Play Mile High/Volo City Flag Football Rules

All games will be officiated by Play Mile High officials. They will in all best efforts work to make the game fair, safe and enjoyable for all players. All decisions are final. Officials will have the ultimate discretion on the field and have the power to remove any player from the game that he/she feel is engaging in behavior that is detrimental to the game, i.e. fighting.

We ask all players to cooperate with the referees, work with them and not against them. If there is a disagreement on a rule call, the captain (and only the captain) should take the official to the side with the opposing captain present to discuss the call. Judgment calls cannot be challenged.

Do not yell, scream, rant, etc…in a calm manner, discuss the call. This must be done before the next play occurs. The referee may change the call if they feel he/she made the wrong call after discussing with both captains. Remember that is the referee’s’ discretion, and he/she alone has the final say. If you still feel that you have been wronged, discuss it with the league staff in a civil manner after the game or by email. The league reserves the right to make any rule changes that will make the game more enjoyable for the majority of the participants.

Teams

8 v 8 Coed

Teams will field 8 players, with a maximum of 5 males on the field at any one time. The typical team will be 5 males and 3 females, but a team may have more females on the field, i.e. 4 males and 4 females. Games will start on time if teams can field the minimum number of 5 players, with at least 1 of those players being female.

8 v 8 Men

A team must have at least 5 players present to start a game.

5 v 5 Men

A team must have at least 3 players present to start a game.

Rosters

Rosters are not limited in size; additional players may be added during the season. DURING THE PLAYOFFS ONLY PLAYERS ON YOUR ROSTER WILL BE ALLOWED TO PLAY.

Rosters are available during playoffs and can be checked at any time. You must request the roster check prior to the start of a game.  

The Field

The field is 80 yards long with two 10-yard end zones by 40 yards wide. In some instances, the field might be shortened by 5 or 10 yards due to field conditions.

Lines at both 20-yard lines and the 40-yard line (mid-field) will be marked off. Cones will mark these yard lines on the other side of the field.

Hash marks for extra points will be at 5 yards (1 point conversion) and at 10 yards (2 point conversions) will be marked off with cones on the sideline(s).

The Uniform

All players will be required to wear their league provided Play Mile High shirt. In the case of two similar colored teams playing each other, the league will provide an alternative color for the team to wear.

Players will be allowed to wear the following items while on the field of play:

  • Hats, must be a soft bill or worn backward
  • Athletic sunglasses, secured to your face/head
  • Molded cleats

Players will not be allowed to wear the following

  • Loose fitting jewelry or wristbands
  • Metal cleats or spikes

Pre-game

Captains will meet at the center of the field before the game to do a coin flip and also to discuss any questions regarding the game. This is the time to ask any questions to the referees about rules that may be unclear and request a roster check during the playoffs. The captains will also determine who will call the coin flip. The winning captain will have a choice of receiving the ball or deferring the choice. If the captain decides that he/she wants the ball, the losing captain will have the choice of which end zones he/she wishes to defend.

In the 2nd half, teams will defend opposite goals from which they defended in the 1st half. The team who started the game with the ball will start on defense for the 2nd half and the opposing team will have the ball to start the 2nd half.

Captains

Each team will have a designated captain who will be the official representative of the team. The captain is responsible for his/her team and their behavior. Referees and staff will come to the captains if there are any problems or for any information that needs to be given by Volo City. During the game, only captains will talk to the referees. Referees will only recognize that captain. This is to prevent too many people from distracting the referee, plus allows the captain to control thing such as time-outs. Referees will give the time to the captain only when they ask.

Forfeits

Teams should be present at least 10 minutes prior to the game. Games must start on time if the teams have the minimum number of players present. Teams will have 10 minutes after the scheduled game time to meet the minimum numbers of players present. If they do not, the shorthanded team will have to forfeit.

The Clock, Time and the Start of the Game

Games will be 48 minutes in duration with 2 twenty-four minute halves unless stated otherwise in the league details due to time/permit constraints. The ball will start on the 20-yard line for the start of the game, half and after all scoring.

First Half Clock

  • The clock will run continuously in the first half.
  • The clock will stop in the first half only when:
    • A team attempts an extra point inside of the two-minute warning
    • When there is a change of possession.

Second Half Clock

  • The clock will run continuously through the second half until the 2-minute warning.
  • At the 2-minute warning, the clock will automatically stop and then restart once the ball is hiked. The clock will stop on the following instances inside of the 2-minute warning:
    • Incomplete passe
    • When a player steps out-of-bounds
    • Turnover
    • Sack
    • The winning team is on offense and stopped behind the line of scrimmage,
    • All types of scoring.
  • The clock will not stop for first downs after the two-minute warning in the second half.

Other Stoppages of Play

  • The referee also has the authority to stop the clock at any time for injuries or administrative matters. The clock will start at the hike of the ball.
  • The clock will also stop for time-outs.
  • A 21-point mercy rule will keep the clock running even in the 2nd half. You cannot take a knee unless the mercy rule is in effect otherwise it will be considered a sack.

Time-Outs

  • Each team is provided two (2) time-outs per game; one (1) per half.
  • Time-outs will last 1 minute. The clock will restart when the ball is hiked.
  • Teams will be provided one (1) extra timeout if the game goes to overtime.

Scoring

A score will result when a player’s hips cross the goal line with possession of the football

Touchdowns

  • All touchdowns are worth 6 points.

Extra Point Conversions

Following a touchdown, teams will have the option to select to go for a one (1) or two (2) point conversion:

  • Teams electing to go for the one (1) point conversion will snap the ball from the 5-yard line
  • Teams electing to go for the two (2) point conversion will snap the ball from the 10-yard line.

Turnovers on an extra point conversion may be returned.

  • A return by the defensive team is worth two (2) points no matter the offensive conversion placement.
  • Any obvious and deliberate attempt to prevent a return by committing a foul will result in (2) points for the return team.

Female Scoring

If a female is involved in a scoring play then the scoring team will be awarded a maximum of one (1) bonus point on the scoring play. This applies to all touchdowns and extra point conversions. Scoring involvement includes:

  • Throwing the ball across the line of scrimmage on a scoring play
  • Running the ball into the end zone on a touchdown or extra point
  • Catches the ball on a scoring play
  • Intercepts the ball and returns it for a touchdown

A bonus point is not awarded on the following scoring involvement:

  • Handing the ball off on a scoring play
  • Throwing the ball behind the line of scrimmage on a scoring play.

Safeties

A safety will result in two (2) points awarded to the defensive team. A safety will occur when:

  • A defensive player pulls the flag of an offensive player in their own end zone
  • An offensive player runs out of bounds in their own end zone
  • A ball is snapped out of bounds in their own end zone.
  • A bad snap lands in the end zone

Following a safety, the teams will trade possession and the defensive, now offensive, the team will start with the ball on its own 20-yard line.

Operative Play

A female player must be the operative player once every three downs. An operative player is defined as being involved in the play for an attempt of positive yardage. Involvement can include:

  • Catching or attempting to catch the ball past the line of scrimmage.
  • Running the ball on a handoff or backward pass for positive yardage
  • Throwing the ball for a positive yardage gain
  • If a female defensive player sacks a female quarterback on the operative play, then that play will count as an operative play.

Involvement does not include

  • Throwing the ball to a male player behind the line of scrimmage
  • As a receiver, not catching the ball behind the line of scrimmage
  • Receiving the football by way of pass or handoff behind the line of scrimmage and not gaining positive yards.
  • If a female defensive player sacks a male quarterback on the operative play, that will not count as an operative play.

Offensive Male Players on Operative Play

When the play is a required operative play, the following limitation will be placed on male offensive players:

  • A male quarterback will not be allowed to run the ball
  • If the quarterback is male, all male receivers must stay on or behind the line of scrimmage until a female player touches the ball past the line of scrimmage

Defensive Male Players on Operative Play

When the play is a required operative play, the following limitations will be placed on male defensive players:

  • Male defenders must play 10-yards off of the line of scrimmage to start the play. Once the ball is thrown or the ball carrier crosses the line of scrimmage they may break on the ball.
  • Male defenders can not blitz on Operative Plays but can Rush (after 5-second count)
    • Female defenders can blitz on Operative Plays

Overloading Females on the Operative Play

When the play is a required operative play, the offensive team is allowed to “overload” or field more females than the minimum three (3) females. The defensive team can then do the following:

  • Designate one male player to defend the extra female receiver (i.e. that player does not need to start 10-yards off of the line of scrimmage)

First Downs

First downs are made when a team reaches the 20, 40, or 20-yard line. A team has 4 downs to make a first down. If the offensive team does not make a first down in four downs, a change of possession occurs. The ball is marked where the player with the ball was tagged. This can/will result in non-uniform distance for a first down.

Punts

A team will have the option of punting on any down. The offensive team must declare that they are going to punt. No fakes are allowed. All offensive players must stay on the line of scrimmage until the ball is punted. The ball does not need to be hiked. The ball must be punted and not thrown. The defensive team may not attempt a block. The receiving team may fair catch the ball or may attempt to advance it.

Once a Punt is dropped or touches the ground the ball is dead, the defense cannot recover a fumble

Turnovers

Interceptions

The only allowable type of turnover is by interception. An interception is defined as:

  • When the ball is thrown in the course of a legal forward pass, is caught by the defensive player, and does not touch the ground at any time.

Fumbles

For the purposes of our game, there are no fumbles:

  • Any time the ball carrier drops the ball or lets the ball hit the ground, the play is dead.
  • If during a punt the receiving player drops the ball or does not catch the ball, the play is dead.  

Rushing the Quarterback

To rush the Quarterback, the defense can rush the passer after a player on the line of scrimmage clearly counts to 5 Mississippi.

  • Only two defensive players may rush the quarterback at a time.
  • The defensive player(s) is/are not allowed to cross the line of scrimmage until they clearly count to 5.
  • If the Quarterback attempts to run the ball, the defensive player cannot cross the line of scrimmage until the quarterback crosses the line of scrimmage.
    • If the quarterback crosses the line of scrimmage then runs back behind the line of scrimmage, the defensive player(s) can cross the line of scrimmage.

The following will not be permitted while rushing the passer:

  • Floating or drifting into the offensive backfield prior to the 5-count being completed.
  • Counting quickly or not loud enough for the referee or offensive players to hear.  

Untimed Rush/Blitz

Each team is allowed one (1) untimed rush or “blitz” per four downs. On this play, the defense does not need to count to 5 and may cross the line of scrimmage immediately following the snap.

  • The defense can only rush up to two (2) defensive players on an untimed rush
  • On a forced operative play, only females can rush the passer
  • If a team has not used its untimed rush during the series of downs, it can use its untimed rush during the extra point conversion try if the offensive team is going for two (2).

Rushing the passer inside the 5-yard line

The defense cannot use its untimed rush inside the five-yard line. However, they can rush the quarterback inside the 5-yard line following a five (5) Mississippi count. If the defense rushes the quarterback inside the 5-yard line, the quarterback will be allowed to run.

Blocking

Blocking is not allowed.

  • Once a player establishes their position on the field, they may not deliberately move to impede the progress of a defensive player.

Inadvertent Whistle

If the referee blows an inadvertent whistle, then the play is dead. If the play was for positive yardage, then it is the offensive team’s ball at the spot of the ball carrier when the whistle was blown and the down counts.

The offensive team may opt to do the play over if:

  • The offensive play was developing in the backfield or if the ball was in flight, then the play is dead. The play will be replayed from the original line of scrimmage.

Catching the Ball

A pass is complete when a player catches the ball with at least one foot in bounds. The other foot may be out of bounds after the catch.

Motion

One player may move parallel or backward from the line of scrimmage prior to the snap.

If two players go in motion at once it is considered illegal motion and will result in a penalty.

Laterals

Teams will be allowed to lateral the ball behind the line of scrimmage. No laterals will be allowed past the line of scrimmage. If team laterals the ball past the line of scrimmage, the play will be called dead where the first player threw the ball.

This rule is applied for safety concerns and to avoid a ball carrier from becoming an active blocker.

Leaving Your Feet

Offensive and Defensive players are only allowed to leave their feet in an effort to make or defend a pass. Instances of leaving your feet that are not permissible include but are not limited to:

  • An offensive player jumping to hurdle a defensive player
  • An offensive player jump spinning to avoid a defensive player
  • A defensive player jump/launching themselves at an offensive player in an attempt to pull a flag

Running Out of Bounds & Marking of the Ball

Unlike traditional football, a player will be marked down where their feet go out of bounds. The location of the ball will not matter. The referee will mark the ball at the location of the player’s hips when they leave the field of play.

Game Play Inside the 5-Yard Line

When the offensive team is inside the defensive team’s 5-yard line, the following restrictions will be in place:

  • The quarterback cannot run the ball unless they are rushed by the defense
  • There are no handoffs inside the 5-yard line.
    • If a backward pass is made behind the line of scrimmage, a forward pass must then be made to advance the ball
  • The defense cannot use its untimed rush or blitz

Overtime Rules

Overtime only occurs during the playoffs.  

College Overtime Rules apply, the only difference being teams start from the +20 and will have four downs to score.

Penalties

All penalty decisions will be made by the official game referee(s). The clock will run when the ref is marking off the penalty unless inside two (2) minutes left in the second half and/or overtime and the penalized team is leading the game.

5-yard Penalties

Shirt-holding (5 yards from the end of the run):

When a player holds or grabs the shirt of an opposing player with intent to hinder the opposing player.

Failure to Use Operative Player (5 yards from the line of scrimmage and loss of down):

If the offensive team does not use a female in one of its’ three consecutive plays, the penalty will be enforced until a female is used. (i.e. it was 2nd down and then it becomes 3rd down and marked off 5 yds.)

Delay of Game (5 yards from the line of scrimmage):

If the offensive team does not get a playoff in 30 seconds once the ball is in play or if the defensive team interferes with the offensive team at any time to hinder them getting off a play in 30 seconds.

Illegal Participation (5 yards from the line of scrimmage):

More than 8 players on the field or more than 5 males on the field when the ball is snapped.

Offensive Offsides (5 yards from the line of scrimmage):

Any player not being set for 1 second except a player in motion.

Defensive Offsides/Encroachment  (5 yards from the line of scrimmage):

When the defensive player crosses over the line of scrimmage and does not get back or makes contact when they cross over the line of scrimmage.

Illegal Forward Pass (5 yards from the line of scrimmage & loss of down):

When the Quarterback’s hips are beyond the line of scrimmage and then throws the ball.

Intentional Grounding (5 yards from the line of scrimmage & loss of down):

When the Quarterback throws the ball into the ground or into an area where the referee decides that it was only an attempt to avoid being sacked. If the Quarterback throws the ball out of bounds, the ball must first cross the line of scrimmage. Spiking the ball to stop the clock is not a penalty.

Inside the final two minutes of regulation and overtime, this will result in a 10-second clock run-off.

10-yard penalties

Defensive Pass Interference (10 yards from the line of scrimmage & automatic 1st down):

Any contact with the offensive receiver that hinders their ability to catch the ball. This includes checking at the LOS or downfield. Inadvertent contact is not considered pass interference.

Blocking (10 yards from spot of the foul):

Once a player establishes their position on the field, they may not deliberately move to impede the progress of a defensive player.

Offensive Picking/Offensive Pass Interference (10 yards from the line of scrimmage):

When an offensive player initiates contact, such as pushing off.

Picking will be called when a receiver comes off the line of scrimmage and impedes the path of the defensive player to allow another offensive player to shake that defender.

15-yard Penalties

Unsportsmanlike Conduct (15 yards from dead ball spot):

Any play, taunt or action the referee deems as unsportsmanlike. If one player receives two (2) unsportsmanlike penalties during the game, they will be ejected for the remainder of that game and suspended for the next game.

All unsportsmanlike penalties and/or incidents will be reviewed by the league office and can be subject for further disciplinary action. Additional action can include:

  • Additional game suspension
  • Ejection from the league without refund
  • Ban from all Volo City activities