Official's Overview Page

Play Flag Football officials are required to undertake a four-session training and certification process. For more information on becoming an official, or for a schedule of upcoming certification classes, email us at

NFL FLAG Football 5-on-5 Non-Contact Rules

In general, the rules of 5-on-5 non-contact flag football are similar to the rules used in normal football. The most obvious exception is, in the 5-on-5 game, no contact is allowed. This includes charging, flag guarding, tackling, screening, downfield blocking, run blocking, pass blocking, or blocking of any kind. To stop an offensive player's progress, the defensive player is required to pull the offensive player's flag.

NFL FLAG Football differs from regular tackle football in several significant ways. The most important ones are:

  • Rushing the Quarterback: The Defense can rush the quarterback immediately after the snap of the ball. Players who rush the quarterback must start the play at least seven yards off of the line of scrimmage. Before the snap, the referee will mark the seven yards off for the rusher. The quarterback has only seven seconds to throw the football. The referee will count out loud after the snap of the ball to indicate the seven-second count.
  • Running the Football: Teams are allowed to run the football, but only after a hand-off. A player that receives a hand-off in the backfield has the option to run or pass the ball. After a hand-off occurs, opposing players can rush from anywhere on the field. Also, a hand-off kills the seven-second clock, enabling the offensive player to remain in the backfield without throwing the ball as long as he/she wants.
  • No-run Zones: There are certain zones on the field where the offense is not able to run the football. These zones exist five yards before mid-field and five yards before the end-zone.
  • No Fumbles or Laterals: A fumbled ball is dead at the spot of the fumble. Players are not allowed to pitch or lateral the football at any time.

The rules vary slightly by age group. A complete set of rules can be downloaded below. In addition to the uniqueness of the game, the 4-5 and 6-7 Brackets have modifications to keep the game moving and enjoyable for younger age groups. Here are the modifications for the younger age groups:

  1. Missed snaps – Quarterbacks can pick up the ball if the snap from center hits the ground or if they drop the snap. If a defensive player appears to be reaching the Quarterback’s position, officials will blow the play dead to maintain player safety. Players cannot pick up the ball if it is snapped to the side or over the head of the Quarterback. Dropped handoffs cannot be picked up either.
  2. Interceptions – Interceptions are dead at the point of interception.
  3. 4-5 Instructional modifications
    1. Number of games per day – One game per day at end of the instruction period
    2. Game time limit – 15-minute halves, 30-minute game
    3. No Run Zones – No Run Zones may be waived
    4. Penalty Calls – Officials may blow a play dead on the penalty instead of allowing play to proceed. Most penalty yardage enforcement may be waived if agreed to by both coaches and officials at the beginning of the game. Penalties for safety, sportsmanship, parent and coach conduct issues cannot be waived. All penalties are enforced for those occurrences.