Winter Flag Football Rules

Griffin Elite



1. Divisions

Play is open to boys and girls 1st through 8th grade, and will be organized into 4 divisions –

  1. 1st & 2nd Grade
  2. 3rd & 4th Grade
  3. 5th & 6th Grade
  4. 7th & 8th Grade

The League may adjust the division demarcations or the date used for age groups.

Divisions or date used for age determination can be adjusted based on the league discretion.

2. Team Rosters

A roster of eligible players will be maintained by the League and will be modified only by the league.

Only players on the official roster may be used in games. Use of non-roster players is prohibited; the use of a non-roster player may result in a forfeit of all games in which the player participated. Use of a non-roster player also may result in disciplinary action, including suspension of the coach. Teams rosters typically consist of between 8 and 10 players. 5 on 5 play for all divisions.



  1. Official Flag football jersey
  2. Shorts or pants with no pockets!
  3. Mouth guard – required at all times. No child will be allowed to play without a mouth guard (NO EXCEPTIONS)
  4. Flag belt

This uniform must be worn at all times on the field of play. Home teams wear the dark side of the jersey and away teams wear the light side of the jersey.

Uniforms are subject to the following rules:

  1. Jersey must be tucked in at all times
  2. Any additional article of clothing must be tucked in and not blocking the players flags.
  3. Flags must be worn at the sides of the hips and not in the front or back or the player.

Illegal Equipment

  1. Shorts or pants with pockets
  2. Hard casts – even if covered by soft material
  3. Jewelry of any kind
  4. Anything the referee deems harmful or could endanger other players.

Game  Rules

The game will consist of (2) 18 minute halves and be separated by a 2 minute half time. The clock will run continuously unless the following occurs – an injury to a player, a called time out, or if the referee calls for a time out. Each team will be allowed (1) timeout per half. After a time out, the offense has 30 seconds to snap the ball once it’s placed back into play.

The Home Team will decide if they want the ball at the start of the game or at the half.

Playing Time

It is AFA’s goal to help develop young athletes to understand the basic rules and skill sets of flag football and football. The league expects coaches to use each athlete as evenly as possible. Multiple complaints could result in a coaches suspension or expulsion from the league.

Number of players

This league is a 5 vs 5 league and teams can have up to, but no more than 12 players on a team. In the event that a team can only field 4 players, they will be allowed to play, but the other team will allowed to use all 5 spots.

Substitutions – Players can be subbed in and out during any dead ball.

Coaches Conduct  

We as a league expect all coaches to conduct themselves with the highest standard of behavior while coaching our young athletes.  Any problem with a coach could result in suspension or being removed from their position as a Coach. Any problem a coach may have with other coaches, players, parents, or referees needs to be brought to a director.


1. Offense

An offensive play will begin when the center snaps the ball between his/her legs. Prior to the snap the ball must be laying on the ground. If the ball hits the ground on a snap, the offense will get 10 seconds to retry the snap. No meeting or huddling can take place after a botched snap. If the 2nd snap is unsuccessful, then it will result in a loss of downs.

The offense will have 3 downs to get a first down at the halfway point on the field. They will then get another 3 downs to get the ball into the end zone.


The quarterback may not run the ball beyond the line of scrimmage until it has been given to another player. (Note: QB may run if he/she is rushed/blitzed) Once the ball has been handed off to another player, then this restriction no longer applies to the quarterback (he/she can then receive, run, or pass the ball). The hand off can happen in front or behind the quarterback and the running back may throw the ball as long as they haven’t crossed the line of scrimmage (1 forward pass per play). The offense can run the ball once they have performed a legal hand off (unless the ball is located in the no run zones). A player will only be down if their flag is pulled or a knee, hip, or body hits the ground. A player may have their hand touch the ground for balance and will not be called down. It will be the ball carrier’s responsibility to avoid physical contact with a defensive player who has an established position. NO CONTACT WILL BE TOLERATED. Failure to avoid contact by the offensive will result in a 5 yard “Charging” penalty and will result in a loss of down. If a player continues to commit charging penalties it could result in an unsportsmanlike penalty or an ejection.

Hand offsAll hand-offs must take place behind the line of scrimmage and there is no limit to how many times a team can hand it off in one play.  A pass may still take place as long as the runner has not crossed the line of scrimmage.

Running restrictions

The ball carrier cannot use their hands, arms, or ball to block the defense from having access to the flag belt.

The ball carrier cannot lower their head to charge at a defender

NO RUN ZONES (5th thru 8th Grade)

There will be two no run zones on the field of play. The first one is 5 yards out from the first down(midfield) marker. . The 2nd no run zone is 5 yards outside the end zone.. If the offense is snapping the ball from within these markers they must pass the ball.


No more than 1 forward pass per play.  A pass behind the line of scrimmage does not count a forward pass.  The ball must cross the line of scrimmage to be considered a forward pass.  ALL players are eligible to receive a pass.

Blocking – There will be no blocking allowed of any kind. Players who do not have the ball on offense must stay out of the way of the defense trying to pull the flag. If an offensive player is seen by the referee as blocking or attempting to block they will issued a blocking penalty that will result in a 5 yd penalty and loss of down.

Receiving – A completion occurs when the receiver has control of the ball with at least 1 foot in bounds. All players on offense are eligible receivers.

MotionMotion is allowed but only 1 player may be in motion at once and may not run towards the line scrimmage until the ball is snapped.

2. Defense

Flag pulling – To stop the ball carrier, a defensive player must remove (pull) the flag of the belt of the ball carrier or force (without contact) out of bounds.  If a ball carriers flags drop off their belt before being pulled they must be touched by the defender.

Rushing the QB – Any player on defense is able to rush the QB as long as they are behind the rushing line which will be marked by bean bag/cones. The rushing line will be 7 yards from the line of scrimmage. After 7 seconds any player is eligible to rush the QB regardless of where they line up pre-snap. The rusher is not allowed to raise their hands to block an attempted pass by the QB. The rusher may only go after the flags of the QB. Note: QB may run if he/she is rushed/blitzed.

Change of Possession – Change a possession will happen when the offense fails to get a first down within 3 tries or fails to score a touchdown within 3 tries. The defense will then take control of the ball on their own 5 yard line.

An intercepted pass will also result in a change of possession and the intercepting team takes over on their own 5 yard line. (2 points will be awarded to the defense on interceptions.)

NO FUMBLES – if the ball carrier fumbles the ball they will be marked down at the spot of the fumble and retain possession (unless it was a fourth down and they failed to reach the first down/end zone).


The following is a breakdown on scoring possibilities.

  • Touchdown – 6 points
  • PAT – 1 point – From 5 yards from end zone
  • PAT  -2 points – From 10 yards from end zone
  • Interception – 2 points


IF a game results in a tie, then 1 overtime shall be played and both teams will get one chance on offense to score from their 5 yard line. If both teams score then the ball will be moved back to the 10 yard line and both teams will get another opportunity. In a result of a triple overtime the ball will stay at the 10 yard marker.


All defensive penalties are 5 yards from the spot of the foul and an automatic first down.   All offensive penalties are a loss of 5 yards and loss of down. Penalties can be accessed from the line of scrimmage (pre snap) or at the spot of the foul.  Penalties that occur before a forward pass is completed will result in the foul being marked at the line of scrimmage. The game cannot end on a defensive penalty unless the offensive chooses to decline it.  If the offense accepts a penalty at the end of the game the offense will get 1 untimed down (also will be given the chance to score a PAT if the play results in a touchdown).

Offensive Penalties – 5 Yards from Line of Scrimmage and Loss of Down

• Delay of Game

• Off-Sides

• False Start

• Illegal Motion

• Blocking

• Attempting to Run from a No-running Zone

• Offensive Pass Interference (Loss of Down)

• Charging

• Interference by a Coach on the Field

• Too Many Players on the Field

• Equipment Violation

• Unsportsmanlike Conduct

• Using Profanity, Taunting, or Using Insulting or Vulgar Language or Gestures

• Disrespectfully Addressing any Person

Offensive Penalties – 5 Yards from the Spot of the Infraction, loss of down

• Diving

• Flag Guarding – any attempt to block the defensive player from a flag pull

• Charging

Defensive Penalties -5 Yds from the Line of Scrimmage, Automatic 1st Down

• Defensive Pass Interference (Automatic First Down)

• Roughing the Passer

• Tackling, Hitting, or Shoving the Ball Carrier

• Obstructing or Holding the Ball Carrier

• Illegally Rushing the Quarterback

• Unsportsmanlike Conduct

• Spiking, Kicking, or Inappropriately Throwing the Ball

• Spiking or Throwing Flag

• Unsportsmanlike Conduct

• Using Profanity, Taunting, or Using Insulting or Vulgar Language or Gestures

• Disrespectfully Addressing any Person

• Stripping or Attempting to Strip the Ball

• Intentionally Contacting an Official

• Fighting

• Too Many Players on the Field

• Equipment Violation

On extra-points only, pass interference occurring in the end-zone will result in a successful extra point conversion. Pass interference occurring in the end-zone during the regular course of play will result in a five-yard penalty from the original line of scrimmage, and an automatic first-down. An interception on an extra point WILL result in 2 Points being awarded to the defense.