Flag Football Rules – SJ

Markets: San Jose

Format: football

8v8 Coed Flag Football rules.  Specific 6v6 CoEd rules will be noted.

General Description:

Eight offensive and eight defensive players are allowed on the field during live plays.

For 6v6, Six offensive and Six defensive players are allowed on the field during live plays

Transgender players may play on the team that matches the gender on their state or federal issued identification document.

Team must Consist of a minimum of 2 Female Players on the field or be subject to forfeit.  A typical team would consist of 5 males and 3 female’s, but you may use more female’s than required, but no less than 2. As long as you have 2 females and a minimum of 6 total players on the field you are eligible for play.

For 6v6, Team must Consist of a minimum of 1 Female Players on the field or be subject to forfeit.  A typical team would consist of 4 males and 2 female’s, but you may use more female’s than required, but no less than 1. As long as you have 1 female and a minimum of 4 total players on the field you are eligible for play.

All players are eligible receivers.

Offensive teams have four downs to successfully advance to the next zone-line-to-gain and earn a new set of downs.

On Fourth Down, if there is a declaration of Punt, the ball will be spotted on the 5yard line of the Opposing Team

Punt Declarations maybe change if a timeout is called

Zone lines-to-gain markers are located at the 20-, 40-, 40-, and 20-yard lines on a 100-yard field.

If an 80-yard field is used, line-to-gain markers are located on the 20-, 40-, and 20-yard lines.

The ball will be spotted wherever the ball was at the time of the flag pull or the ball carrier left the field-of-play.

Uniform and Equipment:

1.     Players may not wear hard, unyielding, or stiff material items that in the view of the officiating crew may present a hazard to other players.

2.    Players are highly encouraged to wear a protective mouthpiece while on the field-of-play.

3.    For safety reasons, players are encouraged to wear pants or shorts that do not have pockets, belt loops, zippers, or exposed draw strings.  Pants or shorts with pockets that have been professionally sewn-shut are allowed at the game official’s discretion.

4.    ZogSports will provide flags for every game.

5.    Teams may use their own flags if desired, however altered or tampered flags could result in an ejection or forfeit. No shortening, cutting, etc.

6.    Flags cannot be the same/similar color as a player’s pants/shorts. Similar is at the official’s discretion.

7.    Some type of team jersey is required; the minimal standard is similar-colored shirts. Teams must carry two colored shirts, a dark color and a light color. They do not have to be official uniforms, the light colored one can be a white T-shirt. 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.

8.    Players must ensure their jerseys/shirts are long enough to remain tucked in during the entire play or short enough so there is a minimum of 4” from the bottom of the jersey to the player’s waistline.  (Jerseys should never cover the flag belt).

9.    When a shirt is untucked at the snap a hold will not be called on the defender that is making a fair and legal attempt at the ball carrier’s flag. It is the player’s responsibility to check their equipment before each snap.

10. Flags must be on the player’s hips and free from obstruction. Deliberately obstructed flags will be considered flag guarding.

11. Flags must be evenly distributed on the belt..

12. If a player chooses to wear a hand towel, or any other object, on their waist it will be treated as part of the flag belt.

13. Players must wear shoes.  Cleats with exposed metal are never allowed.

14. Players may wear eye protection to include prescription glasses or flexible sunglasses.

15. Players may wear a face shield molded to the face with no protrusions to protect against facial injury.

16. Jewelry that in the judgement of a game official might endanger other players must be removed before play.

17. Player’s fingernails must be trimmed or taped over to protect opponents. Alternatively, players may wear gloves to protect their opponents.

18. Players may wear knit or stocking-style caps.

19. Hoodies must be tucked inside the jersey while on the field-of-play.

20. Soft-shelled helmets designed for flag football players (e.g., the EliteTek brand), may be worn.

21. Baseball-style caps must be removed or turned around backward.

22. Players may wear a headband made of non-abrasive material. Rubber or elastic bands may be used in hair.

23. Players may tape forearms, hands and fingers. Players may wear soft gloves, elbow pads, shin guards, and knee pads. Unyielding items such as braces, casts, or anything with exposed metal are not allowed.

24. Officials will endeavor to identify missing, incomplete or improperly worn flag belts prior to the snap and announce for example “number X, down on possession”.

25. The player with the missing flag violation must fix the issue during the next dead ball situation or leave the field until they have done so.

26. If a ball carrier is wearing an incomplete, improperly worn, or improperly secured flag belt, or no flag belt at all, they may not advance the ball after taking possession of it and will be ruled down where they took possession of the ball.  For example: They may catch a pass but not advance it.

27. The person taking the snap is an exception to this rule, they may take the snap and advance the ball or otherwise participate in a play and will be downed by one-hand touch.

28. All players on the field are eligible receivers at the snap regardless of possible uniform violations.

29. A missing flag violation will not delay the game or stop a live play.

Game Clock: 

1.              Games are 40 minutes (two 20 minute halves).

2.              Halftime is two minutes.

3.              Each team will have three (3) time outs per half.

4.              Time outs will not roll over from the first half to second half.

5.              The clock will run continuously during the first 20 minutes of the first half and Continuous for 18 Minutes of the second half unless a team timeout is used or play is stopped by an official (e.g. deal with an injury, challenge, referee conference, etc.)

6.              A “stop-clock” or “pro-clock” will be in effect in the last two minutes of the second half ONLY, unless the point differential is greater than 17 points in the last two minutes of the second half.

7.              The head official will give a verbal two-minute warning as close as possible to the actual two-minute mark but will not interrupt a live play.

8.              The two-minute warning will stop the clock.

9.              The time remaining on the clock will be announced after every play inside the final two minutes of the contest.

10.           The clock will not run during point-after-touchdown attempts (PATs) in last two minutes of the second half unless the point differential is greater 17points.

Game Play:

1.              To ensure all player participation, a penalty will ensue if the offensive team fails to use a female as an operative player within 4 consecutive downs. The penalty for running 4 consecutive plays without a female as an Operative Player will be 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. An Operative Player is defined as a player who:

a.    is the intended receiver in the eyes of the official

b.    runs the ball as the primary runner (must cross line of scrimmage)

c.     receives the snap as the QB and must attempt to be the person who initiates the ball crossing the line of scrimmage.

2.              An Operative Player is NOT defined as a player who:

a.    hands off the football

b.    snaps the ball into play

c.     receives a hand-off only to give it back to a male before crossing the line of scrimmage.


1.              a pass deflected by a male and caught by a female is a female play.

2.              a pass intended for a female (in the eyes of the referee) that is deflected by a female, and caught

3.              by a male will count as a female play

4.              a pass thrown by a male, received by a male and is pitched back (lateral) to a female who advances the balls past where the ball is received (the “hook and ladder”) will constitute a female play.

5.              HOWEVER, if the lateral occurs towards the goal where there is no defender in the vicinity, the female play will count but ONLY for a 6pt touchdown.

6.              It should be a ‘Natural’ Female touchdown.

7.              c  if a female pitches the ball to a male behind the line of scrimmage this will not result in a female play.


1.              1 Touchdown = 6 points (Male); 9 Points (female)

2.              Extra points: 5 yards out = 1 point; 10 yards out = 2 points; 20 Yards out = 3 points

a.    If a female player throws or catches the PAT, it is a ‘Plus 1” to the original PAT

3.              Safety = 2 points

4.              Forfeits = 21-0 win


1.              The offensive line must have a minimum of four players on the line at the snap.

2.              Only one offensive player may be in motion at the snap and that motion must be parallel to the line-of-scrimmage.

3.              Players who go in motion do not count as “being on the line”.

4.              The ball must be snapped from the ground in a fluid and continuous motion between the center’s legs.

5.              There are no required distances between the center and other offensive players on the line.

6.              In a BUNCH formation, you can ONLY have a maximum of 5 players in that formation

a.     BUNCH Formation is defined as offensive players lining up next to each with no visible gap between the two players


Run Plays: 

1.              The quarterback — the player initially receiving the snap — may run to advance the ball at any time.

2.              The offense may use multiple backward hand-offs or laterals.

3.              To execute a center sneak, the ball must completely leave the center’s hands on the snap and they must take at least one step backwards off the line-of-scrimmage before receiving direct hand-off from the quarterback before advancing the ball.

Pass Plays:

1.              Teams can make an unlimited number of backward passes and then throw a forward pass provided the player throwing the ball is behind the line of scrimmage.

2.              The rusher may not have any contact with the QB (no hitting the QB arm or knocking the ball out of the QB hand).

3.              If ANY part of the players body is behind the LOS it is a legal pass


1.              All players are eligible to receive a pass, including the quarterback, if the ball has been pitched or handed off in the backfield.

2.              Players must have at least one foot in bounds when making catch.

3.              Players that run out of bounds during a play cannot be the first player to touch a ball when attempting to make a catch (this is a penalty Illegal touching). If the player is pushed out of bounds by a defender, then comes back into the play, he or she is still eligible to touch the ball first.  

Play is Ruled Dead When

1.              The offensive player’s flag is pulled.

2.              Ball carrier steps out of bounds.

3.              A touchdown is scored.

4.              Any part of the body that is not hands or feet touches the ground. –

5.              Incomplete pass.

6.              Ball hits the ground.

Rushing the Quarterback

1.              Players that rush the quarterback must be a minimum of 7 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.

a.    The 7 yards will be measured off by a referee.

2.              There is no limit to the number of rushers.

3.              Once the ball leaves the hand of the originating QB, all defensive players are eligible to cross the line of scrimmage.

4.              The rusher is allowed a direct lane to the quarterback 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.


1)    Offensive players must come to a complete stop for one second before the ball is snapped unless they are the only player in motion.

2)    It is a dead ball foul if any player on offense enters the neutral zone before the snap. (neutral zone infraction)

3)    The ball must be snapped between the center’s legs.

4)    Direct snaps are legal to any player not on the line-of-scrimmage.

5)    The ball will be declared dead if any portion of the ball carrier’s body other than their hands and feet (knee, elbow, buttocks, ball in hand, etc.) touches the ground.

6)    The offense is responsible for retrieving the ball and returning it an official or to the line of scrimmage at the end of each play.

7)    For safety reasons, when relaying the ball please use short underhand tosses.

Fumbles and Muffs:

1)    Fumbles are a “dead ball” when they hit the ground.

2)    If a lateral, muffed or fumbled ball is intercepted before becoming dead it remains a “live ball”.

3)    Forward fumbles that hit the ground will be marked where the ball carrier’s feet were when he/she lost control and not the spot where the ball hit the ground.

4)    Muffed snaps will be marked where the ball hit the ground.

Running / Jumping / Diving:

1)    Ball carriers are allowed to leave their feet, jump, and spin as evasive maneuvers in order to advance the ball as long as they do not put another player’s safety at risk.

2)    Not every insignificant jump or small hop constitutes a safety issue and player safety risk is at the discretion of each official.

3)    Jump cuts or leaping between two defenders is allowed if they do not initiate noteworthy contact with the defender or put another player’s safety at risk.

4)    Ball carriers may not hurdle over another player.

5)    Ball carriers may not dive, lung, or fall forward in a perceived intentional manner in order to advance the ball or achieve a line-to-gain. This is a judgment call by the game officials.

6)    Ball carriers may extend the ball out in front of them to gain additional yardage.

7)    Diving by the defense to capture a ball carrier’s flag is legal.

8)    Ball carriers must make every effort to avoid a defender who has established a stationary position.

9)    Runners may leave their feet to avoid collision or falling on another player.

10) Passers may jump vertically to throw the ball over a defender.

11) The offense may use multiple backward hand-offs or laterals.

Flag Guarding including Stiff-Arming:

1)    The ball carrier’s flags must be accessible to the defense throughout the play.

2)    Flag guarding is the act of a ball carrier denying a defender the opportunity to capture their flag in any physical way.

3)    Flags may not be tucked in pants, tucked under jerseys, worn improperly, looped around the waist belt, or knotted.

4)    The ball carrier shall not flag guard by flailing of arms, using their hands, arms, elbows or extremely dipped shoulders to deny the opportunity of an opponent to remove a flag.

5)    The ball carrier may not swat a defender’s hands away nor pin the flag against their body using the ball or hands.

6)    An official may call flag guarding if they feel that a ball carrier’s natural running motion gave the ball carrier a decisive advantage over the defender and the running motion caused part of the ball carrier’s body to block a de-flagging attempt.

7)    What constitutes flag guarding is up to the official’s judgment. We recommend you carry the ball with your hands held high on the body to avoid flag guarding. This is one of the most difficult transitions for traditional football players.

8)    Flag guarding shall not be called if there is no defensive player within reasonable distance

9)    The ball carrier may bend at the knees to dip low, side cut, skip, or take short hops.

10)Extreme low dips (sometimes called a “duck-walk”) are legal and do not constitute flag guarding in themselves, as long as the flag carrier’s flags are still exposed and the defensive player isn’t physically impeded (i.e. the ball carrier isn’t using his arms, hands, shoulder, ball, etc. to impede the defender. Normally flag guarding can be avoiding while “duck-walking” when the ball carrier keeps his hands and elbows high on the body (ex: at shoulder-level).

11)No penalty will be called if a ball carrier simultaneously flag guards as the defender pulls the flag.

12)Tampering with the flag in any way to gain advantage is illegal.

13)Examples of flag guarding: stiff arming, pinning the flag, swatting, using the ball as a stiff arm, etc.

Pass Coverage:

1)    Pass interference normally occurs above the waist; entangled feet are not considered pass interference.

2)    Incidental contact is not considered pass interference.

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.

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.

5)    If defensive pass interference occurs in the end zone the ball will be placed on the one-yard line, automatic first down.

6)    Interceptions may be returned.

7)    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.

8)    Contact away from the direction of the pass is not considered pass interference but may be considered illegal contact.

9)    Whether a pass is catchable or uncatchable has no bearing on pass interference. The benefit of the doubt is given to the receiver.

10)Examples of pass interference include:

a.    Shoving or pushing off to create separation.

b.    Playing through the back.

11)Hook and turn: grabbing the torso and turning an opponent before the pass arrives.

Point After Touchdown (PAT):

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.

2.              If a penalty occurs during an extra point attempt, the penalty will be assessed but the extra point value remains the same.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

8.              Fouls by the defense during an unsuccessful PAT attempt will result in a retry after the options are administered.

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.

10.           If a Timeout is called prior to the PAT, the game clock will NOT resume until the next offensive series.

Overtime Extra Point Shoot-Out:

1.              A coin flip determines first possession, 1 timeout per OT period

2.              Teams will go in reverse order if more then 1 OT is required

3.              Teams can elect to go for 1 or 2 points

4.              Winner will be determined once the value of the extra point exceeds the other teams attempt.


1.              Intentional delay of game by the offense or defense, any team member, or fan will result in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty

a.    automatic 1st down (if committed by the defense)

b.    LOD (if committed by the offense) and the clock will stop.

Penalty Charts:


Where is the Penalty Assessed?


Flag Guarding


Spot of foul

Loss of Down

Illegal Forward Pass


Previous spot

Loss of down

Offensive Pass Interference


Previous spot

Loss of Down

Defensive Pass Interference

10 or Spot foul

10 yards from previous spot or spot of foul (whichever the offense chooses)

Automatic 1st Down

Personal Foul/Unnecessary Roughness


End of the play or previous spot

By the Offense: Loss of Down

By the Defense: Automatic 1st Down

Unsportsmanlike Conduct


End of the play or previous spot

By the Offense: Loss of Down

By the Defense: Automatic 1st Down

Roughing the Passer


Line of Scrimmage

Automatic 1st Down


  Delay of Game


  Previous spot

  Replay down

  ** LOD, if 2 min or less

  False Start


  Previous spot

  Replay down

  **LOD, if 2 min or less

  Offside / Encroachment


  Previous spot

  Automatic 1st down

  Cool Down Period


  No foul

  Player must sit out 5 plays

  Illegal Substitution or Illegal Participation


  Previous spot

  Replay down – dead ball

  Illegal Shift or Illegal Motion


  Previous spot (this is a live ball penalty)

  Loss of down

  Stripping or Attempted Stripping


  Spot of the foul

  Automatic 1st down

  Illegal Contact


  Previous spot or spot of the foul

  By the Offense: Loss of Down

  By the Defense: Automatic 1st Down


  Where is the Penalty Assessed?


  Illegal Blocking


  Spot foul or from previous spot if behind LOS

  Loss of down

  Defensive Holding


  Spot of the foul

  Automatic 1st down

  Impeding the rusher


  Previous spot

  Loss of down



  Spot of the foul

  Loss of down

  Last Man Rule

  15 or


  Spot of the foul

  Automatic 1st down

  TD if inside the 5 yard line

Inadvertent Whistle

1.     If an official blows an inadvertent whistle, they will declare the ball dead where the ball was at the time the inadvertent whistle.  The team against which the action offended may have the option of accepting the play (i.e., the yards gained and the down advances) or replaying the down from the original line-of-scrimmage.

2.     If the ball was in the air when the inadvertent whistle occurred, it will be returned to the line-of-scrimmage and the down will be replayed.

3.     If a penalty marker is thrown prior to an inadvertent whistle, an accepted penalty will be administered as in any other play situation. When the foul is accepted, the inadvertent whistle is disregarded.

4.     When an inadvertent whistle is triggered by an unfair act, or an act used to deceive or confuse a game official the officiating crew may use their collective judgement to fairly adjudicate the situation.  It may result in yardage awarded, a score granted, and/or the guilty player disqualified, etc. It is solely up to the officiating crew to decide.


ZogSports offers two ways to check if your game is on or rained out:

1. Primary – The online schedule will be updated to list games as postponed2. Secondary – Weather Alert Hotline at (332) 213-9023 (https://play.zogsports.com/weather-alert-hotline)

We will post rainout information as soon as possible, but will not call a game too early to make sure weather doesn’t change.


If you know in advance that your team is going to forfeit a game, you MUST contact us by 12 pm on the day of the game at forfeits@zogsports.com. It is not considered notification unless you receive a reply.

If your decision is not made until after 12 pm, you should still try to reach ZogSports, and we will make efforts to contact the other team.

CODE OF CONDUCT: The Participant’s Code of Conduct applies to all ZogSports participants. You can access the ZogSports Participant’s Code of Conduct HERE.

Markets: San Jose