When players run with the ball, their feet can’t leave the ground to avoid a defensive player. In other words, players can spin to avoid their opponent, but they can’t leap or dive.
Only direct handoffs are permitted—there are no laterals or pitches. Once the ball has been handed off, all defensive players are eligible to rush. And the person who takes the handoff is allowed to throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage. So while you’ll see a designated quarterback on the field, several plays actually rely on other teammates to pass the ball. This changes up plays, keeps the defense on their toes, and makes the game even more exciting.
Also, under flag football rules, the quarterback can’t run with the ball unless it has been handed to him/her in the backfield. And all players who rush the passer must be a minimum of seven yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
Flag football rules aim to prevent power plays and avoid short-yardage situations, so you’ll find no run zones located 5 yards from each end zone and on either side of the midfield. In this designated area, the offensive team must complete a pass play.
Lastly, if an offensive player’s flag is pulled when they’re running with the ball, their feet determine where the ball is spotted, not the flag.
One rule that makes flag football unique (and that much more competitive) is that everyone can receive a pass, including the quarterback, after the ball has been handed off behind the line of scrimmage. This allows coaches to include a variety of flag football plays into their playbooks and helps players develop fundamental offense skills. Plus, it makes the game more engaging. Keep in mind that when making a catch, players must have one foot in bounds, just like tackle.
Flag football rules state that all passes must go forward and be received beyond the line of scrimmage. Shovel passes, which are short passes to forward receivers, are allowed, but also must be received beyond the line of scrimmage. Quarterbacks have a seven-second pass clock to get rid of the ball. And if they don’t, the play is dead.
Additionally, center sneak play—where the quarterback hands off to the center as the first handoff of the play—is no longer allowed.
Interceptions are allowed, but look a little different in flag football. They change the possession of the ball at the point of the interception. So if an interception occurs, the referee blows the whistle and the play is dead. Interceptions are the only change of possession that don’t start on the team’s 5-yard line.