game each team will pick a “captain” from each side who will be the only two people to discuss any controversial calls. If they cannot agree on a call then the down will be played over.
  3. In the case of tournament or league play, a “Gender Rule” MAY be in effect.

In the case of pick up games, the need for a gender rule will be determined by the head coaches or assistant coaches.  The default for pick-up games will be no gender rule.  

  1. Teams will be provided one blitz and one run play for every first down gained. There is a cone placed at line of scrimmage.  There is a rush cone placed five steps beyond the line of scrimmage cone. The defense may rush any number of players as long as they are behind the rush cone. The defenses is not required to be behind the rush cone to play defense on the wide reciever.
  2. There is a “No-Run” zone between the five yard line and the goal line.
  3. When there are no specified referees the defense marks the spot of the ball.
  4. All offensive players must be set for one second before the snap. Only one player may be in motion at the snap. Motion must be lateral (no forward motion). If two or more players shift, they must be set for one second before the snap.
  5. The quarterback can receive the snap from center’s legs, from a “turn and throw” method where the center may throw the ball to the quarterback from a standing position or by taking the ball out of the centers hand. The snap must be one fluid motion.
  6. The center may snap the ball to any player on the offense (not just the player lined up as the quarterback). The snap must be lateral or backwards.
  7. Multiple passes behind the line of scrimmage are permitted. Dropped passes are down at the spot. The defense may rush immediately on a multiple pass play and will not have the rush count as their one blitz.
  8. Any forward pass must be thrown from behind the line of scrimmage.  If the quarterback’s entire body is in front of the line of scrimmage when the ball is release, this is an illegal forward pass (See “Penalties” section below).  If any part of the quarterback’s body remains behind the line, then the pass is legal.  If at any time the quarterback/ball carrier crosses the line of scrimmage completely, then he or she can no longer throw a forward pass, even if he/she returns to the backfield.
  9. The quarterback may intentionally ground the football without penalty.
  10. There are no live fumbles with the exception of a muffed snap, which is a live ball and may be recovered by the QB and thrown, or touched dead at the spot by the defense. The defense is not able to gain possession of the fumble.  In the event of a muffed snap the defense may immediately cross the line of scrimmage, and this will NOT count as their one blitz. DO NOT PILE ONTO A FUMBLED BALL!
  11. Hand-offs, pitches, reverses and laterals are all legal.
  12. Pass rusher must go for the quarterback’s flags. There is absolutely no stripping or  attempting to knock the ball out of the QB’s hands. The defense may attempt to deflect the ball as it is being thrown; however, contact with the QB’s throwing arm, if initiated by the defender, is a penalty (see “Penalties” section below”).  Incidental contact with the QB’s hand during or immediately after the release of the football is NOT a penalty.  (Again, stripping is not allowed, so attempting to knock the ball loose prior to the throw IS a penalty).
  13.  Any player (or any number of players) may rush.
  14. Flag guarding by the quarterback in the end zone is a safety.
  15. Blocking is permitted.  All blocks are to be delivered between the waist and the shoulders of the player being blocked.  The blocking players arms must be against their chest, or fully extended.  “Loading Up” prior to blocking is not permitted.  Absolutely no cross-blocking, chop blocking, blocking below the knees, holding or blocks in the back. Down-field blocking on receptions or interceptions is permitted.
  16. All players are eligible to catch a forward pass.
  17. The receiver must have control of the ball with at least one foot in bounds in order for a pass to be considered “complete”.
  18. Laterals beyond the line of scrimmage are legal. A receiver may pitch the ball to another player, so long as the second player is even with, or behind the initial receiver. If the defense intercepts the pitch, it is a live ball and may be returned. If the ball hits the ground, it is dead at the spot.
  19. The receiver must not dive or jump to avoid a defender or progress the ball. The ball will be blown dead at the spot.
  20. “Bump & run” coverage is permitted within the first five yards of the line of scrimmage.  The receiver may use release moves to escape the bump. All checking / bumping must be done with extended arms and open hands, between the waist and shoulders. Contact to the receivers head or face is strictly prohibited.
  21. The defender cannot contact the receiver beyond 5 yards, or when the ball is in the air. There is NO face guarding penalty. Pass Interference in the end zone will result in 1st and goal at the five-yard line.
  22. If the receiver is bumped out of bounds, he may re-enter the field of play, but may not be the first player to touch the ball or it is an incomplete pass.
  23. A defender may push a ball carrier out of bounds.  The push must be around the waist or in the area of the flags.
  24. There is absolutely no stripping of the ball allowed. Players must attempt to pull the ball carrier’s flags. The defender may knock the ball away as a receiver is trying to establish possession, but once the ball is secured, it may not be stripped.
  25. Falling down or taking a knee does not stop the play. Play will continue until ball carrier is touched by defender. In the event that the ball carrier does not have both flags, the defense may touch the ball carrier with one hand, and their progress will be stopped at the spot of the touch.  
  26. Interceptions are live and may be returned, and Rule 18 regarding laterals will apply.  An interception in the end zone that is not advanced beyond the goal line will be spotted at the 5 yard line.
  27. If the last defender available to make a play on a ball carrier holds, pushes, tackles, or in any way impedes the offensive player’s progress without pulling the flags, the result of the play is a touchdown.
  28. There are no kicks. If the offense declares a “punt”, both teams will reverse field at the current spot of the ball. Once the offense declares a punt, they cannot change their call.


  1. Offensive Penalties
  2. Offsides: Dead ball, 5 yard penalty, replay the down.
  3. Delay of Game: Dead ball, 5 yard penalty, replay the down. (Tournament or League Play only)
  4. Offensive Holding: Live ball, 5 yard penalty, replay the down.
  5. Quarterback crossing the line of scrimmage prior to pass (Illegal forward pass): Live ball, 5 yard penalty, loss of down.
  6. Illegal procedure (shift, motion,): Dead ball, 5 yard penalty, loss of down.
  7. Offensive pass interference: Live ball, 10 yard penalty, replay the down.
  8. Flag guarding: Dead ball, 5 yard penalty from spot of the infraction. Any resulting yardage is credited to the receiver prior to marking off penalty. 1st down yardage prior to penalty results in 1st down.
  9. Failure to adhere Gender Rule: Defense can choose the result of the play OR require the offense to replay the down with the Gender Play still in effect. (Tournament or League Play only)
  10. Unsportsmanlike conduct: 15 yard penalty from the end of the play (the down counts).
  11. Safety: The team making the safety takes over on offense with a First and Goal at their plus 20 yard line (the 20 yard line nearest the end zone in which the safety occurred).
  12. Illegal Touching: Pass Incomplete, loss of down.


NOTE: Loss of down penalties on a PAT attempt nullify the try (whether successful or not).


  1. Defensive Penalties
  2. Offsides: Live ball, Offense chooses 5 yard penalty OR the result of the play.
  3. Stripping: 10 yards from the spot of the foul.
  4. Roughing the passer (contact with the throwers hand or arm): 10 yard penalty
  5. Illegal blitz: Live ball, 5 yard penalty, replay the down.
  6. Illegal contact (contact beyond 5 yards from the line of scrimmage): Live ball, 10 yard penalty, replay the down.
  7. Pass interference: Automatic 1st down at the spot of the foul.
  8. Pass interference in the end zone: 1st & goal at the five yard line.
  9. Unsportsmanlike conduct: 15-yard personal foul (automatic 1st down).


  1. Scoring
  2. Touchdown: 1 Point (Pick up) or 6 Points (League/Tournament)
  3. 5-yard PAT: 1 point (League/Tournament Only)
  4. 10-yard PAT: 2 points (League/Tournament Only)
  5. Interception return for touchdown on PAT attempt: 2 points (League/Tournament Only)
  6. Overtime
  7. If a game is tied at the end of regulation play, a tiebreaker will be played to determine the winner. Captains will toss a coin to determine possession of ball.
  8. Both teams are given three (3) plays, with no timeouts, from the opponent’s 20-yard line to gain as much yardage as possible or score a TD.
  9. If the first team scores a TD on either its first or second down the second team will have to match or beat this accomplishment. If the first team scores on the second play and the second team scores on the first play then the second team is the winner.
  10. In the event neither team scores then whichever team has progressed the ball the furthest will be the winner.
  11. If neither team scores nor gains yardage then there will be a second overtime which will include a new coin toss to determine possession.
  12. Once possession is decided then the teams will have two (2) plays to score or gain yardage. All previous overtime rules apply.
  13. If an interception occurs during overtime, the defense will take over at the 20 yard line unless the INT is returned for a TD. In this event, the defense will be awarded a TD and the game will be over.


  1. Other
  2. Touchdown celebrations are both accepted and encouraged, the more creative, the better!!  (Positive celebrations only – taunting will be seen as unsportsmanlike conduct).
  3. In flag football, there are two players with additional responsibility: the team captain, and the quarterback.  These two players are trusted by the 5th Quarter Coaches to maintain an atmosphere of fair play and respect, and to ensure that all players on their team are involved in the game.  Failure to adhere to these general principles may result in these roles (and privileges) being removed.
  4. In general, competitive play and friendly “smack talk” is ok.  But please be aware of the effect of your behavior on other players.  If what you’re doing is bothering someone, stop.  Remember, the number one rule is RESPECT.