Test Co-ed Rules | FXA Football - Co-ed, Men's, & Women's Leagues
FXA Football is Northern Virginia's (VA/DC/MD) Largest Co-ed, Men's, & Women's Adult Flag Football League with over 480 teams & 7,680 players annually. We offer Team & Individual (Free Agent) Registrations for our Spring, Summer, Fall, & Winter Seasons.

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Men's Flag Football Rules (Revised June 2016)

 

Roster Size & Regulations

Each team shall field eight players. Teams that are not able to field a complete team may play with a minimum of six players. A maximum of two “pick-up” players will be permitted only when a team does not have enough of its own players present to field a team. Teams that are not able to field at least six players may play a "legal" game with the consent of the opposing captain. It is illegal for a team to have more than eight players on the field of play. Teams with coaches and/or additional players who enter the field of play without entering the game will be penalized for illegal participation.

Team rosters and online player waiver & release forms must be completed and submitted prior to the first scheduled game of the season. Any team that has not submitted these forms by that time will have its scheduled games declared a “forfeit” until all forms are received. If a player fails to submit their online player waiver & release form, all liability and legal issues will be the responsibility of the team captain. Fairfax Athletics will not be responsible for players that do not submit an online player waiver & release form.

Players may be listed only on one team’s roster per season throughout the league. For a player to be considered eligible to participate in the playoffs, he must be listed on a team’s roster prior to the roster cutoff deadline (usually Week 2 of an 8 week season).

Any team that does not have a full roster uploaded to the website and visible to the public by week 2 will not be eligible for the playoffs. No exceptions will be made!

No Pocket / Flag Belt Rule

Due to safety reasons, players cannot wear any article of clothing that contains pockets (shorts, pants, jackets, sweatshirts, hand warmers, etc). If a player wears an article of clothing with pockets, they will not be allowed to wear a flag belt and will be marked down at the spot where the ball was caught. If a player begins the play without a flag belt, the player will be marked down at the spot where the ball was caught. There is no additional penalty because the player has no opportunity to gain additional yardage.

Clarification If the player receiving the snap (the QB) does so without properly secured flags, the player is down immediately at that spot. There is no additional penalty.

Football Size Requirements

For all plays, the ball used must be a regulation NFHS/NCAA/NFL sized football.

Game Time / Play Clock

The game will be divided into two 22 minute halves. Each team is allowed two 30 second timeouts per half. Unused timeouts will not carry over from one period to another. The offensive team will have a 30 second play clock to snap the ball once the referee has made the ball ready for play. The official game clock will be maintained by a referee and will run continuously except for time-outs or serious injury--following an injury timeout, the game clock should resume following the ready-for-play whistle.. The clock will stop during the final 2 minutes of each half for the following occurrences:

  • Incomplete pass
  • Player advancing the ball goes out of bounds
  • Change of possession
  • Either team scores. (The clock will not continue until the opposing team receives the kickoff after the PAT attempt. The clock does not run during extra points.)
  • Penalty
  • Time Out

If a team is leading by 17 points or more, the clock will run continuously during the last two minutes of play. To promote good sportsmanship in this scenario, the team that is winning will not be allowed to use any timeouts while they are on offense.

Beginning of the Game

Teams must be lined up on opposite sidelines. Before the start of the game the referee will toss a coin in the presence of opposing captains, after first designating which captain shall call the toss. The team that wins the coin flip at the start of the game must choose one of the following:

  • Offense;
  • Defense;
  • To defer the choice of the above options to begin the second half;
  • The team that loses the coin flip shall select the direction for the 2nd half.

There will be a maximum ten minute "grace period" before each game. The game will be deemed a forfeit thereafter at the discretion of the Referee.

 

Kicks

Free Kicks

A free kick begins each half of a game, and begins play following a touchdown, field goal, or safety. The ball shall be put in play by a place kick from some spot on the kicking team’s restraining line: the 40 yard line, or from the 20 yard line following a safety. The receiving team’s restraining line will be 20 yards from the kicking team’s restraining line.

No player of the kicking team may touch a free kick before it reaches the receiving team’s restraining line. Thereafter, all players of the kicking team are eligible to touch, recover, or catch the kick. No player of the kicking team may interfere with the receiving team’s opportunity to catch the ball. A free kick touched by a player of the kicking team which then touches the ground is dead at the spot at which it touches the ground. If first touched before reaching the restraining line of the receiving team, it belongs to the receiving team. If first touched after reaching the restraining line of the receiving team, the ball belongs to the kicking team. A free kick touched by a player of the receiving team, which then touches the ground, is dead at the spot at which it touches the ground and belongs to the receiving team.

A kick caught or recovered by a player of the receiving team continues in play; if caught or recovered by the kicking team, the ball becomes dead.

Scrimmage (Place) Kicks

  • Must be snapped a minimum of 7 yards back from the line of scrimmage to the holder.
  • The holder must be stationary and can stand or kneel to receive the snap, but must catch the ball in the air and place it on the ground for the kicker to kick.
  • The defense can only jump to block the FG, they are not allowed to rush or cross the line of scrimmage
  • Holders may not use a kicking tee/block or their foot/shoe to raise/hold the ball. The ball must be placed on the ground, and held with one finger (same as College/NFL)

A missed FG recovered by the defense is returnable by the defense.

  • Any yardage gained or points scored will stand just as on a play from scrimmage.
  • A missed FG not returned will result in the ball being returned to the original line of scrimmage and the defense taking possession.
  • New (Summer 2016): A missed FG where the original line of scrimmage was inside the 20 yard line will be spotted at the 20 yard line when the defense takes possession.

Punts

A punt must be declared and cannot be fakes. The referee shall notify the defensive team prior to the ball being made ready-for-play.

  • New (Summer 2016): Punts must be snapped just like all other plays from scrimmage.
  • Punts must be kicked and cannot be thrown.
  • The kicking team may not cross the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.
  • Downfield blocking is not permitted.
  • The receiving team may not raise hands or jump to block a punt.
  • The kicking team may down the punt, but may not recover a punt.
  • A punt through the end zone will be spotted at the 20-yard line. If a player drops the ball in the end zone, the ball is spotted at the 20-yard line and is not counted as a safety.

Snapping the Ball Into Play

To begin each play, the ball must be snapped by a center to the QB who is lined up behind the center. The ball can be snapped with a verbal or nonverbal command--silent counts / snaps are legal. Players may shift and change formations prior to the snap of the ball, but must be stationary at the time the ball is snapped. One player is allowed in motion at the time the ball is snapped, but cannot be moving towards the line of scrimmage. A snap from center is required on declared punts. A minimum of four players must be lined up (set) at the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball.

New (Summer 2016): A “skip rule” will now be in effect for all snaps--the ball may skip one time provided it is then fielded cleanly by the quarterback.

Forward Pass

All players are eligible to receive a forward pass. During a scrimmage down and before team possession has changed, a forward pass may be thrown provided some part of the passer’s body remains behind the line of scrimmage.

New (Summer 2016) The offense may make as many forward passes as desired from in or behind the neutral zone. Once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage (run or pass), all subsequent forward passes during that down, are illegal. The ball may be thrown across only once during the down.

Inadvertent Whistles

Should an inadvertent whistle be blown, the team in possession of the ball at the time of the whistle will have two options: take the result of the play with the ball declared "dead" at the spot where the whistle was blown, or replay the down from the original line of scrimmage. If an inadvertent whistle is blown during a pass play while the ball is in the air, the play will be declared "dead" and replayed from the original line of scrimmage.

Overtime

There will be no overtime during the regular season. In the playoffs, overtime will consist of each team having one offensive possession starting at the opponent’s 20-yard line. A second coin toss shall determine order and direction. The team winning the coin toss shall have the option to elect offense first, defense first, or select the end to be used for the overtime period(s). Both teams shall go the same direction on offense for the entirety of overtime.

The offensive team will have 4 un-timed downs to score a touchdown (all regular penalties will apply during the overtime period). If a touchdown is scored the offensive team will have the the same conversion options that applied in regulation.. If teams are tied after the 1st overtime period, the process will be repeated until a winner is determined. Starting with the 3rd overtime period, teams will be required to attempt a 2-point conversion upon scoring a touchdown.

Contact / Blocking

Blocking

There is limited blocking and contact; however there will be no tackling permitted in the league. Players acting as offensive linemen can use their hands to block defensive rushers (between their shoulders and waist) when protecting the quarterback. Offensive linemen can position their bodies at any particular angle in an attempt to direct the rushers to a particular area and can use their hands to protect the QB.

No downfield blocking/tackling is permitted. Illegal contact includes tripping, contact with the QB, any intentional contact by an opposing player, and contact with an opposing player after a ball is tipped. Also note that rough play may result in an unsportsmanlike penalty. Anyone in violation of this rule is subject to penalty, suspension and/or expulsion from the league.

We have a “1-Pace Rush Line” that only allows defensive players who are behind this line to rush the QB. IT IS ILLEGAL FOR DEFENSIVE RUSHERS TO RUN THROUGH AN OFFENSIVE BLOCKER TO PURSUE THE QB.

Violation of this rule is a 10-yard penalty/previous spot/replay down.

This restriction gives defensive rushers 2 options:

  1. Do a speed rush, but must run around the offensive blocker to pursue the QB
  2. Run towards the line-of-scrimmage; slow down when approaching an offensive blocker; engage contact; and then use legal means to pursue the QB

 

A legal block consists of contact with open hands (with palms facing the opponent) to the area between the waist and shoulders. Blocking is restricted to at or behind the line-of-scrimmage. These contact rules apply to both offensive blockers and defensive rushers.

Illegal blocks consist of any of the following:

  • Contact below the waist or above the shoulders
  • Blocking in the back
  • Blocking using forearms, elbows, shoulders, hips, legs, or anything besides open hands
  • Holding
  • Blocking past the line-of-scrimmage (this will be penalized as downfield blocking)

Illegal blocks will result in a 10-yard penalty/previous spot/replay down. For offensive players, there is NO downfield blocking.

Please keep in mind that we are allowing LIMITED contact in this league. Any excessive and/or intentional contact is subject to a personal foul and/or expulsion from the league.

Contact Downfield

For defensive players, bump-and-run/jamming of receivers is allowed within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, and is defined as open hands to the chest/shoulders.

Any contact beyond 5 yards will result in:

  • A Defensive Holding penalty (5 yard penalty/previous spot/auto 1st down), or
  • An Illegal Contact penalty (10-yard penalty/previous spot/replay down).

 

First Downs

Each team shall have four downs to earn a first down or score. First downs are achieved when a team crosses either of the 20 yard markers (20, 20) based on its original field position. Offensive teams may elect to punt on fourth downs. All punts are live and may be fielded after bouncing on the ground. However, if a receiving player muffs¬Ě (touches) the ball and it hits the ground, the play is dead. If a team does not punt, fails to score or earn a first down the opposing team will obtain possession.

Scoring

The scoring shall be assigned as follows:

  • Touchdown: All touchdowns will be awarded 6 points
  • Extra Point(s):
    • Play from the 5 yd line - 1-point
    • Play from the 10 yd line - 2-points
    • Kick from the 10 yard line (snapped from the 3 yard line) - 1 point
  • Field Goal: All Field Goals will be awarded 3 points

The defense may return an interception for two points on a two-point conversion attempt.

Pass Rush

Once the line of scrimmage has been marked, the referee will walk off one (1) pace in the direction the offense is going and place another marker. This "1 pace" marker is the "RUSH LINE". Only defensive players that are behind this marker when the ball is snapped may cross the line of scrimmage to rush the QB. No players lined up within this "zone", may rush the QB. If the QB pitches the ball or hands-off to another offensive player, any defensive player may cross the line of scrimmage no matter where they were lined up before the snap. If the line of scrimmage is between the goal line and the one-yard line, the RUSH LINE will be the goal line. The rush line can never be placed inside the endzone.

Note: The RUSH LINE will not be applicable when the QB is lined up directly behind the CENTER to receive the snap of the ball; that is, when the CENTER hands the ball to the QB at the snap. In such situations, defensive players lined up in front of the RUSH LINE may rush the QB.

Continuance of Play

Play shall continue until:

  • Ball carrier has flag-belt pulled by an opponent (see flag specifics for the few exceptions/additions concerning flag pulling)
  • Ball carrier leaves the field of play
  • Ball carrier scores
  • Ball carrier's knee touches the ground
  • Ball touches the ground

 

Spot of the Ball

The ball will be spotted where the ball is at the time the ball carrier's flag is pulled. If the ball crosses the plane of the goal line before the ball carrier's flag has been pulled it will result in a touchdown (ball extension).

Turnovers

A change of possession (not after a score) can only occur due to downs or an interception. A fumble is not a turnover and the play is considered dead at the point of the fumble. A lateral may be intercepted and returned by the opposing team.

A turnover during a conversion attempt that is not returned for a score will result in the conversion attempt failing; the team that attempted the conversion will still kick off.

Flag Belts / Flag Guarding

Flag Belts

Flag belts must be fastened outside of all clothing with nothing obstructing them. If, during a play, any clothing obstructs the defense's ability to grab a flag (shirt is hanging over the flag belt), then the player will be called down at the first instance that the defense had a chance to pull the flag. A ball carrier whose flag-belt falls off inadvertently during a play will be considered down upon a one-handed touch. However, if any player gains possession of the ball without properly secured flags, then they will be down as soon as they touch/catch the ball. It is a penalty for a ball carrier to stiff-arm, charge into, or deliberately try to knock over a defensive player. In addition, a ball carrier may not dive (diving is defined as a player leaving their feet without returning to their feet) in an effort to gain extra yardage.

Flag Guarding

Flag guarding is not allowed. Flag guarding is defined as any action that is made with the arms, hands, or legs that prevents a player from being able to pull another player's flag. A player engaging in flag guarding will be penalized. It is illegal to pull the flag of a player who does not have possession of the football. Throwing flag belts after making a pull is not allowed, and can be penalized as a personal foul.

Sportsmanship

FXA endorses the principles of good sportsmanship. Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated. Unsportsmanlike conduct can include the following: Fighting, pushing, verbal/physical abuse directed toward an official or opponent, profanity/obscene gestures, flagrant/violent fouls, taunting/trash talking/baiting, cheating, throwing/abusing equipment and physical intimidation. A player may be ejected from a game (or a team may be evicted from the field of play) for engaging in Unsportsmanlike Conduct. An official may call a forfeit for unsportsmanlike conduct at any time, including after the game clock has expired. The League has the authority to suspend and/or expel a player or team from the league and/or future game(s) at its discretion with no refund of monies for such acts. These guidelines apply to players and spectators.

Game Cancellation Policy

Games may be cancelled due to existing weather conditions, dangerous or unplayable field conditions, facility constraints, etc. FXA staff makes every effort to play all scheduled games, thus we will not cancel games until absolutely necessary. Therefore, if you call the FXA Hotline to find out if the fields are open and/or games are cancelled, remember we will not update the hotline until close to the start of the game. With that said, we will update the hotline as soon as we have updated status.

If the games are cancelled, FXA will update the hotline immediately. FXA will then change the status of the field to Closed on the website, which will send out an email to all roster players letting them know the game is cancelled. It is still the captain's responsibility to inform all teammates of the cancellation. If a game is cancelled on site, FXA will attempt to contact those teams still scheduled to play the remainder of the day/night. Depending on the time of cancellation, some teams will have to be notified on site. If we do cancel, follow next week's schedule unless otherwise notified, (i.e. If June 20th games are cancelled, teams should follow the June 27th schedule for their next game). The games that are cancelled will be made up towards the end of the season if time allows.

In extreme circumstances, FXA reserves the right to run a shortened season without a refund. FXA will make every attempt to get all regular season games played, however for every two (2) game cancellations due to weather, the season may be shortened one (1) regular season game. FXA also reserves the right to schedule games on days other than your regularly scheduled league day/night if necessary

Forfeit Fees

If your team needs to forfeit a game (for whatever reason), please make sure to let us know ASAP. FXA Football has now implemented the following forfeit fees: $100 within 8 hours of game time (Monday - Friday) and within 12 hours of game time (Saturdays & Sundays).

Penalties & Enforcement

 

OFFENSIVE FOULS PENALTY ENFORCEMENT SPOT DOWN
Flag Guarding 5 Yards Spot Foul Next Down
OffSides 5 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
Downfield Blocking 10 Yards Spot Foul Next Down
False Start (*Dead Ball Foul) 5 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
Illegal Contact/Pick (Pre-Pass) 10 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
Illegal Contact/Pick (Post-Pass) 10 Yards Spot Foul Next Down
Illegal Forward Pass 5 Yards Previous L.O.S. Loss of Down
Illegal Motion 5 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
Illegal Participation 5 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
Illegal Formation  5 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
Offensive Pass Interference 10 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
Diving 5 Yards Spot Foul Next Down
       
DEFENSIVE FOULS PENALTY ENFORCEMENT SPOT DOWN
Illegal Rushing 5 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
Offside 5 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
Illegal Contact  10 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
Pass Interference 15 Yards Previous L.O.S. Auto 1st Down
Roughing the Passer 15 Yards Previous L.O.S. Auto 1st Down
Holding (on Run Plays) 10 Yards End of Run Next Down
Holding (on Pass Plays) 5 Yards Previous L.O.S. Auto 1st Down
Illegal Flag Pull 5 Yards Spot Foul Next Down
Illegal Stripping 5 Yards End of Run Next Down
Illegal Participation 5 Yards Previous L.O.S. Replay Down
       
GENERAL FOULS PENALTY ENFORCEMENT SPOT DOWN
Arguing w/ Official 15 Yards End of Play Next Down
Unsportsmanlike Conduct 15 Yards End of Play Auto 1st Down
Defensive Excessive Contact / Rough Play 15 Yards End of Play Auto 1st Down
Offensive Excessive Contact / Rough Play 15 Yards End of Play Loss of Down
 

Defensive Penalty Clarifications:

  • Holding = Replay the down if the penalty occurs on 4th down or inside the 10-yard line
  • Illegal Contact is defined as:
    • Tripping
    • Contact with the QB
    • Any intentional contact by an opposing player (referee discretion)
    • Contact with an opposing player after a ball is tipped
    • Rough play may result in an unsportsmanlike penalty
  • Illegal Stripping = It is illegal to bat or strip a ball from a player's hand.
  • A game cannot end on a defensive penalty even if time expires. One un-timed down will be required to complete the game.

Offensive Penalty Clarifications:

  • Illegal Contact is defined as:
    • Pushing Off
    • Any other intentional contact by an offensive player on a defensive player in the field of play

General Penalty Clarifications:

  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct
    • Any unsportsmanlike conduct (towards players, referees, league staff, coaches, sidelines, spectators) = 10 yards/Possible Ejection & Automatic 1st Down
    • Excessive Contact/Rough Play
  • If official determines that contact was initiated "with intent to harm", the offending player will be ejected from the game. The player must leave the field of play immediately. If the player does not leave the field his/her team may be charged with a forfeit for the game regardless of score or time remaining. Any player ejected from a game may not play in any other games that day.
  • The ejected player may not play in future games without league approval.
  • An official may call a forfeit for unsportsmanlike conduct. Even if the game has ended, an official may call a forfeit.
  • The League has the authority to suspend and/or expel a player or team from the league and/or future game(s) at its discretion with no refund of monies for such acts.
  • Fighting:
    • Automatic ejection from the game
    • Once ejected, a player must leave the field. If the player does not leave the field their team may be charged a forfeit for that game, regardless of score or time remaining. Any player ejected from a game may not play in any other games that day.
    • The ejected player may not play in future games without league approval.
    • An official may call a forfeit for unsportsmanlike conduct. Even if the game has ended, an official may call a forfeit.
    • The League has the authority to suspend and/or expel a player or team from the league and/or future game(s) at its discretion with no refund of monies for such acts.

 

General League Policies

 

  • Team Captains are responsible for the complete payment of all league fees.

  • A Captains' Meeting will be held prior to the start of the season. Captains, or a team representative, are required to attend. League rules and procedures will be discussed at that time.

  • League fees must be paid before the first game. Failure to make payment before this time may lead to expulsion from the league.

  • Team Rosters must be completed and submitted online. Additions and changes to the Roster are permitted up until the fourth game of the season

  • The Online Player Waiver & Release form must be filled out completely by each player, and submitted online before the first game.

  • If a team is not prepared to play at its designated game time and/or does not have the minimum number of players at the designated game time, the game will be declared a forfeit. There will be a ten-minute grace period prior to a forfeit being declared.

  • A maximum of two "pick-up" players will be permitted only when a team does not have enough of its own players present to field a team.

  • If a game is stopped due to dangerous weather conditions prior to the beginning of the second half or prior to a previously designated point, the game will be replayed in its entirety. If a game is stopped thereafter, it will be considered a complete game and the score will stand. There is no requirement that each team have the same number of offensive series before a game is stopped.

  • Any excessive verbal or physical activity will result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. This rule applies to players, managers and coaches on the field and on the sidelines.

  • Fighting or obscene language will result in an automatic ejection from the league with no refund of payments. Unsportsmanlike behavior will not be tolerated.

  • ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES OR DRUG USE ARE ALLOWED ON THE FIELD. Any player using drugs or alcohol in the playing area, the parking lot, before, during or after games will be ejected from the league with no refund of payments. THIS RULE WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED.

These rules & policies are designed to make the league run as smoothly and safely as possible, and provide continuity for its participants. Each player in the league is responsible for this information: please advise your team of these rules / league policies and thanks for playing.

 

Men's Rules were last updated on June 21, 2016.