COIN FLIP/BEGINNING OF GAME:
A coin toss will determine starting possession. The winner of the toss will have choice of offense, defense, or direction. The loser of the toss will have the remaining option. Choices will change at the start of the second half (e.g. team that starts the game on offense will start the second half on defense)
Note: For Playoff games, the higher seeded team automatically “wins” the toss.
Each game consists of two twenty-two minute halves. The clock will start running at the scheduled game time unless the previous game is running behind. If a team is late to their game, they will lose that time. The clock will only stop for injury time-outs and time-outs requested by either team.
For the entire game, the offensive team has 30 seconds to snap the ball, once the ball has been spotted. If the referee feels that this is being taken advantage of (delay of game), they can:
On the first offense – Warn the team
On subsequent offenses – Penalize the offense 5 paces/yards
A two-minute warning is given in the second half. The clock does NOT stop at 2 minutes. During the final 2 minutes of the game, the referee will stop the clock if:
- An incomplete pass is thrown
- A player ends a play by going out of bounds
- Either team scores (the clock remains stopped until the opposing team snaps the ball after the PAT attempt; the clock does not run during extra points)
- Change of possession, including a turn over on downs and the ball being placed at the 10 yard line.
- A penalty which must be marked off occurs
- A team calls a time out
- If a team is up by 14 points or more, the clock runs continuously during the last two minutes of play
***THE CLOCK DOES NOT STOP ON FIRST DOWNS OR FUMBLES.***
OFFICIAL GAME: Once a game passes the half way point of the second half (9:59 remaining on the clock), a game will be considered official. If a game has to be stopped and cannot resume play for any reason after that point and before the final buzzer, the score at the time of interruption will be considered the final score.
Each team is allowed two 45-second time outs per game.
TEAM SIZE & NON-TEAM PLAYERS:
Each team shall field no more than 5 players. A team needs to have at least three (3) players at game time, ONE non-team player may play for the missing team member, provided that the non-team player is already in the PMH flag football league. If you have 3 or less players a forfeit will be awarded. If a team shows up with three players they may pick up ONE non-team player for a legal game, you cannot pick up two.
ELIGIBILITY FOR PLAYOFFS:
Teams cannot forfeit more than one game during the regular season to be eligible for the playoffs.
No metal cleats are allowed.
It is each player’s responsibility to have his or her flags positioned squarely over each hip. If a player begins a play without three flags or if the entire flag is not accessible, and that player takes possession of the ball (i.e. a hand-off, reception, hike to the quarterback, interception, fumble recovery) the play is called dead at the spot that possession was taken.
If an offensive player without all flags accessible takes possession in his/her own end-zone, it is ruled a safety. If a defensive player takes possession in his/her own end-zone, it is ruled a touchback. If either team takes possession in the opponent’s end-zone, it is a touchdown.
STARTING OF PLAY / HIKING THE BALL: The QB have a player hike the ball to him.
- There is NO bump and run
- Only one player in motion at a time and there is no forward motion
- All players are eligible to receive a pass, including the QB after he hands off or laterals the ball behind the line of scrimmage.
A lateral is an underhand pitch of the ball to a fellow team member next to you or behind you.
- Laterals are legal only behind the line of scrimmage.
- A lateral is NOT a forward pass and cannot be picked off in mid-air.
- A picked off lateral is a fumble and the ball is spotted at the point of the fumble and the offense retains possession.
A legal pass reception requires that the receiver have one foot in bounds at the time control is achieved. No part of the body may be touching an area out of bounds. This player must also take possession across the line of scrimmage.
BLOCKING – THIS IS A NO BLOCKING LEAGUE:
Blocking is considered the movement, whether deliberate or unintentional, that impedes a defensive player’s pursuit of the ball carrier, unless movement is to avoid personal injury (as interpreted by the referee). This also includes the deliberate or unintentional movement of limbs by a stationary player. More leeway may be given to players moving at the time of a reception, but this is up to the referee’s discretion.
A violation of this rule will result in the play being called dead and the ball being spotted at the point of the infraction, or the ball carriers position at the time of the infraction, whichever is in favor of the defensive team. If the referee considers the blocking incident excessively aggressive, a 15 yard penalty will be assessed from the spot of the ball (or to the one-yard line if the offense is under 15 yards from their own goal line). Depending on the severity of the infraction, the offending player may be ejected from the game and/or league.
The defense may not pursue the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage until completing a five-second count, at normal speaking cadence, as determined by the referee. After the five second count is completed, any number of defensive players may rush behind the line of scrimmage. If the defense rushes prematurely, the offense may either play the down over or decline the penalty.
The defense receives ONE blitz per set of downs that the team does not need to count for and does not need to be announced prior to being used.
If the ball changes possession in the backfield (i.e. handed off) the defense may rush in immediately. If the offense fakes a change of possession and the defense advances behind the line of scrimmage, no foul will be called if the defense returns to in front of the line of scrimmage immediately, and continues the five-second count.
TACKLING & FLAG GUARDING:
A player is “tackled” by removing at least one flag from the ball carrier’s belt. If a flag is removed by a defensive player, prior to full possession (as determined by referee), the offense is not considered tackled and play continues with no infraction charged. Players may not leave their feet in attempts to “tackle” the ball carrier (leaving one’s feet does not include tripping, stumbling or loosing one’s balance, as determined by the referee). If a player is determined by the referee to have dived after a flag and succeeded in pulling a player’s flag, such a play will be considered “no tackle” (similar to pulling a flag early). The play shall be allowed to continue with the second flag now having to be pulled in order for a tackle to occur. The purpose of this rule is for the safety of both the offensive and defensive player
An offensive player may not avoid a tackle by guarding his/her flag. Flag guarding consists of the following:
- pushing an opponent’s hand away from the flag;
- pushing an opponent or stiff arming;
- lowering an arm to shield the flag;
- dipping the shoulder;
If a player is called for flag guarding, the play is dead at the point of the infraction.
Spinning to avoid a tackle is legal, as long as none of the above listed events occur simultaneously.
Each team will earn a first down when the achieve the next yardage marker (20, 40, 20) during each drive.
No diving over the line will be allowed.
A ball spotted on the line shall be considered a first down.
A first down may also be awarded due to a defensive foul (i.e. interference).
On fourth down a team may elect to go for the first down (or touchdown) or they may elect to punt the ball. Teams failing to convert on fourth down will turn over the ball at the spot of the fourth down play. If a team elects to punt, they must announce the decision to punt and may not change.
Both teams must have at least 3 players on the line of scrimmage during a punt. The defense cannot try to block the punt. If the ball hits the ground on the punt either behind the line of scrimmage or if it is not caught by the return team the ball is marked dead.
FUMBLES & INTERCEPTIONS:
If a player fumbles the ball, the play is dead at the spot where the player loss possession. If a player on either team takes possession of the ball, prior to the ball hitting the ground, possession goes to that team and that player may attempt to advance the ball towards his/her own end zone. There is no stripping of the ball.
Interceptions of forward passes may be advanced. If a defensive and an offensive player appear to both have possession or are struggling for possession, the reception is granted to the offense.
POINT AFTER TRY:
After a touchdown is scored, each team is allowed a PAT for either 1 or 2 points. If a team chooses to try for 1 point, the ball will be placed 5 yards from the goal line. If a team chooses to try for 2 points, the ball will be placed at the 10 yd. line.
The clock does not stop during a PAT, except within the last two minutes of a game when the clock is stopping. A PAT is allowed if the touchdown was scored as time ran out to end either half.
If a two point conversion is intercepted it may be run back for two points.
Defensive players are allowed to rush after a five second count on the point after try. If a team still has its blitz, then that team may blitz the quarterback without counting.
TOUCHDOWNS AND POINT AFTER ATTEMPTS:
Both the ball and the flags must be over the goal line in order for it to count as a touchdown or extra point. No diving over the line will be allowed.
FORWARD PROGRESS/BREAKAWAY RULE:
Once, in the referee’s judgment, a player has stopped his/her forward progress, the referee shall whistle the play dead.
Rationale: The purpose of this league is not to not score or show up the other team. If you have a chance to score and want to, do so. If you don’t want to score, step out of bounds. Showing up another team, whether intentionally or unintentionally, by standing still inches from the goal line doesn’t look good and could be perceived as poor sportsmanship.
During regular season play, all ties will be scored as a tie.
Playoffs – Four-Downs and Out format applies
- A coin toss with the winning team deciding on first or second possession.
- Teams will attempt to score in the same end zone.
- Each team will then have 4 downs to score from 20-yard line.
- If a team scores, they will have the opportunity to go for 1 or 2 on the PAT.
- An interception will result in a team losing its possession – they may not be returned for any points.
- The game will be decided when one team scores more points in the rotation.
- No 1st downs will be awarded except in the case of a penalty.
.1) Forfeiting in advance – if you know your team is going to forfeit and not show up, you must contact PMH no later than 24 hours in advance to avoid penalties. Calling PMH and leaving a message is NOT acceptable notice, you must reach someone. If you leave a message or send e-mail it is not considered notification unless you receive a reply.
TIE BREAKER POLICY:
Tie breaker policy to determine seeding for playoffs:
- Any team with a forfeit is automatically seeded lower.
- Head to Head (only if all tied teams played each other and equal number of times)
- Record against common opponents
- Record against each common opponent starting at the top, one team at a time.
- Coin Toss
If multiple teams are tied, go thru criteria one at a time until one team is determined stronger (or weaker) than the rest, then start at the top again with the “new” tied teams
Note on expectation of good behavior:
At no time should there be any verbal or physical abuse directed toward an opposing team, an opposing player, or a game official. Such actions will not be tolerated. Teams can and should expect the game official to be impartial and fair. Game officials should expect teams to be respectful of calls. Nothing good will come out of making a scene. If you believe there has been a misinterpretation of a rule or if there has been a lack of enforcement of rules, teams should adhere to the ruling at that moment and then contact the league after the game to discuss the matter. Remember, however, that sometimes a player’s perception of what is or of what is not being called can be clouded, as most players believe they are not at fault while others are always at fault. Don’t let the competitive nature of the game get in the way of rationale thinking. If a player takes matters into their own hands and does something foolish, they will have lost their chance to make their case without having to face the consequences.
An ejection will automatically result in a one game suspension, which must be served during the team’s next scheduled game, unless appealed to the League Director. If the individual ejected from the game cannot be identified, the team captain will serve any suspension.