SETX FFL RULES AND GUIDE

  1.  FIELD, PLAYERS, AND EQUIPMENT

    1. Each game will be played by two opposing teams.  Each team will be allowed no more than eight players on the field at a time.  If a team has less than six players for a game, the opposing team will receive a ‘win’. Each player must be listed on the team’s roster prior to the playing of a game. 

    2. The league will not provide permanent uniforms for teams.  Teams will adhere to the following regarding clothing and equipment worn:

      1. Teams must wear uniformly colored shirts/jerseys.

      2. Teams without uniformly colored shirts/jerseys must forfeit the game, or wear league-supplied “scrimmage jerseys.” (This rule applies to league play only.)

      3. Players are encouraged to wear shorts without pockets.

      4. No metal cleats may be worn during games.

      5. Caps/hats maybe worn, but the bill of a cap must face backward.

      6. No hard pads (ie:  shoulder pads) or helmets may be worn.

    3. The field for each game will be a rectangular shaped field, eighty yards long (excluding the end zones), and no less than forty yards wide.  The end zones will be ten yards deep, and the same width as the rest of the field.  First down markings will be at the following yard lines:  both 20 yard lines and the 40 yard line.  Goal lines and boundaries will also be marked.

    4. An adult-sized, synthetic or genuine leather football will be used for each game.  A team may provide its own football (which will be subject to the preceding standards).  The referee maintains the right to deny a team playing with any ball (for size or inflation reasons).

    5. The league will not provide flags for each team.  A player will provide his/her own flags, and they must comply with the following standards:

      1. Flags will be at least twelve inches in length.

      2. Flags will be either Flag-a-Tag sonic flags, or “mushroom” top flags. NO BALL and SOCKET FLAGS allowed in league or tournament play.

      3. One flag will be worn of each of a player’s hips with no garment/towel/other item covering any portion of the flag.  If flags become moved from a player’s hips, he/she will be notified by the referee, and play will be stopped until the flags are placed in the legal position previously described.  If a player has been warned by the referee, and his/her flags are not placed in the legal position prior to his/her receiving possession of the football, he/she will be called down and the play will be ended wherever the player receives possession of the football.

      4. Flags can NOT be the same color as the players shorts/pants (i.e. white shorts with white flags). If a players flags and shorts match in color, the player must leave the field and can return as soon as his/her flags are legal. No equipment time out will be given.

    6. Players not actively playing in the game (substitutes) must stand at least one yard away from the field of play, and not inside the ten yard-line of either side.

  2. SUPERVISION

    1. Each game will be officiated by at least one referee, who will be paid for his/her services.  The referee will have final and ultimate judgement on all calls/rule enforcement/player expulsion.

    2. Each team shall designate no more than two captains prior to each game.  The captains’ duty will be to communicate with the referee when necessary.  Other than specifically listed in the SETX FFL RULES AND GUIDE, the captains of each game will be the only players/coaches allowed to communicate football matters with the referee during games.

    3. All players/managers/coaches/persons affiliated with any team will adhere to the rules and guidelines set by the referee/board members during tournament and league play.  Failure to adhere to the rules and guidelines will cause the offending party to be made to leave the premises.

    4. Failure to comply with administrative rules (described above and listed throughout this document) will result in a ten yard penalty for the offending team at the referee’s discretion.

    5. The purpose of the referee(s) is not to call every penalty visible.  The referee(s) have two essential purposes:

      1. To provide safety for the game.

      2. To provide fairness for the game.

    6. The referee(s) may call the game in any way in the pursuit of Article 3;e;i and ii.

  3. ROSTERS AND ELIGIBILITY

    1. Each roster may be comprised of no less than eight, but no more than twenty players.

    2. A team must have at least six players to begin a game.

      1. If a team has fewer than six players show up (on its permanent roster), the team will receive a loss.​

      2. If a team has fewer than four players show up (on its permanent roster), the team will receive a forfeit.

      3. Teams may pick up players who are on other teams' rosters with the permission of the captain of the opposing team.​​

        1. Players picked up by a team may not play the position of quarterback.

    3. Permanent rosters must be turned in prior to the start of the league/tournament.

    4. No player may be on more than one permanent roster, or change to another team’s permanent roster after he/she is on a permanent roster until after the season/tournament ends.Rosters are considered permanent at the start of Week 4

    5. Free agents may be added to permanent rosters, but may not change to another team’s permanent roster after playing in a game with a team.

    6. The board may approve permanent roster changes that do not fall within these guidelines by a simple majority of board members present on a case-by-case basis.

    7. To be eligible to play:

      1. A player must be at least fifteen years of age at the beginning of the game (for players under eighteen years of age, a guardian must sign a SETX FFL Waiver Form and give consent to a board member).

      2. A player must sign the SETX FFL Waiver Form.

      3. A player must appear on a roster before the beginning of a game.

      4. All fees must be paid prior to a player/team participating in a game.

  4. PLAYER CONDUCT

    1. Verbal altercations/badgering (including begging of calls) with officials/board members will result in one warning to the entire team in question.  Subsequent violations of this policy will result in suspension.  The length of said suspension will be determined by the referee/board member present.

    2. Verbal altercations between players will result in one warning.  Subsequent violations of this policy will result in removal/ejection.

    3. Intentional violent physical altercations involving anyone present will result in the immediate ejection of the offending party.  Individuals violating this policy will then be suspended for the remainder of the season/tournament and league until a simple majority of board members approve the individual/player to return to the premises.

    4. Definitions:

      1. Removal - At the discretion of the official, a player/coach may be removed from the game for minor infractions for two minutes of the game clock.  Removals will not require the player/coach to leave the facility/park.  If a player is verbally abusive to anyone present or fails to comply with the official's instructions after being removed from the game, he/she may be ejected by the official.

      2. Ejection - Any situation that an official/board member deems unsportsmanlike (to include consumption/possession of alcohol/drugs) may be cause for ejection.  Ejected individuals must leave the premises within two minutes.  Failure of the ejected person to leave the premises within two minutes will result in a forfeit for his/her team even if their team's game has already been played.

        1. 1st Ejection - 1 WEEK SUSPENSION - Ejected individuals ​will be suspended for the following week's game(s).  If the offense occurs during the last week of a league (or last day of a tournament), the individual will be suspended for the first week of the following league or the next tournament.

        2. 2nd Ejection - SUSPENSION FROM LEAGUE - Individuals who are ejected twice during a league will be suspended for the remainder of the league.  Individuals who receive their second ejections during the last week of a league may be suspended for the next league/tournament at the discretion of the board.

        3. If a player has multiple ejections during different leagues, the player may be banned from all SETX FFL events.  This will be at the discretion of the board.

  5. GAMEPLAY

    1. Each game will be preceded by a coin toss.  The following are coin toss procedures:

      1. The referee will address the captains of both teams.

      2. The visiting team will advise the referee of his/her prediction of the coin toss (using the terms “heads” or “tails”).

      3. The referee will then flip the coin, and allow it to land on the ground (in inclement weather, or at his/her discretion, the referee may catch the coin).

      4. The winner of the coin toss will choose from the following options:

        1. Offense (The team will begin on offense, and receive the punt from the other team at the beginning of the game).

        2. Defense (The team will begin on defense, and punt the ball to the other team at the beginning of the game).

      5. The loser of the coin toss will determine which side of the field to begin on.

      6. In the second half, teams will switch ends of the field, and the team that received the initial punt of the first half will punt the ball to the other team.

    2. Each half will begin with a punt from the punting team’s thirty yard line.

    3. After a touchdown occurs, the non-scoring team will obtain possession of the football, and begin on offense at the team’s own twenty yard line.

    4. After a safety occurs, the scoring team will obtain the ball at the team’s own twenty yard line.

    5. If a player obtains possession of the football while inside his/her own end zone, and is downed (either by going out of bounds or any other method), the ball will be placed on the twenty yard line with the team that obtained possession of the football on offense (a touchback).

    6. Each half of the game will be twenty minutes in length.

      1. Time may be kept either by the scoreboard operator, or the referee.

      2. The clock will only stop for referee timeouts (at his/her discretion), by the order of a board member present, or by a team timeout – excluding the last two minutes of each half (described in Article 5;f;iv).

      3. Each team is allowed two timeouts per half, and one timeout per overtime period.  Timeouts will last no longer than two minutes.

      4. During the final two minutes of each half, the clock will stop in the following circumstances:

        1. An incomplete pass.

        2. If a player in possession of the football touches or surpasses a boundary.

        3. A touchdown occurs.

          1. In which case, the clock will restart at the snap of the first offensive play of the non-scoring team.

        4. A change of possession occurs.

        5. A timeout is called.

        6. At the referee’s discretion (for injuries and stoppages of play).

      5. The referee(s) may change timing rules if necessary for safe or efficient gameplay.

        1. Example: If a team is winning by 17 points or more with less than 2 minutes in the game, the referee(s) will inform the clock operator to keep the clock running. ​

    7. A team wins the game when it is leading and time has expired in the second half.

    8. Mercy Rule: If a team is winning by 30 points or more with less than 10 minutes left in the second half, either team can decide to stop the game. If BOTH teams agree to keep playing the remainder of the game will be played with a running clock. The clock will NOT stop for any reason including but not limited to: Timeouts, Injury Timeouts, Touchdowns, etc. This includes the last two minutes of the half.  Please note that a team can take a timeout when the mercy rule is in effect, however only the play clock will be stopped. The official game clock will continue to run.

      1. Exception: If at any point while the mercy rule is in effect and the score gets within 8 points the game will return to regular timing rules.​

      2. During Playoffs and Tournaments: If a team is leading by 30 points or more with less than 10 minutes in the second half the ball game will be over.

    9. If the teams have the same score at the end of regulation time, an overtime period will be played.  The following are overtime procedures:

      1. The team that did not receive the football in the second half will be allowed to be on offense first in the overtime period.

      2. The offensive team will begin play at the forty yard line.

      3. The team will be allowed four untimed (aside from the playclock) plays with the goal of advancing the football as many yards as possible.

      4. There will be no points scored in overtime, only yardage (ie:  A touchdown is however many yards the ball was advanced to get into the end zone – a pass thrown from the twenty-two yard line that is received by a player of the same team in the end zone will count as twenty-two yards for overtime purposes).

        1. After the ball has been advanced into the end zone, the ball will be reset at the forty yard line for the remainder of the team’s plays.

      5. After the first team’s possession has ended, the other team will proceed as was previously described.

      6. An interception ends a team’s possession, however, the team will retain whatever yards were accumulated prior to the interception.

      7. The team that has accumulated the most yardage at the end of the overtime period will be the winner of the game.

      8. If at the end of a regular season game, the teams accumulate the same amount of yardage, the game will end in a tie.

        1. For tournament/playoff games:  If teams accumulate the same amount of yardage, another overtime period will be played, and play will continue in this manner until the game is decided.

  6. PLAYS

    1. The referee must indicate that the game is in play with a whistle before each half/overtime period, after each timeout, and after each change of possession.

    2. A play begins when the center snaps the ball between his/her legs to a player at least five yards away from him/her (in any direction, but at least one yard behind the line of scrimmage).

    3. A play ends when the referee blows his/her whistle to signal that the play is over.

    4. Instances which can cause the end of a play:

      1. A flag is removed from a player who is currently in possession of the football by a defensive player.

      2. The football strikes the ground (other than striking the ground one time before reaching the player receiving the initial snap of the play).

      3. A player who is in possession of the football touches or goes beyond a boundary line.

      4. A player who is in possession of the football scores a touchdown or point after touchdown.

      5. A referee or any other person observes a safety concern necessitating the immediate stoppage of play (if the person is not the referee, he/she should notify the referee immediately).

    5. In the case of an inadvertent whistle, the team in possession of the football at the time of the inadvertent whistle may choose from the following:

      1. Accept the result of the play at that point, and continue to the next play.

      2. Replay the down from the point that the down (subject to the inadvertent whistle) began.

    6. The team with possession of the football at the end of the play is responsible for retrieving their own ball and making it ready for play (bringing it to the line of scrimmage).

    7. Once the ball is returned to the line of scrimmage (or it has been five seconds after the end of the previous play – whichever occurs first), the offensive team will have twenty-five seconds to snap the football.  The referee will have discretion concerning this procedure.

  7. SCORING

    1. A touchdown will grant the scoring team six points.  A point after touchdown will grant the scoring team one point if scored from the three yard line, and two points if scored from the seven yard line.

      1. A player scores a touchdown or a point after touchdown when the player enters any portion of the end zone with at least one flag crossing the end zone’s front plane with possession of the football, or receiving the football (gaining possession) with at least one foot down in the end zone at the time of possession.

    2. A field goal will grant the scoring team three points.  The following are the procedures for a field goal:

      1. The captain of the offensive team must declare that a field goal will be kicked to the referee within ten seconds.

      2. The line of scrimmage will be advanced five yards toward the kicking team’s goal line.

      3. The players will move from the middle of the field to the satisfaction of the referee(s).

      4. There will be no snap on this play.

      5. The holder may place the football on his/her toe (with that foot flat on the ground) or on the ground itself at or behind or at the new line of scrimmage.

      6. The kicker must kick the ball before the playclock expires to avoid a delay of game penalty.

      7. The defensive team may have three players in between the goal line and back boundary of its own end zone in order to return the kick if possible.  All other defensive players must be within five yards of the new line of scrimmage, but not near where the ball is kicked from.

      8. Players may move as they wish after the ball is kicked.

      9. If the field goal is not successful, the defensive team will gain possession of the football at the original line of scrimmage.

      10. If the field goal is successful, the defensive team will gain possession of the football at its own twenty yard line.

      11. If the field goal is unsuccessful, and the football lands in the field of play, the opposing team may return it as if it were a punt.

    3. A safety will grant the scoring team two points.  The following are the instances in which a safety is scored:

      1. A player in possession of the football has his/her flag pulled by the opposing team before he/she has advanced past the goal line (excluding a touchback).

      2. A player in possession of the football breaches the boundaries at the sides or front of his/her own end zone.

      3. When any post-snap offensive penalty is committed by the offensive team while behind its own goal line (ie:  blocking or holding).

      4. A safety will not be granted if a player obtains possession of the football inside his/her own end zone (during an interception or while receiving a punt) if he/she crosses a boundary or is downed (either by his/her flag being pulled, or any other method) if he/she does not carry the ball beyond the goal line after obtaining possession of the football (touchback).

    4. If a point after touchdown attempt is intercepted (either a pitch or pass) is returned to the defensive team’s scoring end zone (in the same manner as scoring a touchdown listed above), the team intercepting the football will receive two points.

  8. POSSESSION OF THE FOOTBALL

    1. A player gains possession of the football when he/she is in full control of the football with at least one foot in bounds, and no part of his/her body touching a boundary line (or beyond the boundary line) simultaneously.

    2. A player may not have any part of his/her body go out of bounds or touch a boundary line, and touch the football without it first touching another player first during a play.  If this occurs during a pass, the play will be ended as an incomplete pass.  If this occurs subject to a pitch, the play will be whistled dead, and the ball will be placed on the spot where it was touched by the player receiving the pitch.

    3. If a player fumbles the ball, and the ball strikes the ground, the play is dead where the ball strikes the ground (unless the ball is fumbled forward, in which case, the ball will be placed at the spot where the player lost possession at).

    4. In the case of simultaneous possession, the offensive team will be granted possession of the football.

    5. If a player’s flag falls off (not as the result of a defensive player’s action or the flag was pulled shortly after the player ceased having possession of the football), and the player is in possession of the football or comes into possession of the football, the player must be touched by a defensive player before the player is considered down.

  9. SERIES OF DOWNS

    1. Each time a team begins an offensive series (whether it be after receiving a punt, or gaining possession by an interception or by a turnover on downs), the team will have four downs in order to reach the next first down line or its scoring goal line, or if the time in the half expires.

    2. The first down lines will be at both twenty yard lines and the forty yard line.

    3. Gaining a first down will reset the offensive team’s downs, and they will be allowed four more downs in order to reach the next first down line or goal line.

  10. LINE OF SCRIMMAGE

    1. The line of scrimmage is an imaginary line perpendicular to each sideline from where the ball is placed on the field.

    2. All offensive players must be behind or on the line of scrimmage before the snap of the football.

    3. Offensive players may go in motion before the snap of the ball, but must be set before the snap of the football.  An exception is:

      1. A single player may be in lateral or backward motion at the snap of the football.

    4. No defensive player may line up with any part of his/her body beyond the line of scrimmage (on the offensive side).  No defensive player may line up closer than two yards away from the center in all directions.

  11. SCREENING AND RUSHING

    1. Any number of players may rush the quarterback/player in possession of the football in the backfield.

    2. It is the rusher’s duty to avoid the blocking back, the blocking back has no obligation to avoid the rusher.

    3. Blocking backs must keep hands either locked behind the player’s back, or with both thumbs inside the flag belt while screening in the backfield.

    4. Blocking backs may not use knees or elbows to screen or strike defensive players in the backfield.

    5. No player may screen or block beyond the line of scrimmage.

  12. PASSING

    1. A team is allowed one forward pass from behind the line of scrimmage on each play.

    2. A team is allowed two backward/lateral passes/pitches (excluding handoffs) in the backfield.  After the second backward/lateral pass/pitch, the ball must be advanced (by running) beyond the line of scrimmage.

    3. If a player’s arm is in forward motion, passing the football, while his/her flag is being pulled, the player will not be considered down, and the result of the pass will stand.

  13. RUNNING WITH THE FOOTBALL

    1. A player in possession of the football may carry the football in any manner that does not block the pulling of his/her flag.

    2. Players may pitch the football backward/laterally any number of times beyond the line of scrimmage.

    3. A player in possession of the football must avoid defenders and not initiate contact.  (Defenders have no duty to move out of the path of a player who is in possession of the football).

    4. A player in possession of the football may spin or jump while running with the football.  (A defensive holding penalty will not be called while a player in possession of the football is in the process of spinning or jumping).

    5. If a player in possession of the football dives or leaves his/her feet in a reckless manner (the referee will have discretion on what is considered reckless), the play will be dead, and the ball will be spotted were the player initiated the dive or other conduct was initiated.

    6. When a player’s (who is in possession of the football) flag is pulled, the ball will be spotted where the player’s furthest flag (in specific, the hard plastic “connector” portion) was at the time a flag was pulled.

  14. RECEIVING

    1. All players on the field on both teams are eligible receivers.

    2. A player must obtain possession of the football (see Article 8) to make a reception and advance the football.

    3. Defensive players may intercept forward, backward, and lateral passes.

  15. PUNTS

    1. A captain of the offensive team must declare that the team is punting before the play begins, with at least ten seconds remaining on the playclock.

    2. The referee will allow the defensive team at least five seconds to get into whatever punt formation it chooses prior to allowing the play to occur.

    3. There is no snap necessary on a punt.

    4. The team receiving the punt may have up to three players more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage (toward their own end zone).  All other players on the team receiving the punt must line up within one yard of the line of scrimmage, but not on the punting team’s side of the line of scrimmage.

    5. After the football is kicked, the players on the receiving team may move in any direction they wish (without setting blocks or screens).

    6. The football may strike the ground any number of times before a player touches it.

    7. If a player touches the football, and the football strikes the ground again, the play will be dead, and the football will be spotted where the player touched it (muffed).

    8. A player on the team receiving the punt may gain possession of the football and advance it.

    9. If a player on the punting team touches the football while it is on the ground, touches it before it strikes the ground, or gains possession of the football before a player on the punt receiving team touches/gains control of it, the football will be spotted where the football was when the player on the punting team touched/gained possession of it.

    10. If a punted football goes into the punt receiving team’s own end zone, the play will be dead, and the result will be a touchback, with the football spotted at the punt receiving team’s own twenty yard line.

    11. Punts beginning at the first and second halves of the game will proceed as follows:

      1. The punting team (all eight players) will line up on or behind its own twenty yard line.

      2. There will be no snap.  The punter will punt the football from anywhere behind or at the thirty yard line previously described.

      3. No players on the punting team may cross aforementioned thirty yard line until the football has been punted (the penalty will be offsides).

      4. At least five players on the receiving team must line up within one yard of the thirty yard line nearest the punting team.

      5. Up to three players on the receiving team may line up anywhere between the aforementioned forty yard line and the back boundary of the receiving team’s own end zone.

      6. If a punt lands out of bounds, the receiving team will have the option of beginning their drive either where the football went out of bounds, or on their own thirty-five yard line.

      7. Aside from the procedures listed above (15,j,i-vi), punts beginning the first and second halves of the game will proceed and follow the same rules any other punt.

  16. PENALTY ENFORCEMENT

    1. For a penalty that occurs during a play (live ball foul), the referee will defer to the non-offending team’s captain, who will accept or decline the penalty.

    2. All penalties occurring before or after a play will be enforced without consulting a team captain.

    3. If the yardage for a penalty is more than half of the distance to the goal line (for an offensive team committing a penalty:  its own goal line; for a defensive team committing a penalty:  its own goal line), the football will be advanced half of the distance to the goal line instead of the normal yardage for the penalty.

  17. OTHER

If an offensive player commits flag guarding beyond the line to gain for a first down, the offensive team will be granted the first down, but the line of scrimmage (after the penalty is assessed) may be behind the previous first down line.  Example:  If the line to gain a first down is the forty yard line, and a player with possession of the football commits flag guarding beyond the forty yard line at the thirty eight yard line, his/her team will be granted the first down.  The line of scrimmage, however, will be the team’s own thirty-seven yard line after the penalty is assessed, and the new line to gain a first down will be the twenty yard line.

A hand-off is not considered a lateral pass/pitch.

If a person who is on a team in a league uses SETX FFL social media in a derogatory, or disparaging manner regarding the league or any person(s) associated with the league, that person will be banned from use of the league's social media pages and accounts.  If the behavior continues, the board will decide on a proper punishment, or if that person/team should be banned from SETX FFL activities entirely.

Concerning the rules:  We realize that there may be some errors in the rules.  If any mistakes are observed, please email them to setxflagfootballleague@gmail.com so that the rules can be updated and kept as accurate as possible.  Please understand that the rules will forever be a work in progress in an effort to make SETX FFL a more organized, safe, exciting, and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.  Feel free to email us with any questions concerning the rules or anything else flag football related.

©MMXX SETX FFL

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