COMPLIANCE & COOPERATION REQUIRED: Coach and Spectator Conduct
- In the Grasshopper & Peanut 1& 2 Divisions (2) coaches are allowed on each side of the ball to instruct the players.
- In PeeWee 3&4 and in all Girls Divisions: (1) Coach is allowed on each side of the ball to instruct the players and assist in the structure of the game.
- JV and Varsity Boys: no coaches permitted on the field. (11)
- Coaches, family members, parents and spectators are required to observe the game from a designated area.
- One sideline will be designated for the members of both teams participating in the game (players and TWO coaches only). The teams and coaches will be separated by the 40 yard line (midfield) which they are not permitted to cross during the game while on the team sideline. (14)
- The opposite sideline will be designated for ALL spectators. No spectators are permitted to watch the game from the team sideline. (14)
- Coaches, family members, parents and spectators must conduct themselves appropriately at all times. Coaches are highly encouraged to assist in achieving sideline support for the intent of the program. (06) Misconduct may lead to removal from the premises at the discretion of the Farmingdale POLICE ACTIVITY LEAGUE.
Any player, coach, team manager, team assistant, or spectator that exhibits behavior or conduct which violates rules established by the Police Activity League or which is otherwise reasonably determined to be unacceptable by the Commissioners and/or Directors may be subject to action to avoid harm and benefit the youth of the program. (08)
If a league director, commissioner or referee witnesses any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player and/or coaches will be ejected from the game. FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. A report on any such activity is subject to review.
Trash talking is illegal. Officials have the right to determine offensive language. (Trash talk is talk that may be offensive to officials, opposing players, teams, or spectators.) If trash talking occurs, the referee may give one warning at his/her discretion. If it continues, or if deemed as unsportsmanlike, the player, players and/or coaches will be ejected from the game in line with the rules on sportsmanship.
- Cleats are allowed, except for metal spikes. Inspections will be made.
- All players must wear a protective mouthpiece; there are no exceptions.
- Official PAL (08) jersey must be worn during play and tucked in so not to obstruct the flags on the belt.
- Flag belts must be worn correctly on hips and excess belt material must be cut off safely.
- Players are encouraged to dress comfortably for play and to address the game day weather conditions.
- No jewelry is to be worn to prevent player injury and/or damage.
The playing field is marked at 70 x 30 yards and lined to reflect the rules. (Grasshoppers and Peanuts may play on a smaller marked field for instructional purposes). (05)
- A coin toss determines first possession and field direction.
- The winner of the coin toss has choice of the ball in 1st half or 2nd half. Loser of the coin toss picks direction. After Halftime possession and direction alternate from the 1st half. (11)
- Each team is to designate a minimum of two players as captains to meet with the refs and coaches at mid-field. (05)
- There are no kickoffs, and no blocking is allowed.
- The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its own 5-yard line and has three (3) downs to either cross midfield or score a touchdown. Once a team crosses midfield, it has three (3) downs to score a touchdown.
- If the offensive team fails to cross midfield or score a touchdown in three (3) downs, the ball changes possession and the opposition starts from its own 5-yard line.
- If the offense fails to score after crossing midfield, the ball changes possession and the opposition starts from its own 5-yard line.
- All possession changes, except interceptions, start on the offense’s own 5-yard line.
- Teams must field a minimum of five (5) players at all times. Coaches should make every effort to communicate with their players and their parents to insure that their team is able to field a team on game day. Exceptions may be permitted as directed by the Commissioner and/or the Division Director. (05)
- Schedule changes may be made only with the approval of the Division Director and/or the commissioner.
- Teams generally consist of a maximum of 10 players (5 play on the field at a given time with substitutes).
- In the Grasshopper AND Peanut division, games are played as (2) 25 minute “instructional” halves. The entire Grasshopper/Peanut on-field game time can be no longer than 50 minutes, including time spent for “on-field” instruction. (05)
- In the Grasshopper and Peanut Division the coaches will act as referees and keep the time and call obvious penalties as well as instruct the players. Keep the activity moving - Overtime will not be played. (05)
- In the PeeWee, JayVee and Varsity divisions the games are played as (2) 25-minute halves - running time, except for the last two minutes of the 2nd Half. During this time, the clock will stop until the next snap for the following: when the ball carrier goes out of bounds, incomplete passes, change of possession, penalties, scoring (touchdown and safeties), during extra point tries, and the ”two-minute warning”. (11)
- Halftime will be no more than 2 minutes in duration.
- 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. In the Grasshopper and Peanut divisions, coaches should keep the game moving
- Each team has two 30-second time outs per game which may be used at any time. (08)
- Officials can stop the clock at their discretion
- If the score is tied at the end of regulation time, teams move directly into overtime. (11)
- Overtime begins with a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss has the choice of offense or defense
- Teams will travel in the same direction on their possession as determined by the Referee.
- In the regular season, only one overtime period is played where each team receives one possession (three downs) to score from mid-field. If the score remains tied after the overtime period, the game is called a tie.
- There are no extra points in overtime play.
- Interceptions are returnable in JV and Varsity. In these divisions, interceptions for touchdowns count and end the game. If the ball is intercepted and the intercepting team does not score, the ball is reset for the intercepting team at midfield, unless they have already scored in the period, thus ending the game.
- During the annual end of year tournament, if the game remains tied after the first overtime period, overtime periods are repeated until one team ends an overtime period with more points than the other team.
Touchdown: = 6 points
Extra points: The ball is dead after the attempt (no returns).
In the Grasshopper and Peanut Division – there will be no extra point attempts (05)
In the PEEWEE Division:
The five yard NO-run zone applies.
1 point (played from 3-yard line) must pass or
2 points (played from 8-yard line) with the option to run or pass
In the JAYVEE and Varsity division:
The five yard NO-run zone applies.
1 point (played from 5-yard line) must pass or
2 points (played from 12-yard line) with the option to run or pass
Note: 1 point to a 2 point decisions cannot change due to an accepted penalty. (11)
Safety: = 2 points. Ball carrier’s flag is pulled or runner’s body hits the ground, halting forward progress in their own end zone (includes fumbles in end zone). If at least one foot is completely across goal line in field of play when flag is pulled it is NOT a safety. (14) Change of possession occurs after a safety and the offense starts at its own 5-yard line.
- The quarterback cannot run with the ball over the line of scrimmage. The player who receives the ball from the center is deemed the quarterback. (08)
- A fumbled snap, either directly from the center or in shotgun formation (10), does not count as a run play. (05)
- A QB sack does not count as a run play. (05)
- If during an attempted exchange the ball is fumbled by either the QB or runner the play will be ruled a run and the ball is spotted where it hits the ground. (11)
- In the GRASSHOPPER AND PEANUT DIVISION ONLY: the coaches have been instructed to let the play continue if the QB can pick up the ball right away. Instruct your players to play until they hear a whistle. (05)
- The center sneak is not permitted and will be penalized as illegal procedure. (06)
- Offense may use multiple handoffs.
- The player who takes the handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
- A handoff followed by a forward pass counts as a pass play if the pass is attempted.
- If the ball is handed off and the flag is pulled before a pass is thrown the play is ruled a run.
- A handoff followed by an incomplete pass returns the ball to the line of scrimmage.
- A penalty is assessed whenever a team exceeds its number of running plays in any series.
- Laterals and pitches are allowed behind the line of scrimmage in the JayVee and Varsity Divisions only.
- Absolutely NO laterals, pitches or handoffs beyond the line of scrimmage or after a completed forward pass. (07)
- A lateral caught by the defense is a dead ball at that spot. The offense maintains possession. (11)
- In the Grasshopper and PEANUT division: Each set of three downs is limited to two running plays.
- In the PeeWee, JayVee and Varsity and all Girls Divisions: Each set of three downs is limited to one running play.
- Once the ball has been handed off, all defensive players are eligible to rush.
- Players cannot leave their feet to avoid a defensive player (no diving or hurdling a defender). Example, diving into the end zone for a touchdown with the ball extended outwards. This would constitute an illegal procedure and penalty applied.(07)
- The ball is spotted where the ball carrier’s forward foot is when the flag is pulled, not position of ball.
- If a ball carrier loses a flag/belt – no contact – play becomes one-hand touch. (05)
- If the ball carrier’s flag/belt is delayed in coming off after contact with an opponent, the ball is dead at spot where flag/belt hits the ground. (14)
- If the ball carrier’s hand touches the ground, they are NOT down and play continues. (14)
No Run Zone
- “No-running zones,” located 5 yards from each end zone and 5 yards on either side of midfield, are designed to avoid short-yardage, power-running situations
- When a ball is spotted inside the no run zone the remainder of the series will remain no run even if the ball is spotted outside due to penalty or loss of yardage(this applies to a regular down or extra point attempts) (11)
- When a defensive penalty spots a ball inside the no run zone, the run will be allowed if the offense has not used a run play (this applies to a regular down or extra point attempts). This is to avoid penalizing the offense by taking the run play away. (11)
- 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.
- A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception.
- A pass can be overhand, underhand or a shovel pass as long as it is forward and delivered from behind the line of scrimmage. (11)
- Forward passes behind the line of scrimmage may be intercepted.
- In the Grasshopper, PEANUT and PEEWEE divisions: Interceptions change the possession of the ball at the point of interception.
- In the JayVee & VARSITY divisions: Interceptions can be returned as a live play.
- Interceptions are the only changes of possession that do not start on the 5-yard line.
- There is no intentional grounding. Ball will be returned to line of scrimmage for the next down. (11)
- The ball must be snapped from the ground between the legs, not off to one side, to start play.
- Shotgun formation is allowed.
- Substitutions may be made on any dead ball.
- Play is ruled “dead” when:
- Snap hits ground before reaching QB (10) the ball is spotted where the ball hits the ground.
- QB drops ball and ball hits ground (10) the ball is spotted where the ball hits the ground.
- Ball carrier’s flag is pulled or falls off after contact by opponent.
- Ball carrier is touched by opponent after flag falls off without contact by opponent. (14)
- Ball carrier steps out of bounds
- Touchdown or safety is scored.
- At the point of an interception (interception returns are allowed in the JV and Varsity divisions only).
- Ball carrier’s body hits the ground, halting forward progress. Runner can not get up and run; flag does not have to be pulled. (07)
- Note: There are no fumbles. The ball is spotted where the ball hits the ground. A fumble inside a player’s own end zone is a safety.
Rushing the Quarterback
- One defensive player only, must be designated as the rusher. The designated rusher must be a minimum of ten (10) yards from the line of scrimmage and set on the marker when the ball is snapped. Defensive players not rushing the quarterback may defend on the line of scrimmage; however they can not cross the line of scrimmage and rush the quarterback until the ball leaves the quarterback’s hand. (07)
- The play can continue if the rusher crosses over the marker before the ball is snapped (delayed penalty). (10) Rusher cannot reset behind the marker even if the ball has not been snapped. (14)
- Once the ball leaves the quarterbacks hands, the ten-yard rule no longer is in effect, and all the defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage. The referee will designate ten yards from the line of scrimmage with a marker. Both feet of the pass rusher must be set behind or on the marker. Remember, no blocking or tackling is allowed.
- A pass rusher may try to block the ball as the QB attempts a pass as long as the ball is out of the QB’s hand. ANY contact with the QB or to the ball in the QB’s hand is roughing the passer. (14)
- Penalties may be declined.
- Games cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it.
- Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play.
- Only the Head Coach may ask the referee questions about rule clarifications or interpretations. Players cannot question judgment calls.
Defensive Penalties - Yardage Where Applied - Down if Accepted
- Offside (defense over Line of Scrimmage at snap) - 10 Yards Line of Scrimmage - Replay
- Illegal flag pull (before receiver has ball) - 10 yards Line of Scrimmage - Replay
- Illegal rush (starting rush from inside 10 yard marker or rusher crosses over marker before ball is snapped) - 10 yards Line of Scrimmage - Replay
- Delay of game (Too many players)  - 10 yards Line of Scrimmage - Replay
- Roughing the passer - 15 yards Line of Scrimmage or end of play (offense’s choice) - Replay
- Illegal contact (non Ball Carrier) holding, blocking, interference(before ball is in the air) - 10 yards Line of Scrimmage - Replay
- Illegal contact (Ball Carrier) holding, blocking, jersey pull, tackling, and knocked out of bounds  - End of run plus 10 yards from End of Run, Player may be awarded a TD if, in referee’s discretion, the player would have scored if not for the infraction - Automatic 1st Down and possible unsportsmanlike conduct or TD
- Pass interference (Ball in the air) - Spot of Foul Spot of Foul = Automatic 1st Down
- Unsportsmanlike Conduct  (15 yards Live Ball) – Added to end of play or Dead Ball from new Line of Scrimmage - Down Remains Same
Offensive Penalties - Yardage Where Applied - Down if Accepted
- Illegal motion (more than one person moving, false start, etc.) - 5 Yards Line of Scrimmage Play whistled dead – Replay
- Illegal forward pass, lateral, or handoff (beyond the line of scrimmage) - 5 Yards Line of Scrimmage Replay – No loss of down
- Illegal procedure (running play in no run zone, QB run, or exceed # of run plays, too many players) - 5 Yards Line of Scrimmage - Replay (except in final two minutes of game – loss of down) (14)
- Illegal procedure (diving, hurdling, or jumping to intentionally avoid defender and not to avoid injury) - 5 Yards Line of Scrimmage - Replay
- Blocking/screening - 5 Yards Line of Scrimmage - Replay
- Offensive Pass interference (illegal pick play, pushing off/away defender) - 5 Yards Line of Scrimmage - Replay
- Flag guarding (hands or jersey obstructing flags as well as holding flag from falling) - 5 Yards Line of Scrimmage - Replay
- Delay of game (Play clock expires)  - 5 yards Line of Scrimmage - Play whistled dead
- Unsportsmanlike Conduct  (15 yards Live Ball) - Original Line of Scrimmage/Dead Ball/End of play - Line of Scrimmage or Remains Same
- [1} If the runner’s shirt is not covering the flag, a grab of the jersey by an opponent that in the judgment of the referee impedes his/her progress will be a penalty.
- [2} Delay of game - clock stops at referee’s discretion.
-  Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty called at the Referee’s discretion (player may be ejected) (08)
RULES / CHANGES
COACHES AND DIRECTORS MAY RECOMMEND CHANGES AND/OR MODIFCTAIONS TO THE RULES OF PLAY. RECOMMENDATIONS MUST BE OUTLINED IN WRITING AND SUBMITTED TO THE APPROPRIATE DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION WHERE THE AMENDMENT MAY APPLY.
GOOD LUCK - HAVE A GREAT SEASON!!
TO BENEFIT THE YOUTH AND THE PLAYERS, IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE FLAG FOOTBALL PROGRAM THAT ALL PARTICIPANTS IN THIS ACTIVITY ENJOY EQUAL AND FAIR PLAYING TIME.
Team coaches must make every effort to insure that the players participate equitably (half game minimum) in game action. It is the responsibility of every coach to communicate the PROGRAM OBJECTIVES to the players and parents at the start of the season. (09)