NAFFL Rules of Play


Field Dimensions

     1.  Field Length--60 yards long

     2.  Field Width--40 yards wide

     3.  End Zone--10 yards deep     

Video Recording and Streaming

     1.  All NAFFL events and games will either be streamed live or recorded and made avaiable Video on Demand (VOD) via our partnership with the Fieldhouse Sports Entertainment Network (FSEN) digital platform.

     2.  Video recording equipment is not allowed on the fields except by approved credentialed media.  There will be no warnings, violaters will be removed from the venue and not alllowed back into the current event.

     3.  Teams ARE NOT allowed to stream and/or record games live from the sideline.

     4.  Teams and players can downloard the FSEN App on all platforms and enjoy the games either live and/or VOD.

Player Equipment

     1.  All teams will have jerseys (a white and or a dark jersey) with player’s numbers on the front and back.

     2.  No football jerseys of any type shall be worn. T-shirts, compression shirt, or basketball type sleeveless shirts are the only choices of acceptable jerseys. No player will be allowed to participate without a shirt.

   3.  Players jerseys must be tucked in at all times

   4.  Shorts with pockets must are not permitted.

   5.  Players must remove all jewelry deemed hazardous by the officials

     6.  All players must wear shoes. Cleats are allowed. However, cleats with exposed metal are not permitted.

Starting the game

     1.  Each field will have a score board with a operator. All games will begin and end on this person's instructions.

     2.  Visitors will have first possession and wear white (top team in bracket or first team listed will be the visitor). The home team will have first possession the 2nd half and wear a dark color (bottom team in bracket or 2nd team listed will be the home team).

     3.  Visitors (team in white) will always align their team on the right sideline facing the end zone. Home (dark jersey) will always align their team on the left sideline facing the end zone.

     4.  Ball is always placed on the right hash mark when at the 20 yard line.

     5.  If a score clock is not available, the Referee will announce/post scores before each offensive possession begins.

Moving the ball

     1.  The center is an elgible receiver.

     2.  Field is marked at 15 yard intervals with cones. (3 first downs without a penalty would result in a touchdown)

     3.  Possession will begin from the spot of the ball going down.  Hash mark placement of the ball must be enforced by officials once the ball has been advanced.

     4.  No penalty will be assessed in excess of the goal line. On an unsuccessful or successful offensive play from the 20 yard line resulting in an offensive penalty: The ball will be returned to the 20 yard line and THE NEXT SUCCEEDING PLAY WILL BE FORFEITED. I.e. 1st down will become 2nd down; 2nd down will become 3rd down; and 3rd down will result in a turnover.

     5.  Offenses always moves in the same direction.

     6.  Should a swing pass not cross the LOS and a defensive player pulls the flag of the ball carrier behind the goal line, it is a safety.

     7.  For Co-ed games only, there must be a minimum of 3 females on the field during game play.

     8.  The player who receives the handoff can throw the ball as long as he or she remains behind the line of scrimmage.

     9.  The ball is spotted where the runner’s feet are when the flag is pulled, not where the ball is.

     10. Center sneak play is not allowed. The QB may not handoff the ball to the center on the first handoff of the play.

Special Rules

     1.  Teams are allowed to block for the QB only.

     2.  Receiver/Ball carrier is legally down when one flag is pulled from their belt. (Excessive force by shoving, pushing, or striking a blow will be penalized by automatic first down and 5 yards. Expulsion of a player(s) if ruled unsportsmanlike & flagrant).

     3.  Fumbles are dead balls at the spot with the last team retaining possession.  A muffed snap is not a fumble/dead ball.

  4.   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 and feet; touches the ground.  

     5.  Two delay of game penalties in the same possession results in a turnover.

     6.  Any offensive penalty on the extra point try results in a turnover.

   7.  All offensive flag football penalities result in a loss of down and yardage.

   8.  All  defensive flag football penalities result in an automatic first down and some are associated with yardage.

   9.  We reserve the right to remove an individual player and or team from all of our events due to conduct.

10.  A player will be considered down if any articles on they fall off (hats, glasses, gloves, jewelry, etc.)

11.  Each team will have two (2) timeouts per game.

12.  Games will consist of two (2) 20 min halves (running clock) with a five (5) min halftime.

13.  In the event of overtime, each time will get 4 plays from the 20-yard line.  Both teams will get an offensive possession.

     During the Regular season:

     - If team 1 scores and gets a stop on team 2's offensive possession, team 1 wins.

     - If team 2 does not allow Team 1 to score and then scores on their offensive possession, team 2 wins.

     - If both teams score, a 2nd possession will be awarded.  If both teams score again, the game ends in a tie.

     - If neither team scores on their offensive possession a 2nd time.  If neither team scores on their 2nd set of 4 downs, the game ends in a tie.

     During the Playoffs:

     - If team 1 scores and gets a stop on team 2's offensive possession, team 1 wins.

     - If team 2 does not allow Team 1 to score and then scores on their offensive possession, team 2 wins.

     - If both teams score, a 2nd possession will be awarded.  If both teams score again an additional overtime will be played.  This will continue until someone holds the other team.

     - If neither team scores on their offensive possession this will continue until someone scores and holds the other team.

All penalties will be marked off on a 4 second count EXCEPT for pass interference.

     1.  Defensive Pass Interference is the same as NCAA rules. (automatic 1st down & spot foul up to 15 yds)

          ◦     Responsibility to avoid contact is with the defense. There will be NO chucking, deliberate bumping, or grabbing. These actions will result in a 5 yd. penalty and an automatic 1st down.

          ◦     Offensive pass interference is the same as NCAA rules. (15 yard penalty)

          ◦     Interceptions may be returned (“no blocking” rule applies). If an interception is returned beyond the 45 yard line (the offensive origination point) it is a touchdown and point after attempt should ensue. The teammates of the person who intercepted the ball may trail the runner so as to be in position to take a backwards pass. They may not block for or screen for the runner.

          ◦     Offensive team is responsible for retrieving and returning the ball to the previous spot or the new scrimmage spot in a timely fashion. Failure to do so can result in a delay of game penalty.

          ◦     The offensive  is not an eligible receiver (teams must have a center). The ball must be snapped from the ground between the snapper’s legs. (mirror the game of football)

          ◦     The center will be responsible for setting or re-positioning the Referee’s bean bag at the line of scrimmage. On change of possession, the team moving to offense will ensure the bean bag gets to the new scrimmage line. (centers on both teams responsible).

          ◦     No taunting or “trash talking”. (5 yard penalty & expulsion if flagrant).

          ◦     The offense must gain at least 15 yards in the first 3 or less plays or the defense takes over. (There is no kicking). Four down territory occurs only after offense proceeds to or inside the 15 yard line cone (third quadrant).

          ◦     Fighting: the player(s) involved will be ejected from the game and tournament. If a team fight occurs, the teams involved will be ejected from the tournament and denied participation in any future events.

          ◦     Any dead ball foul on a play that results in the defense getting the ball and it is unable to be penalized back to the 50 yard line will result in a loss of down penalty. The defense, now the offense, would be starting play with 2nd down.

          ◦     There will be an area referred to as the tackle box that extends 3 yards on both sides of the center and extending 3 yards deep into the backfield. No eligible receiver may align within the tackle box.

Spot Fouls


          • Defensive pass interference                                -- Automatic First Down

          • Holding                                                                -- Automatic First Down

          • Stripping                                                              -- +10 yards & First Down

          • Defensive unnecessary roughness Offensive      -- +10 yards & First Down


          • Screening                                                             -- -10 yards & Loss of Down

          • Charging                                                               -- -10 yards & Loss of Down

          • Flag guarding                                                       -- -10 yards & Loss of Down

          • Offensive unnecessary roughness                       -- -10 yards & Loss of Down

Defensive Penalties

• Offside                                                                          -- +5 yards from LOS & Automatic First Down

• Illegal flag pull                                                               -- +5 yards from LOS & Automatic First Down                                         

• Roughing the passer                                                    -- +5 yards from LOS & Automatic First Down

• Taunting                                                                        -- +5 yards from LOS & Automatic First Down

• Unsportsmanlike conduct                                            -- +10 yards from LOS & Automatic First Down

Offensive Penalties

• Offside / false start                                                         -- -5 yards from LOS

• Illegal forward pass                                                        -- -5 yards from LOS & Loss of Down

• Offensive pass interference                                            -- -5 yards from LOS & Loss of Down

• Illegal motion                                                                  -- -5 yards from LOS & Loss of Down; except for 4th down

• Delay of game                                                                -- -5 yards from LOS & Loss of Down; except for 4th down

• Illegal Procedure                                                            -- -5 yards from LOS & Loss of Down; except for 4th down

• Taunting                                                                         -- -5 yards from LOS & Loss of Down

• Unsportsmanlike conduct                                              -- -10 yards from LOS & Loss of Down

     2.     Scoring

     ◦     6 points for TD

     ◦     1 point for PAT from 3 yard line, 2 point PAT from 10 yard line.

     ◦     2 points if a team returns a PAT back across the goal line.

     ◦     Official score is kept by field referee and game manager.

     3.     Tie Breaker

     ◦     After coin flip to determine first possession, teams will alternate 4 down series from the 15 yard line.

     ◦     A winner is determined when one team scores during its possession and the other does not.

     ◦     If a second overtime period is necessary, each team must then go for two points on the conversion attempts.

     4.     Time

     ◦     Teams will play two 25 minute halves (continuous clock for each half - see: “starting the game”). B. No half-time (teams simply reset to 45 yd line & begin 2nd half with home team in possession)

     ◦     No time outs. (Exception: Injuries. All games will halt until player(s) can be removed as soon as safety dictates).

     ◦     Approximately 15 minutes between games - games should start every hour on the hour.

     ◦     7 on 7 tournaments require that all games start/end at the same time.

     ◦     Teams must be on site and ready to play when scheduled.

     ◦     If a team(s) are late and can not start when the tournament officially starts, they will begin play with whatever time is left on the tournament clock – not to exceed 10 minutes of 1st half.

     ◦     Forfeit will occur after 10 minutes of the 1st half.

     ◦     Injury time outs may reduce the amount of time between halves and/or between games to maintain the game schedules.

     5.     Secondary Coverages

     ◦     Coverage will be the choice of each participating team.

     6.     Squad Members

     ◦     Players: Maximum of 20 players per team. This rule will be strictly enforced.

     ◦     Teams must have a minimum of 6 players to start a game.


     7.  Tournament / League Fees:

     ◦     For Tournaments, there will be a flat fee of $650 per team.  For Leagues, there will be a flat fee of $350 per team.  This is regardless of minimum number of players on the roster. Maximum roster size is 20 players.

     ◦     Registration fees for all events (league or tournament play) are due at the time of registration to secure teams spot in events.  

     ◦     For Tournaments, teams WILL NOT be responsible for a $25 per game officials fee,

     ◦     For league games, teams WILL be responsible for a $25 per game officials fee.

     ◦     Registration fees will cover the following costs:     

          - Player and event supplemental insurance (For League Play). Players will have the option of purchasing supplemental insurance to cover them in the event of an injury while playing.  If a player does not want the insurance coverage, they will be required to sign a medical waiver for our events.  Player health and safety is one of our top priorities.  

          - Fields with turf playing surfaces (if at all possible).  Our intent is to provide the best playing surfaces possible or our event and league participants.  As such, our goal is to host each and every event with turf fields as our first priority.

          - Trophies and or cash rewards.

          - Event Security.

          - Event official staff and personnel at every location and game.

          - Live streaming and game recording.  All of our event games (both leagues and tournaments), are live streamed and posted for VOD on the Fieldhouse Sports Entertainment Network (FSEN) digital platform (IOS/Android App, Amazon Firestick App, ROKU App, website, and social media sites.

     8.  Officials     

     ◦     2 - Referees will be used for each game

          - Field Judge

          - Back Judge

     ◦     In some instances, there will be 3 - Referees for each games

     9.  Coaches

     ◦     Each team must have a coach accompany it to any/all events. This individual is responsible for the action of those representing his school.

     ◦     Team coaches may also be a player.  

     ◦     Team coaches will be identified at the beginning of each game.  

     ◦     A team may not have more than four (4) coaches on the sideline.

     10.  The referee will call all penalties.

     ◦     Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play.  This is considered a judgement call.

     ◦     Players cannot question judgement calls. Only the team captain or the head coach may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and rule interpretations.

     11.  All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage, except for SPOT FOULS.

     12.  Games cannot end on a defensive penalty unless the offense declines.

     13.  If the distance to the goal is shorter than the penalty yardage, then the penalty will be assessed half the distance to the goal.

     14.  Loss of down means that down is consumed.


     15.  Any loss of down on the third down results in a turnover on downs and the other team taking possession.

     16.  The ball must be snapped between the legs to start play.

     17.  Substitutions may be made on any dead ball. You must always substitute from the same side of the field.

     18.  Team must have a minimum of four (4) players but no more than five (5) on the field at a time.

     19.  The play is ruled “dead” when:

     ◦     Ball-carrier’s flag is pulled

     ◦     Ball-carrier steps out of bounds

     ◦     Incomplete pass

     ◦     Ball hits the ground

     ◦     Touchdown, PAT or safety is scored

     ◦     Ball-carrier’s knee hits the ground

     ◦     Ball-carrier’s flag falls out (ball is spotted where the flag is on the ground)

     ◦     Receiver has one (1) or no flags when catching the ball (ball is spotted where the receiver caught the ball)

     20.  Any player who starts a play without a flag is down where he or she touches the ball

     21.  There are no fumbles! Ball is spotted where the ball-carrier’s feet were at the time of the fumble.

     22.  In the case of an inadvertent whistle, the offense has two options:

     ◦     Take the ball where it was when the whistle blew down is consumed

     ◦     Replay the down from the original line of scrimmage

     23. Failure to Pay Entry Fee

     ◦     There will be a flat rate $250 per team for touraments regardless of the minimum number of players. The maximum number of players is 20.

     ◦     Violation will result in a disqualification from current tournament / league.

Overtime Rules

Referees will conduct a coin toss to start the overtime period, with the winning team deciding on first or second possession. Teams will attempt to score in the same end zone. Each team will then have four downs to score from the 20 yard line. If a team scores, they will have the opportunity to go for one, two, or three extra points. If a tie occurs after the first round, then teams will repeat using the same format.  However, the team that defended first is now on offense first. During the regular season, if after two overtimes a team has not won, the game will end in a tie.  During the playoffs, if a third round is needed, then the teams must go for two or three extra points. The game will be decided when one team scores more points in the round. No first downs will be awarded except in the case of a penalty.

Playoff Elgibility

All players participating in the playoffs must be on the official team roster and have played at least 1 regular season game. If an opposing team believes one of the players on the other team hasn’t played in an official regular season game and/or isn’t on the official team roster they can protest that player. If a team checks in a player who isn’t on the official league roster and the opposing team protests, said team will automatically forfeit the game.

Forfeit Policy

If your team forfeits a game during the season, the following rules apply: 

First Offense: Loss of game. Score marked: 21-0          

Second Offense: Loss of game and ability to make the playoffs. Score marked: 21-0           

Third Offense: Removal from the league.          

If you know in advance that your team is going to forfeit a game, we encourage you to contact us immediately so we can inform your opponent.           

Teams have until ten minutes past the designated start time to field a full squad (or the league minimum of players required according to rules). If at that time a team is unable to field a legal team, they forfeit the game. The teams may utilize the playing field during their allotted time to play an unofficial game. The official score will be marked as a loss with the respective forfeit score of 21-0.


We enforce a “Zero Tolerance Policy” in regards to behavior of players, captains, and fans. Taunting, trash talking, or abusive language will not be tolerated. Referees and league staff will have the right to reprimand or eject players, managers, or fans depending on the severity of the situation. Abusive behavior toward the referee will not be tolerated. An ejection carries a two game suspension (including the current game). In extreme cases, the player will be asked to leave the premises without refund. The severity of the punishment will be based on the discretion of the referee and league staff. Only captains of respective teams are allowed to approach the referee with questions or concerns in a respective manner. Teams charging the field of play to question or complain a call will be subject to automatic forfeit for that game.

Alcohol and smoking is not allowed on playing fields.

Any rules not covered or protests will be handled by the Referee.

There will be no refunds allowed for rain delays or cancellations. If the league is postponed due to weather, we will reschedule to a later date. There will be no refunds if you are not able to furnish a team on the makeup date.

Flag Football is played in the rain if at all possible unless the Referee or Facility Representative decide it is necessary to postpone due to dangerous field conditions or lightning. If lightning occurs, all attempts will be made to resume play 30 minutes after the last lightning flash is viewed and the umpire deems it safe to resume play. The games will resume as scheduled if at all possible, or shortened if necessary.

League Authority



Alcoholic Beverages

At no time is alcoholic beverages allowed at any of the fields, stadiums, or parks that games take place.  

     ◦     Any fan found to break this rule will be banned from NAFFL events for an entire year (12-months).

     ◦     Any player who breaks this rule will be removed from the game and not allowed to participate in any NAFFL events for an entire year (12-months).

Tournament Tiebreaker

     ◦     Head-to-Head, Poins Scored, Points Allowed will determine the pool winners or teams to advance.

     ◦     In a three way tie, only the scores of games between teams in the tie will be counted. Once a winner has been declared, the remaining two teams will revert back to head-to-head to break the remaining tie.

     ◦     A forfeit will be treated the same as a qualifying team in a bracket. The team forfeiting or the team that has qualified will not count in the tiebreaker scenario when determining head to head, points scored or points allowed. In essence, a bracket with a qualifying or forfeiting team becomes a three team bracket!

Fan Seating

     ◦     Fans MUST sit in the designated area along the sideline.  Only players, coaches, game officials, and league/tournament staff will be allowed on the playing field.

     ◦     Children must be supervised by a responsible individal that is at least 15 years old at all times.

Rules of Play

Game Viewing

NAFFL Leagues

National Adult Flag Football League


Adult League Registration

Youth League Registration