PITFOOTBALL.COM LEAGUE RULES FOR INDOOR FOOTBALL

All rules of the PIT Football League and the rules of the Official Touch Football Rule Book are in effect throughout the duration of the indoor regular season and playoffs. It is the responsibility of the respective team representatives to advise team members of the rules and regulations.

CHAPTER 1: GENERAL INFORMATION

1.1 FIELD DIMENSIONS:

  • The game will be played on the indoor sized football field with all the regular rules of touch football with the exception of those noted in this document. There are five players on the field for both teams. 

  • No running zones: Marked five yards from each end zone.

  • Coaches must stay on their half of the field designated to their team and cannot pass center. If a coach crosses center their team will be given a 5-yard penalty and loss of down (on offense) or an automatic first down (on defense).

  • Parents are designated the side of the field across from the players. In the case of indoor all parents not part of the coaching staff must be off the field and in the stands.

 

1.2 PLAYER ATTIRE:

  • Cleats are allowed but must be rubber. Metal spikes of any kind are not permitted.

  • Mouth-guards are mandatory for all players in outdoor. Mouth-guards will not be mandatory for indoor football although players are strongly encouraged to wear mouth-guards.

  • Players must wear shorts or pants of a solid color (i.e., all black or all white) no exceptions.

  • Shorts cannot be the same color as the player’s flags. Flags will be either red or yellow so players should avoid those colored shorts.

  • Before the beginning of every play a player’s flags must be at their sides. Players may be penalized for not having flags at their sides.

  • Baseball caps, sunglasses and jewelry of any kind are not permitted on the field of play.

  • All shirts must be tucked in while on the field of play. Untucked shirts can block flags. Players may be penalized for having an untucked shirt.

  • If a player has a cast or brace they must cover it with soft padding to protect all players on the field including themselves. The referee will have final say on all issues related to safety.

 

1.3 TEAM MEMBERS:

  • Each team will have five players on the field at any given time.

  • Teams are able to play with a minimum of four players. If there are less than four players the came is cancelled and the team with not enough players will forfeit the games.

  • Forfeitures will end in a 1-0 victory for winning team. The forfeiting team will lose two points in the standings in addition to the loss.

  • If teams have three or fewer players at the start of the game that team will be given a 15 minute 'grace' period with penalties accruing for delay of game at game time, the five-minute mark and the ten-minute mark of the grace period. After 15 minutes the game is called as a default. Teams must start the game as soon as they have four players. Time will not be made up for late starts. Games will be shortened accordingly to fit the game within the specified time slot.

  • Each team can have a maximum of three coaches on the sideline. All coaches must be registered with Football Manitoba.

 

1.4 SCORING:

  • Touchdown: 6 points

  • Extra point(s): 1 point convert: 1 point converts are played from the five-yard line and must be a passing play. A play-action fake or backwards toss is considered a running play and will result in a dead ball and a loss of down.

  • Extra point(s): 2 point convert: 2 point converts are played from the 12-yard line/7-yard rushing marker. Play action fakes or backward tosses are allowed.

  • Safety: 2 points

  • An interception return to an opponent’s end zone on any extra-point play by the defense will result in the defense scoring 2 points plus gaining possession for the next series at its own five-yard line.

  • A win constitutes 2 points, a tie 1 point, a loss 0 points.

 

1.5 TIMING:

  • Two halves with each half being 25 minutes in duration.

  • Each team has one 60 second time out per half. The clock stops during a time out.

  • Unused time outs cannot be carried over to the second half or overtime.

  • Officials may stop the clock at their discretion (i.e., injury time out).

  • Teams will be warned when there are two minutes left to play in both halves. The official will make two whistle blows to signal two minutes.

  • There will be a halftime period of two minutes between the first and second half.

  • At the two minute warning the referees will announce "5 plays remaining". While the play clock is still in play the game clock is not. After each play the referee will call out the remaining plays in the game (e.g., 4 plays remaining, 3 players remaining...etc). If a touchdown is scored, the ensuing convert is not not counted as one of the five plays remaining).

  • The game cannot end on a defensive penalty.

 

1.6 OVERTIME:

  • If the score remains tied at the end of regulation in the regular season a tie will be rewarded with each team receiving one point.

  • Only in the playoffs: If the score is tied at the end of regulation time teams move directly into overtime.

    • A coin toss determines first possession of overtime. The team that wins the toss starts with the ball on the opponents 12-yard line.

    • The game is decided by alternating convert attempts from the 12-yard line. If the team with first possession scores, the second must match that score to continue the overtime period. If the first team does not score the second team can win by scoring their convert. If both teams do not score overtime will continue until one team scores and the other is unable to convert their attempt.

    • Note: There will be no timeouts granted during the overtime period.

    • Note II: All converts in overtime are taken from the 12 yards line (there are no one point convert attempts). Overtime is sudden death.

 

1.7 FAIR PLAY:

  • Flag football is a developmental and recreational sport and therefore all players must be given fair playing time.

  • If complaints are registered by coaches, parents, or players about fair play, Football Manitoba will then investigate, evaluation and possibly discipline the coach in question.

 

1.8 SPORTSMANSHIP/ROUGHING/INTERFERENCE:

  • If the official witnesses any acts of flagrant contact (i.e., intentional/deliberate tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking, or other physical contact), the team committing the foul will be penalized 15-yards, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. Foul play will not be tolerated.

  • Trash talking and taunting is illegal. If trash talking or taunting occurs the team committing the foul will be penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. Officials have the right to determine offensive language.

  • Discriminatory statements or offensive language such as comments of race, sex and upbringing by players, coaches or spectators will result in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and an immediate ejection.

  • Deliberate questioning of officials calls will be penalized upon the official’s discretion.

  • Any physical or verbal abuse against an official by a player, coach or spectator will result in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and an immediate ejection.

  • In the case that parents or players are asked to leave the field of play the coaches are responsible to help officials enforce the decision of the parents or players are unwilling to leave. If the parents or players do not leave the field of play when requested the team they are sided with will forfeit the game.

  • Once a flag is pulled the defensive player should drop the flag at their feet so the official can spot the location of the flag pull.

 

CHAPTER 2: FIELD AND EQUIPMENT

2.1 PREGAME:

  • Every flag football game begins with a coin toss. This determines who has first possession at their own 5-yard line.

  • Loser of the coin toss has choice of end zone to defend and the loser of the toss also gets possession of the ball at the beginning of the second half starting at their own 5-yard line.

 

2.2 POSSESSION:

  • There are no kickoffs or punts.

  • The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 5-yard line at the beginning of each series and has three plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield it has three plays to score a touchdown.

  • If the offensive team fails to cross midfield or score a touchdown (once passed midfield) it will produce a turnover on downs resulting in a change of possession.

  • An automatic first down penalty will overrule the other requirements regarding three plays to make either a first down or to score.

  • All possession changes except interceptions start from the offense’s 5-yard line.

  • If an offensive penalty occurs pass midfield which causes the ball to be placed behind the midfield marker the offensive team must still score a touchdown within three plays.

  • Teams must change sides at halftime.

  • One pass must be made for every three plays of possession.

    • If a quarterback is sacked behind the line of scrimmage this is considered a run.

 

2.3 PASSING:

  • The quarterback has seven seconds to throw the ball. If a pass is not thrown within the seven seconds the play will be blown dead, a loss of down will occur and the ball will be spotted at the previous line of scrimmage.

  • Once the ball is handed off or tossed or there is a play-action fake or toss the seven second rule is no longer in effect.

  • The quarterback must play-action towards a teammate in order to negate the seven seconds.

  • Any player can receive a toss or handoff and be allowed to throw the ball downfield behind the line of scrimmage.

  • Forward passes must cross the line of scrimmage. If a forward pass does not cross the line of scrimmage the offense will be penalized with an illegal forward pass.

  • Shovel passes are allowed but must be beyond the line of scrimmage.

  • If the quarterback steps over the line of scrimmage while throwing the ball the play will be blown dead (a player cannot advance the ball once he/she has passed the line of scrimmage).

  • The quarterback must have his entire body behind the line of scrimmage in order to throw the ball.

 

2.4 RUNNING:

  • At the start of each play the ball must be snapped between the legs of the snapper.

  • The center is the player who gives the ball to the quarterback via the snap. The center cannot take a direct hand-off back from the quarterback (no center sneak play).

  • The quarterback is the player who first receives the ball directly from the snap.

  • The quarterback cannot run the ball past the line of scrimmage.

  • An offense may use multiple hand-offs behind the line of scrimmage. Only backward and lateral hand-offs are allowed during a down.

  • Tosses or sweeps behind the line of scrimmage are allowed as are running plays.

  • Downfield tosses (once the ball passes the line of scrimmage) are not permitted. Once a player has possession of the ball beyond the line of scrimmage any loss of possession (i.e., fumble) will be blown dead by the official.

  • “No running zones” are located five yards from each end zone. When the ball is on or inside the 5-yard line going towards the opponent’s end zone the offense cannot use a running play to cross the line of scrimmage. A play-action fake or lateral/backwards toss is considered a hand-off within the 5-yard no run zone. If a run or play-action fake or lateral/backwards toss occurs within the 5-yard no run zone the play will be blown dead, a loss of down will occur and the ball spotted at the original line of scrimmage.

  • Spinning is allowed however offensive players cannot leave their feet to avoid a defensive player. If a player leaves their feet the play will be blown dead by the official and the ball will be placed from the spot the player left his/her feet or will result in a turnover on downs (if on third down).

  • The ball is spotted where the ball carriers feet are when the flag is pulled, not at the spot of the ball.

  • It is up to the ball carrier to avoid contact with the defender. Good defensive position will be rewarded to the defense by the officials.

  • If the ball carrier crosses the line of scrimmage and laterals the ball or throws the ball forward the play is blown dead and the ball is spotted at the point of the lateral or forward pass.

  • There are no fumbles in flag football. Any fumble will be considered a dead ball and will end the play at the spot of the fumble.

  • Any fumble by the offensive team in their own end-zone will result in a safety.

 

2.5 RECEIVING:

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

  • Only one foot must be in bounds for a caught ball to be ruled a catch.

  • Players may catch the ball while on their knees, back or side, however the play will be blown dead and the ball spotted where the catch was made.

  • Players are ineligible to catch a pass if their flag has fallen off.

  • If a player dives to catch a ball the play is dead where the catch is made (i.e. where the players feet/body are at the time of the catch).

  • If both an offensive and defensive player catch the ball simultaneously the tie will always go to the offense.

 

2.6 DEAD BALLS:

A play is ruled dead when:

  • The official blows the whistle

  • The ball carrier’s flag is pulled or becomes illegal. 
    Note: Illegal meaning the flag is in a position unable for the defense to pull or falls off.

  • Ball carrier steps out of bounds, jumps or leaves feet.

  • Touchdown or safety is scored.

  • When any part of the ball carrier’s body other than a hand of a foot touches the ground.

  • When the ball is fumbled.
    Note: There are no fumbles. The ball will be spotted where the ball carrier’s feet were when the fumble was made. If a fumble occurs it will result in a loss of down or a turnover on downs. If a fumble occurs in the end zone it will result in a safety.

  • If the ball carrier’s flag falls off the play will be whistled dead and the ball will be spotted at the spot where the flag fell off.

 

2.7 DEFENSIVE RUSHING:

  • Only players starting from a minimum of seven yards behind the line of scrimmage can rush the passer.

  • A bean bag designates the seven yards from the line of scrimmage.

  • Any number of players may rush the quarterback.

  • A rusher lined up within two yards (1 yard on either side of the bag) of the seven-yard marker is entitled to a free rush at the quarterback – the rusher may not be interfered. If the rusher is interfered with it will result in an offensive rusher interference penalty.

  • A rusher cannot be directly over the top of the bag. He/she must designate the side that they wish to rush from. Once they have chosen the side they are not allowed to switch.

  • Note: Rushers cannot switch sides last minute before the snap. The center is expected to get out of the rusher’s way, therefore the rusher must choose either side of the bag prior to the snap.

  • Only one rusher is entitled to a free rush at the quarterback.

  • Only one rusher is allowed to be within two yards of the bean bag.

  • A rusher lined up outside the two yards (side to side) of the 7-yard marker is not entitled to a free rush at the quarterback and may be interfered. For example, a running back or receiver in motion or in a pattern who runs into the rusher.

  • All defensive penalties are eligible to rush once the ball has been handed off or tosses or there is a play-action fake or toss.

  • A rusher may not hit the quarterback’s arm or any other part of their body while the quarterback is throwing.

  • Rushers must be under control. Players may not leave their feet or dive for the quarterback’s flags.

  • A rusher must have their entire body behind the bean bag before the snap.

 

2.8 INTERCEPTIONS:

  • The defense can return interceptions.

  • Interceptions change the possession of the ball.

  • If an interception occurs in the end zone and the ball carrier leaves the end zone, the ball will belong to the intercepting team at the spot the ball becomes dead.

  • If the ball carrier intercepts the ball in the end zone, subsequently leaves the end zone, then returns to the end zone and is de-flagged or the ball is ruled dead the result will be a safety for the other team.

  • An interception return to an opponent’s end zone on any extra-point play by the defense will result in the defense scoring 2 points plus gaining possession for the next series at its own five-yard line.

 

2.9 DIVING/JUMPING SITUATIONS:

  • Rusher:

    • The rusher can jump to block a pass as long as the jump is straight up and down.

  • Receiver:

    • A receiver can jump to catch the ball and land and continue to run.

    • A receiver can lay out for the ball only if that player is not going into a crowd. A dive into a crowd of people could result in a roughing penalty.

  • Ball Carrier:

    • The ball carrier may not jump or dive but may spin.

    • The ball is spotted where the players hips are not the ball.

  • Tackling:

    • A tackler can lay out to make an athletic move to pull the flag.

    • Diving into a player is a roughing penalty.

    • The spirit of the rules for diving and jumping is to promote safety while not penalizing athletic play. Safety comes first.

 

CHAPTER 3: PENALTIES

3.1 PENALTIES:

  • All penalties may be declined – the official should check with the coach or captain after each penalty to determine if they accept or decline the penalty.

  • Officials determine contact that may result from normal run of play.

  • All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage except for flag guarding and defensive diving.

  • Games cannot end on a defensive penalty unless the offense declines the penalty.

  • If the offense and defense are both penalized with two penalties that are of the same distance (i.e., 5-yard and 5-yards) the down will be repeated.

  • If the offense and defense are both penalized, but one side is penalized with a 15-yard penalty, the difference between the penalties will be assessed and the down will be repeated.

 

3.2 DEFENSIVE PENALTIES:

  • The following infractions carry a 5-yard penalty and an automatic first down:

    • Illegal contact – holding, jamming at the line of scrimmage.

    • Roughing – unintentional tackling.

    • Illegal flag pulls – occurs when a defensive player pulls an offensive player’s flag with intention to cause a dead ball or making the receiver ineligible for the catch.

    • Coach crossing designated sideline area.

    • Quarterback release interference – hitting the quarterback’s arm when rushing the passer.

  • The following infractions carry a 5-yard penalty with the down repeated:

    • Disconcerting signals – signals used to distract opponents or simulate offensive signals prior to the snap.

    • Interference with the ball at the snap.

    • Substitution fouls – i.e. Six players on the field, players entering the field during the snap of the ball.

    • Offside – occurs when a player is passed the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball.

    • Illegal rush – occurs when a rusher is passed the minimum 7-yard rushing bag prior to the ball being snapped when attempting to rush the quarterback.

    • Note: The rusher must pass the line of scrimmage to be constituted an illegal rush.

  • The following infractions carry a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down:

    • Pass interference – illegally preventing a receiver from catching the ball.

    • Note: Along with the standard rules for pass interference, if a defensive player pulls the flag on an offensive receiver just as the receiver is about to make a catch the defensive player will be penalized for pass interference.

    • Unsportsmanlike conduct – intentional physical conduct or verbal abuse. Note: The player will also be ejected.

 

3.3 OFFENSIVE PENALTIES:

  • The following infraction is a spotted foul which also incurs a 5-yard penalty and loss of down:

    • Flag guarding – using hands, arms or elbows to intentionally block the defender from pulling the flag.

    • Note: Stiff arming a defender is a form of flag guarding and may also result in a roughing penalty.

  • The following infractions carry a 5-yard penalty and loss of down:

    • No cadence by quarterback.

    • Illegal forward pass – pass received behind the line of scrimmage.

    • Offensive pass interference – receiver pushes off.

    • Note: If an offensive player pulls the flag of a defensive player just as the defender is about to make an interception the offensive player will be penalized for pass interference.

    • Roughing – it is up to the ball carrier to avoid contact with a defender. Good defensive position will be rewarded to the defense by the officials.

    • Blocking or illegal pick play.

    • Note: Offenses may not run plays where players are placed into stalemated position to act as stand-still blockers downfield. If a pick play or wall is intentionally run it will result in a 5-yard penalty and loss of down.

    • Coach crossing designated sideline area.

    • Rusher interference – it is illegal for a receiver, running back or center to run a pattern that interferes with a rusher who is at a minimum of 7 yards from the line of scrimmage and who is 2 yards (side to side) of the 7-yard rushing marker.

  • The following infractions carry a 5-yard penalty and down repeated:

    • Substitution fouls – i.e., six players on the field, player enters field during the snap of the ball.

    • Delay of game – inability to snap the ball before the 30-second play clock expires.

    • False start.

    • Illegal Snap – the snap must occur between the legs of the center to the quarterback.

    • Player out of bounds – if a player goes out of bounds without interference the player may not return to the field or catch the ball.

    • Illegal contact – holding, jamming, etc.

  • The following infractions carry a 15-yard penalty and loss of downs:

    • Unsportsmanlike conduct and player ejection.

 

CHAPTER 4: GAME DUTIES

4.1 PREGAME DUTIES:

  • Set up field, check placement of cones and field markings.

  • Establish team sides of the field.

  • Check player equipment – rubber cleats, mouth guards, flags at side.

  • Coin toss.

 

4.2 OFFENSIVE OFFICIAL DUTIES (HEAD REF):

  • Check for proper placement of flag at sides after each down.

  • Establish the line of scrimmage.

  • Watch for offensive off sides.

  • Count 7 seconds for the quarterback to throw.

  • Stay on boundary to watch out of bounds on your side.

  • Watch quarterback to ensure:

    • The quarterback does not cross the line of scrimmage.

    • Fake handoff (negate seven seconds).

    • Blow play dead if within the five yard no rushing zone.

    • Blow play dead if forward pass caught behind the line of scrimmage.

    • Flag pulls.

    • Penalties.

  • Keep track of downs.

  • Retrieve bean bags after yards gained.

  • Make sure everyone is having fun!

 

4.3 DEFENSIVE OFFICIAL DUTIES (BACK JUDGE):

  • Check for proper placement of flag at sides after each down.

  • Line up behind but in view of the 7-yard rushing marker.

  • Watch for early rush.

  • Watch for illegal rush.

  • Check for hand-off or fake.

  • Cover out of bounds opposite the side of official #1.

  • Watch for interference and flag guarding.

  • Establish where feet are when the flag is pulled.

  • Inside five yard no rush zone check for the pass not a run.

  • Rule on completion.

  • Retrieve bean bags after yards gained.

  • Make sure everyone is having fun!

 

4.4 OFFICIALS POSITIONING:

  • The Head Ref is positioned on the line of scrimmage NOT in the backfield. Line up on the side of the line of scrimmage in which there is no game directly behind you so that you aren’t blindsided by someone from another game!

  • Remember that QB sacks will be much easier to call since the flag must be pulled. The Head Ref first looks for off-sides, rusher interference or jamming at the line. Then the head ref should watch the backfield for handoffs or fakes and plays at the line of scrimmage.

  • The Head refs must also count the 7 seconds loud enough for the quarterback to hear the play clock. If the defensive team sends a rusher that crosses the line of scrimmage the head ref may discontinue the play clock as the quarterback now has as much time has he/she wants assuming they can avoid the rush.

  • The head ref must also watch for illegal blocking, flag guarding or players leaving their feet in an unsafe manner. Remember however spinning is legal as long as the player does not jump and spin.

  • The Back Judge is positioned near the sideline opposite the head referee behind the rusher’s bag. The back judge first looks for rusher offside and then for pass interference, illegal blocking or flag guarding. Remember however spinning is legal as long as the player does not jump and spin.

  • Remember to avoid inadvertent whistles. A tag no longer ends a play but rather the pulling of the flag. The ball is also spotted at the player’s feet rather than the position of the ball when the player has been flagged.

 

CHAPTER 5: GAME TIPS

5.1 FIELD DIMENSIONS:

  • Field is 25 yards by 70 yards (so slightly narrower than fields are currently marked). The referees will cone off a sideline.

  • Establish team sides of the field.

  • Check player equipment – rubber cleats, mouth guards, flags at side.

  • Coin toss.

 

5.2 NO KICKING OR PUNTING:

  • Teams start at their own seven-yard line and have three downs to get to center and if that is accomplished another three downs to score a touchdown.

  • A turnover on downs results in the defensive team scrimmaging on their own seven-yard line (they do not take over at line of scrimmage). Thus there is no reason to punt.

  • The only time the ball is not scrimmaged on the seven-yard line is if there is an interception.

 

5.3 FLAGGING:

  • A flag must be dislodged for a player to be “tagged”.

  • A player may spin to avoid a tag however the player cannot jump and spin.

  • If a player’s flag is dislodged prior to a catch a penalty for pass interference is called.

  • If a player’s flag comes loose due to that player not securing it properly, then that player need only be tagged to end a play.

  • A player cannot swat away the attempt of a defensive player from pulling the flag (this is a penalty).

 

5.4 RUSHING:

  • The rushing bag is at seven yards NOT five yards.

  • A quarterback has only seven seconds to throw the ball (therefore cannot run around in the backfield for a long period of time).

  • A quarterback is also not allowed to run past the line of scrimmage.

  • Teams may therefore choose not to send a rusher as the quarterback cannot run and has only the seven seconds to throw the ball.

 

5.5 QUARTERBACKING:

  • If the quarterback runs over the line of scrimmage the play is blown dead.

  • The quarterback only has seven seconds to throw. The referee will count the seven seconds out loud.

  • Because the quarterback cannot run they can throw the ball away (no grounding penalties).

  • Running is allowed but only after the quarterback laterals the ball to someone in the backfield. Once lateraled the seven second rule no longer applies and the person in the backfield may run or throw the ball.

  • The seven-second rule can also be negated by faking a lateral pass. The only condition is there must be a person in the backfield to potentially accept a pass and that person must be within five-yards of the quarterback at the time of the fake.

  • A snap that hits the ground or goes over the quarterback’s head will be considered an incomplete pass, the play is blown dead and no loss of yards. If the quarterback drops the ball it is dead at the point it was dropped.

 

5.6 OTHER RULES:

  • At the two-minute warning there are five-plays remaining. It is not running time.

  • 2 x 25 minute halves.

  • If a player hits the ground while in possession of the ball the play is blown dead (like college football).

  • No laterals allowed, except those that take place behind the line of scrimmage.

  • A defensive player that is stationary cannot be run into by a receiver when attempting to make a flag.

  • A defensive player that is not stationary cannot grab, hold or otherwise impede a receiver's progress.

  • If possible, please do not wear shorts with pockets as they can cause a danger when flagging.

 

THE STUFF THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID:

  • Any additions to rosters after the registration deadline are subject to approval by the PIT Football League Management.

  • Any other interpretations not covered by the PIT Football rule book, the TFONT rule book, the Football Manitoba rule book, or the indoor modified flag football rules noted on this post are subject to the Head referees judgment and/or the league administration.

  • Have a great season and enjoy the best game day football experience in Manitoba!

     


     

FOR THE PLAYERS ...           ... BY THE PLAYERS

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