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MEN'S FLAG FOOTBALL RULES
MSSC is refereed by 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 the 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, a team can play with a minimum of 5 players. Games will start on time if teams can field the minimum number of players.
Rosters are not limited in size. DURING THE PLAYOFFS ONLY PLAYERS ON YOUR ROSTER WHO HAVED PLAYED AT LEAST 2 GAMES 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.
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 is 80 yards with two 10-yard end zones and is 35 yards wide. In some instances the field might be shortened by 5 or 10 yards do to field conditions. Cones will be placed every 20 yards from the front of the end zones. Cones will also mark the end zones. Hash marks for extra points will be at 5 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. After the coin toss the refs will get both teams together & take them to the MSSC check in table. There are no kick-offs.
Each team will have a designated captain who will be the official representative of the team. The captain is responsible for his 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 the captain. This is to prevent too many people from distracting the referee, plus allows the captain to control things 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 place. The preference is for the QB to take that role since they are closest to the ball and the referee at all
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 forfeits will be responsible for both team’s refs fees (total $40) 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 kicked. After that point, the clock will stop for incomplete passes, when a player steps out-of-bounds, turnovers, sacks-when the winning team is on offense, 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, 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 5-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.
A safety may be scored when a player is tagged in his own end zone when that player is on offense. A safety may also be scored when the offensive player fumbles in his own end zone and tries to advance the ball and is tagged in his 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 we 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 10-yard line. If a player is catching a punt, has not caught it yet, and fumbles in his 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.
First downs are made when a team reaches the 20, 40 & 20-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 were the player with the ball was stopped. This will result in non-uniform distance for a first down.
A team will have the option of punting on the 4th down. The offensive team does not have to declare that they are going to punt. Fakes are allowed. The ball must be hiked between the legs, just like every other offensive play. The ball must be punted and not thrown. The defensive team may 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 flag is taken. 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, fumble or punt fumble only. 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 and fumbles may be advanced.
Rushing the Passer
The defense may blitz at any time after the ball is snapped. The defense can never rush more than 3 guys except on a fumbled snap.
There is a three men line on offense. The offensive line may block the defensive line from rushing at the QB. The center is the only player that is ineligible to catch the ball unless a block pass occurs or if the ball falls out of the receiver’s hands before it hits the ground.
Blocking is allowed on or behind the line of scrimmage between shoulders and waist. Must be done in a pass protection manner.
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 whet 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.
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.
Snapping the Ball
Each play starts by the center snapping the ball between the legs. It must be a direct snap to the QB.
Continuance of Play
Play will continue until:
Ball carrier has at least one flag pulled by an opponent
Ball carrier’s knee touches the ground
Ball carrier scores
A ball carrier whose flags are not accessible to be pulled will be down at 1st contact with the defense.
A ball carrier that has 1 or both flags missing for any reason will be down at 1st contact with the defense.
Players can leave their feet to pull a flag.
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.
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.
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. Penalties on TD plays will be enforced on the change of possession.
5-Yard Penalties (all include replay of down)
Delay of Game
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.
More than 8 players on the field when the ball is snapped.
Illegal Flag Pull
Before a player has possession of the ball
Belt Grabbing (from end of play)
Offensive pass interference
Defensive offsides/Offensive Offsides
On offense any player not being set for 1 second except a player in motion.
Illegal Forward Pass
When the QB crosses the LOS and then throws the ball.
Intentional Grounding (from the LOS and loss of down)
When the QB throws the ball into the ground or into an area we 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
Flag guard (also loss of down)
All shirts must be tucked in.
Stripping (replay down)
Holding, Clipping/Cutting (from the spot of the infraction)
Holding is when someone holds the opposite player from getting to the play. Clipping is an illegal block to the back of the opposing player. Cutting is when someone throws their body at the opposing players legs to prevent them from the play.
15 Yard Penalties
Defensive Pass Interference (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.
Unnecessary roughness (replay down if 1st down does not ensue)
Unsportsmanlike Conduct (from LOS, ejection, and/or suspension)
This is a FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE not TACKLE. 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 when 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 smooth social sport experience.