NJ Play Sports Co-ed Flag Football Rules

Co-Ed Flag Football Rules

Summary 

  • Format 8v8. (6 men and 2 women on the field)
  • Two 25 minute halves with 1-3 minute half time. Running clock for first half, 23 minute running second half with 2 minute stop time if game is within 16 points
  • Ball will be spotted where the players hips/flags are at the conclusion of the play
  • Non-contact (NO Blocking)
  • No picks allowed
  • Teams must use a female player as an operative player within 3 consecutive downs
  • Each team will have a series of four (4) downs to advance the ball from one zone to another. Failure to do so in four downs results in loss of the ball to the opponent. If a penalty is called or a team losses yardage the team must still reach the originally intended zone (potentially resulting in needing to go past two first down markers to obtain a first down) 
  • Three Mississippi rush count, counted by the referee
  • All players must arrive on-time to avoid forfeiture of game(Game time is forfeit time)
  • All games are RAIN or SHINE (unless hazardous conditions)
  • Any unsportsmanlike conduct will result in that player/team being suspended/removed from participating in future NJ Play activities, at the discretion of NJ Play officials.

Check In

  • All players must check in with Site Manager at the field prior to the start of your scheduled game.

Forfeits – Required Players

NJ Play stresses that you do not forfeit. Your teammates and opponents count on you to have a full team and competitive game. At check-in, inform NJ Play official if you a) know that your team will be short players for your game or b) expect to field a full team, but are currently short players. Officials will help make sure that a game is played, whether official or scrimmage, on every field.

  • Must have at least 5 players, including 1 female to start a game
  • Game time is forfeit time. We will allow 7 minutes grace period for teammates to arrive.
  • No one may participate without signing the waiver

Forfeit Penalties and Notification

  • First Offense: Loss of game
  • Second Offense: Loss of game and removal from the playoffs
  • Third Offense: Removal from the rest of the schedule
  • If you know in advance that your team is going to forfeit a game, you must contact us by 2pm on Tuesday at info@njplaysports.com. If your decision is not made until after 2pm, you should still try to contact NJ Play, and we will make efforts to contact the other team. If we can reach them in time to keep them from showing up, no extra penalty.
  • There is no additional penalty if you show up short-handed (and need to add other NJ Play players to field a full team) and have to forfeit the game, since you did make an effort to get a team to play.
  • Once NJ Play is notified you are forfeiting, it is official, and the other team will be notified.

Refereeing

  • NJ Play will provide a head referee for each field. 

NJ Play Head Ref is responsible for the following:

  • Positioning the line of scrimmage
  • Downs
  • Completions
  • Number of 1st downs
  • Gender Plays
  • Fair Rush Count
  • Making calls near the line of scrimmage
  • Keeping Score
  • Rule Clarifications

Questions for the referee –

  • Only the team captain is allowed to ask the head referee for rule clarification. If it is a judgment call, the referees can confer with each other and the team captains for discussion, but players and/or captains are not allowed to question judgment calls.

Start of Game

  • Referee will have two captains shoot rock/paper/scissors, odds/evens, or coin flip.
  • Winning captain selects Offense/Defense or direction in the first half (In the second half, teams change directions and possession).
  • The winning captain may NOT “defer” the selection. He/she must decide either offense/defense or field direction.
  • Game starts with the “receiving” team in possession on its own 10-yard line.

Clock Time

  • Two 25 minute halves with 1-3 minute half time
  • Running time for all 25 minutes of first half, 23 of 25 minutes running time second half (see below for explanation)
    • Final two minutes of second half - clock stops when the score differential is 16 points or less for:
    • Official’s time-outs (injuries and called time-outs)
    • An incomplete pass
    • An offensive player goes out-of-bounds (Without being deflagged)
    • A touchdown
      • The clock starts again at the change of posession.
    • A First Down
    • Any turnover (interception, change of possession on downs or after a punt)
    • The clock continues to run on all fumbles (including fumbles snaps from the center to the QB)
    • Any penalty deemed intentional by the referee in an effort to affect the clock (whether to run off time or stop the clock) in the last two minutes of the game is prohibited
    • If a team is up by 17 or more points, the clock will continue to run for the last 2 minutes
    • If the point differential changes from below 17 points (stoppage time) to 17 points or above (running time) within the final 2 minutes the clock shall stop/run in accordance with the score.
    • The clock will stop for a 2 minute warning in the second half if thescore differential is 16 points or less. Clock is always restarted when the offense snaps the ball.

Timeouts

  • Each team receives two time-outs per game. Timeouts last one minute.

Team Size

  • 8 Players total:Never more than  6 males on the field, 1 female must be present to avoid forfeit 
  • Each team shall field no less than 5 players (minimum of 4 male, 1 female) in order to avoid forfeit at start of game.
  • Teams must start at game time if the minimum numbers of players are present

Picking Up Players

  • If pick-up players are needed, site manager or official must be notified prior to game start. Pick-up players must be approved by opposing team. If approval is not gained by opposing team, the following will be enforced:
    • 6 points per player – teams are never allowed to pick up more than two players.
    • Only roster players are permitted to participate during playoffs.
    • A forfeit will be given to any team who picks up players and does not inform the site manager or official.

Uniforms/Footwear

  • Team shirts are provided by NJ Play
  • Proper footwear must be worn to participate (i.e. sneakers or cleats)
  • Metal Cleats are prohibited

Co-ed Rules

Teams must use a female as an operative player within 3 consecutive downs

  • An operative player is defined as follows:
    • The intended receiver in the eyes of the official
    • Attempts a pass as quarterback (does not have to get positive yards)
  • An operative player is NOT defined as a player who:
    • Hands the ball off to a male player
    • Snaps the ball into play
    • Receives a hand-off only to give it back to a male before crossing the line of scrimmage

Female Plays
***Ball must be thrown or received by a female past the line of scrimmage to be considered a female play. 

  • A pass deflected by a male and caught by a female
  • A pass intended for a female (in the eyes of the referee) that is deflected by a female, and is caught by a male
  • Female QB sacked
  • Female plays not utilizing a female and resulting in loss of down and the following play will still be considered a female play

Female Plays Are Not

  • Male QB is sacked on a play designated as a female play
  • Male or female QB spiking the ball, to stop the clock, on a female play
  • Female receives a handoff or a pitch (The ball must be thrown forward to be considered a female play)
  • Female QB handing off, pitching or throwing the ball to a male that is not in front of them
  • FEMALE QB lateralling the ball to a MALE who then throws it to another MALE

On Extra points, every player is eligible, even if it should be a female play.

Scoring

  • Touchdowns – 6 points
  • Extra points:
    • 2 yard conversion: 1 point
    • 10 yard conversion: 2 points
  • Safeties: 2 points

*Extra point attempts may be intercepted and returned for 2 points with the defense retaining possession at their 10 yard line.

Safeties

A safety will be scored when a player:

  • Is de-flagged with the ball across the goal-line in their own end zone (not on a punt or intercepted pass)
    • If player advances the ball out of end zone and runs back in on a punt or intercepted pass, a safety will be awarded
  • Runs out of bounds in their own end zone
  • Snaps the ball out of the back of their own end zone
  • Fumbles in their own end zone

*The defensive team receives 2 points and then takes possession of the ball at their own 10-yard line.

First Downs

Teams will have 4 downs to score or earn another 1st down. First downs are earned by:

  • Each team will have a series of four (4) downs to advance the ball from one zone to another. Failure to do so in four downs results in loss of the ball to the opponent. If a penalty is called or a team losses yardage the team must still reach the originally intended zone (potentially resulting in needing to go past two first down markers to obtain a first down)
  • First down markers will be placed approximately 20 yards apart at the start of the game.
    • For a sixty yard field (excluding endzones); first down markers will be placed at each 20 yard line, creating 3 equal zones. 1st downs are gained by advancing the ball into the next zone.
  • A play must end beyond the first down marker to be considered a first down

If a team fails to score or earn a first down, possession goes to the other team. The offensive team may elect to punt on any down (See rules section punting for more details).

Snapping Ball into Play

  • Ball must always be snapped from the ground by the center to the quarterback
  • The center is eligible to receive a pass 
  • The player receiving the snap is the quarterback for that play
  • No player shall put the ball in play until it is declared ready-for-play by the head referee
  • The offensive team has 25 seconds to put the ball in play after it is spotted by the referee
  • Centers may adjust the ball, including picking it up to reposition it as long as this motion is not used to intentionally draw the defense offside
  • All offensive players must be set for one full second before ball is snapped
  • Only 3 players are allowed in the backfield at the snap
  • If the ball hits the ground during the snap it is treated like a fumble and is dead immediately at the spot where it hit the ground.
    • This will not stop the clock during the last two minutes of the 2nd half

Blocking

  • No active blocking is allowed(Penalty: 10 yards from line of scrimmage; replay down.)
    • A player may use his body to shield another player by having their arms by their sides or behind their back, shielding player must be stationary. In this instance, the shielding player must not initiate contact.
    • There is also no contact allowed at the line or downfield by any defensive player.
      • The center may move side to side during the 3 seconds of the “Mississippi” count but then must remain stationary if intending the screen the rusher
    • Contact must be avoided by all players.

Offensive Picks

Offensive picks are not allowed (Intentionally impeding the path of a defensive player in order to free up a potential receiver). The penalty is 10 yards and loss of down.

Rushing Quarterback

  • Each team with 8 players must keep 1 player on the defensive line within 2 yards of the center to start the play
    • That player must remain on the line of scrimmage if they are intending to rush the QB after 3 mississippis (counted by the referee)
    • Teams that are short players may choose to not have a defensive line man but give up the right to rush on that play
  • Pursuing the QB
    • Defense may not pursue the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage until the referee completes the 3 Mississippi count. 
    • The count beings when the ball is snapped
    • The defense can rush after 3 Mississippi count
      • Any player may rush once the count is completed
  • The quarterback may only run once the defense has crossed the line of scrimmage
  • If the ball is handed off or thrown in the backfield, the defense is allowed to rush immediately
  •  
  • Play Will Continue Until
  • Ball carrier is de-flagged
  • If the ball carrier is de-flagged while bobbling the ball (not in complete possession), the play shall continue until he is touched with two hands by a defender
  • Ball carrier touches the out of bounds line with any part of his/her body
  • Ball carrier scores. Ball must break goal plane for touchdown or conversion
  • Ball touches the ground as a result of a fumble, punt or incomplete pass or even while in a player’s hand
  • Ball carrier slips or falls, or any part of his/her body (except feet or hands) touches the ground, the ball becomes dead
  • If an offensive player becomes de-flagged without cause the play will continue until he is touched with two hands by a defender

Complete/Incomplete Passes

  • A pass is complete:
    • Caught by any player of the passing team (who has at least one foot in bounds) beyond the line of scrimmage
    • Caught in bounds simultaneously by opponents –the ball is awarded to passing team at spot of catch
    • Player that has ball control and is pushed out of the end zone/sideline will be considered inbounds/TD/extra point
    • If a receiver forced out by an opposing player is still eligible when he has reestablished position on the field of play
    • If the player who went out of bounds is not the 1st to touch the ball, it is a completion (i.e. the pass was deflected)
    • A deflected ball caught by the center can be advanced

Start of the game/Scores

The team taking possession of the ball will start on its own 10 yards line. There are no kick-offs

Punts

  • The offensive team must declare a punt and allow the defensive team time to set-up in a punt return formation.
  • There does not need to be a snap during a declared punt play
  • No fake punts allowed
  • Punts must be kicked
  • The kicking team may not cross the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked
  • The receiving team may not attempt to block the punt
  • When the ball in received, only the receiving player is allowed to move,remaining members of the team must remain in place. Any movement by remaining receiving players will be considered blocking
  • Once the ball comes in contact with the ground it is a dead ball and possession changes at the spot of contact
  • A touchback (ball placed on the 10 yard line)is award if:
    • Ball is punted into or out of the end zone
    • Player drops the ball in the end zone
    • A player becomes de-flagged or takes a knee in the endzone without previously entering the field of play

Fumbles/Interceptions/Turnovers

Fumbles

  • There are no fumbles, any play ends when the ball makes contact with the ground
  • If a player has possession of the ball and then loses it and the ball makes contact with the ground the ball will be spot where the player last had complete control of the ball
  • If a ball becomes loose, either team my attempt to catch the ball prior to it hitting the ground and advance it towards their opponents end zone

Standings/Ranking

  • Ranking Points (Win: 3, Tie:1, Loss: 0)
  • Win Percentage 
  • Head to Head
  • Points Against
  • Power Index (Strength of Schedule Metric)
  • If none of the above tie breakers resolve seeding issues there will a coin toss to break the tie