(last updated: 1/4/2015)
What rules are we under: NFL Flag, Air It Out, and a few other leagues were reviewed, and we assembled these rules to fit our taste. The main Portland variation is that the width of field is bigger than any other league. While the other leagues have fields averaging 28 yards wide by 70 yards long, we have fields 35 yards wide and between 70 + 80 yards long. .
Why does it say 5-Man but also it says 4-Man (in the above title to these rules): There are a few times when the games might have to be played 4 versus 4, instead of 5 per side. When 4 players versus 4 players occurs (see scenarios on last page of this rules packet), the game will be played under 4-man flag football rules; luckily the only rule difference is the size of the field (the field is reduced to 30 yards by 60 yards- referees will simply move the cones). Restated: Other than the width of the field, the rules for 4 man flag football are exactly the same as 5 man flag football.
Timing: Game length is two 25-minute halves. There will be a halftime period of 2 to 3 minutes between the first and second half. If the score is tied at the end of regulation time, the game stands as a tie. Officials can stop the clock at their discretion. The teams will be warned when there are two minutes left to play in the second half. For the final 2 minutes, if the game is within 17 points, the official will stop the clock according to standard football rules (high school rules). Games occur on Sundays from 9am to 3pm. Most 5-Man Football league games will not conflict with the 8-Man league (we typically play before or after the 8-Man games). Spring 5-man will be played mostly in the evenings.
Uniforms: Pants or shorts must be a different color than the flags. To purchase flags, call Frank Bashor’s Sporting Goods. They are located downtown at 112 NW 20th (near the Fred Meyer on NW 20th). Tell them you need the adult recreational flag football flags, called Triple Threat. Bashor’s can be reached at (503) 226-3696. The visiting team will make any changes required. No article of clothing may cover any portion of a player's flag (excludes belts)- this means shirts are required to be tucked in and tight. If your clothing covers any portion of the flag, the referee has the right to make you down upon touch; also, if your shirt gets ripped off because it is hanging out, you have no right to get angry. We also require undershirts to be the same color if you are to wear them. Dark blue with black will work as an undershirt. Captains are required to have extras in case players forget. Penalty: 5 yards.
Players may play on 2 teams: Players may play on 2 teams during the season, but no more than 2 teams. With 3 games left on your schedule, it is too late to add players. For a player to be eligible in the playoffs, that player must have played at least 1 season game with that team. To be eligible to play on 2 teams in the playoffs, you must have played at least 2 season games on both teams. EXAMPLE: If you played 1 game with one team and a few with the other, you can only play on one team- the one you played more games for.
Payment & Registration Rules: Teams choose the dates and amount of games they would like to play each season (see web site). Payment is due the Tuesday before any league start date. Individuals are encouraged to pay one full week in advance of the start date. To see about start dates and registration information and how to pay, see the web site at www.portlandfoottball.com. There will be no refunds for any reason. The web site is where you go to find everything: rankings, schedules, directions to fields, past season rankings, etc.
Rainy Weather Cancellation Policy: We do not cancel due to rain or cold, at any point. Teams are required to bring players to every game.
Snow or Ice Cancellation: We will not cancel due to snow, unless the highways are snowy or if the highways have ice on them. We do not cancel for cold weather or because it is ‘snowing’. To find out if there is a cancellation due to icy or snowy road conditions, call (503) 997-9216.
Offensive formation: Offense can have players in the backfield.
To start the play: the ball must be snapped between the legs of a center in the fall season. For winter and spring seasons, the center can lateral it to the quarterback upon a verbal command from the quarterback.
Once a ball is spotted: team will have 25 seconds to get a play off. This league highly encourages teams to develop no-huddle offenses (calling out patterns by numbers right before the snap, rather than in a huddle). Teams are encouraged to keep the plays moving, so as to maximize the workout.
Jogging to the spot: On a change of possession, teams are required to jog to the 5-yard line. This encourages athleticism, but also encourages maximizing your playing time. Once the ball is spotted on the 5-yard line (by the referee), teams have 20 seconds to get a play off.
The center cannot take a direct handoff back from the quarterback (no center sneak play).
The quarterback cannot run with the ball past the line of scrimmage even if rushed.
An offense may use multiple handoffs behind the line of scrimmage. Only backward or lateral handoffs are allowed during a down.
Tosses or sweeps behind the line of scrimmage are allowed and are running plays.
"No-running zones" are located 7 yards from each end zone. When the ball starts on or inside the 7-yard line going towards the opponent's end zone, the offense cannot run. On extra points, there will be no running plays (there must be a pass, even a backward pass is okay- to score)
The player who takes the handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
All defensive players are eligible to rush once the ball has been handed off or tossed, or there is a play-action fake or fake handoff.
The ball is spotted where the ball carrier's feet are when the flag is pulled, not where the ball is.
No Stiff Arming: A ball carrier may not stiff-arm, slap at, or push away any defender (flag guarding).
No Spinning: A ball carrier may not spin to avoid the tackle (deflagging). Spinning is allowed moderately if a referee feels it is part of a move to go up field and not a move to avoid being deflagged. This is referee discretion.
Players cannot leave their feet to avoid a defensive player (no diving).
No Flag Guarding: Players are not allowed to bend over, to use stiff arms, to chop down with the arms or in any way guard the flag from being taken by the defense. Some spinning can be a form (perhaps accidental) of flag guarding. He may not shield or guard his flag belt in any manner. This will be at referee discretion.
No Diving: an offensive player may not dive anywhere on the field once he has possession of the ball (no diving for 1st downs or touchdowns). A defensive player may dive to catch the ball or to deflag an opponent.
A defensive player is allowed to dive to obtain a ball carrier’s flag belt or to block a pass to a receiver.
Taking a knee: taking a knee is prohibited. Every possession must be an attempt to advance the ball
CLARIFICATION: Screen blocking, Picks, and Crossing Patterns- Contact is not a part of this league. The general rule is that you are to avoid contact on both sides of the ball; therefore screens, picks, and crossing patterns are all borderline as to their legality in this 5-man league. The screen should be set in a manner that the opponent knows the pick is coming; has time, distance and ability to get around the pick. The only goal of the pick should be to slow the defender from getting to your man. If danger is a part of the pick, even if due to the defender not looking, the fault will be to the person that sets the pick. Some teams never set picks; the league would prefer that, but because some teams use ‘running plays’ every once in a while-picks are needed (and safe for running plays). Restatement- if the screen/pick/crossing pattern causes contact with an unaware defender, the team may be flagged for unsportsmanlike behavior. Screen blocking is legal, but must have these characteristics; there is no way the referees can call this correctly (with 5-man football) every time- it is up to the players to try to play within the rules:
Scoring: Touchdown will award 6 points, Safety will award 2 points, and the extra point is worth 1 point (the extra point attempt will always be from the 7 yard line).
Running up the score: We do want you to go full speed for the hour you are playing, but running up the score will be discouraged.
No kicking or punting is allowed. Teams open the half, and after scores, from their own 5-yard line. If a team elects to “punt” it will turn the ball over to the opposing team at the 5-yard line.
Flags: Each player on the field must wear a ‘Triple Threat One Piece Belt’ with 3 flags, unaltered in any way. The flags must be of contrasting color to the pants. To order flags by mail, call Triple Threat at (928) 445-0456 or call (877) 656-2236, or you can FAX to (928) 445-2642. To pick up flags in Portland, call Frank Bashor’s sporting goods in Portland. Their phone number is (503) 226-3696 and their address is 112 NW 20th in Portland. Explain what league you are in (Mikal Duilio’s league), and that you need adult flag football flags.
Flag Removal: Offensive players must have possession of the ball before they can legally be deflagged. A flag removed inadvertently (not removed by grabbing and pulling) does not cause play to stop. It should continue as if the flag had not been removed. In all situations where a play is in progress and a ball carrier loses his flags either accidentally or inadvertently, the deflagging reverts to a one-hand touch of the ball carrier between the armpits and knees. It is unsportsmanlike conduct and penalized as such for a player to remove his own flags before or during a live ball period. A player may leave his feet to remove opponents' flags. A referee may signal a player down with 1 hand touch.
Capture of Flag: If a flag inadvertently falls to the ground, a two-handed tag between the armpits and knees constitutes capture. It is up to the discretion of the officials as to whether a flag fell or came off by being pulled, you are reminded to play until you hear the whistle. A player while in possession of the ball who touches the ground with any part of his body other than his hands or feet is down at the spot of such touching.
Flag Guarding: Ball carriers will not protect their flags by blocking with arms, hands, or the ball- the opportunity of an opponent to pull or remove a flag. Penalty: 5 yards from the spot of the foul and the down counts. If after a penalty, the ball did not advance beyond the zone line-to-gain and the foul occurred during the fourth down, the ball belongs to the opponents.
Passing Rules: Only players starting 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage can rush the passer.
Receiving Rules: All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off behind the line of scrimmage). Players can be in motion, along the lines of regular football rules. A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception. Players cannot return on to the playing field from an out of bounds position (unless they were pushed out of bounds and immediately come back in).
Interceptions: On an interception, you can try to run it in for a touchdown. If you come short of the touchdown, the ball will be put at the end of your runback.
Rushing the Quarterback: All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of seven yards from the line of scrimmage and delay one second from the center’s snapping motion. Any number of players can rush the quarterback. Players not rushing the quarterback may defend on the line of scrimmage. Once the ball is handed off or tossed, or there is a play-action fake or fake handoff, the seven-yard rule no longer is in effect and all defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage. A special marker, or the referee, will designate seven yards from the line of scrimmage.
It is okay to line up defensively on the line of scrimmage, but you cannot rush or enter the backfield, unless someone is handed the ball, passed the ball, etc. Referee note- we use 1 referee- it is best to stand at this 7-yard mark until the ball is snapped. Upon recognition of a pass, this would be a good point to make strides downfield to watch the ball.
REMEMBER, blocking or tackling is not allowed.
Sportsmanship/Roughing: Foul play will not be tolerated - If the referee witnesses any acts of flagrant contact, tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking, or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game.
Trash talking is illegal (trash talk is talk that may be offensive to officials, opposing players, teams, or spectators). Officials have the right to determine offensive language. If trash talking occurs that disrupts the game, the referee will give a warning. If it continues, the player or players will be ejected from the game.
Offensive Penalties (all 5 yards)
SHOES: If a player is caught wearing illegal shoes during the game (from the inspection to the end of the game), that player will be ejected and the team charged with a penalty. What is illegal: Metal tipped cleats will not be worn on either grass or synthetic field. At synthetic fields, you must wear turf shoes or basketball/tennis shoes only- turf shoes are those defined as ‘non-screw in’ or molded cleats. Restated: Screw in cleats are allowed on grass, but not artificial turf. Metal cleats are not allowed on either.
Uniforms: All players are required to wear the official team uniform of like color jerseys. All jerseys must be tucked inside shorts/pants. A defensive player that grabs the lower part of a ball carriers jersey that is not tucked-in while attempting to "tackle" that ball carrier will not be called for holding or hindering a ball carrier. A jersey that is cut must be short enough so that there is a minimum of four (4) inches from the bottom of the jersey to the player’s waistline. Each player must wear pants or shorts without any belt(s), belt loop(s), pockets or exposed drawstrings. The pants or shorts must be different color than the flags.
All players must sign a waiver and consent form prior to playing in any game. Rosters are limited to 8 players. Teams may add/delete players from the roster up until the 5th week of the season. Rosters are frozen after Week 5.
Field Dimensions and Markings: Length: Each field may vary a bit, but our fields will always be as big or bigger than the national standards for 5 Man Football. Length standards range from 50 to 80 yards, while width standards range from 20 to 30 yards. End Zones range from 7 to 10 yards deep. Our league will have fields 65 to 80 yards long, by 30 to 35 yards wide, depending on the field and whether we are playing the game as a 4-person or a 5-person game.
Possession: a coin toss determines first possession. Loser of the coin toss has choice of end zone to defend. The team that loses the coin toss gets possession at the beginning of the second half starting at its own 5-yard line.
There are no kickoffs: the offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 7-yard line and has three plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield, it has three plays to score a touchdown. If the offense fails to score, the ball changes possession and the new offensive team takes over on its 5-yard line. An automatic first down by penalty will overrule the other requirements regarding three plays to make either a first down or score. If the offensive team fails to cross midfield, possession of the ball changes and the opposition starts its drive from its 5-yard line.
All possession changes, except interceptions, start on the offense's 7-yard line.
Teams change sides at half time.
If a captain of a team requests a time out for explanation of a rule and/or penalty, the time out will be charged to a team. Once the rule has been explained to the captain and all discussion is over, referee to start the clock. The captains of the teams may not take advantage of this rule to stop the clock; referee will use judgment in all cases.
No individual may threaten to throw a punch at or inflict bodily harm towards any other individual or taunt verbally or physically any official or referee (unsportsmanlike conduct). Ejected player or players must leave the park in a timely manner.
The officials have the final say on all judgment calls. No protest of a referee’s judgment call will be permitted. Only the captain of the team may approach the referee on a rule interpretation. The referee has authority to rule promptly and, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, on any situation not specifically covered in the rules. The referee decisions are final in all matters pertaining to the game.
Penalties of an intentional manner to stop the clock, at the referee’s discretion, will not stop the clock. Quick whistle: When a referee blows the whistle before a play actually ends, the team in possession of the ball at the time of the whistle may either return to the previous line of scrimmage and repeat down or take the yardage gained up to when the whistle was blown, loss of down.
JOGGING TRACKS: Respect other park users and stay off of jogging tracks. Please do not park on city grounds. Please respect the field we are at, as you would your own yard. Please pick up litter after your games.
RELEASE FORMS: Every player must sign them and turn them in to the official at the field at their first game, or they can (preferred) fax them to the director at (503) 213-5926. Request release forms by emailing us - firstname.lastname@example.org
THE NUMBER OF OFFICIALS: 1 official
COIN TOSS: At the coin toss in the center of the field, the visiting team Captain will be given the privilege of calling the coin while it is in the air. The winner of the toss will be given his choice of defense, offense, or of designating the end of the field at which the ball will be put in play or may defer his choice to the second half.
ENTRY FOR SUBSTITUTES: No substitute will enter during a down. Between downs any number of eligible substitutes may replace players provided having the replaced players off the field before the ball becomes live completes the substitution.
RE-ENTRY: During the same dead ball interval, no substitute will become a player then withdraw. No player will withdraw and then re-enter as a substitute unless a dead ball foul occurs or there is a charged time out or period ends. Penalty: 5 yards from previous spot
THE BALL: The official ball will be pebble-grained leather or rubber covered and will meet the recommendations for size and shape for a regulation football. The Referee will be the sole judge of any ball offered for play and may change the ball during play at his discretion. During the game each team must use a legal ball of its choice when it is in possession. Exception: The team in possession must use the same ball for third down and fourth down, unless a ball change is necessitated by inclement weather. Penalty: 10 yards
ILLEGAL EQUIPMENT: The use of headgear, shoulder pads, body pads, or shoes with metal tipped cleats, regardless of material is prohibited. Additionally, any unyielding or dangerous equipment is prohibited. Players may use an ace bandage. A soft yielding material not to exceed 3/8” thickness will cover knee braces. No loose jewelry of any kind will be worn (stud earrings and necklaces worn under the jersey accepted).
Unavoidable, incidental contact occurs in flag football. Referees have discretion in assessing penalties.
There are no forfeits in this league. We know that some Sundays, teams may have only 4 players, or even 3 players. We know that on some Sundays, weather may scare some people from coming out... but we will not accept forfeits. When you show up, you should always get a full workout. Out of courtesy for your opponent, you must show up with whatever number of players that you can- even 3 will allow us to make a game happen for your opponents.
Below are SCENARIOS and how to deal with them. Some of the scenarios call for the game to switch to official 4-Man Flag Football rules. Luckily, the only difference with 4-man flag football rules is that the field is only 30 yards wide, not 35 (once the game is officially changed to 4-Man, referees will adjust cones and the game will go on with the same rules as 5-Man).