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The first rule of flag football is pretty straight forward: there’s no contact allowed. That includes tackling, diving, blocking, and screening. Instead, players wear flags that hang along their sides by a belt. To “tackle” the person in possession of the ball, the opposing team needs to pull one or both of their flags off.

While flag football rules are designed to keep players safe, you’ll find that they also create an engaging, fast-paced version of football without the physical contact. 

Here’s a list of basic flag football rules: 

  • All passes must be forward and received beyond the line of scrimmage

  • Only direct handoffs are permitted We will also allow for laterals or pitches anywhere on the field beyond the line of scrimmage

  • The quarterback has seven-second pass clock to get rid of the ball

  • The quarterback can’t run with the ball unless he was rushed.  This also only applies for 8u, 10u,12u, 14u.  * Can't rush QB in 6u

  • Offensive players must steer clear of the rusher and may not get in his/her way

  • Any defensive player lined up seven yards off the line of scrimmage is eligible to rush

  • If the ball is handed off, any defender may rush

  • Interceptions are returnable (even on extra point attempts)

  • The ball is dead when it hits the ground, the offensive player’s flag is pulled from their belt, the ball-carrier steps out of bounds, or the ball-carrier’s body—outside of their hands or feet—touches the ground

  • All offensive flag football penalties result in a loss of down and yardage

  • All defensive flag football penalties result in an automatic first down and some are associated with yardage

For a complete list of flag football rules

FLAG football is a non-contact sport. There’s no tackling, diving, blocking, screening or fumbles.



One of the first questions families ask us is: how many players are on a football team?  Deer Valley Elite Flag Football teams compete 5 on 5, but we may start teams or divisions  that our 6 on 6, 7 on 7, 9 on 9—depending on the region and age group.  Deer Valley Elite Flag rules allow up to 10 players total per team. 

To accommodate a smaller team size, a flag football field is shorter than a typical football field at 30 yards wide and 70 yards long, with two 10-yard end zones and a midfield line-to-gain.





Here’s a quick overview of how to play flag football: Every game begins with a coin toss to determine which team will start with the ball (there’s no kickoff.   Games are two 15 to 25 minute halves, depending on the division and the clock only stops for timeouts (each team has three), injuries and half-time. 

The starting team begins on its own 5-yard line and has four downs (essentially four plays) to cross midfield for a first down. If the offense fails to advance after three tries, they have two options: they can "punt," which means they turn the ball over to the opposing team who starts its drive from its own 5-yard line, or they can go for it. But if they still fail to cross midfield, the opposing team takes over possession from the spot of the ball. 

If the offensive team crosses midfield, they have three downs to score a touchdown. The rules of flag football only differ slightly from tackle when it comes to scoring: a touchdown is 6 points and a safety is 2 points (1-point conversion from the 5-yard line; 2-point conversion from the 10-yard line). 



If you ask any flag football coach what they like most about the game, you’ll typically hear the same answer: it’s incredibly inclusive. Kids of all abilities can learn flag football rules.  

They don’t need a specific build, or even prior football experience. If they’re motivated and a team player, they can learn. Flag Football is a great source of exercise that improves cardiovascular health, hand-eye coordination, and strength. 

 FLAG offers leagues for boys and girls from 5 to 17 years old. There are several co-ed leagues as well. While flag football is a growing youth sport nationwide, you’ll find that it’s increasingly popular in the northeast.


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