South Florida Sports & Performance

5v5 CO-ED Flag Football Rules

The Game

  • Game Time is FORFEIT TIME
  • Minimum 2 FEMALES and 3 total players to start a game.
  • Teams must consist of 2 females on the field at all times or subject to penalty and possible forfeit. 
  • A coin toss determines 1st possession. The team can elect to have offense, defense, defer or direction. Choice in the 2nd half will be awarded to the team that did not have the choice 1st half.
  • The offensive team takes possession of the ball at their 5-yard line and has three plays to cross mid-field. Once a team crosses mid-field they have three plays to score. If the offensive team fails to cross mid-field, the ball changes possession. If the offense does not score, the ball changes possession. All drives start from the 5-yard line with the exception of an interception.
  • No blocking is allowed. No intentional contact is allowed.


  • Players may NOT have pockets. Players may NOT have taped pockets. Players may NOT turn their shorts inside out. Players may have shorts with pockets if they have been professionally sewn or if they have zippers and the zippers remained zipped up.
  • Teams also must have the same color shirts and have an alternative color (one dark color/one light color). They do not have to be official uniforms. 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.
  • For all women and coed formats: junior or intermediate sized football allowed

Game Clock Format

  • Tournament clock is 25 minutes long. Two 12 minute halves and 1-minute halftime.
  • Each team has two 30 second timeouts PER GAME. If a time out is called after a TD the clock will not run until the change of possession and the offense snaps their ball.

First Half Clock

  • The clock will run continuously during the 12 minutes of the first half unless a team timeout is used or play is stopped by an official (e.g. deal with an injury, challenge, referee conference, game management purposes, etc.)
  • The head official will give a verbal two-minute warning (for rule specific changes inside 2 minutes)
  • The clock will run during point-after-touchdown attempts (PATs) in the first half unless the defense opts to use a team timeout.

Second Half Clock

  • In the second half the clock will run continuously for the first 11 minutes unless a team timeout or an official’s time out is used.
  • The one-minute warning will stop the clock in the second half.
  • The head official will give a verbal two-minute (for rule specific changes) and one-minute warning as close as possible to the actual marks but will not interrupt a live play.
  • At the one minute warning officials will use a ‘PRO/CLOCK’ mechanic for the remainder of the contest.
  • The time remaining on the clock will be announced after every play inside the final two minutes of the contest.


  • An operative player is defined as a player who:
    • Is the intended receiver in the eyes of the official
    • Runs the ball as the primary runner (must cross the line of scrimmage)
    • Receives the snap as the QB and must attempt to be the person who initiates the ball crossing the line of scrimmage
  • An operative player is NOT defined as a player who:
    • Hands off the football
    • Snaps the ball into play
    • Receives a handoff only to give it back to a male before crossing the line of scrimmage
    • Receives a pitch/lateral downfield
  • Examples:
    • A pass deflected by a male and caught by a female is a female play
    • A pass intended for a female (in the eyes of the official) that is deflected by a female and caught by a male counts as a female play
    • A pass thrown by a male, received by a male and immediately pitched to a female will not constitute a female play
    • A pass intentionally grounded by a female in the last 1 minute of the game in order to stop the clock DOES count as a female play
    • If a female pitches the ball to a male behind the line of scrimmage will not result in a female play.



  • The quarterback may not run unless the ball has been thrown back, handed or pitched to him or her in the backfield.
  • Teams may handoff (unlimited), pitch, or throw back in the backfield. UNLIMITED laterals or throwbacks behind the LOS are allowed for the player to remain eligible to pass. The player who receives the pitch or handoff may throw the ball as long as he or she is not fully beyond the line of scrimmage.
  • Pitching (backwards/laterally) is allowed downfield (unlimited). Handoffs are allowed in front or behind.
  • A forward pass DOES NOT have to cross the LOS to be a legal play.
  • If the ball is placed on the “Back” of ANY player, the player MUST run the ball (no give and go to the QB on the back)
  • No run zones are located 5 yards before mid-field and 5-yards before the end zone. You may not run the ball in the no run zone (5-yards before the first down and end zone), only forward passes are allowed.
  • Ball is spotted where the ball is at the time of the flag pull. The ball must break the plane of the midfield or goal line to be considered a first down or touchdown.
  • Players may NOT block down field in any form.


  • The quarterback has 5 seconds to pass the ball if there is no rush. If the ball is not thrown, then the play is dead. After the ball is ruled dead it is returned to the line of scrimmage.
  • Once the ball is handed off or pitched backwards the 5 second count stops. If the defensive team rushes, then there is no 5 second count.
  • There is no arm in motion, if the ball is in hand when the quarterback’s flag is pulled then it will be ruled a sack.
  • Interceptions may be returned.
  • The rusher may not have any contact with the QB (no hitting the QB arm or knocking the ball out of the QB hand).
  • If ANY part of the players body is behind the LOS it is a legal pass


  • All players are eligible to receive a pass, including the quarterback, if the ball has been pitched or handed off in the backfield.
  • Players must have at least one foot in bounds when making catch.
  • 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

  • The offensive player’s flag is pulled.
  • Ball carrier steps out of bounds.
  • A touchdown is scored.
  • Any part of the body that is not hands or feet touches the ground. –
  • Incomplete pass.
  • Ball hits the ground.


Rushing the Quarterback

  • Players that rush the quarterback must be a minimum of 7 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
  • The 7 yards will be measured off by a referee.
  • Players that are not 7 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped may not enter into the backfield until there is a change of possession.
  • 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.

Pass Coverage:

  • Contacting receivers is not allowed
  • Pass interference normally occurs above the waist; entangled feet are not considered pass interference.
  • Incidental contact is not considered pass interference.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • If defensive pass interference occurs in the end zone the ball will be placed on the one-yard line, automatic first down.
  • Interceptions may be returned.
  • 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.
  • Contact away from the direction of the pass is not considered pass interference but may be considered illegal contact.
  • Whether a pass is catchable or uncatchable has no bearing on pass interference. The benefit of the doubt is given to the receiver.
  • Examples of pass interference include:
    • Shoving or pushing off to create separation.
    • Playing through the back.
    • Hook and turn: grabbing the torso and turning an opponent before the pass arrives.
    • Arm bars, hooking, restricting, grabbing wrists, or turning a receiver.      Blocking downfield before the ball has been touched, commonly seen through “pick plays”.


Touchdown · 6 points awarded for all male participation

· 9 points awarded for female participation if the operative player

*** If a male passes to a male and simply hands off or pitches to a female at the goal line will not constitute a 9 point TD or increased value of the PAT.

Point After Touchdown (PAT) · 1 point from the 5-yard line (no-run zone in effect)

· 2 points from the 12-yard line, run, pass (outside of no-run zone)

· All male participation = value of the PAT attempt

· Female participation as operative player = 2 point from the 5 yard line, 3 points from the 12 yard line

· Interceptions returned on PAT’s are worth 2 points

Safety · 2 points

Point After Touchdown (PAT):

  • 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.
  • If a penalty occurs during an extra point attempt, the penalty will be assessed but the extra point value remains the same.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fouls by the defense during an unsuccessful PAT attempt will result in a retry after the options are administered.
  • 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.

Overtime Extra Point Shoot-Out

  • A coin flip determines first possession, 1 timeout per OT period
  • Teams will go in reverse order if more then 1 OT is required
  • Teams can elect to go for 1 or 2 points
  • Winner will be determined once the value of the extra point exceeds the other teams attempt.


PENALTY CHANGES for inside 2 minutes of BOTH halves.

  • Intentional delay of game by the offense or defense, any team member, or fan will result in a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty
    • automatic 1st down (if committed by the defense)
    • LOD (if committed by the offense) and the clock will stop.

Penalty Charts:

  Yardage Where is the Penalty Assessed? Result
Flag Guarding 5 Spot of foul Loss of Down
Illegal Advancement 5 Spot of foul Loss of down
Illegal Forward Pass 5 Previous spot Loss of down
Offensive Pass Interference 5 Previous spot Loss of Down
Defensive Pass Interference 10 or spot of the foul 10 from previous spot or spot of the foul (whichever offense chooses) Automatic 1st Down


  Yardage Where is the Penalty Assessed? Result
Personal Foul/Unnecessary Roughness 15 End of the play or previous spot By the Offense: Loss of Down

By the Defense: Automatic 1st Down

Unsportsmanlike Conduct 15 End of the play or previous spot By the Offense: Loss of Down

By the Defense: Automatic 1st Down

Roughing the Passer


10 Previous spot Automatic 1st Down


  Yardage Where is the Penalty Assessed? Result
Delay of Game 5 Previous spot Replay down

** LOD, if 2 min or less

False Start 5 Previous spot Replay down

**LOD, if 2 min or less

Offside / Encroachment 5 Previous spot Automatic 1st down
Cool Down Period 0 No foul Player must sit out 5 plays


  Yardage Where is the Penalty Assessed? Result
Illegal Substitution or Illegal Participation 5 Previous spot Replay down – dead ball
Illegal Shift or Illegal Motion 5 Previous spot Loss of down
Stripping or Attempted Stripping 5 Spot of the foul Automatic 1st down
Illegal Contact 5 Previous spot or spot of the foul By the Offense: Loss of Down

By the Defense: Automatic 1st Down

Early Flag Pull 5 Previous spot Automatic 1st Down
Illegal Touching 5 Previous spot Loss of down


  Yardage Where is the Penalty Assessed? Result
Illegal Blocking 5 Spot foul or from previous spot if behind LOS Loss of down
Holding 5 Spot of the foul Automatic 1st down
Impeding the rusher 5 Previous spot Loss of down
Charging 5 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