8v8 Contact Rules – Men’s & Women’s

THE FOLLOWING 8V8 CONTACT FLAG FOOTBALL RULES FOR MEN AND WOMEN ARE FFWCT APPROVED.

Format: 8 Man Contact. Rules have been modified by league directors to fit the playing style of the FFWCT.

Rules, penalties, violations, and manner or play outlined in this document are specifically for our organization.  Anything not explicitly outlined in this document will be dealt with in accordance with the National Federation of State High School Associations Rule Book 2018.

The Field: The dimensions of the field are 120 yds. x 53 1/3 yds (or 80 x 50 if facility restraints). End zones will be 10 yards and there will be 4 playing zone each being 20 yards each. 1st downs will be achieved at the 20, 40, and 20-yard lines respectively. There will be a team box that extends from the 20-yard lines on each sideline. Teams must stay within these confines or they will be penalized.

Duration of Games: 44 Minutes (Two 22 Minute halves).  Each team has two team timeouts per half.  Timeouts do not roll over from the first half.  The clock shall run continuously during the first half unless a team timeout is used or play is stopped by an official (e.g. deal with an injury, challenge, etc.).  In the final two minutes of the first half the clock will run continuously unless a team time out is used or play is stopped by an official — normally to assess penalty yardage, get officials back in place, deal with an injury or change of possession, etc. — and then clock will start on the ready.  In the event of an injury, the clock will stop then restart when the injured player is removed from the field-of-play. Halftime is one minute. Stop clock procedures will be used in the last 2 Minutes of the second half only.

Mercy Rule:No Mercy Rule during pool play games.  If a team is up by 19 points or more during tournament play at the 2-minute warning in the second half the game will be called.

Tournament Seeding for Brackets: Overall Record, Head to Head Record, Point Differential, Points for, Points against, Coin Toss.

Roster Limit: Each team is allowed 30 designated roster spots. Rosters must be turned in prior to your teams first game.

Players: 8 Players are allowed on the field during live play.  Teams must have 6 players to start the game.  All offensive players are eligible receivers.

Start of Games: Game time is forfeit time. Your team is required to be properly equipped and, on the field, ready to play when the referee blows the whistle to start the game. Start of games occurs with the lower seeded team calling the coin-toss prior to the flip to decide who gets possession of the ball first.  The winner of the coin-toss will have the option to kick, defer or receive the ball.

Coaches and Players: Coaches and players must stay out of the restricted areas.  The restricted areas are inside the 20-yard line on both ends of the field.  You must also stay 2 yards from the sideline for the safety of the players on the field and the officials who may be running the sidelines to be in position to make a call.  Any coach/ player that comes out on the field from the sideline to argue a call or a play, will be assessed a timeout PERIOD!  If the team is out of timeouts, the player or coach will be assessed and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Kickoffs: At the start of each game and at the coin toss, both teams must agree NOT to kick for the duration of the game with the exception of the 2-minute onside kick rule.If kickoffs are the final outcome, then the kicking team will kick all kickoffs from their 40-yard line and the defense will be positioned 10 yards from the spot of the kickoff. If teams choose not to kick-off, then the ball will be placed at the 35-yard line to start each half and the 35-yard line after each score. If a kickoff goes out of bounds untouched beyond the receiving team’s restraining line, but before the 35-yard line, the ball is put in play at the point where the ball left the field of play. If the ball goes out of bounds untouched between the 35-yard line and the goal line the ball is put in play at the 35-yard line.

Scoring: Teams are awarded 6 points for a touchdown, 3 points for field goals, and 2 points for a safety.

Extra Point Attempt: Teams may choose go for 1, 2 or 3 points. Once the Captain has elected to go for 1, 2 or 3 points, the decision is final and cannot be changed unless the kicking team has a timeout or roughing of the center, holder or kicker was called. If the kicking team decides to change the attempt denomination, a timeout must be used first.  If the kicking team does not have a timeout left, they cannot change the original attempt amount. If the defensive team intercepts the ball or catches a blocked kick in the air without the ball hitting the ground, the defensive team can attempt to return it. If they score defensive team will be awarded points equal to the attempt try.

INTERCEPTION ON AN EXTRA POINT ATTEMPT:   A) Interceptions may be returned for the value of the Extra Point Attempt (1, 2 or 3 points) B) A blocked extra point attempt that does not hit the ground may be returned by the defense for the value of the Extra Point Attempt (1, 2 or 3 points) C) If there is a penalty, after the interception or during the return of a blocked extra point attempt against Kicker, and Receiver does not score. Receiver will be given awarded a 15 yd. penalty on the kickoff.

1 point attempt – run, pass or kick from the 3 yard line
2 point attempt – run, pass or kick from the 10 yard line
3 point attempt – run, pass or kick from the 20 yard line

Field Goals: The Defensive players are not allowed to be in 3 or 4 point stances. Field goals may be attempted from anywhere on the field. Players on the Offensive side of the ball that are on the line, must be toe to toe.  Must have at least 4 players on the line. Fake field goals are allowed and the holder can have one knee on the ground and get up and run or pass the ball during a fake field goal.  This is the only play that a runner with the ball can have a knee on the ground and play still be live. The ball must be caught in one continuous motion and placed on the ground for the field goal attempt.  If the ball is snapped and hits the ground, the play is dead and the field goal attempt will be no good.

Penalties During an Extra Point Attempt: Any roughing of the kicker, holder or center will be assessed 15 yards on the kickoff AND also have the team option to change the attempt try for 1, 2 or 3 points from the 1-yard line.  All other accepted defensive penalties will be assessed half the distance to the goal-line and the attempt retried.  If defensive pass interference occurs in the end zone, the ball will be placed on the 1-yard line.   If the defensive team intercepts the ball or catches blocked kick in the air and during the return there is a penalty on the kicking team, the defensive team will be awarded a 15-yard penalty on the kickoff. A blocked kick can be returned.

Field Goals and Extra Point (Center Guard Gap): Defensive players cannot rush the center guard gap unless that player vacates the area on his own.  He cannot be forced from vacating.  The guard can move and block as long as he does not vacate his area.  If the guard vacates, then players may rush the gap.  Players on the LOS only need to be toe to toe once the snap occurs and can move to block including the guard (as long as he does not vacate the area).

Missed Field Goals: After a missed or blocked field goal and when the ball becomes dead the new offensive captain has three options to put the ball back in play A. the previous line-of-scrimmage, B. the 20-yard line or C. where the ball was kicked from.

Punting: On any down, the offense may request protection for a protected punt. Both teams must maintain at least 4 players on the line until the ball is kicked. Lineman on the defensive line may raise their arms, and or jump to distract, or try to block the kick. They may not cross the line of scrimmage. If the punter drops the snap and the ball hits the ground, the ball is dead at the spot. The punter must receive the snap at least 5 yards behind the center and immediately punt the ball. The penalty for not punting the ball immediately shall be a 5-yard illegal procedure penalty. If a protected punt has been announced and a timeout is called, the team must re-declare their intention for a protected punt. If a protected punt has been announced and then the kicking team purposely runs an offensive play, the penalty shall be a dead ball foul unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, 10 yards, and a loss of down. All touchbacks from punts will be placed at the 20-yard line. The offense cannot cross the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.

Blocking is allowed. All blocking MUST BE open handed and not utilize the elbows/shoulders. Blockers must keep it opened handed and to the chest. No contact to the face is allowed and will be called a penalty. Stiff Arming and Flag Guarding are ILLEGAL and merit penalties and possible ejections (Depending on if the stiff arm/flag guard was of malicious intent).

Simultaneous Flag Guard/Flag Pull: In the event a runner goes to flag guard a defensive player but, the defensive player pulls their flag simultaneously. A penalty will not be called because the runner gained no advantage from the flag pull. If they flag guard, the defensive player misses the flag pull, it will be called as normal flag guarding.

Equipment: Flag belts must be 100% visible at all times while on the field. Shirts or jerseys must be tucked in and not hang over the flag belt. If a player’s flag belt falls off and it isn’t due to a defender pulling it, he must be tagged with one hand to be considered down. If a player is caught TYING OR ALTERING the belt in a way to provide an unfair advantage the player will be ejected for the remainder of the game. If he is caught tying the belt a second time, he will be suspended for the rest of the year. Ball caps with brims MUST be worn with brim facing behind you at all times.  Prescription glasses are the only glasses that may be worn.  Proof may be required.

Official Football:

  • Men shall use the regulation size ball. Women’s shall use shall use regulation, intermediate, or junior.

Pool Play Overtime Rules: There is no Overtime in pool play.  If the game ends in a tie, it will be recorded as a tie.

Tournament Overtime Rules: Overtime will start with a coin-toss. The home team will announce heads or tails prior to the flip of the coin. Each team will receive possession of the ball and has 4 plays to score from 20 yards out. After a touchdown, the offense will elect to go for a 1,2- or 3-point conversion. There is KICKING in Overtime from any point attempt. If the score is tied at the end of the second overtime, teams must go for a 2 or 3 point extra point. Overtime will continue until a winner is declared. Choices will continue to be reversed per overtime period. One time out per team, per overtime period. Interceptions on returned overtime extra points are worth the value of the attempted overtime extra point (1,2 or 3 points).

Championship Game Overtime Rules (Sudden Death): Overtime will start with a coin-toss. The home team will announce heads or tails prior to the flip of the coin. Full game clock will be used (two 22-minute halves). Teams must kickoff from the 40-yard line.  Each team will receive at least one possession. If the score is tied after each team has received a possession, then the next team that scores wins.  Teams can kick field goals. Interceptions can be returned.

Line of Scrimmage: The offense must have 4 players on the line of scrimmage each play. Players in motion do not count. Referees will be checking with players insuring they have enough players on the line prior to each snap.

Spot is the Ball: The ball will be spotted wherever the ball was at the time of a flag pull or the ball left the field-of-play. The ball is where players will be spotted from if their flag is broken. If a player’s flags fall of inadvertently, the player must be touched with 1 hand in order to be considered down. When catching passes by the sidelines, a receiver must control the ball and get 1 foot down inside the field prior to going out of bounds. The NFL makes receivers get 2 feet in bounds, the FFWCT only makes a receiver get 1 foot in bounds. If a player is going to come down with feet in bounds and the defender pushes the receiver out of bounds; the catch will be granted and a personal foul penalty will be issued for illegal contact.

Simultaneous Catches: In the event a WR and a DB both catch the ball at the same time, the tie goes to the offensive player.

No Diving (Illegal Advancement): If a player leaves his feet in an effort to gain yards, a penalty will be called. This doesn’t refer to a defender leaving his feet to attempt to gain possession of a flag but defensive players who leave their feet are responsible for their contact. This is merely in relation to diving to gain extra yards. Players may ONLY stretch their arm out to gain more yards. Players may not JUMP forward to advance a ball, players MAY jump to avoid contact or injury.Not every insignificant jump or small hop constitutes a safety issue and the definition of “significant” is at the discretion of each official.  Offensive players attempting to advance the ball illegally or gain an advantage against a defender by leaving her feet, significantly lunging, or falling forward in a perceived intentional manner may be guilty of illegal advancement.

Wrap Flag: No player has the right to aggressively “body up”, play-through, bull-rush, charge, spear or lead with a shoulder against an opponent even to capture a flag. Players may use their body to assist in stopping the momentum of an offensive player. However, in this motion, the defensive player MUST come up with the offensive player’s flag, if they do not, it will be called unnecessary roughness, 15-yard penalty. It comes to attempting to sack the quarterback, the rusher MUST come up with the flags if they body up, if they don’t get the flags, it is roughing the passer, 15-yard penalty, and an automatic first down.

Personal Fouls: Player safety is a major concern of the league and personal fouls will be enforced 100% every game. Personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct will be assessed a 15-yard penalty, automatic 1st down, and may warrant ejection for the players that commit them. Personal fouls and unnecessary roughness are two things the league has 0 tolerances for. The following acts are seen as personal fouls and may warrant ejection and possible disbarment from the league. (Punching, striking, kicking, tripping, making unnecessary contact with a player after a ball is whistled dead, lowering a shoulder, driving players to the ground, and tackling.)

Onside Kicks (RULE): During the last (2) minute of the second half ONLY, the free kick must follow a score. The kick must be returned by the receiving team to the 20-yard line, or further, (after all penalties have been assessed), or kicking team shall receive the ball at mid-field, with first down and the next zone line to gain. Applies only to losing team. In the event of a touchback, the receiving team gets the ball at the 20-yard line.

  • IF a ball is kicked in the endzone and STAYS in the endzone (lying motionless) the ball is now dead and the receiving team will contain possession.
  • IF the kicking team kicks the ball out of the back of the endzone, the receiving team will then contain possession.
  • IF the receiving team catches a ball inside the endzone and takes a knee in the endzone the ball is then brought out to the 20-yard line and receiving team will maintain possession
  • IF the ball is kicked INTO the endzone and then bounces or rolls outside of the endzone the ball is LIVE. If this happens, the receiving team must return the ball past the 20-yard line to maintain possession or the kicking team will take over at the 50-yard line with possession. If this happens and the kicking team touches the ball then the ball is dead but cannot be advanced, therefore the kicking team will contain possession at the 50-yard line.

Proper Equipment Before the Play Starts: All players must have flags on before the play starts.  If a player does not have his or her flags on when the ball is snapped into play, then the play will continue until stopped.  Offense will be assessed a Failure to Wear Proper Equipment penalty (5 yards) and will replay the down.  Defense will be assessed a 5 yard penalty which can be accepted or declined by the Offense depending on the result of the play.  It is not an automatic first down for the Offense if the penalty is accepted, but could result in a first down if the line to gain is met.

Retrieving the Ball After Each Play: The defense is responsible for retrieving the ball after each play.

Last man rule:  There is no last man rule, however, if a player(s) or coach(s) leaves the sideline and disrupts the play or the offensive player from scoring, the offensive team may be awarded a touchdown.

Off-Sides/Encroachment: If a defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage, the play is automatically whistled dead and is assessed as an encroachment penalty (5 yards).

Illegal Formation: The Offense is not properly lined up.  Play will not be stopped at the snap of the ball.  The Defense will have an opportunity to accept or decline the penalty after the result of the play (5 yards). This includes all offensive players that are lined up less than 5 yards from each sideline.

Roughing the Passer: Roughing the passer is a 15-yard penalty and an Automatic 1st down. This includes a defensive player hitting the ball while the ball is in the QB’s hands or the QB hitting the defensive player above the shoulders or to the head during his or her follow through NATURAL motion.  A defensive player can knock the ball down, but the ball must leave the QB’s hand. Roughing fouls may be tacked on to the end of the play.

Blocking Down Field: Blocking downfield is only allowed on running play or when the pass is behind the LOS.

Crackback and Blindside Blocking: Crackback Blocking and Blindside blocking is NOT allowed. Crack-back block is a blind-side block on a player by an opponent who starts downfield and then cuts back toward her own goal line to make contact.  A blind-side block is engaging an opponent other than the runner who does not see the blocker approaching.

Charging: The offensive player must avoid the defender if they are set.

Inadvertent Whistle: At the time of the inadvertent whistle, the team with the possession of the ball has the option of replaying the down or the result of the play. If the inadvertent whistle occurred while the ball is in the air the offensive team will replay the down.

Two on One Blocking: is allowed

Ball Carrier: The ball will be dead at the spot when the anything other then the ball carrier’s hand or feet touch the ground.

Center Snaps: The ball must be placed on the ground and snapped between the legs. The center can snap it to anyone on the field as long as that player is not lined up on the LOS.

Fumbles: Dead at the spot. Muffs or Kickoff and Punts are dead at the spot of the muff.  If a player pitches the ball or is running and the ball pops out legally (not punched out), the ball is live and can be caught by the defensive team and advanced. Result will be change of possession. Forward fumbles will be marked where the ball carrier’s feet were when they lost possession.

Center: The Center is protected when he snaps the ball.  The Center cannot be touched until he/she picks up their head and takes one step towards his/her pattern or assumes a blocking position.

Jamming of the Receiver: Defensive players can Jam the receiver at the line and up to 5 yards downfield. However, you cannot hold, trip or grab the receiver. Contacting receivers within the initial five yards from scrimmage is allowed as long as the ball is not in the air. Contact within the initial five yards must be continuous (i.e. no re-loading) and applied “inside the frame” of the body. A defender may turn an opponent “off their route” as long as the defender’s hands are “inside the frame”.

Forward Pass: Only one forward pass per down. To be a legal forward pass only 1 of 3 points need to be behind the LOS: ball, feet or body. All 3 points past the LOS is an illegal forward pass.

Backward Pass / Pitch Backs: The QB can throw a backward pass behind the LOS which can be thrown backwards unlimited times and then thrown forward provided the player throwing the ball is behind the LOS.  Unlimited pitch backs are allowed.

Direct Snaps:  Direct snaps are legal as long as the player receiving the snap is not lined up on the LOS.  The player receiving the snap must be off the LOS.

Fumbles and Muffs:  Fumbles are a “dead ball” when they hit the ground.  If a lateral, muffed or fumbled ball is intercepted before becoming dead, it remains a “live ball”

Avoiding Contact: The ball carrier must avoid the defender if the defender has established his/her position.  The ball carrier cannot lower his/her shoulder or run through the defender.

Huddle Clock: The Huddle Clock will begin once the referee has set the LOS and blows the whistle.  The offense will have 25 seconds to snap the ball.  If the offense does not snap the ball with in 25 seconds, they will be assessed a delay of game penalty.

Safety: The team will have the option to kick or punt from their own 20-yard line.  The kicking rule that is decided during the beginning of the game, does not apply here.  The team MUST kick or punt from their own 20-yard line.

Pass Interference: Offensive pass interference is a 10-yard penalty and loss of down. This includes blocking down field before the ball is thrown past the LOS. A player may use his arms or hands to intentionally obstruct the receiver’s view (face guarding) of the ball without turning his own head to play the ball as long as contact is not made with the receiver. Defensive pass interference is a spot foul and automatic first down.

Intentional Grounding: This is defined in flag as the QB throwing the ball away to avoid a sack. Intentional Grounding can occur ANYWHERE behind the LOS. The QB can spike the ball within 2 minutes of the second half to stop the clock. However, the snap must be hand-to-hand from under center and the spike done immediately. If done from the “shot gun” this constitutes intentional grounding. Intentional Grounding is a spot foul and loss of down.

Motion: Only one player can be in motion at the snap of the ball.  Players can move around, but must be set for at least 1 second before the snap.

Jumping: Players may not jump FORWARD to advance the ball.  Players may jump to avoid contact or injury.  QB’s can jump to throw the ball.

Blocking Downfield: Blocking downfield is legal only on run plays or passes thrown behind the LOS.

All Offensive Penalties behind the LOS: Will be assessed from the LOS except Flag Guarding and Intentional Grounding which will be assessed from the spot of the foul.

Penalties

Offsides / Encroachment –5 yards (dead ball), if the defense jumps offside’s on 2 consecutive plays it will be 10 yd. penalty.

False Start – 5 yards (dead ball)

Illegal Motion – 5 yards (live ball)

Pass Interference – Offense 10 yards loss of down / Defense spot foul and automatic first down.

Holding – Offense 10 yards, replay the down / Defense 10 yards from LOS or 10 yards tact on to the end of the play and final spot will determine if line to gain.  If line of gain is not achieved, the down will also be replayed.

Flag Guarding – Beyond the LOS is 10 yards from the spot of the foul and loss of down. Behind the LOS will be assessed 10 yards from the spot of the ball and loss of down.

Unsportsmanlike –15 yards & automatic first down (2 will result in an ejection from the game)

Unnecessary Roughness – 15 yards & automatic first down (Could result in an ejection from the game)

Personal Foul – 15 yards & automatic first down (2 will result in an ejection from the game)

Illegal Participation – 10 yards and replay the down

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