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Why start a flag football league? The answer is three-fold. 


  • The large growth of the game outside of Manitoba. Ontario, Quebec and Alberta for example have flag football leagues that number nearly 100 teams so there is tremendous growth opportunity. A national governing body for flag which has presided over youth flag football has now incorporated adult flag as of 2013. What does this mean for you? A unified set of rules, the opportunity for provincial and inter-provincial tournaments and eventually the crowning of a national champion similar to Tournament of Champions (touch football national championships). A national governing body also increases the exposure of the sport which will help drive interest in the game at all levels and age groups.

  • By offering an alternative to touch football the PIT will broaden its membership. Registration costs for flag football are lower (based on number of games and timing of games) and as a result may better appeal to those who cannot afford higher registration fees. For 5 x 5 flag football teams also do not need the same size roster and thus may more easily be able to field teams. A roster size similar to an indoor roster is all that is required. With the blocking involved in 8 x 8 flag football offensive and defensive lines are required and thus players who may not be suited to the touch football game can have the opportunity to play recreational football.

  • Economy of scale. The simple meaning of economies of scale is doing things more efficiently with increasing size of operation. The PIT is the largest touch football organization in Canada with network of fields, referees, equipment and expertise that is unrivaled. The same dedication and expertise that helped facilitate an explosion of touch football in the province can be applied to flag football. Teams and players can expect the same "game day experience" for flag that you would with the touch game.


5 x 5 Non-Contact Flag Football:


  • 5 x 5 Flag football is played on a modified outdoor football field that is 70 yards long and 30 yards wide

  • The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has three (3) plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield it has three plays to score a touchdown. If the offense fails to score, the ball changes possession and the new offensive team take over on its 5-yard line.

  • To begin a play the ball must be snapped by the offense center from the point of scrimmage to the quarterback. There is no minimal distance required by the quarterback who can be either up close to the center of in shot-gun formation.

  • "No-running zones" are located five (5) yards in front of each end zone. When the ball is on or inside the 5-yard line going towards the opponent's end zone, no running plays will be allowed (ball must be passed into the end zone).

  • An offense may use multiple hand offs behind the line of scrimmage. Only backward and lateral hand offs are allowed. Running plays are allowed and encouraged. Grabbing a flag is much more difficult than touching a player and as such running plays become more integral to the offensive philosophy of flag football.

  • Quarterbacks are not allowed to run the ball across the line of scrimmage unless the ball has been handed, tossed or pitched to another player first and it has subsequently been returned to the quarterback.

  • Once the ball carrier has crossed the line of scrimmage the ball cannot be handed off, tossed, pitched or passed in any other way.

  • There are no kicks or punts in 5 x 5 flag football. Teams will always scrimmage from their five yard line on change of possession or the start of the game/half. The exception is if the defense intercepts the ball. The team who intercepted the ball will take possession and the point in which the defender who intercepted the ball was flagged.


  • Games will be one-hour in length. The game will consist of two twenty minute halves. The last two minutes of each half the clock will stop when:

  • A first down is awarded.

  • A change in possession.

  • A penalty occurs.

  • A ball or runner goes out of bounds.

  • A pass becomes incomplete.

  • A score is made.

  • A charged timeout is granted.

  • With proper time management games may exceed one-hour in duration.


Who will excel in 5 x 5 non-contact flag?


  • Teams who have quick and fast players

  • A quarterback who is comfortable throwing into confined spaces

  • Teams that have a varied offensive attack including use of the running game

  • Defenses who are good at covering both zone and man-to-man


8 x 8 Limited Contact (Blocking) Flag Football:


  • The game of 8 x 8 flag football is played by passing and running the ball with “safe blocking” allowed during game play. The officials who regulate the game have to maximize the safety of the players by minimizing the intensity of contact. Players may engage in “legal” voluntary contact, but must make an effort to keep the contact clean. Players must control the level of aggressiveness and promote the values of respecting the opponent and the rules. The officials have to be fair but firm and non-negotiable on the application of the rules, especially in the case of over aggressiveness and roughing situations.

  • In flag football, there are 8-men on the field for both teams. The game will be played on a regulation sized CFL football field with all the regular rules of touch football with the exception of those noted in the official rulebooks. With blocking and the need to “flag” a ball carrier, running plays are a much more integral part of flag football than touch football.

  • The game is divided into four 15-minute quarters as well as one 5 minute half-time. The play clock is 25 seconds long between downs. The play clock starts once the bags are set and the ref blows the whistle. After 12 minutes of play in the 2nd and 4th quarters (not counting time-outs), the referee informs both teams that three minutes remain (three minute warning). The time clock starts on the referee’s whistle at the beginning of play in each quarter. The time clock runs continuously (“running time”) except during time-outs and the last three minutes of play. In the last three minutes of play, the clock stops if the ball is incomplete, spiked or out of bounds. Otherwise, the time clock can only be stopped and restarted on the head referee’s signal.

  • A team on offense must have three players on the offensive line. The offensive linemen must not be more than one-yard apart prior to the snap of the ball. All offensive linemen are eligible receivers. The only lineman (offensive or defensive) allowed to be in a three point stance is the Centre on offense.

  • The Defensive line must have three players one yard off of the ball, lined up in-front of the offensive linemen.

  • To begin a play the ball must be snapped by the offense center from the point of scrimmage to the quarterback. There is no minimal distance required by the quarterback who can be either up close to the center of in shot-gun formation.

  • For a play to be considered legal, the first defensive player to cross the LOS has to start 5 yards away from the ball (LOS) at the time of the snap, except if the following is executed on offense: The QB enters the 3 yard “blitz zone”, a lateral pass, a hand-off, a forward pass, or a run by the QB that passes the LOS.

  • At the time of the snap, any defensive player in front of the center must be one yard off the LOS. At the snap of the ball, all players may blitz.

  • Defensive backs may jam a receiver within 5 yards, all blocking rules apply.

  • Blocking:

  • Defensive linemen are allowed to be blocked in a legal manner (see 9.1) by the offensive line.

  • Defensive linemen may use the RIP and SWIM moves as long as blocking rules are respected (see 9.1).

  • Defensive backs may JAM receivers one yard off the line of scrimmage, up to 5 yards off the line of scrimmage. Blocking rules must be respected.

  • Blocking is ALLOWED. It is only deemed legal if it is straight on from the chest to the waist line. Any blocking from the side, from the back, above the chest and below the waist will result in major penalties, even automatic suspension from the game. Blocking must be done with HANDS ONLY!!


Who will excel in 8 x 8 limited contact (blocking) flag?


  • Teams who have a combination of quick and fast players and players who are able to block and rush a quarterback

  • A quarterback who is both adept at passing and running

  • Teams that have a varied offensive attack including use of the running game

  • Defenses who are good at covering both zone and man-to-man

  • Players who enjoy a more physical style of play

  • A link to a quick overview of the 8 x 8 flag football game can be found by clicking here: Guide to the Game: 8 x 8 Flag Football

  • A link to the complete rulebook for 8 x 8 flag football can be found by clicking here: Official Rulebook: 8 x 8 Flag Football

  • Note that some of the rule changes found in the quick overview are not found in this rulebook. Any differences in this rulebook will be superseded by the "Guide to the Game".


  • Here is a link to a video of what to expect from the game: (keep in mind in the PIT there are no stiff arms and only the centre can be in a 3-point stance (safety prevails!) 8 x 8 Game Film




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