Co-Ed Football Rules

8v8 Coed Football Rules

Be aware that if you have players that play on multiple teams in the same league (same division) come playoffs you must choose which team you want to play for. If that team loses you may not play for the other team.


MSSC is refereed by paid officials who wish to make your playing experience an enjoyable one. They are trained to MSSC standards. All calls are final. They will have the ultimate discretion out on the field and have the power to remove any player from the game that they feel is engaging in behavior that is detrimental to the game, i.e. fighting. Please cooperate with the referees. Work with them and not against them. If there is a disagreement on a call, the captain should take the official to the side with the opposing captain present to discuss the call. Do not yell, scream, rant, etc… In a calm manner, discuss the call. This must be done before the next play occurs. The referee may change the call if he feels he made the wrong call after discussing with both captains. Remember that is the referees’ discretion, and he alone has the final say. If you still feel that you have been wronged, discuss it with the league staff in a civil manner after the game or by email. Also, if certain rules seem to be affecting the game in a negative way, please let the referee and staff know so that we can take a look at that rule to see if it needs to be changed. The league reserves the right to make any rule changes that will make the game more enjoyable for the majority of the participants.


Teams will field 8 players, with a maximum of 5 males on the field at any one time. The typical team will be 5 males and 3 females, but a team may have more females on the field, i.e. 4 males and 4 females. Games will start on time if teams can field the minimum number of 6 players, with at least 2 of those players being female.


Rosters are not limited in size; additional players may be added during season. Any player additions, the player must play at least 2 games in order to be eligible for the playoffs. DURING THE PLAYOFFS ONLY PLAYERS ON YOUR ROSTER WILL BE ALLOWED TO PLAY. Rosters must be signed by all players and handed in before the start of the first game. Players will not be allowed to participate in any game without first signing the roster. Your signature is a waiver of all liability against MSSC.


It is highly recommended that teams have tops that are the same color. “Pinnies” will be provided if uniforms are not matching. Only plastic cleats are allowed. Metal spikes are strictly prohibited. The referee will check before the game to make sure all teams are in compliance.

The Field

The field is 60 yards with two 10-yard end zones. In some instances the field might be shortened by 5 or 10 yards do to field conditions. Lines at both 15-yard lines and the 30-yard line (mid-field) will be marked off. Cones on the side of the field will also mark these lines. Cones will also mark the end zones. Hash marks for extra points will be at 3 yards (1 point conversion) and at 10 yards (2 point conversions).


Captains will meet at the center of the field before the game to do a coin flip and also to discuss any questions regarding the game. This is the time to ask any questions about rules that may be unclear. The captains will also determine who will call the coin flip. The designated captain will call it in the air. The coin will be allowed to hit the ground. The referee will then determine on which side the coin landed. The winning captain will have a choice of receiving the ball or deferring the choice. If the captain decides that he/she wants the ball, the losing captain will have the choice of which end zones he/she wishes to defend. In the 2nd half, teams will defend opposite goals that they defended in the 1st half. The loser of the toss will get the ball. If the coin toss winner deferred, they will get the ball going the opposite way.


Each team will have a designated captain who will be the official representative of the team. The captain is responsible for his/her teams and their behavior. Referees and staff will come to the captains if there are any problems or for any information that needs to be given by MSSC. During the game, only captains will talk to the referees. Referees will only recognize that captain. This is to prevent too many people from distracting the referee, plus allows the captain to control thing such as time-outs. Referees will give the time to the captain only when they ask. If a captain is not present, the team must designate an on-field captain to take his/her place. The preference is for the QB and the designated rusher to take that role since they are closest to the ball and the referee at all times.


Teams should be present at least 10 minutes prior to the game. All games start on the hour, so teams should have checked in by xx: 50. Games must start on the hour if the teams have the minimum number of players present. Teams will have 15 minutes after the hour to have the minimum numbers of players present. If they do not, the shorthanded team will have to forfeit. A team that forfeit will be responsible for both team’s refs fees (total $30) for that game. This must be paid before the start of their next game. If both teams are shorthanded, they will both be assessed a loss. The referee has the authority to shorten the game. Both halves area equal and the referee will confer with both teams beforehand to notify them of his decision. If teams wish to scrimmage even after the forfeit, the referee will ref the game, but will not allow the game to go past xx: 50, so that he can start the next game on the hour. Please be courteous and be on time. If coming from outside of Manayunk, please plan for traffic.

The Clock, Time and the Start of the Game

Games will be 40 minutes in duration with 2 twenty-minute halves. The clock will run continuously in the first half. The clock will stop only in the first half when a team is attempting an extra point inside of the two-minute warning also when there is a change of possession. The clock will run continuously through the second half until the 2-minute warning. At the 2-minute warning, the clock will automatically stop and then restart once the ball is hiked. After that point, the clock will stop for incomplete passes, when a player steps out-of-bounds, turnovers, sacks and when the winning team is on offense and stopped behind the line of scrimmage, and for all types of scoring. The clock will restart once the ball is hiked. The clock will not stop for first downs after the two-minute warning in the second half. The referee also has the authority to stop the clock at any time for injuries or administrative matters. The clock will start at the hike of the ball. The clock will also stop for time-outs. A 16-point mercy rule will keep the clock running even in the 2nd half. You cannot take a knee unless the mercy rule is in effect otherwise it will be considered a sack.


Each team has 2 time-outs per game. Only the captain (Quarterback on offense,) or the designated captain, can call a time-out. Time-outs will last 1 minute. The clock will restart when the ball is hiked.


Touchdowns are worth 6 points. Extra points from the 3-yard line are worth one point. Extra points from the 10-yard line are worth 2 points. Safeties are worth 2 points. Turnovers on an extra point conversion may be returned. A return by the defensive team is worth what the attempt was for, i.e. A 1 point conversion returned is worth 1 point.


Tags need to be 2-hands touching the body in unison. One had on the body and one hand on the ball is not considered a tag.

Tackles (tags) viewed to be purposely diving at the feet will not be considered tackles and play will not be impeded.


A safety may be scored when a player is tagged in his/her own end zone when that player is on offense. A safety may also be scored when the offensive player fumbles in his/her own end zone and tries to advance the ball and is tagged in his/her own end zone, and then a safety is called. If the defensive player does not advance the ball or takes a knee, the play is dead. The ball comes out to the 10-yard line where a change of possession occurs. A safety will also be called if a player snaps the ball out of the end zone. Finally, the defensive teams will be awarded 2 points and then take the ball on their 5-yard line. If a player is catching a punt, has not caught it yet, and fumbles in his/her own end zone when he does try initially fielding it, the ball is dead. The receiving team retains possession. The ball is placed on their own 3-yard line and they begin an offensive series.

Operative Player

A female player must be the operative player once every three downs. An operative player is an intended receiver in the eyes of the referee, one who actually catches (or attempts to catch) the ball for a positive gain, attempts a pass as a quarterback, or is the primary runner. If acting as the primary runner, the female player will need to gain positive yards for the play to count as a female play. An operative player is NOT a quarterback who hands the ball off to a male player or snaps the ball into play. If taking part in a “flea flicker” play, for it to count the female receiver must first secure a reception for positive yards before she can lateral the ball to a male player. If there is a male quarterback on a female play, he cannot run the ball. If a female receiver deflects a pass and it is caught, then this play will count as using an operative player. The defensive rusher and the QB should also confer with the referee every time they come up to the ball before a play to get the down and also to see if the play needs to use a female as an operative player on that play. On a female play, guys must play man on man within 8 yards and they can break on the ball once it is thrown. If the offense puts more than the minimum number of females on the field, then the defense can designate a male to cover the extra female On a female play if the female gets tagged behind the line of scrimmage, the next down will be a female play. If the female is a QB on the female play then the defense is only allowed to have a female rush the QB. The defense can play zone if the offense has a female QB on the female play.

First Downs

First downs are made when a team reaches the 15, 30, or 45-yard line. A team has 4 downs to make a first down. If the offensive team does not make a first down in four downs, a change of possession occurs. The ball is marked where the player with the ball was tagged. This will result in non-uniform distance for a first down, but we feel this is better than the 2-catch rule used in the past.


A team will have the option of punting on the 4th down. The offensive team must declare that they are going to punt. No fakes are allowed. All offensive players must stay on the line of scrimmage until the ball is punted. The ball does not need to be hiked. The ball must be punted and not thrown. The defensive team may not attempt a block. The receiving team may fair catch the ball or may attempt to advance it. The ball is live on a punt. I.e. Fumble is recovered by punting team- it becomes their ball and they may advance it until tagged. I.e.2 The punting team touches the ball first- the ball is dead and receiving team takes over at that spot.


Turnovers may occur by interception, punt fumble, a fumbled lateral or a fumbled snap. Fumbles can be advanced by either team. For MSSC purposes, an interception occurs when the ball leaves the possession of the offensive player, is in the air, is recovered by the defensive player, and does not touch the ground at any time. An example would be the QB passing the ball and it is intercepted or the RB laterals it to another offensive player and the defensive player catches it. Interceptions may be advanced.

If snap is botched rusher does not need to wait five seconds to rush, he/she is free to attempt recovery.

Rushing the Passer

To rush the passer, the defense can rush the passer after the Ref who is on the line of scrimmage counts either 5 Mississippi's or 5 Budweisers. The rusher no longer counts on the line of scrimmage. Only one defensive player may rush the passer at a time. The defensive player is not allowed to cross the line of scrimmage until he counts to 5. Do not float or drift in before the count, as this will be an illegal rush that will result in a penalty (SEE ILLEGAL PASS RUSH). Also, if the QB tries to run, the defensive player may not cross the line of scrimmage until the QB has crossed the line of scrimmage, i.e. the QB crosses the line of scrimmage and then turns back. Once the QB hands off/passes to another player behind the LOS, then the defense may rush everybody and no count is needed. Additionally, the defense may blitz once every series of downs. The blitzer must yell out blitz before crossing the line of scrimmage and after the ball is touched by the QB. No 5 count is needed. No fake blitz and no blitz on extra points. If a team blitzes illegally, this will result in a penalty (SEE ILLEGAL RUSH PASS). If there is someone lined up behind the QB the defense can rush one person unless handed off at which time anybody can rush.


No active blocking is allowed. A player may use his body to shield another player by having their arms to the side and by not moving or by giving ground. The blocking player must not initiate contact. If he does than that is a penalty. See the PENALTY section.

Inadvertent Whistle

If the referee blows an inadvertent whistle, then the play is dead. If the play was for positive yardage, then it is the offensive teams’ ball at the spot of the ball carrier when the whistle was blown and the down counts. The offensive team may opt to do the play over. If the offensive play was developing in the backfield or if the ball was in flight, then the play is dead. The play will be done over from the line of scrimmage.


A pass is complete when a player catches the ball with at least one foot in bounds. The same rule applies for interceptions. The other foot may not be out of bounds at the time of the catch. If a player catches the ball and is tug/pushed out of bounds, then it is up to the referee to decide if he/she would have landed in bounds. The referee’s decision is based on whether the offensive player would have come down in bounds but for the tag by the defensive player. The play would then stand as a legal reception by the offensive player.


Comp: Only

One player may move laterally parallel to the line of scrimmage during the play. If the player moves up the field at any time except to set on the line of scrimmage (for at least 1 second) than this is considered being OFFSIDES.

Rec & Inter Must be set for at least 1 second before ball is hiked.

Snapping the Ball

Each play starts by the center snapping the ball FROM THE GROUND. It does not matter if it is from side or between his/her legs. If the center does not snap the ball from the ground, the referee will blow the whistle and redo the play. It must be a direct snap to the QB.


Overtime will occur in the playoffs only. If the teams are tied at the end of regulation, then the teams will play a four down series from the 15-yard line until the one team finally breaks the tie. A coin flip will take place before OT. The winning team will have the choice to take the ball or defer. The teams have 4 downs to score. If the team does score, then they must attempt an extra point. At the end of 4 downs, a change of possession occurs. On the first OT series, a team may go for 1 or 2 pt extra point conversion if they do score. After the first series, the teams must go for a 2 pt. Conversion.

Playoffs only: Higher seed determines possession, not coin flip.

Post Game

At the end of the game, both captains must go to the referee to verify and sign the scorecard. The winning captain must bring the signed card to the MSSC staff table. No credit for the win will occur unless the card is turned over to the MSSC table.

Team Scoring

In the regular season, points will be awarded for wins and ties. No points are awarded for a loss. A win is worth 2 points and a tie is worth 1 pt. If two teams are tied at the end of the regular season, the teams will be ranked first by head to head win/loss records against the tied teams and then by strength of schedule. If 3 or more teams are tied, we use strength of schedule.


The referee will decide all penalties. The clock will still run when the ref is marking off the penalty. The clock will stop under two minutes in the 2nd half if the offending team is ahead

5-Yard Penalties

Shirt-holding (definition at referee discretion, if needed ask to clarify as ref goes over ground rules.)

Defensive Pass Interference (10 yds from LOS and an automatic first down)

Any contact with the offensive receiver that hinders their ability to catch the ball. This includes chucking at the LOS or downfield. Inadvertent contact does not count as pass interference.

Not Using the Operative Player (5 yds from LOS and loss of down)

If the offensive team does not use a female in one of its’ three consecutive plays, the penalty will be enforced until a female is used. I.e. it was 2nd down and then it becomes 3rd down and marked off 5 yds.

Delay of Game (5 yds from LOS)

If the offensive team does not get a play off in 30 seconds once the ball is in play or if the defensive team interferes with the offensive team at any time to hinder them getting off a play in 30 seconds.

Illegal Participation (5 yds from LOS)

More than 8 players on the field or more than 5 males on the field when the ball is snapped.

Offensive Offsides (5 yds from LOS)

Any player not being set for 1 second except a player in motion.

Defensive Offsides (5 yds from LOS)

When the defensive player crosses over the LOS and does not get back or makes contact when they cross over the LOS.

Illegal Forward Pass (5 yds from LOS and loss of down)

When the QB crosses the LOS and then throws the ball.

Intentional Grounding (5 yds from the LOS and loss of down) 10 second run-off, last 2 min.

When the QB throws the ball into the ground or into an area where the referee decides that it was only an attempt to avoid being sacked. If the QB throws the ball out of bounds, the ball must first cross the LOS. If it does not, a penalty has occurred. Spiking the ball to stop the clock is not a penalty.

10 Yard Penalties

Blocking (10 yds from the LOS)

When any type of active blocking is engaged by an offensive player. Penalty is 10 yards from the spot of the infraction.

Offensive Picking/Offensive Pass Interference (10 yds from LOS)

When an offensive player initiates contact, such as pushing off. Picking will be called when a receiver comes off the LOS and picks a defensive player to allow another offensive player to shake that defender. If a catch is made after a pick, it will be ruled no catch.

15 Yard Penalties

Unsportsmanlike Conduct (15 yds from LOS, ejection, and/or suspension)

This includes any violations of the CODE OF CONDUCT to include any physical contact that the referee deems to be dangerous and against the spirit of MSSC. It is the referee’s discretion to make this call. MSSC will back its’ referees on all calls. Violating players may be ejected from the game. An ejected player must leave the field of play. The MSSC staff will make a decision whether a player is to be suspended from league play.

MSSC reserves the right to revise the rules for this sport at any time to provide a smoother social sport experience.