Adult 8v8 Flag Football Rules

The Game

The game of flag football shall be played between 2 teams of 8 players each. 6 players are required to start the game and avoid a forfeit. This is full contact flag football where everyone is eligible. A regulation sized professional or college football will be used and must be provided by each team. The game shall be played on a regulation-sized field (53x100 yards). The field may be 40 or 50x100 or 40 or 50x80 in some situations. The game length will consist of (2) 20-minute halves with a continuous clock, except for the last 2 minutes of the second half.

Team Rosters

Teams may carry up to (20) players for 8Man. Coaches must turn in their Teams Roster Form before the start of the tournament. Team Roster Form must have all the players names listed in Legible Print along with their uniform number. No player may be added to a team's regular playing roster after the start of the teams 3rd game. It is the coachâ??s responsibility to make sure the roster has all the players listed and all print is readable (No Nicknames). Breaking the roster rules can result in a game forfeit.

Roster breakdown

Coin Toss

At the coin toss in the center of the field, the visiting Team Captain will be given the privilege of calling the coin toss while the coin is in the air. The winner of the toss will be given his choice of defense, offense, designating the end of the field (side they will defend) at which the ball will be put in play, or may defer his choice to the second half. The loser will have his choice of the remaining options.


There will be 2-3 officials used during each game.


When the score is tied at the end of the second period, the Referee will instruct both teams to return to their perspective team boxes. There will be a two (2) minute intermission during which both teams may confer with their Coaches. Overtimes only apply to playoff games. There is no overtime in a seeding or pool play games.

The same coin toss rules apply.

Each team will be permitted one time out (30 seconds) during each extra period.

The final score will be determined by totaling all points scored by each team during the regulation game and overtime period(s). All game rules will apply except:

The ball shall be placed at the defenders 20-yard line to begin each overtime period.

The line-to-gain will always be the goal line. No try-for-point will be made if the winner of the game has been determined.

If B scores a safety or touchdown during Aâ??s possession, the game is ended. If B gains possession and does not score, then Aâ??s down and series ends immediately

First down will only be awarded during a series if there is a penalty against the defensive team. Penalty must constitute an automatic first down (AFD).

If A scores a touchdown, it is entitled to the opportunity to try-for-point, except when it is unnecessary to break a tie.

After one (1) overtime period has been completed, both teams must attempt a two (2) point conversion after each touchdown during any subsequent overtime period.


At the end of the seeding/pool play games, tiebreakers are determined as follows:

Head to head competition

Point Differential (points for minus points against) between tied teams

Overall point differential

Points Against

Coin Flip

The Field


The game shall be played on a regulation-sized field (53x100 yards). The field may be 40 or 50 x 100 or 40 or 50 x 80 in some situations.


First down markers are positioned at the 20 and 40-yard lines.

Players Area

Players must position themselves on the sideline between the two 20-yard lines when not on the playing field.

Note: In certain parks, the Visitor teams will be in the middle of both fields and the Home teams in the outer part of the fields. Note: In certain situations the players may be instructed to position themselves on the same side of the field.

The Equipment

The Ball

Each team must provide an NFL size ball or a COLLEGE size ball fully inflated. The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. Smaller college or high school footballs are prohibited. Each team is responsible for its own ball (keeping it dry during adverse weather conditions). Offense must retrieve its own ball after an incomplete pass.


Uniforms shall be each team's choice as long as all members of the team wear the same like color jersey/shirt with at least an 8-inch high number on the back. Jerseys/shirts must be tucked in. The midriff shirt is legal, if in the judgment of the referee, it does no hinder the defense from pulling the flag. No article of clothing may cover any portion of a player's flag or belt (Flag Guarding). Officials should warn violators of this between plays.

Note: Home team gets choice of what color jerseys to wear. Keep in mind that not all teams have 2 colors and may not have an option. Please be courteous and know that the main goal is to play a game.

The lower uniform may be shorts, warm-ups, pants or any other type of athletic wear. Pants/Shorts with belt loops, or pants/shorts with front, side or back pockets will not be allowed.

Players may not wear jewelry of any kind. Players caught with jewelry are removed from the game until the jewelry is removed.

No headgear with an extended bill may be worn. Baseball caps with the visor turned to the back of the playerâ??s head are acceptable.

Flag Belts

All players on the field of play must wear approved "Triple Threat Flags" at the waist. The flags must be securely sewn to the belt and the entire belt must be able to be freely pulled off. The tournament will provide flag belts.



6 Points

Extra Points

The scoring team must declare prior to marking the ball ready for play whether they will go for 1 from the 5 or go for 2 from the 10-yard line. Scoring team may reconsider choice by calling a time-out or taking a Delay of Game Penalty (if no time-outs remain). If the team changes after a delay of game they will attempt the PAT from 5 yards back from the normal spot.

Kicking, running or passing (ball spotted at 5-yard line) = 1 point

Running or passing (ball spotted at 10-yard line) = 2 points


Defensive team returns an extra-point for a score = 2 points.


2 Points will be awarded along with possession at the 30yrd line instead of the normal 20yrd line.

Mercy Rule

Should a team be trailing by 17 or more points at the 2-minute warning in the second half, the referees shall end the game immediately. There will be no exception to this Mercy rule.

Should a team be trailing by 35 or more points in the second half, the referees shall end the game immediately. There will be no exception to this Mercy rule.

Additional Rules

A flag check is not required after a score and there will not be a penalty for not having them pulled off by an official. Note: If there is an obvious tying or knotting of the flag belts the score will be erased and a 15-yard penalty will be given.

Inadvertent whistles. In the case of an inadvertent whistle the play will be replayed from the original line of scrimmage unless the whistle came after a reception or a turnover. If the reception occurred prior to an inadvertent whistle then the reception will stand and the ball will be placed where the ball carrier was when the inadvertent whistle occurred. If a turnover occurred prior to an inadvertent whistle then the turnover will stand and the ball will be placed where the ball carrier was when the inadvertent whistle occurred.

If the flags fall off and any player is nearby making an attempt then the refs should assume the player has been de-flagged. Only when there is clearly no one near the runner when the flags fall off should they then have to be touched to be downed (One hand touch is all that is required).

A towel may be worn to dry the ball. Note: The towel will count as a flag and a player wearing the towel will be considered down when the towel has been pulled.

The Clock

Game Time

The length of the game is 40 minutes, divided into two halves of 20 minutes each. The game length will consist of (2) 20-minute halves with a continuous clock, except for the last 2 minutes of the second half. Except for timeouts.

Clock Regulation

Clock will start when the referee whistles the ball ready for play at the start of the game.

After a team time-out, the clock will start at the snap of the ball.

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.

The clock will stop for team time-outs and/or official time-outs.

Clock will automatically stop at the two-minute warning of the second half.

The clock will NOT stop for scores outside the 2-minute warning of the second half.

Inside of 2-Minutes

During the final 2 minutes of the second half, traditional clock stoppage is used only when the ball carrier steps out of bounds, a change in ball possession, incomplete passes, a score is achieved, a point after and when there is a penalty.

Clock will start on the snap.

The clock will stop for team time-outs and official time-outs.

Half Time

At the end of the first half, there shall be an intermission of three (3) minutes. During the intermission, play is suspended, and the teams may leave the field.

For the second half, the captain who lost the pre-game toss is to have first choice, receive or goal to defend unless the winner of the toss deferred. Prior to the start of the second half, the captains of both teams must inform the referee of their respected choices.

Time Outs

Each team shall have 3 time-outs per half. Time-outs will be 30 seconds in length. Any player that participated in the last play and is on the field of play may call time-outs.

Additional Time-outs - The officials at their discretion to attend to an injured player may call additional time-outs.

If a team exceeds its time-out limit in either half they will receive a 5-yard penalty. Teams calling a timeout within the last 2 minutes that do not have a timeout and are losing will also receive a 30 second time penalty.

NOTE: During a team's charged time-out, a team representative may confer with their team either on the field or at the sidelines.



Wearing illegal equipment during a play (ex. Spiked cleats)

Delay of game encroachment

False start or illegal snap

Impeding the rusher outside the LOS (6 Man only)

Less than 7 players on scrimmage line on punts for offense (4 for 6 Man)

Less than 6 players on scrimmage line on punts for defense (4 for 6 Man)

Illegally handing the ball forward (and loss of down)

Intentional grounding (and loss of down)

Illegal motion or shift

Illegal procedure at snap

Illegal forward pass (loss of down)

Illegal run (loss of down) - 6man only

Illegal rush - 6man only

Illegally assisting the runner


Flag Guarding

Illegal chuck/contact

Illegal use of hands

Illegal Deflagging

Illegal participation (no flags from the start of the play)


Sideline violation

Obstructing ball carrier

Impeding the Runner

Illegal block

Hurdling or illegal jumping

2nd intentional encroachment in one game

Stripping the ball

Touching / hitting the center before they have a chance to get their head up

No Sleeper plays (â??hide at the sidelineâ?? play)


Blocking below the waist.


Illegal contact above the shoulders (Hands to the face or neck)

Hitting/jumping on an opponent that is on the ground

Forward pass interference (loss of down if by offense/POI if farther and automatic first down if by defense. If in the end zone the ball will be placed at the 1-yard line with an automatic first down if against the defense).

Chop Block

Swim move

Rip move

Roughing the Passer

Charging intentionally into an opponent

Unnecessary Roughness (May also include ejection)

Un-sportsmanlike Conduct (May also include ejection)

Throwing a blow (Automatic ejection)

Taunting or instigating foul play (May also include ejection)

Trash Talk


Diving (Offense may dive to catch a pass, defense may dive to remove a flag) No other form of diving is allowed.

Tying or knotting flag belts.


Offense and Defense


After the official marks the ball "ready-for-play", the offense will have 25 seconds to put the ball in play or else be penalized 5 yards for a Delay Of Game. It is not necessary to huddle after a play if a team wishes to use predetermined plays or audible(s). It shall be the responsibility of the offensive team to retrieve its own ball and get it back to the huddle after each play. No Sleeper plays (â??hide at the sidelineâ?? play) -10 yard penalty


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 (1 second) before the ball is snapped or before another player may go in motion prior to the snap.


Only 1 player is allowed to be in motion and his movement must be parallel to or away from the Line of Scrimmage (L.O.S.) in a continuous motion at the snap or the whole offense must re-set.

Encroachment Offside

Encroachment Offside shall be called if either the offense or the defense passes over the plane of the L.O.S prior to the snap. 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 unless a first down would occur (Offensive Captain's Choice).

If a player on either side lines up offside, the official will point toward that player's team side. It is the player's responsibility to look at the referee. If that player does not get back on side before the ball is snapped, he will be considered as having been offside at the moment of the snap.


OFFENSE: Any stance is permitted.

DEFENSE: Any stance is permitted.

Offensive Formation

LINE OF SCRIMMAGE: Offensive team must have at least 4 players on the line of scrimmage,

ELIGIBLE RECEIVERS: All players are eligible receivers.


During a legal block, defense and offense must initiate contact with open hands; arms extended outward (no elbows or loading up). Open hands can be thrust forward initially to contact an opponent inside the body frame (chest area only). Hands cannot be thrust forward above the shoulders to contact an opponent on the neck, face, or head. As the play develops, a blocker is permitted to work for and maintain position on an opponent as long as he does not push from behind or clip. If a defensive lineman turns his back to the offensive linemen while in contact there will be no penalty for blocking in the back. Open hand blocking is allowed on all portions of the field and is not restricted to the line of scrimmage.

Players cannot engage in a block beyond the line of scrimmage when the ball is in the air (10-yard penalty). If the ball is thrown and it is in the air behind the line of scrimmage then blocking is allowed (ie. screen passes).

Two on one blocking is permitted.

Note: This rule just means that it's ok for more than one player to engage in a block using their hands. It does not mean you can use your shoulder or cheap shot someone.

Defensive Formation

FORMATION: Defense may line up in any formation. There are no requirements for players on the LOS.

The Defense must initiate open-hands to the Offensive line in pursuit of getting to the quarterback and runner.

Full rush is allowed by defense on every down.

Bump and Run

Contact is allowed within 5 yards of the LOS, thereafter is a 10-yard penalty.


There can be only one forward pass per play. A forward pass is defined as a live ball thrown toward the opponent's goal line.

If the passer/runner is beyond the L.O.S. and the football is released forward, an illegal Forward/Pass has occurred; this will result in a 5-yard penalty from POS and loss of that (not an additional) down if accepted. Illegal forward passes will be marked from P.O.I.

Once the ball has crossed the L.O.S., in the air or in possession of a player, it cannot be passed forward, even if the ball is brought back behind the L.O.S. (Illegal Forward Pass).


ROUGHING THE PASSER: This is when the passer is hit before, during, or after a pass. Penalty will be tacked on to the end of the play. 15-yard penalty and AFD

The Quarterback is 100% protected on every play. There may be no contact whatsoever whether the ball has been tipped or not. Contact caused by the QBâ??s follow through is a penalty if the defenders hands are raised. It is the responsibility of the defender to keep the hands down and go for the flag if they are close to the QB.

Intentional Grounding

Intentional Grounding shall constitute an illegal forward pass. This is when a quarterback throws the ball away to avoid a sack and there is not a receiver within 5 yards of the area where the ball passes through. 5 yards from POI and loss of down. Safety if POI is in End Zone.

Center Snap

The ball must be snapped to the Quarterback between the centers legs and without touching the ground. Should the ball touch the ground it shall be declared dead at the spot.

A false movement of the football by the center after he is set shall constitute encroachment. At all times the ball shall be snapped from the center of the field or the spot marked by the official ball marker.

Direct Snaps are Legal; but there must be a clear and immediate exchange of the ball between the center and the quarterback.

No center sneaks

Ball Carrier

The responsibility of avoiding contact rests with the ball carrier. He must show the officials he made an effort to avoid contact. The ball carrier will not deliberately run or drive into a defensive player. A ball carrier may spin but must realize that while spinning or jumping he is in a "State of Non-Control" and should contact occur as a result of his uncontrolled momentum, he will be penalized. The ball carrier may jump over a player on the ground. The "Stiff Arm" is illegal. Penalty: 10 yards from L.O.S. (if behind the line) and repeat the down. Or from P.O.I. (if beyond the L.O.S.) and loss of down.

A player may not jump forward to advance the football. The only time it is legal for the runner to jump is to avoid contact with a player who has fallen on the field. (Otherwise itâ??s a penalty.)

The ball carrier shall not protect his flags by blocking with his hand, arm, head or ball. The defensive player must have a clear opportunity to pull his flags. Flag guarding will be marked 10-yards from the POI and loss of the current down.

On punt returns or interceptions any of the above will be marked off from the P.O.I. and first down.

Diving and Jumping

Ball carriers may not dive or jump forward in an effort to gain extra yardage. Diving is defined as a player clearly leaving both feet stretched out in an aggressive attempt to gain extra yards. Jumping is allowed to avoid contact with a player on the ground, however jumping into or on a defensive player is illegal.


Forward offensive fumbles will result in ball being marked dead at the point of fumble. Backward fumbles (including missed snaps or laterals) will be marked at point where ball hits the ground or goes out of bounds.

Note: The kicking team cannot recover Punts or kickoffs.

Pass Interference

Pass Interference Rules shall apply to any pass made from behind the L.O.S., whether it is a forward pass or a lateral pass, and applies to both offensive and defensive players. After the pass is in the air, neither pass receiver nor defender may touch the other until one of them touches the ball, or else offensive or defensive pass interference may be called. If contact occurs after one of them touches the ball, then pass interference cannot be called unless one of them catches the ball and the other "strips" or attempts to "strip" the ball from his hands.

Must play the ball, or the flags, not the other player. No intentional contact will be allowed. The same rules continue to apply even if the ball has been tipped.

Receiver stripping (slapping at the ball) is defined as attempting to take the ball from the grasp of a receiver after he has placed both hands on the ball and has brought the ball into a possessive position, in which case, stripping will be called. If the player established possession of the football, the defender must go for the flag and not the ball. (Officials judgment will determine if a catch has taken place). Penalty is 10-yards & AFD.

Any contact that occurs after the pass is touched (excluding Receiver Stripping) and is either complete or incomplete, must be judged by the officials as either unavoidable contact caused by both players "playing the ball" or avoidable contact, which shall be penalized. Penalty will be 15 yards from P.O.I. If incomplete or complete, or judged to be flagrant, the penalized player may be removed from the game with a 15-yard un-sportsmanlike penalty. If pass is judged to be not catchable, penalty will be accessed form the L.O.S.

All pass interference calls, whether offensive or defensive will be Captain's choice penalties. If the captain refuses the penalty, the play will stand.

All offensive pass interference calls that are accepted by the defensive captain shall be marked off 10 yards from L.O.S. with loss of down.

All defensive pass interference calls that are accepted by the offensive captain shall be marked 15 yards or P.O.I. if itâ??s farther and awarded an automatic first down.

Screening a receiver's eyes by a defender without playing the football is pass interference and shall be penalized as such.


One foot must be "in-bounds" to constitute a legal pass reception (when controlled by the receiver).

The lines marking the sidelines and the extreme back of the end zone shall be considered out of bounds if stepped on any degree.

Two or more offensive receivers or defensive players may touch a pass in succession, resulting in a completion. After a pass is thrown, it is too much to expect of the officials to keep track of exactly who touched the ball. The official(s) will determine (1) did pass interference occur? (2) Who caught the ball? And (3) was receiver inbounds with one foot at moment of possession?

A double reception always goes to the offense.


The ball carrier is down and the ball is dead when a flag is detached from the ball carrier's belt, the belt is broken, or when the ball touches the ground. A defensive player's feet may leave the ground to pull the offensive player's flag, but he may not make contact while doing so. When a defensive player pulls the ball carrier's flag/belt, he should stop and hold it above his head for officials to see.

The ball should be spotted at the point where the ball was, when the belt broke or flag was removed (does not matter where on the field the flag belt falls to the ground).

A ball carrier that falls to the ground inadvertently or touches a knee to the ground, is considered down and not allowed to get back up. Note: A player will not be considered down when their hand touches the ground.

Tackling is prohibited. Tackling is defined as grasping or encircling the body of the ball carrier with a hand or arm. Grabbing the ball carrier's clothing shall be penalized as holding. If the defensive player reaches across the body of a ball carrier to pull his flag and contact is made, the responsibility of the contact lies with the defensive player. The penalty for tackling will be as follows: 10 yards for impeding (encircling of body); 15 yards for tackling with automatic first down (if tackling) from P.O. I. or L.O.S; and if, in the opinion of the officials, the act prevented a score, the ball will spotted at the one yard line and a first down will be awarded. The offender will be ejected if the act was in the officialsâ?? judgment to be flagrant.

The intended receiver of either a forward or lateral pass may be deflagged only after first touching the ball - even while fumbling or bobbling the ball and before possession is established. If the receiver has not gained possession of the ball when flag is pulled play will continue. Receiver can then be downed by single hand touching after gaining possession. In the event a receiver has not gained possession of the ball (bobbling) when flag is pulled and a defensive player intercepts the pass it will be defenses ball.

If the ball is in the hand of the Quarterback and flag is pulled, the passer shall be down at the spot.

Illegal Deflagging is prematurely pulling an opponent's flag when they donâ??t have the ball, with the intent of making the offensive player ineligible to become a ball carrier. Penalty: 10 yards from L.O.S.

Runner Stripping occurs when a defender attempts to strip the ball from the grasp of a player who has the ball in a possessive position. This is a form of Illegal Deflagging. The ball cannot change possession unless the runner drops or laterals the ball and it is caught in the air.

Conduct of players and others

Whenever, in the judgment of an official, the following acts are deliberate or flagrant, the players involved shall be ejected from the game and possibly suspended from the league:

Using fists, kicking or kneeing.

Using locked hands, elbows or any part of the forearm or hand, except according to rule.

Tackling the ball carrier as in regulation football.


Flagrant Fouls


Sideline players are subject to the same disqualification for abusive, obscene, or badgering language to either opposing players or officials. If the Captain or Coach of the penalized team cannot control the action of his players, the game can be forfeited at the discretion of the game officials

Any verbal badgering of officials or derogatory language between opposing players after officials have asked once for Team Captains' control may result in player(s) involved in the action being disqualified and possibly suspended from the league.


15 yards penalty

Ejection of player and potential 1 game suspension

Forfeit of the game

Any other deliberate or flagrant acts

Glossary and Abbreviations


CLIPPING: Clipping is running or diving into the back, or throwing or dropping the body across the back of the leg or legs of an opponent or pushing an opponent in the back other than the runner.

HURDLING: Hurdling is an attempt by the runner to jump with both feet foremost over any player(s) still on their feet.

ENCROACHMENT: When any part of a person is beyond the line of scrimmage after the ball is ready for play and before the ball is put in play.


L.O.S: Line of scrimmage

P.O.I: Point of infraction

AFD: Automatic first down

E.O.R: End of Run