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New Castle Area Flag Football League

New Castle Area Flag Football League

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Rules


I. GAME:

1. At the start of each game, captains from both teams shall meet at midfield for the coin toss to determine who shall start with the ball. The visiting team shall call the toss.

2. The winner of the coin toss has the choice of offense or defense. The loser of the coin toss has the choice of direction. Teams may not choose to defer to the second half.

3. The offensive team in all divisions will take possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has four (4) plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield, they have four (4) plays to score a touchdown. 10U, 12U, and 15U will only have three (3) plays to cross midfield and then three (3) plays to score a touchdown.

4. If the offense fails to score, the ball changes possession and the new offensive team starts its drive on its own 5-yard line.

5. If the offensive team fails to cross midfield, possession of the ball changes and the opposition starts its drive from its own 5-yard line.

6. All possession changes, except interceptions, start on the offense's 5-yard line.

7. Teams change sides after the first half. Possession changes to the team that started the game on defense.


II. EQUIPMENT:

1. The league provides each player with a flag belt and NFL FLAG powered by USA Football NFL jersey. Teams will use the football provided by their league.

2. Players must wear shoes. Football cleats are encouraged; however cleats with exposed metal are not allowed and must be removed.

3. Players may tape their forearms, hands and fingers. Players may wear gloves, elbow pads, and kneepads. Braces with exposed metals or a cast of any kind are not permitted.
4. Players must remove all watches, earrings and any other jewelry that the officials deem hazardous.

5. Official NFL FLAG powered by USA Football NFL jerseys must be worn during play, unless league approves otherwise.

6. Players' jerseys must be tucked into the pants if they hang below the belt line. In the event the players jersey size is incorrect and continues 
to cover the flags in a way to obstruct, the player may adjust their belt to go above his/hers waist line over top of the shirt to help prevent interference. This adjustment will not stop the play clock so the player must leave the field or fix it in between plays. (Applies to offense only) This rule will be in effect the second week of the season.

7. Pants or shorts MUST be pocketless with no belt loops.


III. FIELD:

1. The field dimensions are 25 yards by 50 yards with two 10-yard end zones, and a midfield line-to-gain. No-Run Zones precede each line-to-
gain by 5 yards.

2. No-Run Zones are in place to prevent teams from conducting power run plays. While in the No-Run Zones (a 5 yard imaginary zone before midfield and before the end zone), teams cannot run the ball in any fashion. All plays must be pass plays, even with a handoff. (This rule does not apply to 6U).

3. Stepping on the boundary line is considered out of bounds.

4. Each offensive squad approaches only TWO No-Run Zones in each drive (one zone 5 yards from midfield to gain the first down, and one zone 5 yards from the goal line to score a TD).


IV. ROSTERS:

1. Home teams wear dark color jerseys; visiting teams wear light color jerseys.

2. Teams must consist of at least 7 players, with a maximum of 10 players. In a perfect world, each team will have 8 players.

2a. Coaches may only bring a roster of 7 players MAX for 10U and up. For 8U and 6U, coaches may only bring up to 3 players. 

3. Teams must start a game with a minimum of five players. In the event of an injury or illness, a team with insufficient substitute players may play with four players on the field, but no fewer than four.

4. Teams and divisions are subject to change based upon registration number and/or board direction


V. TIMING AND OVERTIME:

1. Games are played on a 40 minute continuous clock with two twenty minute halves. The clock stops only for timeouts, except in the last two minutes of the game, the clock will stop for incomplete passes, conversions, change of possession and out of bounds.

2. Halftime is two minutes long.

3. Each time the ball is spotted, a team has 40 seconds to snap the ball. Teams will receive one warning when there is 10 seconds left before a delay-of-game penalty is enforced.

4. Each team has two 60-second time outs per half. Officials can stop the clock at their discretion.

5. In the event of an injury the clock will stop and then restart when the injured player is removed from the field of play.

6. If the score is tied at the end of 40 minutes, an overtime (OT) Period will be used to determine a winner.


OVERTIME

All regulation period rules and penalties are in effect. Any penalties committed can be accepted and the ball placed at the one yard line and replay the down or declined and take the point scored (if any).

If the score is tied at the end of regulation time, an overtime period will be used to determine a winner. 

Overtime format is as follows:

- A coin flip will determine the team that chooses to be on offense or defense first. 
- The referee will choose the best end to play at (field conditions). 
- The teams will remain on the same end of the field and rotate possessions. Unless an interception occurs and defense advances for a score at the other end of the field.

- If a second round of overtime must be played, the team that lost the coin toss will get to choose offense or defense for the start of the second round of overtime. This process continues with teams alternating who gets to choose to be on offense or defense to start out during every round of overtime.

NO RUN ZONES ARE IN EFFECT FROM THE 5 YARD LINE. (except 6U division may run or pass from the 5 yard line)

- Each team will take turns getting one (1) play from the defense's 5-yard line for one point for the first round. If the score remains tied in the second round both teams must continue in the same format. However, the teams must now begin at the defense's team 10 yard line.

- DEFENSIVE SCORE WILL BE WORTH 6 POINTS AND THE GAME IS OVER.

- Whether or not the team that begins on offense in the overtime period converts or not, the team that started on defense gets a chance on offense to win or tie from the same distance 5 or 10 yard line.

- Both teams must start from the 10-yard line starting with the 2nd round of overtime and beyond till a winner is determined.
- If after the 3rd round the score is still tied, then the game will end in a tie. However, this rule will not apply in playoffs, game will be played until there is a winner.

-The final points earned by the winning team in the final overtime will be added onto the winning team's total score. The losing team will not receive any additional points.

Example: End of regulation time, score is 14-14. Team A scores one point and Team B score two points. Team B wins with a final score of 16-14. 

- All regulation period rules and penalties are in effect.

- There are no timeouts in overtime


VI. SCORING:

1. Touchdown: 6 points

2. PAT (Point After Touchdown) 1 point (5-yard line) or 2 points (10-yard line) Note: 1 point PAT is pass or run in 6U and pass only in all other divisions, 2 point PAT can be run or pass.

     a. A team that scores a touchdown must declare whether it wishes to attempt a 1-pt. conversion (from the 5-yard line) or a 2-pt. conversion (from the 10-yard line). Any change, once a decision is made to try for the extra point, requires a charged time out. Decision cannot be changed after a penalty. Interceptions on conversions can be returned for either 1 or 2 points depending on what the offense was going for, if returned and no penalties are called the defense will be awarded the extra points. If the defense commits a penalty on the return, the play is dead and they will take over on offense.

3. Safety: 2 points

     a. A Safety occurs when the ball carrier is declared down in his/her own end zone. They can be called down when their flags are pulled by a defensive player, their flag falls out, they step out of bounds or they hit the ground with their knee or arm. A Safety also occurs when there is an offensive penalty in the end zone or the ball is snapped into the end zone.

4. Mercy Rule:

6U and 8U: After one team is winning by twenty eight points or more in the second half with 10 minutes or less left on the clock, the losing team gets one offensive series to continue regulation play from midfield. They will keep possession until they score. These points will not count towards the final score.

10U, 12U, and 15U will adapt to the following rules if winning or losing by twenty eight or more points with 5 minutes remaining in the second half of a game.

a. The winning team will be able to run the ball only on offense, no passing on any down.

b. The clock will run continuous.

c. No blitzing by the winning team on defense.

5. Mercy Rule in final game: the season is scored by wins, losses and total points for and against, the final game may come down to points. So there will be NO MERCY RULE FOR FINAL GAME OF REGULAR SEASON.

VII. COACHES:

1. Coaches are typically volunteer parents or family members helping the players learn and enjoy the game. Parents are encouraged to support the coach at all times.

2. Coaches are allowed on the field to direct players according to need and division. Only one coach per team is allowed on the field during play. (10U, 12U, and 15U only offensive coaches allowed on field.)

3. Coaches are expected to adhere to NFL FLAG powered by USA Football philosophies, coaching guidelines and the NCAFFL code of conduct.

4. Only the Head coach may address or question a referees call. Anyone violating this rule will be asked to leave the field for the remaining time of the game. 

5. Offensive coaches are NOT allowed to yell/scream out false instructions to their players to try and trick the defense. 

6. Only registered NCAFFL coaches may call plays or instruct players. Parents may sub in as a coach at leagues discretion.

7. All coaches and volunteers MUST register with the league AND provide criminal/child abuse clearances prior to involvement with the players.

VIII. LIVE BALL/DEAD BALL:

1. The ball is live at the snap of the ball and remains live until the official whistles the ball dead.

2. The official will indicate the neutral zone and line of scrimmage. It is an automatic dead ball foul if any player on defense or offense enters the neutral zone. In regard to the neutral zone, the official may give both teams a "courtesy" neutral zone notification to allow their players to move back behind the line of scrimmage.

3. A player who gains possession in the air is considered in bounds as long as one foot comes down in the field of play.

4. The defense may not mimic the offensive team signals, by trying to confuse the offensive players, while the quarterback is calling out signals to start the play. This will result in an unsportsmanlike penalty.

5. Substitutions may be made on any dead ball.

6. Any official can whistle the play dead.

7. Play is ruled "dead" when:

   a. The ball hits the ground.

   b. The ball carrier's flag is pulled.

   c. The ball carrier steps out of bounds.

   d. A touchdown, PAT or safety is scored.

   e. The ball carrier's knee hits the ground. (A runner is not down if his hand touches the ground.)

   f. The ball carrier's flag falls out.

   g. The receiver catches the ball while in possession of one or no flag(s).

   h. The 7 second pass clock expires.

   i. If the defense has possession of the offensive players flag for more than three seconds. 

I . Inadvertent whistle:

     8. In the case of an inadvertent whistle, the offense has two options:

     a. Take the ball where it was when the whistle blew and the down is consumed.

     b. Replay the down from the original line of scrimmage.

9. A team is allowed to use a time out to question an official's rule interpretation (only the head coach may question). If the official's ruling is correct, the team will be charged a time out. If the rule is interpreted incorrectly, the time out will not be charged and the proper ruling will be enforced. Officials should all agree upon any controversial call in order to give each team the full benefit of each call.

10. After every play it is the responsibility for the offense to help get the bean bags to the referee.
NOTE: There are no fumbles. The ball is spotted where the ball carrier's front foot was at the time of the fumble.


IX. RUNNING:

1. The ball is spotted where the front foot is when the flag is pulled, not where the ball carrier has the ball. Forward progress will be measured by the players front foot when his/her flag is pulled. 

2. The quarterback cannot directly run with the ball. The quarterback does have the ability to scramble in the back field, but cannot advance the ball beyond the line of scrimmage. The quarterback is the offensive player that receives the snap.

3. Only direct handoffs behind the line of scrimmage are permitted. Handoffs may be in front, behind, or to the side of the offensive player, but must be behind the line of scrimmage. The offense may use multiple handoffs.

a. "Center Sneak" play - The ball must completely leave the center's hands on the snap and he/she must take one step backwards off the line of scrimmage in order to receive a direct handoff from the QB before advancing the ball.

4. Absolutely NO laterals or pitches of any kind.

5. "No-Run Zones," located 5 yards before each end zone and 5 yards on either side of midfield are designed to avoid short-yardage power-running situations. Teams are not allowed to run in these zones if the subsequent line is LIVE. This rule only applies to 8U through 14U. (Reminder: Each offensive squad approaches only TWO No-Run Zones in each drive - one 5 yards from midfield to gain the first down, and one 5 yards from the goal line to score a TD).

6. The player who takes the handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.

7. Once the ball has been handed off in front, behind or to the side of the quarterback, all defensive players are eligible to rush.

8. Runners may not leave their feet to advance the ball. Diving, leaping, or jumping to avoid a flag pull is considered flag guarding.

9. Spinning is allowed, but players may not leave their feet to avoid a flag pull. Jumping in the air in a forward motion to advance the ball, while attempting to avoid a flag pull, is not allowed. Lateral moves to the left or right are permitted.

10. Runners may leave their feet if there is a clear indication that he/she has done so to avoid collision with another player without a flag guarding penalty enforced.

11. No blocking or "screening" is allowed at any time.

12. Offensive players must stop their motion once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage. No running with the ball carrier.

13. Flag Obstruction - All jerseys MUST be tucked in before play begins. The flags must be on the player's hips and free from obstruction. Deliberately obstructed flags will be considered flag guarding.

14. The Quarterback and Running back are NOT allowed to have simultaneous possession of the ball.  IF after one second the ball is not completely in one players hands, then the play will be blown dead and the offense will have consumed the down.

X. PASSING:

1. All passes must be from behind the line of scrimmage, thrown forward and received beyond the line scrimmage. Quarterbacks may not pass to theirselves. 
2. Shovel passes are allowed, but must be received beyond the line of scrimmage.

3. The quarterback has a seven-second "pass clock." If a pass is not thrown within the seven seconds, play is dead, the down is consumed and 
the ball is returned to the line of scrimmage. Once the ball is handed off, the 7-second rule no longer is in effect.

a. If the QB is standing in the end zone at the end of the 7-second clock, the ball is returned to the line of scrimmage (LOS).

XI. RECEIVING:

1. All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback, if the ball has been handed off behind the line of scrimmage).

2. Only one player is allowed in motion at a time. All motion must be parallel to the line of scrimmage and no motion is permitted towards the line of scrimmage.

3. A player must have a least one foot inbounds when making a reception.

4. In the case of simultaneous possession by both an offensive and defensive player, possession is awarded to the offense.

5. Interceptions change the possession of the ball at the point of interception. Interceptions are the only changes of possession that do not start on the 5-yard line.

6. Interceptions are returnable for 6 points. A conversion interception that is returned for a touchdown will give the defensive team 1 or 2 points depending on what the offense was going for, and possession of the ball starting at their own 5 yard line.

XII. FLAG PULLING:

1. A legal flag pull takes place when the ball carrier is in full possession of the ball.

2. Defenders can dive to pull flags, but cannot tackle, hold or run through the ball carrier when pulling flags.
3. It is illegal to attempt to strip or pull the ball from the ball carrier's possession at any time.

4. If a player's flag inadvertently falls off during the play, the player is down immediately upon possession of the ball and the play ends.

5. A defensive player may not intentionally pull the flags off of a player who is not in possession of the ball.

6. Flag guarding is an attempt by the ball carrier to obstruct the defender's access to the flags by stiff arming, dropping the head, hand, arm or shoulder, or intentionally covering the flags with the football jersey.

XIII. FORMATIONS:

1. Offense must have a minimum of one player on the line of scrimmage (the center) and up to four players on the line of scrimmage. The quarterback must be off the line of scrimmage.

a. One player at a time may go in motion 1-yard behind and parallel to the line of scrimmage.

b. No motion is allowed towards the line of scrimmage.

2. Offensive players must come to a complete stop for one second before the ball is snapped unless he/she is the only player in motion.

3. Movement by a player who is set or a player who runs toward the line of scrimmage while in motion is considered a false start.

4. The center must snap the ball with a rapid and continuous motion between his/her legs to a player in the backfield, and the ball must completely leave his/her hands.

XIV. UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT:

1. If the field monitor or referee witnesses any acts of intentional tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. The decision is made at the referee's discretion. No appeals will be considered. FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!

2. Offensive or confrontational language is illegal. Officials have the right to determine offensive language. If offensive or confrontational language occurs, the referee will give one warning. If it continues, the player, coaches, and/or fans will be ejected from the game.

3. Players may not physically or verbally abuse any opponent, coach or official. (Including Taunting players)

4. Ball carriers MUST make an effort to avoid defenders with an established position.

5. Defenders are not allowed to run through the ball carrier when pulling flags.

6. Fans must also adhere to good sportsmanship, as well:

     a. Yell to cheer on your players, not to harass officials or other teams.

     b. Keep comments clean and profanity free.

     c. Compliment ALL players, not just one child or team.

XV. RUSHING THE QB ALL DIVISIONS (except 6U and 8U has no rushing the QB)

1. If a rusher leaves the rush line early (breaks the 7 yard area), they may return to the rush line before the snap, reset and then legally rush the quarterback.

a. In a bunch formation the blitzer can still rush up the middle and does not have to line up outside the last player on the line. Impeding the rusher still applies

2. If a rusher leaves the rush line early and the ball is handed off before he/she crosses the line of scrimmage, he/she may legally continue to rush the individual with the ball.

3. Any player from any area at the point of 7 yards and beyond may rush the quarter back.

XVI. PENALTIES:

General:

1. The referee will call all penalties.

2. Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play.

3. All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage, except as noted. (spot fouls)

4. Only the team captain or head coach may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations. Players may not question judgment calls.
5. Games may not end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it.

6. Penalties are assessed live ball then dead ball. Live ball penalties must be assessed before play is considered complete.

7. Penalties will be assessed half the distance to the goal yardage when the penalty yardage is more than half the distance to the goal.

SPOT FOULS:

Defensive Pass Interference: Automatic First Down

Defensive Pass Interference in the end zone: Ball will be placed at the 1 yard line and Automatic First Down

Holding: +5 yards & Automatic First Down

Stripping & Swating the Ball: + 10 yards & Automatic First Down

Defensive Unnecessary Roughness: + 10 yards & Automatic First Down

Screening, Blocking or Running with the Ball Carrier: - 5 yards & Loss of Down

Charging: -10 yards & Loss of Down

Offensive Unnecessary Roughness: -10 yards & Loss of Down
Simultaneous possession:  Down is consumed and play is blown dead.

DEFENSIVE PENALTIES:

Offsides: + 5 yards from line of scrimmage & Offense can decide to take result of play or the penalty and Replay the Down.

Illegal Rush: (Starting rush from inside 7-yard marker) + 5 yards from line of scrimmage & Automatic First Down

Illegal Flag Pull: (Before the receiver has the ball) + 5 yards from line of scrimmage & Automatic First Down

Roughing the Passer: + 10 yards from line of scrimmage & Automatic First Down (Any contact period with quarterback arm while in motion)

Taunting (to include players intentionally screaming at players attempting to make a play. i.e. QB and receivers) : + 10 yards from line of 
scrimmage & Automatic First Down
Defensive Pass Interference: SPOT FOUL, Automatic First Down

Holding: SPOT FOUL, + 5 yards & Automatic First Down

Stripping: SPOT FOUL + 5 yards & Automatic First Down
Defensive Unnecessary Roughness: SPOT FOUL + 10 yards & Automatic First Down

OFFENSIVE PENALTIES:

Offsides / False Start: - 5 yards from line of scrimmage & Replay Down

Illegal Forward Pass: (Pass received behind the line of scrimmage or throwing a pass beyond the line of scrimmage) - 5 yards from line of 
scrimmage & Loss of Down Offensive

Pass Interference: - 5 yards from line of scrimmage & Loss of Down

Illegal Motion: (More than one person moving) - 5 yards from line of scrimmage & Loss of Down

Delay of Game: - 5 yards from line of scrimmage & Replay Down

Impeding the Rusher: - 5 yards from line of scrimmage & Loss of Down

Screening, Blocking or Running with the Ball Carrier: SPOT FOUL, - 5 yards & Loss of Down

Charging: SPOT FOUL, -5 yards & Loss of Down

Flag Guarding: SPOT FOUL, -5 yards & Loss of Down
Offensive Unnecessary Roughness: SPOT FOUL, -10 yards & Loss of Down

Contact

JBL LLC
P.O. Box 9341 
New Castle, Pennsylvania 16107

Phone: 724-724-5542
Email: [email protected]

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