NFL FLAG Basic Rules

  • Coin Toss determines Offense and Defense
  • All jerseys MUST be tucked in before play begins.
  • The flags must be on the player’s hips, free from obstruction, and pointed down and out. Deliberately obstructed flags will be considered flag guarding.
  • 5-yard no run zones precede the half field line and goal line for the offense.
  • The line of scrimmage and the rush line seven yards from the line of scrimmage will be marked with orange cones.
  • 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.
  • The quarterback has a seven-second pass clock.
  • Offensive players without the ball must stop their motion once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage. No running with the ball-carrier.

NFL FLAG Rule Clarifications

These are rules that are questioned and debated often and require frequent review.

  • Shovel passes are allowed, but must be received beyond the line of scrimmage.
  • Only direct handoffs behind the line of scrimmage are permitted.
  • Absolutely NO laterals of any kind.
  • “Center sneak” play is no longer allowed. The QB is not allowed to handoff to the center on the first handoff of the play.
  • No blocking or “screening” is allowed at any time.
  • NO Flag Guarding. Runners may not leave their feet to advance the ball. Diving, leaping or jumping to avoid a flag pull is considered flag guarding.
  • Interceptions are returnable, but not on conversions after touchdowns.
  • Interceptions change the possession of the ball at the point of interception.
  • Interceptions are the only changes of possession that do not start on the 5-yard line.

PENN Athletics Rule Exceptions

Rule: Coaches are allowed on the field to direct players according to need and division. Coaches must move to the sidelines before the snap of the ball.

Exception: Coaches may remain on the field in our 1st Grade and younger leagues.

Rule: The center must snap the ball with a rapid and continuous motion between his/her legs to a player in the backfield, and the ball must completely leave his/her hands.

Exception: Side snaps are permitted in our First Grade Leagues.

Exception: Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten is coach snap, where a coach takes a knee and side snaps the football.