Flag Football 7v7 Draft League - | Flag Football | League Joe
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Flag Football 7v7 Draft League

Season: Spring Saturdays (Other Seasons)   |   Sport: Flag Football

Event Director
Indy Healthplex
Indianapolis, IN
Day of the Week
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Rules SummaryEdit Summary Rules

These are the most common and/or most unique rules being used for this event. Please see "Official Rulebook" for exhaustive list of playing rules. When in conflict, rules written here shall supercede those in the official rulebook.

As a player, you are responsible for knowing all official rules of the game. By participating in the league, you are agreeing that you are aware of all rules associated with the league and the sport, and agree to abide by them at all times.





All rosters will consist of at least 9 players.  Each team may have a maximum of Seven (7) on the field. Male to female ratio to be determined based on the available pool of players.  Teams that do not have at least five players, including one female, on the field ten minutes after the game is scheduled to start automatically forfeit.


Non Roster Substitute Players


Regular season. Teams who are unable to field a complete rostered team will be allowed to use substitute players from the alternate sub pool with a salary level at or below who they are replacing, to field a team of 7 players.  If rostered players show up during the game they will take the place of substitute players while maintaining a full team of 7 players. If it is discovered at any point during or following a game that a team does not adhere to this substitution policy, they will automatically forfeit.  Coaches may appeal to their opponents in the cases where subs are unavailable at the appropriate salary range, and opposing coaches will work with the team to come to a reasonable solution that allows the game to be played without a forced forfeit.


Playoffs. Any and all substitutes required during the playoffs are subject to commissioner approval.  If substitutes are required, they will be selected with a salary penalty compared to the missing rostered player.. If it is discovered at any point during or following the game that a team utilized substitute (non-rostered) players they will automatically forfeit.


Replacement players.  In the event your team loses a player to the following: season ending injury, medical condition, or change of location, you may contact the league commissioners.  It will be at the discretion of the league commissioner to allow your team to add a replacement player.  The request must be sent at the time the event (injury) has taken place.  If a replacement player is allowed to your roster, they will permanently replace that person for the remaining season.




Each game will consist of two 19 minute halves and a two minute halftime.  The clock will run continuously unless specified below.


The referee may call an official timeout at any time.


Final minute of the first half and Final two minutes of game. During these times of a contested game, the clock will stop if (1) a pass falls incomplete, (2) a ball carrier runs out of bounds, (3) a touchdown is scored, (4) a penalty is assessed, (5) an injury occurs, (6) a timeout is called, or (7) the ball is turned over.

  • Contested game.  A game is contested if the score differential is fewer than 17 points.

  • Completed pass. Following a completed pass and tackle in the field of play, the referee will immediately stop the clock. When the ball is spotted, the referee will start the clock and inform the offense that they have twenty (20) seconds to hike the ball.   The ref will inform the offense when the play clock is at five (5) seconds.


Each team may use two timeouts per game. Play resumes after sixty seconds or when both teams have informed the referee they are ready to resume, whichever occurs first.


An informal play clock of 20 seconds following the conclusion of a play and the spotting of the ball. The Referee will advise “play clock has started”.  A referee has the authority of the start play clock enforcement.


There is no overtime play during the regular season. If a regular season contest ends at a tie, the record will reflect the tie (i.e 2-1-1).  Playoff games that end in a tie will go into college style overtime rules.  During overtime, each team will be given one possession at the two point conversion line. The game ends when the score is not tied after an equal number of possessions. Each team will be awarded one timeout during the overtime event. After 3 overtimes teams will be given one possession from the 10 yard line. After 5 overtimes, the game will be decided by rock, paper, scissors.

  • If a pass is intercepted in overtime, the ball carrier will be given the opportunity to return the ball for a touchdown.  If the intercepting ball carrier's flags are pulled, play will stop.




First down. The offense may advance the ball by throwing it, or running it after the defense has crossed the line of scrimmage.  A first down is awarded when the offense advances the ball 15 yards from the initial spot of the ball on first down.  Teams will get 4 downs (barring penalties to replay the down) to advance the ball the necessary 15 yards.


End of play. A play is over when (1) the football hits the ground, (2) a ball carrier's flags are pulled, (3) a ball carrier runs out of bounds or into the endzone, (4) anything other than a ball carrier's feet or hands contacts the ground, or (5) the referee blows their whistle. 


Participants must stop play when they hear the whistle blown.

Closed play designation: At the beginning of each possession, the defensive team elects 3 participants on the offensive team as “closed play participants”. These players must play for the entire possession and will receive designated wristbands indicating their status.  One of these participants must have involvement once every 3 consecutive plays. Defense is not allowed to designate the same 3 players on consecutive possession as “closed play participants”. (i.e Jane, John, and Joe were designated as closed play participants on the first possession they would not be eligible to be designated until the 3rd possession for the offense).


Player “involvement” can be achieved by the following :

  1. throws the football, with intent to complete a pass, beyond the line of scrimmage,

  2. is the receiver of a completed pass or the intended receiver of a pass with a reasonable chance of being completed,

  3. runs the ball, after being rushed, for positive yardage.

  • Insufficient involvement.  Teams do not achieve the involvement criteria if the referee deems: the quarterback made no attempt to complete a pass and instead threw the ball (1) to the ground, (2) out of bounds, (3) well beyond the reach of the intended receiver, or (4) not beyond the line of scrimmage.


If a third consecutive play is completed without using a “closed play participant” as an involvement, a loss of down occurs, and the following play must have involvement of a “closed play participant” or result in change of possession.  

If a designated closed play participant is injured during a possession, they may exit the game and be replaced by a player from the bench.  The defense has the option of selecting the player to receive the closed play designation in this instance.  Injured players must, at a minimum, remain “out” for the conclusion of the possession.


Down count.  The referee will announce the down and number of free plays available before each play.  (i.e. 1st down free, 2nd down free 1, 3rd down closed.


A team captain may ask for a referee timeout if they believe that the announced down is incorrect. It is the referee's discretion whether to authorize the stoppage. Unsportsmanlike conduct can be enforced if requests become excessive.


Punts.  The offensive team may "punt" the ball on fourth down if it announces its intent to the referee. The offense may only punt the ball by drop-kicking it from 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage.  The punting team may designate two “Downers” who will identify themselves by raising a hand above their head and holding it there until the ball is punted.

The defending team is allowed to designate one Receiver, who may position themselves anywhere on the field beyond the line of scrimmage before the snap.  The referee must give the defensive team reasonable time to prepare for the punt. Other than the punter, all other players on both teams will line up on the line of scrimmage and may not move or participate in the play. 

  • Shoving, blocking, and pushing is not allowed.  Excessive contact may result in a spot foul penalty plus or minus 5 yards, depending on player assessed the penalty

  • A ball is whistled dead and play resumes with change of possession from the spot of the dead ball when the ball is touched by the Receiver, picked up or caught by a Downer, the ball goes out of bounds, or the ball comes to rest naturally.  

  • A ball kicked out of bounds is whistled down at the spot the ball crosses the out of bounds line, at the discretion of the referee.  A ball that crosses the opposing goal line shall be considered a “touchback” and the opposing team will receive possession on the 15 yard line.

  • If a Downer steps anywhere beyond the goal line prior to touching the live ball, the ball will be considered a touchback.  A Receiver may not cross beyond the goalline for any reason and if they do so and then touch the ball, the ball will be ruled down at the 1 yard line.

Fair Catch.   The designated Receiver may, while the ball is in the air, wave their arm above their head to indicate a “fair catch”.  Upon seeing the signal, the referee will yell “Fair Catch” to alert members of both teams.  Upon the indication of Fair Catch, the Receiver is the only player allowed to touch the ball until the end of the play.  

  • If the ball is caught in air, the play is officially over and the change of possession occurs at the spot of the catch.

  • If the ball is not caught in the air, the receiving player must bring the ball to rest within the field of play.  Upon touching the ball, the receiving team will be assessed a -5 yard penalty or half the distance to the goal line (whichever is less) and take possession of the ball.

  • If, after indicating Fair Catch, the ball bounces or rolls out of bounds or beyond the goalline, the Fair Catch call will be nullified and the rules for out of bound punts and touchbacks will be assessed



Change of possession.  After a change of possession, the offensive team may hike the ball as soon as the referee signals that play may resume.  The defensive team should be given  to substitute players and set up its defense.


Quarterback sack.  The referee will place the ball at the point of "tackle" if the quarterback is sacked, and a loss of down will occur. Sack will not count as an “involvement”.


False Start.  The referee may disallow the result of a play if an offensive player begins the play on the defensive side of the ball. Offense has an opportunity to get back on the legal side of the ball before the snap occurs. 


All players MUST be on the line of scrimmage, two yards into the field of play, prior to the ball being snapped. No player may be in forward motion at the time of the snap. Lateral motion is allowed.




A reception will be awarded if a player's first foot to touch the ground after catching a pass is fully in bounds.


A player is an eligible receiver if the player is on the field of play at the snap of the ball. If the player leaves the field of play during an offensive play (and makes a reasonable effort to return immediately to the field of play) they will be ruled eligible, however the player must reestablish position with both feet on the field before becoming re-eligible.


Laterals.  Laterals presumed to be forward will result in a dead ball, unless the referee is sure that the ball was thrown backward.  

Blocking and charging.  Neither team may purposely impede the established direction of an opponent.  Offensive blocking will result in an immediate stop in play and a 10 yard penalty for dangerous play.  A 10 yard penalty will be assessed against the offense if an offensive player runs into and makes no attempt to avoid a motionless defender.


Picks and Screens. Picks and screen blocking of defensive players by offensive players is not permitted. Offensive receivers may run crossing patterns but must continue their route naturally, not stopping and making contact with the defensive player in an attempt to prevent them from covering an offensive player. A ten-yard penalty and a loss of down will be assessed.




A team is awarded six (6) points when it advances the ball into the endzone. The team may opt to receive one (1) point or two (2) point attempt prior to the touchdown. The one point conversion will be at the 3 yard line, two point conversion will be at the six yard line.  

      a)  Upon scoring a touchdown the offensive captain or QB must announce their intent to attempt a (1) point conversion or attempt a (2) point conversion AND be lined up at the conversion line (3 or 6 yard line) within the 20 second play clock. The official will check  with the defensive team prior to the attempt.


If a quarterback sack or player tackle occurs in the end zone a safety will be awarded. The defensive team will receive 2 pts and the ball on their own 6 yard line.


Jumping or diving to score. A player who attempts to cross the endzone line by leaving their feet or diving forward will be ruled down at the three yard line.


Goal line situation. Once a team advances the ball within three yards of the endzone, or is awarded a first down within six yards of the endzone, the team must score on that set of downs.




All substitutions should occur from the sideline designated by the official. A loss of down may occur if:

A) the ball is hiked after an offensive player leaves the field of play via the far sideline or back end zone line,

B) the offensive team has more than eight (8) players, or more than five (5) men, on the field when the ball is hiked, or

C) an offensive player steps onto the field at such a time as to not give the opposing team notice that he/she is an eligible receiver.

  • A receiver must line up at least two yards away from the substitution sideline so that the opponent may be aware of whether or not that receiver is on the field.



Flag Belt


Each player must wear a flag belt. The belt must be worn over the player's shirt with the middle flag in the middle of the player's back.  No flag should be inside a player’s hips.


Players “tackle” an opposing ball carrier by grabbing one of the three flags on their flag belt. The flag belt is not a flag and players should not attempt to tackle an opponent by reaching for the belt. A tackler’s momentum must not cause contact with a ball carrier. A player shall be signaled down when their flag is pulled from their belt.


“Wrap up” tackle. A defensive player approaching a ball carrier from the front may not reach for both side flags unless the ball carrier is motionless at the time. Otherwise, this method serves to “wrap up” the ball carrier and prevent continued forward movement. Defensive players who grab a ball carrier's waist in an attempt to pull their flags will be called for an illegal tackle.


 “Rake” tackle. A player may not strip a ball carrier of their flags by “raking” their fingers down the ball carrier’s body in an attempt to dislodge the flags. Players who do not limit their attempt to grabbing a player’s flags will be called for an illegal tackle.


Rushing the QB. A rusher may not attempt to tackle a QB by reaching for the flag belt between their hips. Rushers must reach for the flag on either side and their momentum must not cause contact with the QB.


Inadvertent pull or separation. A player who inadvertently loses their flags before or during a play may finish the play. The player will be ruled down as soon as they possess the ball.


Tackle after lateral. A player whose flags are pulled after the player has passed or lateralled the football may continue to participate in the play and reattach their flags. If they are in possession of the ball again without flags, they will be ruled down when they receive the ball.


Illegal flag pull. A defensive player may not pull the flag of an offensive player prior to them receiving the ball. Depending on the field position when the foul is committed the penalty for this violation may be 5 yards, 10 yards, touchdown, or on the last play of the game 1 untimed down after the penalty has been enforced.


Clothing Pull. A defensive player may not use their grip on a ball carrier's clothing or body to assist in pulling the player’s flags. An infraction will result in a ten-yard penalty for dangerous play. A referee must award a touchdown if the offensive player is within the 2-pt conversion line when their clothing or body is contacted.


Flag guarding. If the referee believes that a ballcarrier’s arms purposely or inadvertently impeded an opponent's effort to pull their flags, the referee will whistle the player down and assess a 5-yard penalty at the spot of the foul. A ballcarrier who lowers their head or shoulder when advancing the football will be ruled immediately tackled.




Quarterback rush. A defensive rusher will be ruled offside if they cross the line of scrimmage before the rush count is complete.


Rush count. All leagues except competitive utilize a referee announced 3 count with "GO" announced when a rush is available.


The count may only be executed by the sideline referee.


Contact with the quarterback.  A rusher may not initiate contact with the quarterback.  If they attempt to block a pass, they must jump straight up and may not jump forward into the QB's throwing motion. 


Defensive Pass Interference.  A defensive player may not contact an offensive player during a play. The referee will award a reception to the offense if an intended receiver is contacted while attempting to catch a pass. Minimal, harmless and insignificant bumping is subject to the referee's discretion.


  1. Burden. Defensive players may not move into a receiver's obvious path.  For purposes of this rule, it is irrelevant if the defensive player contacts the football before contacting the receiver. 

  2. Contact in the endzone.  Defensive contact in the endzone will result in a touchdown if the referee believes the offense would have otherwise caught the ball. If the catch was uncertain, they will award an open first down on the two-point conversion line.

  3. Defensive holding.  If illegal defensive contact occurs, the referee will assess a ten-yard penalty and the down will be replayed.

  4. Players will be warned by the referee, and subject to penalty or ejection, if they repeatedly run into or initiate contact with other players.

  5. Intimidation.  No player may yell in an attempt to frighten an opponent into dropping a pass.  Players may yell "ball" with the intent to alert their team that the QB has thrown the ball.  The enforcement of this rule may result in an interception.


Offensive Pass Interference. If the referee believes that a defensive player would have intercepted a pass, but for an offensive player's interference, they will award an interception and a first down to the defensive team.  An offensive receiver may not run through a motionless defender while running a pass route.


Dangerous play/physical tackle. Excessive physical contact on the playing field is not permitted.  A player who, in an attempt to pull a ball carrier's flags or to defend against a pass, makes significant contact with an opponent will be penalized or ejected from the game.


Defensive bodily obstruction. The ball carrier always maintains the right of way. A defensive player may not run in a direction that will impede the ballcarrier's obvious route. Defensive players must make every effort to avoid physical contact with a ball carrier when attempting to pull their flag.


Presumption. Contact between an offensive ball carrier and a defensive player will be presumed to have been initiated by the defensive player.  This rule will not apply if the referee believes the offensive player initiated the contact.


Automatic touchdown. A TD will automatically be awarded to the offensive team if, in the referee's judgment, a defensive player flagrantly and deliberately makes contact with the ballcarrier at any point on the field in an effort to impede a scoring play.




Five (5) yard penalties.  The following non-contact infractions will result in five yard penalties: (1) offensive/defensive offsides, (2) flag guarding and flag belt violations, and (3) illegal rush count.


Ten (10) yard penalties.  The following more serious infractions will result in ten yard penalties: (1) offensive/defensive pass interference, (2) illegal tackling or contact, (3) blocking, and (4) unsportsmanlike conduct.


One warning per team will be issued for excessive contact & unsportsmanlike conduct.


Too many players on the field.  Defensive: 5 yards awarded or free play.  Offensive: 5 yard penalty, loss of down.


Automatic touchdown.  A referee will award a team a touchdown if they  the team would have scored but for a defensive penalty. 


Ten yard defensive penalties that occur within the defensive team's six yard line could result in an automatic touchdown.


Ejection.  A player, on a team that has already received a warning for excessive contract or unsportsmanlike conduct, will be asked to leave the field of play if they  in subsequent behavior.  If the player continues to make rude or disrespectful comments on the sideline after their ejection, their team must either ask them to leave the premises or immediately forfeit the game. 


Second ejection.  A player who is ejected from a game for the second time will be removed from the league for the entire season. Eligibility for future leagues will be determined by the captains and commissioner. 


Rules for CoachesEdit Coach Rules

These are guidelines and rules for the event that all coaches must acknowledge and follow. Please review all rules carefully.

Official Rules

Edit Official Rules

Official Rules

The official rules for the sport, which may or may not be from a sanctioning body.

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