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BRYC FLAG FOOTBALL RULES

DEFINITIONS:

Boundary Lines

The outer perimeter of the field. They include the sidelines and back of the end zone lines.

Line of Scrimmage

An imaginary line running through the point of the football and across the width of the field.

Line-to-Gain

The line the offense must pass to get a first down or score.

Rush Line

An imaginary line running across the width of the field seven yards (into the defensive side) from the line of scrimmage.

Offense

The team with possession of the ball.

Defense

The team opposing the offense to prevent it from advancing the ball.

Passer

The offensive player that throws the ball and may or may not be the quarterback.

Rusher

The defensive player assigned to rush the quarterback to prevent him/ her from passing the ball by pulling his/her flags or by blocking the pass.

Non-Contact Blocker

An offensive player along the line of scrimmage that establishes a position at the time the ball is snapped. This position does not apply to all divisions.

Downs (1-2-3-4)

The offensive team has four attempts or “downs” to advance the ball. It must cross the line to gain to get another set of downs or to score.

Live Ball

Refers to the period of time that the play is in action. Generally used in regard to penalties. Live ball penalties are considered part of the play and must be enforced before the down is considered complete.

Dead Ball

Refers to the period of time immediately before or after a play. Whistle sound made by an official using a whistle that signifies the end of the play or a stop in the action for a timeout, halftime or the end of the game.

Inadvertent Whistle

Official’s whistle that is performed in error.

Charging

An illegal movement of the ball-carrier directly at a defensive player who has established position on the field. This includes lowering the head or initiating contact with a shoulder, forearm or the chest. In a division that includes non-contact blockers, charging includes an illegal movement at a non-contact blocker (offense) who has established position on the field.

Flag Guarding

An illegal act by the ball-carrier to prevent a defender from pulling the ball-carrier’s flags by stiff arm, lowering elbow or head or by blocking access to the runner’s flags with a hand or arm.

Shovel Pass

A legal pitch attempted beyond the line of scrimmage. The quarterback "shovels" the ball directly forward to a receiver.

Lateral or Pitch

A backward toss of the ball by the quarterback.  

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

A rude, confrontational or offensive behavior or language.

 

BEFORE WE PLAY:

Referees may not begin games if:

  1. There are dogs or other pets within the facility. Absolutely no animals are allowed on Woodson’s campus or near the field of play. Having animals with the facility will halt all game play.

  2. There are tents, camping chairs, etc within five yards of the field of play, or on the Woodson turf. There are no tents, camping chairs, etc. allowed on the stadium turf.  

  3. All players have not been inspected to verify there are no metal cleats, no belt loops, and no pockets (or that pockets are taped). 

EQUIPMENT:

  • The league provides each player with an official flag belt and NFL FLAG team jersey. Teams will use footballs provided.
  • Players must wear shoes. Metal cleats are not allowed.
  • Players must wear a mouth guard. These are not provided by the league. If a player does not have a mouth guard they will not be able to play. This for their safety and the safety of other players.
  • Players may tape their forearms, hands and fingers. Players may wear gloves, elbow pads and knee pads.
  • Braces, such as a knee brace, with exposed metals are not allowed.
  • Players must remove all jewelry, hats and do-rags. Winter beanies are allowed.
  • Players’ jerseys must be tucked into shorts or pants if they hang below the belt line.
  • Players may not wear pants or shorts that have belt loops or pockets. If a player has pockets, the pockets must be taped.
    • Coaches and Parents are responsible to ensure their player’s pockets are taped.
  • Flag belts cannot be the same color as shorts or pants.

FIELD:

  • The field dimensions will vary based on Division and field availability. Typically, fields are 30 yards by 70 yards with two 10-yard end zones, and a midfield line-to-gain.
  • No-run zones precede each line-to gain by 5 yards. No-run zones are in place to prevent teams from conducting power run plays. While in the no-run zones (a 5-yard imaginary zone before midfield and before the end zone), teams cannot run the ball in any fashion. All plays must be pass plays, even with a handoff.
    • There will not be a No-Run zone in the 7-8 Year Old Division.
  •  Stepping on the boundary line is considered out of bounds.
  • Each offensive team approaches only TWO no-run zones in each drive (one zone 5 yards from midfield to gain the first down, and one zone 5 yards from the goal line to score a TD).

ROSTERS:

  • Home teams wear color-sided jerseys. Visiting teams wear white-sided jerseys.
  • Teams must consist of at least five players. Teams must start games with a minimum of four players. In the event of an injury, a team with insufficient substitute players may play with four players on the field but no fewer than four.

Timing and Overtime:

  • Games are played on a 40 minute continuous clock with two 20 minute halves unless one team gains a 28-point advantage, which will then end the game. Clock stops in the last two minutes of each half for incomplete passes or running out of bounds; timeouts and injuries.
  • Halftime is two minutes.
  • Each time the ball is spotted, a team has 30 seconds to snap the ball. Teams will receive one warning before a delay-of-game penalty is enforced.
  • Each team has two 30-second timeouts per half.
  • Officials can stop the clock at their discretion.
  • In the event of an injury, the clock will stop then restart when the injured player is removed from the field of play.

OVERTIME:

If the score is tied at the end of 40 minutes, an overtime period will be used to determine a winner. Overtime format is as follows: A coin flip will determine the team that chooses to be on offense or defense first.

  1. During the regular season, if the score is tied after the second overtime, the game result will be a tie.  During the playoffs, overtime will continue until a winner is determined.

  2. Home team calls the toss to determine the team that chooses to be on offense or defense first.  If a second round of overtime must be played, the team that lost the coin toss will get to choose offense or defense for the start of the second round of overtime. This process continues with teams alternating who gets to choose to be on offense or defense to start out during every round of overtime.

  3. The referee will determine which end of the field the overtime will take place on.

Each team will take turns getting one (1) play from the defense’s 5-yard line for one point or the defense’s 10-yard line for two points. Whether to go for one or two points is up to the offensive team. Whether or not the team that begins on offense converts the team that started on defense gets a chance on offense to win or tie by converting a one- or two-point play of their own.

Example: Team A starts on offense and chooses to go for one point from the 5-yard line and is successful. Team B is then on offense and can choose to either go for one point from the 5-yard line to tie and force a second round of overtime or to go for two points from the 10-yard line for the win. If the second team on offense in an overtime round fails to beat or match the team that went first, the team that went first wins.

Both teams must “go for two” from the 10-yard line starting with the second round of overtime.

All regulation period rules and penalties are in effect.

There are no timeouts.  

Interceptions are returnable in OT, and worth 2 points.
   --  Interceptions returned for a score in the first or second overtime period, the game is over


SCORING:

  • Touchdown: 6 points
  • PAT (point after touchdown): 1 point (5-yard line) or 2 points (10-yard line) Note: 1 point PAT is pass only; 2 point PAT can be run or pass.
  • A team that scores a touchdown must declare whether it wishes to attempt a 1-point conversion (from the 5-yard line) or a 2-point conversion (from the 10-yard line). Any change, once a decision is made to try for the extra point, requires a charged timeout. A decision cannot be changed after a penalty.
  • Interceptions on conversions can be returned. The returning team will be awarded the amount of points the extra point attempt was for (1 point or 2 points)
  • Safety: 2 points. A safety occurs when the ball-carrier is declared down in his/her own end zone. Runners can be called down when their flags are pulled by a defensive player, a flag falls out, they step out of bounds, their knee or arm touches the ground, a player has possession of the ball and fumbles it in the end zone, or if a snapped ball lands beyond the end zone.
  • After one team is winning by 28 points or more, the game is over. Once a 28 or more point advantage is gained, no PAT will be attempted. The game will continue in scrimmage mode for the remainder of the game. In all divisions, the winning team should rotate their players into different positions, if they have not already done so.
  • Forfeits are scored 28-0 for the winning team.

COACHES:

Coaches are expected to adhere to BRYC’s and NFL FLAG philosophies, coaching guidelines and code of conduct.

One (1) Coach is allowed on the field to direct players according to need and division.

Defensive coaches in ALL age groups must move to the sidelines before the snap of the ball; the offensive coach can remain behind the offense..

LIVE BALL/DEAD BALL:

  • The ball is live at the snap of the ball and remains live until the official whistles the ball dead.
  • The official will indicate the neutral zone and line of scrimmage. It is an automatic dead ball foul if any player on defense or offense enters the neutral zone. In regard to the neutral zone, the official may give both teams a “courtesy” neutral zone notification to allow their players to move back behind the line of scrimmage.
  • A player who gains possession in the air is considered inbounds as long as one foot comes down in the field of play.
  • The defense may not mimic the offensive team signals by trying to confuse the offensive players, while the quarterback is calling out signals to start the play. This will result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
  • Substitutions may be made on any dead ball.
  • Any official can whistle the play dead.

Play is ruled “dead” when:

  1. The ball hits the ground, except for fumbled snaps. On a fumbled snap any player can pick up the ball, at which point that player then becomes the quarterback and therefore cannot run (unless rushed) and the play may resume. However, if it appears a play should be called dead to either avoid a collision or for any other reason, the call may be called dead at any referee’s discretion.

  2. The ball-carrier’s flag is pulled.

  3. The ball-carrier steps out of bounds.

  4. A touchdown, PAT or safety is scored.

  5. The ball-carrier’s knee or arm hits the ground.

  6. The ball-carrier’s flag falls out.

  7. The receiver catches the ball while in possession of one or no flag(s).

  8. The 7 second pass clock expires.

  9. Inadvertent whistle. NOTE: There are no fumbles. The ball is spotted where the ball-carrier’s feet were at the time of the fumble.

  10. In the case of an inadvertent whistle, the down will be replayed.

RUNNING:

  • The ball is spotted where the runner’s feet are when the flag is pulled, not where the ball carrier has the ball. Forward progress will be measured by the player’s front foot.
  • The quarterback is the offensive player who receives the snap. The quarterback may not run with the ball past the line of scrimmage, even when rushed. Rushing is only allowed in the 12-14 year old and 15-18 year old Divisions. Rushing in 7-8 and 9-11 year old divisions are not allowed. In divisions where rushing is allowed, a quarterback may not run once the rusher crosses the line of scrimmage.
    • The quarterback cannot run if rushed when ball is snapped in a no run zone.
  • “Handoffs” must be directly handed to the would-be ball carrier. Handoffs may be in front, behind, or to the side of the offensive player receiving the ball, but must be behind the line of scrimmage. The offense may use multiple handoffs. Shovel passes are allowed if the pass is forward and across the line of scrimmage.
    • Screen passes are not allowed.
  • Backward pitches are allowed, but not cannot be an overhand pass.
  • “Center sneak” play is allowed as long as the quarterback takes full possession and then hands the ball back to the center.
  • Absolutely NO laterals past the line of scrimmage of any kind.
  • No-run Zones are located 5 yards before each end zone and 5 yards before midfield and are designed to avoid short-yardage power-running situations. Teams are not allowed to run in these zones. Reminder: Each offensive team approaches only TWO no-run zones in each drive – one 5 yards from midfield to gain the first down and one 5 yards from the goal line to score a TD).
  • Any player who receives a handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Once the ball has been handed off in front, behind or to the side of the quarterback, all defensive players are eligible to rush/blitz (only in divisions that allow rushing).
  • Runners may not leave their feet to advance the ball. Diving, leaping or jumping to avoid a flag pull is considered flag guarding.
  • Spinning and juking are allowed, but players cannot leave their feet to avoid a flag pull. Players spinning out of control will be called for flag guarding.
  • Runners may leave their feet if there is a clear indication that he/she has done so to avoid collision with another player without a flag guarding penalty enforced.
  • No blocking or “screening” is allowed at any time.
  • Offensive players without the ball must stop their motion once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage. No running with the ball-carrier.
  • Flag obstruction – All jerseys MUST be tucked in before play begins. The flags must be on the player’s hips and free from obstruction. Deliberately obstructed flags will be considered flag guarding.

PASSING:

  • All passes must be from behind the line of scrimmage and must be made forward across the line of scrimmage.
  • Backward passes are not allowed and will be blown dead.
  • The quarterback may throw the ball away to avoid a sack.
  • Shovel passes are allowed as long as they are across the line of scrimmage. Laterals, pitches and screens are not allowed.
  • The quarterback has a seven (7) second “pass clock.” If a pass or legal handoff is not made within the seven seconds, the play is dead and the down is consumed. The ball is then returned to the line of scrimmage. If the QB is standing in the end zone at the end of the 7-second clock, the ball is returned to the line of scrimmage, this is not considered a safety.
  • Once the ball is handed off, the 7-second rule is no longer in effect.

RECEIVING:

  • All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off behind the line of scrimmage).
  • Only one player is allowed in motion at a time. All motion must be parallel to the line of scrimmage and no motion is permitted toward the line of scrimmage.
  • A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception.
  • In the case of simultaneous possession by both an offensive and defensive player, possession is awarded to the offense.
  • Interceptions change the possession of the ball at the point of interception. Interceptions are the only change of possession that do not start on the 5-yard line. Interceptions are returnable, except for interceptions during 1 or 2 point conversions after touchdowns.

RUSHING THE PASSER (12-14 & 15-18 Year Old Divisions) (Blitz):

  • There is one blitz allowed per four downs.
  • All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of seven yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. Any number of players can rush the quarterback. Players not rushing the quarterback can defend on the line of scrimmage.
  • Once the ball is handed off, 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 a rush line seven yards from the line of scrimmage. Defensive players should verify they are in the correct position with the official on every play.

A legal rush is:

  1. Any rush from a point 7 yards from the defensive line of scrimmage.

  2. A rush from anywhere on the field AFTER the ball has been handed off by the quarterback.

  3. If a rusher leaves the rush line early (breaks the 7 yard area), they may return to the rush line, reset and then legally rush the quarterback.

  4. If a rusher leaves the rush line early and the ball is handed off before he/she crosses the line of scrimmage, he/she may legally rush the quarterback.

A penalty may be called if:

  1. The rusher leaves the rush line before the snap crosses the line of scrimmage before a handoff or pass – illegal rush (5 yards from the line of scrimmage and first down).

  2. Any defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped – offsides (5 yards from line of scrimmage and first down).

  3. Any defensive player not lined up at the rush line crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is passed or handed off – illegal rush (5 yards from the line of scrimmage and first down).

  4. A rusher charges through an offensive player who established themselves as a non-contact blocker (if applicable).

Special circumstances:

  • Teams are not required to rush the quarterback with the seven second clock in effect.
  • Teams are not required to identify their rusher before the play.
  • Players rushing the quarterback may attempt to block a pass; however, NO contact can be made with the quarterback in any way. Blocking the pass or attempting to block the pass and then making contact with the passer will result in a roughing the passer penalty.
  • The offense cannot impede the rusher in any way, If the “path or line” is occupied by a moving offensive player, then it is the offense’s responsibility to avoid the rusher. Any disruption to the rusher’s path and/or contact will result in an impeding the rusher penalty. If the offensive player does not move after the snap, then it is the rusher’s responsibility to go around the offensive player and to avoid contact.
  • A sack occurs if the quarterback’s flags are pulled behind the line of scrimmage. The ball is placed where the quarterback’s feet are when flag is pulled.
  • A safety is awarded if the sack takes place in the offensive team’s end zone.

FLAG PULLING:

  • A legal flag pull takes place when the ball-carrier is in full possession of the ball.
  • Defenders can dive to pull flags but cannot tackle, hold or run through the ball-carrier when pulling flags.
  • It is illegal to attempt to strip or pull the ball from the ball-carrier’s possession at any time.
  • If a player’s flag inadvertently falls off during the play, the player is down immediately upon possession of the ball and the play ends. The ball is placed where the flag lands.
  • A defensive player may not intentionally pull the flags off of a player who is not in possession of the ball.
  • Flag guarding is an attempt by the ball-carrier to prevent a defender from pulling down their flags. For example, they might stiff arm, cover their flag with their open hand, lower their elbow, or intentionally cover the flags with the football jerseys.

FORMATIONS:

  • Offenses must have a minimum of one player on the line of scrimmage (the center). The quarterback must be off the line of scrimmage.
  • No motion is allowed toward the line of scrimmage.
  • Movement by a player who is set or a player who runs toward the line of scrimmage while in motion is considered a false start.
  • The center must start with the ball on the ground and "snap" the ball with a rapid and continuous motion to a player in the backfield. Divisions 12-14 and up must snap between their legs, unless otherwise agreed upon by both coaches pre-game.

UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT:

If the field monitor or referee witnesses any acts of intentional tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking, purposeful charging, or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player may be ejected from the game, or even potentially suspended from future play. The decision is made at the referee’s discretion. No appeals will be considered. FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!

Offensive or confrontational language is not allowed by anyone, including players, coaches, parents, or other spectators. Officials have the right to determine offensive language. If offensive or confrontational language occurs, the referee may give one warning depending on severity. If it continues, the player(s), coach(es), parent(s), and/or spectator(s) will be ejected from the game/area. This type of conduct could lead to player suspension from future play, forfeiture of the game, or other possible outcomes at the Commissioner’s discretion.

Players may not physically or verbally abuse any opponent, coach or official.

Ball-carriers MUST make an effort to avoid defenders with an established position.

Defenders are not allowed to run through the ball-carrier when pulling flags.

Fans must also adhere to good sportsmanship as well:

  1. Yell to cheer on your players, not to harass officials or other teams.

  2. Keep comments clean and profanity free.

  3. Compliment ALL players, not just one child or team.

  4. Fans are required to keep fields safe and kids friendly:

    1. Keep younger kids and equipment such as coolers, chairs and tents a minimum of 10 yards off the field in the end zone area.

    2. Stay in the end zone area, not between fields.

    3. Dispose of ALL trash in designated trash cans.

  5. Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties:

    1. Defense + 10 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

    2. Offense - 10 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

PENALTIES:

  • The referee(s) will call all penalties.
  • Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play.
  • All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage, except as noted. (Spot fouls)
  • Only the head coach may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations.
  • Players may not question calls.
  • Games may not end on a defensive penalty unless the offense declines it.
  • Penalties are assessed live ball then dead ball. Live ball penalties must be assessed before play is considered complete.
  • Penalties will be assessed half the distance to the goal yardage when the penalty yardage is more than half the distance to the goal.

Defensive Spot Fouls

Defensive pass interference

Automatic first down

Holding

Automatic first down

Stripping

+10 yards and automatic first down

 

Offensive Spot Fouls

Screening, blocking or running with the ball

-10 yards and loss of down

Charging

-10 yards and loss of down

Flag guarding

-10 yards and loss of down

 

Defensive Penalties

Unnecessary roughness

+10 yards and automatic first down

Unsportsmanlike conduct

+10 yards and automatic first down

Offside

+5 yards from line of scrimmage and replay down

Illegal rush (starting rush from inside 7-yard marker

+5 yards from line of scrimmage and replay down

Illegal flag pull (before the receiver has the ball)

+5 yards from line of scrimmage and replay down

Roughing the passer

+10 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Taunting

+10 yards and automatic first down

 

Offensive penalties

Unnecessary roughness

-10 yards and loss of down

Unsportsmanlike conduct

-10 yards and loss of down

Offside/false start

-5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Illegal forward pass (throwing a pass after crossing line of scrimmage or two forward passes, etc)

-5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Pass interference

-5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Illegal motion

-5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Delay of game

-5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Impeding the rusher

-5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Illegal Procedure

-5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Tripping/Illegal Blocking (Non-contact Blocker)

-5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

 

 


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P.O. Box 1010 
Springfield, Virginia 22151

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