Rules Part 1: The Game, Field, Players and Equipment
The Game: The game will be played between two teams consisting of 6 players per team at
any given time on the field with an official sized football. The team with the most points scored
after regulation or overtime (see overtime rules) will be awarded the victory. Each game will be
played under 2 officials. Each team is required to designate one captain to the Officials before
the game that speaks for the entire team in dealings with the officials.
Field: The Field will be a rectangular shaped. Dimensions are 80×30 yards with each end zone
being 10 yards long. All players, substitutes, trainers, coaches or any team personnel are
subject to the rules written here and governed by the officials. There will be cones at the 5
yard, 15 yard, double cones at the 50 yard line and at both end zones. There will also be a cone
used as the line of scrimmage
Players: Each team’s roster can have a maximum of 15 players and a minimum of 6 players.
Rule of 3 Guests apply to every team (see attached list of accepted countries. Age limit is set at minimum 18 years old. If a player is under 18 parental permission must be given in signed form. To get more information
contact SAFL governing body. It is 6 on 6 flag football which means at any given time (offense,
defense, special teams) there can only be 6 players on the field. Substitutions are allowed at
any time except during an ongoing play. Having more than 6 players on the field when the play
is ongoing will be a penalty of 5 yards and re-do down.
Team Areas: Each time will have one side of the field to use as their designated Team
Area. However, Team Area only consists of between the two 15 yard markers on each
side of the field to avoid interfering with officials on calls in the end zone. Standing
anywhere not designated as your Team Area will result in a 5 yard flag from the official.
Equipment: Each player must wear their teams designated jerseys at all times during their time
on the field. All jerseys must be tucked in. Shoes with metal, ceramic, screw-in, or detachable
cleats are not allowed. EXCEPTION: Screw-in cleats are allowed if the screw is part of the cleat.
Any slippery or sticky foreign substance on any equipment or exposed part of the body is not
allowed. Towels attached to the waist are not allowed. Each player must wear a flag belt at
the waistline with three (3) flags attached (one on each side of the body and one in the back).
Wrapping, tying, to the belts in any way or intentionally removing a flag during a play is illegal.
Referees can and will do random checks to ensure flags are not improperly secured. They will
be instructed to also check the flags of any player completing a Touchdown. Penalty will be 10
yards, loss of down and possible disqualification or suspension. Helmets, padded uniforms,
jewelry, or any type of metal or other potentially dangerous object protruding from ones
uniform are not allowed, no foreign object on the field including pumps.
Rules Part 2: Definitions
Live Ball and Dead Ball: A live ball is a ball in play while a down is in progress. A dead ball is that
period in between downs when the ball is not in play.
Start of Game and Punts. The away team will choose heads or tails to initiate the coin toss. The winner of the coin toss will ultimately determine who gets the ball which half. The winner of the coin toss may select to receive or choose direction; The other team then selects from the remaining option Receive or direction of play. If the winner of the toss chooses to receive in the first half the other team shall receive the ball in the second half and vice versa. If the winner chooses direction they will then get the ball 2nd half. The direction of play will also be switched at halftime. Offenses will start at their own 5 yard line and will have 4 downs to get to the “50” yard line or midfield. Failure to do so will result in the other team to take over
possession at their own 5 unless a case of a turnover in which case the opposing team takes
over at the spot of the ball where the player was downed after the turnover. If the offensive
team successfully gets a first down they will then have 4 downs to get the ball into the end
zone. If an offense decides to punt after three (3) downs they can choose to do so. The defense
must have at least one player at the line of scrimmage and that player can try to block the
throw. Punts out of bounds will be marked at where the ball went out of bounds and punts into the end zone will be started at the 5 Yard
line. On a punt if the receiving team touches the ball and the ball then drops to the floor the
new line of scrimmage will be where the player touched the ball.
Loose ball or Fumbles: THERE ARE NO LOOSE BALLS OR FUMBLES IN THIS LEAGUE. Any ball
that hits the ground after a successful completion is considered a dead ball and the official will
mark the new line of scrimmage where the ball was last in the possession of the receiver. A
backward pass or a lateral pass that hits the ground, the new line of scrimmage shall be where
the ball first touched the ground. There will be no stripping off the ball by the defense from the
ball carrier. Any attempt to dislodge the ball from the ball carrier forcibly will be considered a
personal foul (Unsportsmanlike). Also, Ball Swatting or Stripping. There will be no stripping off the ball by the defense from the ball carrier. Any attempt to dislodge the ball from the ball carrier forcibly will be considered an Unsportsmanlike Penalty.
Receptions and Interceptions: A reception by a wide receiver from a quarterback consists of
securing the ball from the air with two (2) feet down in bounds. A ball that hits the ground
without the receiver having full control of it first or without establishing two feet in bounds
will be ruled as an incomplete. An interception is when a defender catches a passed ball from
the quarterback or a backward pass from a runner during a play before it hits the ground. The
defender also must secure possession of the ball before it hits the ground and have both feet in
bounds. Once the ball is intercepted, the defense will be treated as the offense and the offense
as the defense. In the rare case where both an offensive player and defensive player come
down with the ball, the benefit of the doubt will go towards the offense with no interception
rewarded. This is at the discretion of officials. Once the ball is passed the line of scrimmage no
player is allowed to throw the ball forward but only laterally or behind them. Any forward pass
after the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage, the play will be ruled dead immediately and
the new line of scrimmage will be where the ball was last before the runner threw it forward.
The down in this case will not be repeated. Keep in mind especially in the End zone, that once a player comes down with 2 feet and possession it will be whistled a touch down . Do not attempt to swat the ball at anytime the player has possession of the ball with 2 feet in bounds .
Juggle Rule: Should a player juggle an attempted pass and have their flag removed
between the initial contact with the ball and the time the ball is secured, the defenders
then must down the offensive player with one hand touch rule.
Blocking: There will be no blocking in this league. There is no offensive line or defensive line.
Once a receiver has caught the ball the other offensive players cannot block the defensive
players but merely be obstacle courses for the defense on their way to pursue the defender. This means a “blocker can set a pick with their arms to their sides and not moving.
The rest of the offensive players can get in the way of the defender by standing straight up with
hands at their sides or behind their backs before any impact with a defender. If an official rules
there was blocking the play will be whistled dead right away and the line of scrimmage will be
where the ball was at the time of the whistle and a loss of 5 yards.
To Begin a Play: The Quarterback must put the ball at or in front of the line of scrimmage to
initiate the start of any down. A QB cannot have the ball behind the line of scrimmage and
yell “HIKE” to initiate a play. A play only starts once the ball is crossed by the QB at or in front of
the line of scrimmage and the QB brings it back behind the line of scrimmage. The QB will then
have 4 seconds (counted out loud by the nearest official as one Mississippi, two Mississippi,
and so on) to either forward pass to a receiver or make a lateral or backward pass to a runner.
AFTER 4 Mississippi’s have been counted by the official the defense can go after the QB.
If the QB passes laterally or backwards behind the line of scrimmage the defenders can cross the line
of scrimmage only after the other offensive player has touched the ball. If any defensive player
crosses the line it is a 5 yard penalty and do-over down unless the play results in a completed
pass. Then the offense has the option of declining the penalty. The QB can cross the line of
scrimmage only AFTER the 4 Mississippi have been counted unless the ball was handed-off, or
pass was thrown backwards, laterally or forward.
Downs and Distance: Each possession will start at the 5 yard line unless there was a turnover
in which case the ball will be placed at the spot where the player was downed last. For each
possession the offensive team has 4 downs to get to the “40 yard line“ or midfield. Failure to
do so results in the opposing team taking over the ball at the spot of the turnover If the offensive
team successfully crosses the 40 yard line, the team will then be given 4 downs to get to the
end zone. Failure to score after 4 downs are over results in a turnover on downs and the
opposing team will take over at the spot where the ball was downed last. The offensive team
has a option to “punt” the ball after 3 downs if they choose to do so (read Start of Game and
Punts above). After each down or after each play is whistled dead, the offense is given 30
seconds before they start the next play.
The offense can start their play anytime within that 30 seconds as long as the officials are set and
give the go ahead.
Removing The Flag: When a defender cleanly and legally removes a flag from an offensive
player with the football the play is whistled dead. The defensive player then should hold the
flag high above his head and help the official locate where the play occurred. The defensive
player may not hold, push, or knock down the ball carrier (see Penalties). Once the play is over
the defender may place the flag on the floor where the play happened or hand it back to one
of the offensive players. Offensive players may not guard their flags by slapping, or striking at
the defenders (see Penalties.) In the case of the flag falling down accidentally, or pulled down
before the offensive player has possession of the ball the “one hand touch” rule will apply.
Scoring Chart: Touchdowns = 6 points
Extra Points = 1 point if successful from the 5 yard line
Extra Points = 2 points if successful from the 15 yard line
Safety = 2 points and the team gets ball
Periods: Games consists of two halves of 35 minutes each. HOWEVER, In week 1 we will try 1 game with 4 quarters instead of 2 halves. The quarters will be broken down to 17 min each.
Halftime will be a quick 5 minute break.
The clock is continuous all thru the halves except at the two minute warnings.
Each half will have a two minute warning timeout. After the two minute warning till the conclusion of the
game the clock will stop at each incomplete pass, when a ball carrier goes out of bounds, or on
a change of possession.
EACH TEAM IS ALLOCATED 3 TIMEOUTS FOR EACH HALF. The timeouts
don’t carry over from half to half. Each timeout will last 1 minute.
Overtime Rules: In the case of overtime, in the regular season, teams will each have a chance to try to win the game (1 possession each starting on the 5 yard line). There will be a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss can either receive or choose direction. If the team that wins the coin toss decides to choose direction the other team will go that same way when they get the ball. If the team who wins the toss decides to take ball they will take the ball at the 5 yard line of which the other team decides to defend ( the team choosing direction is essentially choosing direction for both teams.. The receiving team will have 4 downs to get to midfield. And then from there they have another 4 downs to score. If a defense holds the offense to 4th down the offense can punt the ball and the ball will be marked at the spot the punt (see punting rules in amendments) is downed (a player can run back the punt and score for the game win). If a team fails to convert on 4th down the ball will be placed at the current line of scrimmage. In the regular season, these rules apply for only 1 possession per team. If neither team scores or if both team score and it is still a tie, the result of the game will be a tie. In the playoffs, the rules above apply, however, the game cannot end in a tie. If after the 1st overtime there is still a tie then we will play a 2nd overtime. The 2nd overtime will be sudden death rules. The first team to score will be the winner of the contest. The way that we will choose who gets the ball first in the 2nd overtime will be the team who did not get ball first in the 1st overtime and the other team will choose direction for both teams.
Forfeits: Games can be started with a minimum of 5 players. There will be a 10 minute grace
period for each team if the players don’t show up on time. After the 10 minute the Official can
use their discretion as to when to rule the games as a Forfeit. The forfeited team will be given
a loss and the other team a Win. If a team forfeits twice (2) they will no longer be allowed to
participate in the league.
Mercy Rule: The game shall end in a “mercy rule” if one team is winning by at least 24 with 6
minutes to go or by 18 at any point inside the 2 minute warning. There will be no exceptions to
Playoff Eligibility: Players must appear in at least 4 games to be eligible for playoffs (10 game
Injured Player Eligibility: If a player is injured and cannot participate we will allow them to get game credit as long as the player is at the game, checks in with the stat keeper and stays for at least 20 min of the game.
Playoffs: 8 teams will make the playoffs ( 9 Includes the wild card) In the case of ties in the standings at the end of the season the 1st tie-breaker will be head to head record, the 2nd total team points allowed in the season (PA), and 3rd total team points scored (PF). The #1 seed will always end up paying the lowest seed so in some cases a reseed will be necessary most likely in the semi-final round.
8v9 Winner plays the 1st seed
2 v 7
3 v 6
4 v 5
Semi- Finals – possible reseed, #1 seed plays lowest seed
Rules Part 3: Penalties
Infractions and Penalties-
1. All offensive players must be behind the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.
Penalty 5 yards.
2. All offensive and defensive players must be within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage
once its deemed ready to play (defense can play back on punts only). Penalty 5 yards.
3. No defensive player may touch any offensive player behind line of scrimmage before
the 4 Mississippi count. Encroachment penalty 5 yards.
4. No defensive player may pull, tug, push or otherwise interfere with a wide receivers
body while the receiver is trying to make a catch. Penalty spot of foul or 10 yards plus redo
down. If infraction occurs in the End zone ball will be placed at the 1 yard line and redo
5. No offensive player may pull, tug, push or otherwise interfere with a defensive player
trying to make a interception. Penalty 10 yards and loss of down.
6. No player can pull, push, hold, or otherwise interfere with another players routes or
running. Penalty 5 yards and re-do down. Penalty may be declined.
7. No player may hold, push, knock down any ball carrier. Penalty 10 yards and replay the down and a possible
suspension from the game depending on severity.
8. Once the ball is passed the line of scrimmage no ball carrier may pass the ball forward.
Ball carriers may pass laterally or backwards. Ball whistled dead if the ball passed
forward and new line of scrimmage will be where the ball carrier last was.
9. If an infraction occurs by the defensive team during a PAT (point after touchdown)
attempt, the PAT will be ruled GOOD.
10. If an infraction occurs by the offensive team during a PAT attempt, the PAT will be ruled
11. Putting a ball in play before officials deem it ready to play. Penalty 5 yards.
12. Team not ready to play in second half. Penalty 10 yards will be added to the oppositions
next possession if available.
13. Illegal use of hands, illegal removal of flags, striking, kneeing, elbowing, meeting with
knees, striking with open hands etc. Penalty 10 yards.
14. If off-setting penalties occur during any play, the play will be replayed.
15. No roughing the passer. Penalty 10 yards and replay down. If excessive ejection.
16. Ball carrier cannot grasp a teammate or be pushed or pulled by a teammate. Penalty 10
yards from the spot of the foul.
17. Defensive players may not hold, grasp, or obstruct ball carriers forward progress when
trying to pull down a flag. 10 yard penalty from the end of the run and replay the down
18. No offensive player may touch the ball once out of bounds. You cannot come back in
play if you step out of bounds. Penalty ball 5 yards and loss of down.
19. Unsportsmanlike conduct- No exaggerated celebrations, no exaggerated taunting, no
threatening remarks, no fighting etc. Penalty 10 yards and possible suspension from the
game and league.
20. If a player doesn’t have a jersey they may wear a matching colored shirt. No jersey or
matching colored shirt will result in a 5 yard penalty on the first possession of the game.
If multiple players do not have a jersey or matching colored shirt that means a 5 yard
penalty on each possession corresponding to the # of players not having jerseys or
matching colored shirt. If a player is not wearing a team jersey or matching shirt, they
will not be allowed to play.
21. Push Out of Bounds in the End-zone:
If a receiver is in the end zone in the air or is at anytime deliberately pushed out of Bounds it will be ruled pass interference and can lead to an unsportsmanlike penalty.
22. Holding to get the Flag
When an infraction occurs the Official will notify the captain of his choice to either accept or
decline. If declined or in the chance of off-setting penalties no down or distance is lost. The
Captains choice cannot be revoked. When two infractions occur in the same play the offended
Captain has the choice to accept whichever penalty. If there is a live ball penalty and a dead
ball penalty both can be assessed at the same time. If there are offsetting penalties the down is
replayed. If there is an offsetting penalty and there is a change of possession (i.e. interception)
the team that gained possession last will get the ball. Unsportsmanlike penalties are ALWAYS
enforced and there can be multiple infractions at any given time.
Rules Part 4: Prohibitive Acts
Any unsportsmanlike conduct is strictly prohibited. Prohibited acts include:
a) Abusive or insulting language to anyone.
b) Any acts of unfair play.
c) Managers, coaches, or substitutes on the field of play other than when
stated above or given permission to.
d) A substitute or any other person interfering with a play while the ball is still
e) Delaying the game in excessive manner.
f) Pulling or removing a player’s flag intentionally without them having the
g) Spiking the ball or otherwise taunting aggressively (Umpire’s Discretion).
h) Tripping, or blocking.
i) No player should be thrown to the ground or pushed aggressively.
j) No player shall contact an opposing player during a play or on a dead ball
except when necessary and deemed legal.
k) The ball carrier CANNOT deliberately run into an offensive player.
l) No Stiff arms or prohibiting defensive players from pulling flag down by
slapping or any aggressive method.
m) Any aggressive language/behavior/threats to a player, official, league
member or spectator of the SAFL.
All prohibitive acts and unsportsmanlike conducts will be judged harshly by SAFL
and its governing bodies.
Officials and Their Responsibilities
All officials have concurrent jurisdiction over the game, infractions, and plays. All officials will
carry a whistle. The official at the line of scrimmage will countdown the 5 Mississippi’s after
the ball is snapped. Both officials must whistle loudly and clearly in order to prevent rough play
once the play is dead.
When an official notes an infraction a flag must be thrown and use the proper guidelines to
administer the penalty unless declined by the offended Captain. All Unsportsmanlike conduct
penalties will be enforced. An official may eject players based on the guidelines above and if
the player performs any of the prohibited acts.
The Officials must keep track of accurate time via a Stop watch. The Officials must also keep
track of accurate scores at all times. The officials have sole authority and general oversight
over the games. The officials are also in charge of making sure of the field dimensions and
putting down the cones.
Amended Rules that supersede any rule above:
Flag Shielding: 10 yd. penalty from spot and Loss of Down.
Dead Ball Unsportsmanlike Penalty after a touchdown: Offensive Penalty Infraction the ball will now be placed on the 15 yard line if going for 1 Pt Conversion and on the 25 yard line if going for a 2 Pt Conversion.
If a defensive team causes a penalty on a dead ball after the touchdown the 1 point conversion will be played from the 2.5 yard line ( half the distance). If the offense decides to go for 2 the ball will be placed at the 7.5 yard line.
Ejections for Unsportsmanlike Behavior: Two Unsportsmanlike Penalties on the same player will result in an automatic ejection from the game and the playing field. Depending on the severity of the unsportsmanlike conduct, 1 penalty can also result in an ejection. The player ejected will be reviewed by the league officials to make a final decision on further suspension or ejection from the league. At anytime we Deem a player to try to enforce physical harm on another player it will be the judgement of the Officials to penalize that player up to an Automatic Ejection. Such examples can be tackling, lowering a shoulder ,pushing a player out of Bounds, Stiff Arms , tripping , Blocking , running off a sideline to interfere with an ongoing play .
The Officials have the right to eject any player on the result of an unsportsmanlike penalty at any time in the game.
Pass Interference on the defense: Spot foul replay down unless it crosses over the 1st down then it is a 1st down. If the spot is in the endzone the ball will be spotted on the 2 yard line
Pass Interference on the Offense: 10 Yard penalty from line of scrimmage replay down
Roughing the Passer: 15 yard penalty and repeat the down.
Using the Ball as a Blocking Device: The ball carrier is NOT allowed to use the ball in any manner to create separation or block between the defender and the ball carriers flag.
Extra Point Attempt: If a defender intercepts the ball on an extra point attempt the defender is allowed to run the ball back to the end zone. If there is no penalty or flag was not pulled, then the result will be 2 points awarded to the intercepting team.
Encroachment: It is a defensive penalty. Before the ball is hiked, the defense goes offside. It will be considered as an encroachment and will be an automatic 7 yard penalty. The offense CANNOT decline or accept. It will be a replay of the down OR if the offense crosses over the 1st down marker then it will be a 1st down.
Kickoff: Teams will start at the 5 yard line in the beginning of the game. There is no kickoff to start the game.
Blitzing: Defenses will be able to blitz once every 4 downs. Defenses can blitz on any down. As soon as the referee completes saying “3 Mississippi” the “Blitzer” must yell “blitz” to initiate the blitz. If the Blitzer does not yell “blitz” it will be an offside penalty on the defense.
Giver: The defensive linemen will be able to drop into coverage unrestricted after the offense hikes the ball but must be within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage before the actual snap
Check-ins: Players must bring their ID every week and check in with the stat/scorekeeper every week to be able to participate in the game. On the day, the player first plays, the scorekeeper will take 1 picture and upload it with the scorecard to reflect that person’s eligibility for the rest of the season.
Any ineligible player (Not on the roster, ineligible “Guest”(Ineligible “Guest” means that you exceeded the amount of “Guests” on your team)) playing will result in a forfeit for the team even if that team wins the game. Possible suspension for the captain and player in question. Any ineligible player will not be eligible to participate in a game until eligibility is proven. The commissioner and the committee have discretion. No exceptions to this rule. It is imperative that we protect the players and the leagues integrity.
Punting: When a team punts the receiving team will have an opportunity to return the ball. If the ball hits the ground and no one touches it between the time when the punter punts it and it hits the ground that ball will be considered live for the receiving team if the punting team touches it it will be considered dead. If the ball is punted and touches any player on the receiving team and then hits the ground then it is considered dead at that spot where it hits the ground.
Roster Adds/Drops/Trades: A team can add/drop/trade players until week 5. Week 5 is defined as the game played on the Saturday of week 5. The rosters will be locked on that Saturday at 11:59pm. The next day will be considered Week 5. However, once the roster is set at week 1 any adds/drops/trades will need to be communicated with the commissioners office so that the proper transaction takes place.
Review: Any play resulting in a touchdown will be subject to “review”. Review is defined as the referee pulling the flag of the person who scored the touchdown.
No Automatic First Down: There is no penalty in the SAFL that will result in an automatic first down. The only time a penalty will result in a first down is if the penalty carries the ball over mid field. This is not considered automatic it is just a result of the penalty.
No Diving: A player cannot dive or jump to get into the endzone or reach the 1st down by jumping or diving. . It will be a 5 yard penalty and loss of down.
Spot of Ball: The ball will be spotted where the front foot was when the flag was pulled. In the case of end zone or first down the foot is the actual determining factor of a 1st down or TD or XP. The foot must be in the endzone or across the 1st down marker for it to be marked a 1st down or TD or XP. Anything that has to do with the sidelines or backline is where the “two feet” rule applies (See: Receptions and Interceptions)
QB Throwing the Ball Near the Line of Scrimmage: We will use the NFL rule of the body can be across the LOS when the ball is being thrown. As long as One part of the QBs body is at or behind the LOS it is a legal throw.
A Stat keeper will be at the field every week
Each team is required to make at least 1 highlight video per game and sent to the Commissioner for the weekly highlight video.
If they aren’t entered on time the Captain can opt for a suspension of the first half
of the game or a $15 donation to a charity of their choice. But stats have to be entered in
before the game. If stats are still not entered by game time, the captain cannot play.
On the second offense the captain sits out the entire game or makes a $25 donation to
a charity of their choice. Again stats must be entered prior to the game in order for the
captain to play.
On the third offense the Captain is suspended for 1 game and removed from being a
captain along with a $25 fine.
Each team is responsible for one task or article per week that will be posted on the
official website of SAFL. The tasks and deadlines will be given out by SAFL. Failure to meet
deadline will result in a 1 game suspension per offense.