Newmarket Men’s Flag Football League Rules



Each game in the regular season will consist of 2- 25 minute run-time halves. Injury time may be added to the game and time will be stopped by way of timeout at the discretion of the referee. Time may also stop in the final 3 minutes if there is a Delay of Game infraction.  Referees  will  whistle time at 3 mins and again at 1 min. A team can ask for time check at any given point in the game. A referee will wait 10 minutes if a team has 5 players or less however if the team has six players it must start the game. (if by the second half a Team still only has 6 players, the game will be forfeited and a $50 penalty will be assessed)

The game cannot end on a defensive penalty.


Any forefeits automatically end up with your Team owing the Team(s) you are supposed to play, 1 case of beer

Starting Game

A coin toss will determine who has the choice of deciding whether to have their choice of end or possession in the first half,  or deferring for such choice in the second half.

Playoff Overtime

In the playoffs if the game is tied at the end of regular time each team will have a possession starting on their own 35-yard line.

Once each team has had a possession the team who is ahead on points shall be deemed the winner. In the event they are tied we do the same process over.

If a team intercepts the ball two things may happen.

  1. They run it in for a touchdown, the game is over.
  2. They are flagged before they run it in for a touchdown, then they start from their own 35-yard line.



Each team is required to supply a uniform that will allow the referee to identify that team’s players. Teams are advised to pick colours that do not conflict with existing teams colours. In the event two teams show up to play and they have the same colour uniforms the team who has been in the league the longer of the two shall be allowed to keep their colours and the other team would be required to where alternate colours.  In cases where Teams have 2 jerseys we would ask them to make the switch.

Jerseys are required to be tucked in a player may be asked to leave the field of play if their jersey is not properly tucked in. If it is unable to be tucked in, it will need to be cut as to not impede with a defender trying to get the Flag.


The flags and belts are considered part of the uniform. Flags should be in contrast of the uniform. (No red flags on red shorts etc.) it is the responsibility of the team to bring the flags to each game. The League does not supply flags. Anyone not wearing flags is allowed to play, however the opposing team only need touch them with one hand to stop the advancing player.

Belt ends should not be hanging down as opposing players have a habit of grabbing the belt and pulling the player down. Frequently a holding penalty is not being called in this case. Flags must hang at the sides of the players belt and not behind or in front.  It will NOT be considered a hold, or penalty, if a white belt is hanging down, and the defender uses that part to flag/pull a Player down.

Players and Eligibility

Any player who is over the age of 18 may play in the league.

Players who are suspended must sit out the required amount of games.

A player must play 6 regular season games in order to eligible for the playoffs, the exception to this rule is if a player was injured and was unable to play until the playoffs. The league should be notified of injured players immediately and not once Playoff Day is near. A player who is injured may be substituted. A player who is bleeding must leave the field of play and may return once the wound has been properly dressed as deemed by the referee.

A team may start the game with 6 or less players, however at the half should the team still have only 6 or less players the game will be forfeited. The score would go down as 6 nothing. All points scored in the first half are forfeit.


Rules of Play

The rules of the league have been agreed upon by the team reps and have been designed to allow for the flow of the game to take place and avoid injury to players.

It should be noted the minimum penalty in the league is 10 yards.

Kick offs


Teams will kickoff from the designated spot.  Each field will have markings for kickoffs. The kicking team must be behind the kicker failure to do so will result in an offside call by the referee-10 yard penalty. The ball has only to travel one yard to be in play.


The kick off team must give the receiving team player who fields the ball five yards in which to do so. If the defensive team does not the penalty is 10 yards (no yards) added to where the play is blown dead, not where the infraction takes place. An automatic downing of the ball may result in a 25yd unsportsmanlike penalty at the referees discretion of intent.

The ball must remain in bounds to be considered in play.

Kicked Out-of-Bounds

If the ball does not stay in bounds the receiving team will have the option of either fielding the ball where it went out of bounds or having the kicking team kick over.

In End Zone

If the ball goes into the end zone and the receiving team fails to run the ball out the kicking team is awarded 1 point and the ball is placed on the 35 yard. This also applies when it goes through the end zone.

Goal Post

If the ball strikes the goal post on ANY kick, it is deemed a dead ball and the ball is placed on the twenty-yard line.

Fumbled Kick

If a player on the receiving team fumbles and the ball travels backwards the play is deemed dead where the ball hits the ground. If the player on the receiving team fumbles the ball and it travels forward and hits the ground the play is dead where the player first touched it.

If a player on the receiving team fumbles the ball backwards and the ball is caught in the air by another player on receiving team the play is live and follows the natural flow.

If a player on the receiving team fumbles the ball forward and the ball is caught in the air by another player on the receiving team the play is dead where the ball was first knocked forward.

If a player on the receiving team fumbles the ball forwards or backwards and the ball is caught by a player on the defensive team (remember you must be five yards away from the receiving player when the ball is touched) the play is live and the game follows the natural flow. This would be considered a turnover.


A lateral takes place when the ball is passed from one player to another player in a backwards or lateral fashion. If the ball hits the ground during the lateral the play is dead where the ball strikes the ground. If the lateral is forward the play is dead where the player lateraled the ball. If the ball is intercepted on either a forward of backward lateral the play is live and the game follows the natural course.

Fumbles – Dropped Snap

There are no fumbles in this league!

The only exception is when the ball is snapped to the quarterback and it goes over his head or hits the ground behind the line of scrimmage - the quarterback is allowed to pick it up and continue the play.

The steamboat counter is allowed to rush immediately if this happens, as the referees will stop counting steamboats immediately when it is fumbled.

Line of scrimmage rules

Offensive Offside

Offensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped – play is whistled dead right away and automatic 10yd penalty down repeated

Quarterback crosses the line of scrimmage with the ball in his possession. Play is whistled dead at that point. Down not repeated. Quarterback is not allowed to cross the line of scrimmage.

Defensive Offside

Defensive player crosses the line before five steamboats have elapsed. Play continues and Offensive Team can choose to take result of that play, or 10yd penalty, down repeated.

Too much time/Delay of game

In the huddle-team has 25 seconds from which to put the ball in play from the time the referee sets the cone and announces the down (typically when most everyone is back in the huddle). This infraction may also be called if the play is whistled in and the offensive team decides to exchange balls. Penalty is 10 yards and the down is repeated.  

** New in 2017 – UNLESS – it is in the last 3 mins of the game, then the penalty is 25yds and time is stopped until the ball is snapped

Defense has no option on this call.


Defensive Pass Interference

Pass is considered complete at point of infraction and down is repeated where the play is blown dead. A defensive player cannot go over the top of the receiver in attempt to block the ball; this will result in a defensive pass interference call being made.

In the event the Interference happens in the end-zone, the ball will be spotted at the 1yd line and down repeated.

Offensive Pass Interference incl. Picks

Offensive player pushes off the defensive player or uses the defensive player to gain an advantage in catching the ball. 10-yard penalty at the line of scrimmage and the down is not repeated. Or, an offensive team uses a pick to get the receiver open and gain an advantage – 10yd penalty and down not repeated.

If a pick happens after the ball has been caught, a 10yd penalty will be assessed from the spot of the pick and down not repeated.

Other Penalties

No Yards

10 yard penalty given when a member of the kicking team does not give the receiving team five yards to field the ball.  In the event the referee feels it was a blatant infraction, or done in poor sportsmanship, the referee has the discretion to call a 25yd unsportsmanlike penalty. 

No Yards in End Zone

Receiving team has option 10-yard line no points or 35-yard line and 1 point awarded to the kicking team. Automatic downing of the ball can result in an Unsportsmanlike penalty with no points and 25 yd penalty – ball on the 35 yd line as a result.


10 yards- if a player holds an advancing player and impedes his forward progress the infraction will be called. It is the responsibility of the advancing team to insure all loose articles of clothing including flag belts are not hanging down so as to be mistaken for a flag by the defensive team.

Wrapping or tackling by the defensive player while coming up with a flag still constitutes a hold. 10yd penalty.  This league does not have a rule that states – “as long as I have the flag, it is not a penalty”


20 yard penalty given to an advancing player from the point of infraction. A ward can be called using any part of the body including the head. Warding is preventing a defender from access to your flags.


20 yard penalty give to the advancing player who leaves the ground with both his feet in an attempt to elude a defensive player. A hurdle occurs when an advancing player’s both feet leave the round as he moves forward. This also includes diving forward, or rolling.

25 yd Penalties

Rough Play

25 yards from the point of infraction downs are not impacted – no new down. This is called as of a result of tackling, tripping, charging, punch throwing, and excessive pushing near the out of bounds line.

Unsportsmanlike conduct

25-yard penalty given to a player who displays conduct deemed unsportsmanlike on or around the field play. This could include verbal abuse of an official or failure to obey an official when asked to leave the field of play or failure to follow an instruction given by an official such as tucking in your sweater or a loose belt.


25-yard penalty and ejection from the game. Depending on the circumstances this penalty could result in a future suspension as determined by the league.

Other Rules

Interception in the End Zone

Defensive player drops to one knee his team gets ball on the 20-yard line no point. If the player attempts to run out and flag is pulled his team gets ball on 20 yard line and no point is awarded to kicking team. Once the player crosses the touchline the ball is placed wherever his flag is pulled.

Blocked Field Goal

Ball is live until it touches the ground.

If the defensive team blocks the ball at the line of scrimmage and the ball travels forward it still is in play. However if the ball touches the ground it is dead at that point. If the ball is blocked and it travels backwards (towards the kicker/punter) it is live until it touches the ground. If the kicker catches it he may re-kick the ball or run. If is caught by the blocker he may advance it as far as he can. If the ball is caught by another player on the receiving team the ball is dead where it was blocked, as it would be considered a forward lateral. Remember you cannot cross the line of scrimmage until 5 steamboats have been counted. If you try to block a kick and your forward motion carries you past the line of scrimmage you could be called offside. Once the ball crosses the line of scrimmage you would be considered onside.

Other Game Information


6 Points are awarded for a touchdown

3 Points for a field goal - if ball hits uprights and continues through the uprights the points are awarded

2 Points for a thrown conversion

2 points are awarded for a safety touch-when the offensive team is outside their end zone and they re-enter the end zone during the course of play and are flagged or they lateral back into the end zone and the ball hits the ground this is considered a safety touch. The offensive team also must kick off from the twenty-yard line at that point.

1 Point for a place kicked conversion

1 point is awarded for any ball downed in the end zone or kicked through the end zone and the line of scrimmage is the 35-yard line

Out of Bounds and The Line

The lines outside the field are out of bounds. Once a player touches the lines he is out of bounds. If In a penalty situation, if a player is touched/pushed by an opposing player during the act of catching the ball and lands out of bounds, if the ball was catchable in bounds, a penalty may be assessed, even though the player may not have been in bounds. The referee will make this call, as some balls may be considered uncatchable.

A player who catches the ball must have two feet in bounds to make the catch eligible.

Getting in the End Zone

A player may cross the touchline with only one foot for a touchdown to count - The ball DOES NOT have to cross the line – this is not a break the plane league

A player cannot role into the end zone or dive into end zone. If the player rolls into the end zone this would be considered a ward as the player is using the ground to his advantage and the chance of injury to the opposing team is increased. 

Fake Field Goal

Fake field goals are allowed however once the ball is on the ground it must be kicked. The referee may indicate if a ball is downed and must be kicked.

Goal Post – 3 ft rule

Goal post - a player who passes within 3 feet of the goal post is ineligible for a pass and should he catch the pass the play would be dead and the down is not repeated. No player should use the goal post to gain an advantage.

Gentleman’s Clause

Please hand back your opposing teams flags to the player or someone on his team. This is a Gentleman’s league.


Game Balls- any CFL, NFL. Collegiate ball or touch football may be used.

Kicking tees are allowed for kick offs and may not be used for field goals.

A placement disc or puck is allowed to used during the kicking of field goals however the ball must be held in place by the kicking team.

Note- drop kicks are allowed behind the line of scrimmage.


Both teams must fill out game sheets. Failure to do so could result in a forfeit.