Our House, Our Rules.


These are the official 5 v 5 flag football rules for the Boston Fives. They will be finalized prior to the start of the season.

The Game
No contact allowed.
A coin toss determines first possession.
Team can elect to have offense, defense, defer, or direction.
Choice in the 2nd half will be awarded to the team that did not have 1st half election.
The offensive team takes possession of the ball at their 5-yard line and has four (4) plays to cross mid-field. Once a team crosses mid-field they have four (4) plays to score.  If the offense fails to score, the ball changes possession. If the offensive team fails to cross mid-field, the ball changes possession at the point of the last play.  Interceptions of a forward pass or laterals may be advanced. The offense will receive the ball at the spot of the end of the play.

Each time the ball is spotted the offensive team has 30 seconds to snap the ball. (Officials will warn the offense when there are 10 seconds left to snap the ball).  Teams must wait until the referees are set or a referee acknowledges they are prepared to start the play.  If the score difference is less than 9 at the end of regulation, there will be an additional 4 plays added to the end of the game (a “punt” is considered 1 play).  All dead ball penalties in the last minute of the game are loss of down and stops the clock.

Tournament clock is 40 minutes long.  Two 15 minute halves and a 2-minute halftime.

After a team scores a touchdown, the team can elect to automatically receive an extra 1pt or choose to go for 2 extra points from the 10 yard line.  A defensive interception during a 2 point conversion attempt can be returned for 2pts by the defense.

Time Outs
Each team has two 30 second time outs per game that can be used at any time during the game.  If a time out is called after a TD the clock will not run until the change of possession and the offense snaps their ball.

Rushing the Quarterback
Players that rush the quarterback must be a minimum of 7 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
Players that are not 7 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped may not enter into the backfield until there has been a change of possession.  The official will designate 7 yards from the line of scrimmage.  The rusher is allowed a direct line to the quarterback as long as he rushes from either side of the center or bunch formation.  The offense must avoid interfering with the rusher if he has established his lane.

The quarterback may not run unless the ball has been thrown back, handed or pitched to him in the backfield.
Teams may handoff, pitch, or throw back the football in the backfield. The player who receives the pitch or handoff may throw the ball as long as he is not beyond the line of scrimmage.   Pitching (backward) is allowed downfield for a maximum of two backward laterals.
If the ball is placed on the “Back” of ANY Player, the player MUST run the ball, no give and go to the QB on the back.
No run zones are located 5 yards before mid-field and 5-yards before the end zone. You may not run the ball in the no run zone.  Only forward passes are allowed.
Ball is spotted where the flag is pulled. The lead flag must break the plane of the midfield or goal line to be considered a first down or TD.  The ball does have to cross.
Players may screen block behind the line of scrimmage.  Players may not block down field.  Jumping is legal as long as it doesn’t cause any contact.

The quarterback has 6 seconds to pass the ball if there is no rush. If the ball is not thrown, the play is dead. The ball returns to the line of scrimmage. (Once the ball has been handed off or pitched the ball must be thrown within the 5-second count – if the 6 second expires, the ball carrier can only run the ball at this time).
If the defensive team rushes the quarterback there is no 5-second count. Interceptions may be returned. The rusher may not hit the quarterbacks’ arm, or knock the ball out of the quarterbacks’ hand. The rusher must play the flags.

All players are eligible to receive a pass, including the quarterback, if the ball has been pitched back or handed off behind the line of scrimmage.  Players must have at least one foot in bounds when making a catch.  Players that run out of bounds during a play cannot be the first player to touch a ball when attempting to make a catch.

Play is ruled dead when:
The offensive player’s flag is pulled.  Ball carrier steps out of bounds, Touchdown is scored. Ball carriers’ knee touches the ground.  Incomplete pass. Ball hits the ground.  If a player loses a flag unintentionally, the defense only has to touch the ball carrier, not pull the flag.  Players may not start a play without a flag.

Defensive Penalties:
Offside-Illegal Rush.  Pass interference /Face Guarding (must play/look at ball).
Illegal contact (holding, bump and run, blocking) * Note the officials will determine incidental contact which may result from normal run of play.
Roughing the quarterback – the rusher may not knock the ball out of the quarterback’s hand or bump into them.
Excessive contact – even if the defender is making a play on the ball.  If the official feels it was intentional or with intent to harm the player will be ejected from the game and may be removed from the tournament.
All defensive penalties are five yards from the line of scrimmage and automatic first down except holding – spot foul plus 5, pass interference – 15 yards from LOS and Roughing the QB, Major 15 – Minor 5.

Offensive Penalties:
Pre-Snap Penalties – these are not a loss of down. Illegal motion /False Start/ delay of game/ illegal equipment violation – a player may not start a play without flags
Impeding the rush (the offensive players must avoid the rusher).
Flag guarding (players must keep their hands above their waist).  Charging (the offensive player must avoid the defender if they are set).
Delay of game (all delay of game penalties stop the clock).  Pass interference (illegal pick, pushing off defender).
Blocking –Players may not block downfield, they may only screen block in the backfield.
Excessive contact – If the official feels it was intentional or with intent to harm the player will be ejected from game.
All off penalties are five yards from the line of scrimmage and loss of down except flag guarding which is a spot foul and the pre-snap penalties mentioned above.

Sportsmanship / Roughing
Trash talking will not be tolerated.  The official has the right to determine language that is offensive.  (Trash talking is language that may be considered offensive to the official, opposing team, or spectators).  The official may eject players from the game for trash talking.
If the official witnesses any act of tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, or any other sportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game.

There is no overtime. Only the final championship game, if the teams are still tied after their second game (of their best of three championship), teams will have to to attempt 2pts for their extra point try during the overtime of their third game.