5v5 Gauntlet Flag Football Rules

The following 5v5 Gauntlet flag football rules for men’s & women’s are FFWCT approved.

Every style of flag football that we offer first utilizes our common-to-all rules as a baseline for each format. These rules are meant to standardize the game in areas where each style should be synchronized to be easier for players and officials alike to understand the basics of the game from one format to another.

Read these rules first, as they apply to every style we offer, then also make sure and check out the style-specific rules below that are unique to this format.

5v5 Gauntlet Rules

Updated 04/09/2021

The Game

  • Game Time is FORFEIT TIME – upon approval by an FFWCT director
  • Minimum 3 players to start a game.
  • A coin toss determines 1st possession. The team can elect to have offense, defense, defer or direction. Choice in the 2nd half will be awarded to the team that did not have the choice 1st half. 
  • The offensive team takes possession of the ball at midfield and has 4 plays to score. If the offensive team fails to score, the ball changes possession. All drives start from midfield with the exception of an interception returned past midfield or a penalty assessment marked prior to the start of the series.
  • 2 halves – 12 minutes each – 1 minute halftime
  • QB can run immediately outside of No Run Zone
  • No under center snaps
  • Snap must travel backwards minimum of 5 yards from LOS
  • Rush line is 5 yards from LOS
  • Jamming is allowed for 2 yards except on center position
  • No QB pass clock (even if there is no rush)
  • No blocking is allowed.

Attire

  • Players may NOT have pockets. Players may NOT have taped pockets. Players may NOT turn their shorts inside out.  Players may have shorts with pockets if they have been professionally sewn or if they have zippers and the zippers remain zipped up.
  • Teams also must have the same color shirts and have an alternative color (one dark color/one light color). They do not have to be official uniforms. If both teams are wearing the same color, there will be a coin toss, and the losing team will need to change into a different color. Failure to provide a secondary uniform or unwillingness to change will result in a forfeit.

Game Clock Format

  • Tournament clock is 25 minutes long. Two 12 minute halves and 1-minute halftime. 
  • Each team has two 30 second timeouts PER GAME. If a time out is called after a TD the clock will not run until the change of possession and the offense snaps their ball.

 First Half Clock

  • The clock will run continuously during the 12 minutes of the first half unless a team timeout is used or play is stopped by an official (e.g. deal with an injury, challenge, referee conference, game management purposes, etc.)
  • The clock will run during point-after-touchdown attempts (PATs) in the first half unless the defense opts to use a team timeout.

Second Half Clock

  • In the second half the clock will run continuously for the first 11 minutes unless a team timeout or an official’s time out is used.
  • The one-minute warning will stop the clock in the second half if the score difference is 8 points or less.
  • The head official will give a verbal one-minute warning as close as possible to the actual mark but will not interrupt a live play.
  • At the one minute warning officials will use a ‘PRO/Controlled’ clock mechanic for the remainder of the contest.
  • The time remaining on the clock will be announced after every play inside the final one minute of the contest.

Offense

Running

  • The quarterback may run IMMEDIATELY unless the ball is spotted inside the NO RUN ZONE.
  • Teams may handoff (unlimited), pitch, or throw back in the backfield. UNLIMITED laterals or throwbacks behind the LOS are allowed for the player to remain eligible to pass. The player who receives the pitch or handoff may throw the ball as long as he or she is not beyond the line of scrimmage. 
  • Pitching (backwards/laterally) is allowed downfield (unlimited). Handoffs are allowed in front or behind.
  • A forward pass DOES NOT have to cross the LOS to be a legal play.
  • If the ball is placed on the “Back” of ANY player, the player MUST run the ball (no give and go to the QB on the back)
  • NO RUN ZONES are located 5-yards before the end zone.  You may not run the ball in the no run zone, only forward passes are allowed.
  • Ball is spotted where the ball is at the time of the flag pull. The ball must break the plane goal line to be considered a touchdown. 
  • Players may NOT block down field in any form.

Passing

  • The quarterback has UNLIMITED TIME to pass the ball if there is no rush. 
  • There are no under the center snaps
  • All snaps must be received at or beyond the QB SNAP LINE (this line is an imaginary line running parallel 5 yards behind the LOS from sideline to sideline)
  • An illegal snap (under center or not traveling to or beyond the QB Snap Line) will end the play resulting in a loss of the down and penalty yardage assessed.
  • There is no arm in motion, if the ball is in hand when the quarterback’s flag is pulled then it will be ruled a sack.
  • The rusher may not have any contact with the QB (no hitting the QB arm or knocking the ball out of the QB hand). 
  • If ANY part of the players body is behind the LOS it is a legal pass

Receiving

  • All players are eligible to receive a pass, including the quarterback, if the ball has been pitched or handed off in the backfield. 
  • Players must have at least one foot in bounds when making a catch. 
  • Receivers are allowed to use techniques to avoid contact/shed coverage by the defense within 2 yards of the LOS (ex. swim move, hand battle)

Defense

Rushing the Quarterback

  • The rusher must DECLARE their intent to rush with 1 hand raised high above their head until the snap is initiated. Only 1 defender is allowed to signal their intent to rush. This signal will notify the officials and the offensive team who is rushing and who to avoid in the rusher’s path to the QB. Failure to signal will result in the rusher losing his/her right of way/direct path to the QB.
  • Players that blitz/rush the quarterback must be a minimum of 5 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. 
  • The 5 yard RUSH LINE will be measured off by a referee.
  • Players that are not 5 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped may not enter into the backfield immediately.
  • The blitzer/rusher is allowed a direct lane to the quarterback as long as he or she rushes from either side of the center or outside the bunch formation. The offense must avoid interfering with the rusher if he or she has established a lane and has properly signaled with 1 hand raised high above their head. 
    • Officials will announce LANE or NO LANE for rushers/blitzers prior to the snap. 
    • This is a judgement call/decision based on the spacing between the players in the offensive formation. 
  • The rush of a blitzer has to be immediately after the snap, quick and straight towards the point where the original quarterback receives the snap in order to retain the right of way. If a blitzer is rushing late, slowly, aiming at another spot, changing direction during the rush or just does not rush the quarterback, the player loses the right of way but still can participate as any other defensive player.

Pass Coverage:

  • Contacting (jamming) receivers is ALLOWED inside of 2 yards of the LOS
  • Contact (jamming) must occur between the shoulder and waist line. It must be performed with 1 or 2 open hands. Grasping of the jersey is not allowed. 
  • Contact (jamming) of the center is NOT ALLOWED
  • Incidental contact is not considered pass interference.
  • A player may “find” their opponent by reaching out and placing a hand on them as long as touching does not delay, impede, twist, or turn their opponent. This is not considered pass interference. 
  • A player may use their arms or hands to intentionally obstruct the receiver’s view (face guarding) of the ball without turning their own head to play the ball as long as noteworthy contact is not made with the receiver.
  • If defensive pass interference occurs in the end zone the ball will be placed on the one-yard line, automatic first down.
  • Interceptions may be returned.
  • Interceptions in the end zone that are not returned to the field of play will result in a touchback and the ball will be spotted at midfield.
  • Contact away from the direction of the pass is not considered pass interference but may be considered illegal contact.
  • Whether a pass is catchable or uncatchable has no bearing on pass interference. The benefit of the doubt is given to the receiver.
  • Examples of pass interference include:
    • Shoving or pushing off to create separation.
    • Playing through the back.
    • Hook and turn: grabbing the torso and turning an opponent before the pass arrives.
    • Arm bars, hooking, restricting, grabbing wrists, or turning a receiver.      Blocking downfield before the ball has been touched, commonly seen through “pick plays”.

Scoring:

Touchdown · 6 points
Point After Touchdown (PAT) · 1 point from the 5-yard line (no-run zone in effect)

· 2 points from the 12-yard line, run, pass (outside of no-run zone)

· Interceptions returned on PAT’s are worth 2 points

Safety · 2 points

Point After Touchdown (PAT): 

  • Following a touchdown, once the scoring team has informed an official of which point conversion choice they want to attempt, the decision cannot be changed unless the scoring team uses a team timeout
  • If a penalty occurs during an extra point attempt, the penalty will be assessed but the extra point value remains the same.
  • Decisions cannot be changed after a penalty. For example, if the offense attempts a 1-point PAT and is penalized five yards for a false start, they cannot change their mind and go for a 2-point PAT. They will still be attempting a 1-point try even if they call a timeout.
  • Defensive unsportsmanlike conduct, personal fouls, or roughing penalties during a successful touchdown attempt will be assessed at half the distance to the goal during the PAT attempt (e.g., 2-point PAT attempts will be spotted at the 6-yard line, 1-point PAT attempts will be spotted at the 2.5-yard line). All other defensive penalties may be declined by the offense and the score will stand.
  • Dead ball fouls committed by the offense that do not carry a loss-of-down penalty may result in penalty yardage assessed and the down replayed.
  • Fouls by the offense during a successful PAT attempt will result in the PAT being no good.
  • Fouls committed by the offense in unsuccessful PAT attempts will be declined by the defense and the PAT will be “no good” and will not be replayed.
  • Fouls by the defense during an unsuccessful PAT attempt will result in a retry after the options are administered.
  • If the PAT-attempting team throws an interception and then commits a flagrant foul after the interception during the attempted return (physically contains the ball carrier; bear hugs, aggressively holds, tackles, etc. without making a clear, legal attempt to pull the ball carrier’s flag, the ball carrier will be awarded two points.

Overtime Extra Point Shoot-Out

  • A coin flip determines first possession, 1 timeout per OT period
  • Teams will go in reverse order if more then 1 OT is required
  • Teams can elect to go for 1 or 2 points
  • Winner will be determined once the value of the extra point exceeds the other team’s attempt.

PENALTIES

  • All offensive penalties are minus 5 yards from either the LOS or spot of the foul and loss of down.
  • All defensive penalties are plus 5 yards from the LOS and automatic 1st down (AFD) EXCEPT Defensive Pass Interference (DPI) will be a spot foul + AFD
  • Unsportsmanlike penalties will be 15 yards

 Penalty Charts:

Yardage Where is the Penalty Assessed? Result
Flag Guarding 5 Spot of foul Loss of Down
Illegal Advancement 5 Spot of foul Loss of down
Illegal Forward Pass 5 Previous spot  Loss of down
Offensive Pass Interference 5 Previous spot Loss of Down
Defensive Pass Interference spot foul Spot of foul Automatic 1st Down

 

Personal Foul/Unnecessary Roughness 15 End of the play or previous spot By the Offense: assess yardage

By the Defense: Automatic 1st Down

Unsportsmanlike Conduct 15 End of the play or previous spot  By the Offense: assess yardage

By the Defense: Automatic 1st Down

Roughing the Passer

                    

5 Previous spot or tack on to the end of the play. Automatic 1st Down

 

Yardage Where is the Penalty Assessed? Result
Delay of Game 5 Previous spot Loss of down
False Start 5 Previous spot Loss of down
Encroachment 5 Previous spot Automatic 1st down
Cool Down Period 0 No foul Player must sit out 5 plays

 

Yardage Where is the Penalty Assessed? Result
Illegal Substitution or Illegal Participation 5 Previous spot Loss of down
Illegal Shift or Illegal Motion 5 Previous spot Loss of down
Stripping or Attempted Stripping 5 Spot of the foul Automatic 1st down
Illegal Contact 5 Previous spot or spot of the foul By the Offense: Loss of Down

By the Defense: Automatic 1st Down

Early Flag Pull 5 Previous spot Automatic 1st Down
Illegal Touching 5 Previous spot Loss of down

 

Illegal Snap 5 Previous spot  Loss of down
Illegal Blocking 5 Spot foul or from previous spot if behind LOS Loss of down
Holding 5 Spot of the foul  Automatic 1st down
Impeding the rusher 5 Previous spot Loss of down
Charging 5 Spot of the foul  Loss of down
Last Man Rule 5 or

TD

Spot of the foul Automatic 1st down or 

TD if inside the 5 yard line