1. Players may compete on only one team per division of NYC Flag Football.


2. The game shall be played between 2 teams of 7 players each for Non Contact Blocking Leagues (Screen), and 8 players for Contact Blocking Leagues.  Five players are required to avoid a forfeit for 7v7, and Six players for 8v8. If a players is hurt, the game may be continued with less than 5, if the team has a chance to win.


3. Jerseys must be either:

A. Long enough so they remain tucked in the pants/shorts during the entire down or

B. Short enough so there is a minimum of 4" from the bottom of the jersey to the player's waistline.

C. The flag belt must be accessible from 360 degrees. If the flag is covered up, the play ends when a defensive player touches the runner with ONE hand between the shoulders and the knees.


4. Flag Belts Procedure:

A. Each Player must wear a three-flag belt with one flag on each hip and one in the rear. All players must have their belts on at the beginning of each play, or will be subject to a one hand touch rule.

B. If a runner loses his/her flag during action without it being pulled, play continues. The play ends when a defensive player touches the runner with ONE hand between the shoulders and the knees.


5. A player wearing illegal equipment shall not be permitted to play.  This applies to any equipment, which in the opinion of the Referee is dangerous or confusing.  Types of equipment or substances, which shall always be declared illegal include:


A. Headgear containing any hard, unyielding, or stiff material, including billed hats, and bandannas.

B. Jewelry

C. Pads or braces worn above the waist.

D. Shoes with metal spikes (This includes screwing cleats if games are on turf)

E. Shirts or jerseys that do not follow rule #3 above

F. Pants or shorts with belt loops. (Ex.) Jeans, khaki shorts.

G. Leg and knee braces made of hard, unyielding material.

H. Towels attached at the player's waist.




1. The ideal flag football field is an 80 year field divided into 4, 20 yard segments, and then a 10 yard endzone (for a total of 100 yards).


2. Given field limitations in NYC (and especially during our winter league), we will make necessary adjustments to the fields. For instance, there might be a field that is divided into three 20 yard segments, and has 7.5 yard endzones. We understand that small fields may help some teams out, but the is an unavoidable aspect of playing sports in New York City.


3. A first down is achieved at every 20 yard segment. PLEASE NOTE, there is not a chain to follow first downs.


4. Each drive begins at the 5 yard line in winter and 7 yard line in all other seasons. If you start at the 5 yard line and have a long play and gain 30 yards, you will have a 1st down. That said, you will now be at 1st and 5 as the next 20 yard marker will only be 5 yards away.

Special note: Some teams will purposely come up short of a first down marker in order to increase their chances of have less space to cover on their next set of downs.





1. Ready to Play: Ten minutes after start is forfeit time, or ten minutes after the completion of the previous game if it ends after the scheudled start time of the next game.  "Ready to play" means that a team must be on the playing area, ready to play, with the minimum number of players (5 non contact, 6 contact).  The team must be able to respond immediately to the begin play at the order of the official.


Claiming a Win by Forfeit: The team present and "ready to play" at the time the game is scheduled to start, may claim a win by forfeit.  Forfeited contests will not be rescheduled.


2. Playing time shall be 40 minutes divided into 2, 20 minute halves. The intermission between halves shall be no more than 5 minutes. Halftime may be cut short in order to keep the league on schedule.  


Please note: Overtime will only be used during playoffs.  If the game ends in a tie during the regular season, it will end in a tie.




4. First Half timing rules: The clock only stops at the 2 minute warning and for team and referee’s time-outs. After the 2 minute warning the clock remains continuous and only stops for timeouts. THIS INCLUDES TOUCHDOWNS.


5. Second Half timing rules: The clock will run continuously for the first 18 minutes unless it is stopped for a team and/or referee’s time-out.


6. Second Half Two Minute Warning.

At 2 minutes remaining in the 2nd half, there will be an official timeout. After that point, the clock will stop for team timeouts, official timeouts, first downs (clock starts when the ball is set ready for play and the play clock as started), incomplete pass, scores, penalties (Defensive penalty - clock is stopped until the snap, Offensive penalty - clock is stopped until the penalty is marked off on the ball is set ready for play). If the team on offense is leading an offensive penalty or fumble by the offense will stop the clock with under 2 minutes remaining in the game.


7. Regular season games can end in a tie.  Only in the playoffs will overtime procedures be used.


8. OVERTIME PROCEDURES: A coin will be flipped by the Referee to determine the options as in the start of the overtime period. There will be only one coin flip during the overtime. If additional overtime periods are played, field captains will alternate choices.  The winner of the toss shall be given options of offense, defense, or direction.  The loser of the toss shall make a choice of the remaining options.  ALL OVERTIME PERIODS ARE PLAYED TOWARD THE SAME GOAL LINE. Unless moved by penalty, each team will start 1st and goal from the 10 yard line. The object will be to score a touchdown.  An overtime period consists of one possession by each team.  If the score is still tied after one period, additional periods will be played until a winner is determined.  If the first team which is awarded the ball scores, the opponent will still have a chance to win the game.


NOTE:  If the defense intercepts the pass and returns it for a touchdown on Team A's first drive, the game is over.  Each team is entitled to one time-out per overtime period. They are administered similar to the regular game.  Team A shall be awarded a new series of 4 downs when the penalty for defensive pass interference or roughing the passer is accepted.  Dead ball fouls following touchdowns are penalized on the try-for-point.  Dead ball fouls following a successful try-for-point will be penalized from the succeeding spot, the Team B 10 yard line, if accepted.




THERE ARE NO KICKOFFS, each drive will start on your 5 yard line.


1. The only legal kicking in Flag Football is a punt.


2. All punts must be announced to the referee. Punts may also be thrown.


A. The kicking team must have 4 players on the line of scrimmage.

B. The kicker/thrower must catch and kick/throw the ball immediately in one continuous motion. If the refs feel a team is intentionally delaying the throw/kick to run time off the clock a personal foul delay of game penalty of 10 yards at the end of the kick will be assessed.

C. The team may not advance beyond their respective scrimmage line until the ball is kicked.  

Penalty: Illegal procedure, 5 yards from the previous spot or added on to the end of the run.

D. If the offense declares to punt, then wants to change their decision, they may do so after a charged timeout or an accepted penalty in which the down is to be replayed.

E. If the receiving team fails to catch the punt the ball is dead where it touches the ground.




1. Offensive players are responsible for retrieving the ball after every scrimmage down.  The snapper will bring it from the huddle to the scrimmage line.


2. The offensive team must have at least 4 players on their scrimmage line (the first flat orange cone) at the snap.  The remaining players must be either on the scrimmage line or behind their backfield line.  All players must be inbounds.  A player in motion is not counted as one of the 4 or 5 on the scrimmage line.  Penalty: Illegal Procedure, 5 yards replay the down.  NOTE:  If in doubt, you may check with the line judge.


3. In 8v8 leagues ONLY both the offense and defense must have three down linemen, this includes punts. The defense is not required to rush three players, only to start the play with three down linemen. Penalty: Illegal Procedure, 5 yards replay the down.

- In 8v8, in the event a team is short or has had players ejected.

7 players - 2 down linemen

6 players - 1 down lineman


4. To mark the lines of scrimmage the official will place two flat cones (ball spotters) on the field. The space between the two cones is the neutral zone and both the offense and the defense need to be behind the ball spotter on their side until the ball is snapped.  Penalty: Offsides, 5 yards replay the down.


5. Penalty: False Start, 5 yards replay the down.


6. Direct snaps to players in motion are illegal. The player who receives the snap must be at least two yards behind the offensive scrimmage line (first ball spotter-orange). Penalty: Illegal Procedure, 5 yards loss of down.


7. A runner may pass the ball backward at anytime, except if intentionally thrown out of bounds to conserve time.  Penalty:  Delay of Game, 10 yards and loss of down, results in a 10 second run off and the clock runs when marked for play.    


8.  A backward pass or fumble which touches the ground between the goal lines is dead at the spot where it touches the ground and belongs to the team last in possession unless lost on downs. Yards can’t be gained on a fumble. If the offense fumbles the ball forward it will be marked down at the spot the fumble occurred.


9. Receiver Eligibility -


Screen League - All players are eligible to touch or catch a pass.  A forward pass may be thrown provided the passer's feet are behind Team A's scrimmage line (first ball spotter) when the ball leaves the passer's hand.  Only one forward pass can be thrown per down. NOTE: Once the offense possesses the ball beyond the line of scrimmage a forward pass may not be thrown legally.


Contact League - For 8v8 contact leagues, all players are eligible receivers with the exception of the 3 offensive linemen. Same forward passing rules apply.


9. One foot must land inbounds before any part of the body lands in the out-of-bounds area for a legal pass reception.  One knee is equivalent.


10. An illegal forward pass is defined as:


A. The passer's entire body is beyond the offensive scrimmage line (first ball spotter-orange) when the ball leaves the hand.

B. If thrown after team possession has changed during the down.

C. If intentionally thrown to the ground or out-of-bounds to save loss of yardage.

D. If a passer catches his/her untouched forward pass.

E. If there is more than one forward pass.

Penalty:  5 yards from the spot of the foul and a loss of down if by Team A before possession changes during a scrimmage down.


Two Minute Warning and Scoring and Mercy Rules


1. If a team is 17 or more points ahead when the Referee announces the end of 18 minutes for the second half the game shall be over.


2. At any time after the completion of the first half, if one team has a lead of 40 or more points, the game shall be ended.


3. All touchdowns are worth 6 points.


4. The players scoring the touchdown may on occasion be asked to raise his/her arms so the nearest official can deflag the player.  If the player is not de-flagged with one pull, and the official determines the flag belt has been secured illegally, the touchdown is disallowed.

Penalty:  Un-sportsmanlike Conduct, 10 yards from the previous spot and a loss of down.        


5. After a touchdown, the scoring team attempts a PAT from the 3-yard line worth 1 point or the 10-yard line, worth 2 points. An interception on a PAT attempt can be returned for a touchdown worth 2 points.


6. A safety shall count as 2 points.  The ball shall be snapped by the scoring team at their 5-yard line, unless moved by penalty.


Conduct and Penalties


1. No player shall commit any acts of unfair play during a period or intermission, examples:

A. Abusive or insulting language.

B. Any acts of unfair play.

C. Using disconcerting acts or words prior to the snap in an attempt to interfere with Team A's signals or movements.

D. Intentionally kicking at any opposing player.

E. Intentionally kicking at the ball, other than during a legal kick.

F. Intentionally swinging an arm, hand or fist at any opposing player.

Penalty: Un-sportsmanlike Conduct, 10 yards, and if flagrant, the offender shall be disqualified.



Players ejected from a game due to unsporting conduct must immediately leave the field. If the ejected player fails to leave the field in a reasonable amount of time, his team will forfeit. Furthermore, the team will not be allowed to substitute for an ejected player, the team will play a man down for the remainder of the game.


3. When the ball becomes dead in possession of a player, he/she shall not:

A. Intentionally kick the ball.

B. Spike the ball into the ground.

C. Throw the ball high into the air.

D. Fail to return the ball to the huddle.

Penalty: Un-sportsmanlike Conduct, 10 yards, and if flagrant, the offender shall be ejected.


4. There shall be no un-sportsmanlike conduct by substitutes, coaches, or others subject to the rules.  This includes:

A. Attempting to influence a decision by an official.

B. Disrespectfully addressing an official.

C. Indicating objections to an official's decision.

D. Holding an unauthorized conference, or being on the field illegally.

E. Using excessive profanity, insulting or vulgar language or gestures.

F. Intentionally contacting a game official physically during the game by persons subject to the Rules (Disqualification).

Penalty:  Un-sportsmanlike Conduct, 10 yards, and if flagrant, the offender shall be ejected.


5. No player shall commit a personal foul during a period or an intermission.  Any act prohibited hereunder or any other act of unnecessary roughness is a personal foul.  No player shall:

A. Steal, attempt to steal or bat the ball from a player in possession.

B. Trip an opponent.

C. Contact an opponent on the ground.

D. Throw the runner to the ground.

E. Hurdle any other player.

G. Make any contact with an opponent, which is deemed unnecessary of any nature including using fists, locked hands, elbows or any part of the forearm or hand.

H. Deliberately drive or run into a defensive player.  NOTE: The responsibility for contact with a spinning ball carrier belongs to the out of control player which may be the ball carrier.

I. Clip an opponent.

J. Position himself/herself on the shoulders or body of teammate or opponent to gain an advantage.

Penalty:  10 yards - flagrant offenders will be ejected.


6. Defensive players must make a definite effort to avoid charging into a passer after it is clear the ball has been thrown. No defensive player shall contact the passer who is standing still or fading back as he/she is considered out of the play after the pass. You may also not make contact with the passers arm during the throwing motion, this is automatic running into the passer. If the defense attempts to bat down a throw you do so at your own risk, even if your hands are straight up, if the QB's follow through hits your hands it is running into the passer.  Running into the passer restrictions end if the forward pass is thrown from beyond Team A's scrimmage line.

Penalty: Running into the passer, 5 yards repeat the down or Roughing the Passer, 10 yards, automatic first down.


Blocking, Running, and Flag Belt Removal (Screen vs. Contact Rules)

Offensive vs. Defensive Line


1. 7v7 ONLY - The offensive SCREEN block shall take place without contact any place on the field.  The screen blocker shall have his/her hands and arms at his/her side or behind his/her back. Any use of the arms, elbows, or legs to initiate contact during an offensive player's screen block is illegal. A blocker may use his/her hand or arm to break a fall or to retain his/her balance.  A player must be on his/her feet before, during, and after screen blocking.  You may not hold the opponents shirts. Defensive players need to make a definitive effort to go around the offensive line and avoid contact. When contact between two linemen occurs the penalty will go against the defensive side, unless it is clear the offense initiated the contact.

Penalty:  Holding/Illegal Contact, 5 yards.


8v8 ONLY - CONTACT blocking rules, offensive lineman may use open hand blocking to the torso of the defensive pass rush. Again, your hands must be open, and you may only make contact below the neck, and above the waist. A player must be on his/her feet before, during, and after blocking.  You may not hold the opponent's shirt or body. Only open hands are to be thrust outward from the elbows, not up from the sides. All blocks must be from the waist and shoulders and not below the waist. First contact must be applied to the player’s front or side, not back.

Penalty:  Holding/Illegal Contact, 5 yards.


Cut blocking (throwing a block below the waist) is grounds for an automatic ejection.

Penalty:  Personal Foul, 10 yards.


2. A player in the 7v7 SCREEN league shall not:

A. Take a position so close to a moving opponent that his/her opponent cannot avoid contact by stopping or changing direction.  The speed of the player to be screened will determine where the screener may take his/her stationary position.  This position will vary and may be 1 to 2 steps or strides from the opponent.


B. After assuming a legal screening position, move to maintain it, unless moving in the same direction and path of his opponent.  If the screener violates any of these provisions and contact results, he/she has committed a penalty.  Bumping is not allowed either.

Penalty: Illegal Contact, 5 yards.


3. Defensive players in the 7v7 SCREEN league must go around the offensive player's screen block.  The arms and hands may not be used as a wedge contact the opponent.  The application of this rule depends entirely on the judgment of the official.  A blocker may use his/her arms or hands to break a fall or retain his/her balance.  

Penalty: Illegal Contact, 5 yards.


Defensive players in the 8v8 CONTACT league may use their hands as they attempt to get to the quarterback or running back. The "swim move" is not legal however. You may use your hands to create the necessary space to pass the offensive line.

Penalty: Illegal Contact, 5 yards.


4. A defensive player may dive to pull a flag. An offensive player may not dive to advance the ball or leave their feet in an effort to advance the spot or score. A player may not dive to block. Penalty: Diving/jumping, 5 yards from the spot of the foul loss of down


Running, Receivers, and other Downfield Procedures


1. Runners in both CONTACT and SCREEN shall not flag guard by using their hands, arms or the ball to deny the opportunity for opponents to pull or remove the flag belt.  Flag guarding includes:

A. Swinging the hand or arm over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from de-flagging.

B. Placing the ball in player possession over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from de-flagging.

C. Lowering the shoulders in such a manner that places the arm over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from de-flagging.

D. Stiff arms are not allowed as they are similar to lowering your shoulder to create enough space to make flag removal difficult.

Special Note: If your arm is in fluid motion and happens to be in the way of a defensive players attempt to grab the flag, this is typically is not flag guarding, and will be at the ref's discretion.  

Penalty:  Flag Guarding, 5 yards from the spot of the foul.


2. In the 7v7 SCREEN league, the offense may create space between the defensive and ball carrier by a screen block. Please note that you may not however set a pick. A pick will result in a penalty.

Penalty: Illegal Contact, 5 yards.


3. In both the SCREEN and CONTACT leagues, you may not set a pick downfield in an attempt to get another receiver open, or for any other reason.

Penalty: Illegal Contact, 5 yards.


5. In the 7v7 SCREEN league, no contact may be made at the line of scrimmage between the cornerback and the receiver.

Penalty: Illegal Contact, 5 yards.


6. In the 8v8 CONTACT league, cornerbacks are allowed one bump within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. After this, you must allow the receiver to run his route.

Penalty: Illegal Contact, 5 yards.

Ball spotting procedure

For both Screen and Contact Leagues:

At the end of the play the ball will be spotted where the ball carriers HIPS are at the time of the flag belt removal or step out of bounds.

At goal line situations the hips and the ball must be across the goal line before a touchdown will be awarded. In the event a ball carriers hips are in the endzone but the ball is not at the time of a flag pull or out of bounds, the ball will be marked dead where the ball was at the time the play ended.


Flag Belt Removal


For both the SCREEN and CONTACT leagues:

A. Players must have possession of the ball before they can legally be de-flagged.

B. When a runner loses his/her flag-belt accidentally, inadvertently (not removed by grabbing or pulling) play continues.  The de-flagging reverts to a one-hand tag of the runner shoulders and the knees.

C. Pulling a flag belt from an offensive player without the ball by a defensive player intentionally is illegal. Penalty:  Personal Foul, 10 yards.

D. Tampering with the flag belt in any way to gain an advantage including tying, using foreign materials, or other such acts is illegal.  Penalty:  Un-sportsmanlike Conduct, 10 yards from the previous spot, loss of down and possible player ejection.

E. While you may not tackle a player, we do allow you to wrap up a ball carrier. These are instances where you may wrap up a player.

- If the ball carrier makes a spin move and initiates contact with the player attempting to remove the flag.

- If the ball carrier inadvertently makes contact coming off of a screen or contact block. Or if a wide receiver makes contact as part of his catching motion where contact is not enough to warrant a pass interference call by either player.

You may not wrap up a player if you are trying to make an open field tackle  Penalty:  Illegal contact, 5 yards from the spot


Special Notes -

8v8 Ground lineman or not required to wear flag belts, as they are ineligible recievers. If a lineman is playing both ways, when he is on defensive in the event he intercepts the ball he falls under the one touch rule.

Read 11627 times Last modified on Saturday, 14 January 2017 03:06
Rate this item
(1 Vote)