OSSO Flag Football Tournament Rules

Game Play

  1. The game is played with 8 vs 8 teams. If a team has less than 8, the other team may still play with 8.
  2. The field is to be a minimum of 60 yards by 35 yards with 7-yard end zones. Markers at 3 yard line & 10 yard line for extra point conversions.
  3. There will be 4 quarters of 8 minutes with a 2 minute break & an intermission of 4 minutes.
  4. The game-clock shall be running time except:
    1. Time-outs
    2. Official Timeout which may include equipment check, injury and/or anything else deemed hazardous by the Referee.
  5. Each team will be allowed 3 timeouts per half. Each time out will last 30 seconds.
  6. Substitutions are unlimited during the game.
  7. To start the game of pool play, rock/paper/scissors (best of 3) or beer chug/shotgun will be played the winner must choose one of the following privileges:
    1. Offense
    2. Defense
    3. Defer decision to the second half.
  8. To start a game in the single elimination tournament, higher seed will have the choice of offense, defense or defer.
  9. The teams will not switch end zones each quarter, only at half-time.
  10. Play will begin from the offensive team’s 10-yard line at the beginning of the game and at half time. Subsequent drives following a touchdown will begin from the 10-yard line.
  11. If a team is down by more than one maximum scoring play with less than 90 seconds to go, no time outs and does not have possession of the ball, the game is officially over.
  12. Top 8 Teams make the Tournament.
  13. Playoff seeding will be determined by:
    1. record
    2. points scored differential
    3. points allowed
    4. coin-flip.
  14. Fair play and sportsmanship must be the attitude of everyone involved.
  15. Co-Ed Flag football is intended to be a finesse sport. While a certain amount of contact is to be expected, dangerous and/or excessive contact and collisions must be avoided. Referees are to pay special attention and penalize and warn the player(s) responsible. The second warning to a player will result in ejection.
  16. Captains are the only members of each team that shall address the refs. Judgement calls will be missed from time to time, relax, you’ll live…If a rules call is in question, the captain may request a referee’s timeout for an explanation. All calls by the head ref are final.
  17. No verbal abuse of any kind will be tolerated towards anyone on the field and may result in ejection and possible suspension
  18. Any other tournament specific rules that were not addressed in the rules will be subject to Manager’s “Spirit of the Game” ruling and will be determined with fairness, player safety & fun in mind.


  1. Touchdown = 6 points
  2. Extra points:
    1. 3 yards out = 1 point
    2. 10 yards out = 2 points
  3. Safety = 2 points
  4. Forfeits = 21-0 win for the official standings

In the case of an inadvertent whistle the play will be replayed from the original line of scrimmage unless the whistle came after a reception or a turnover. If the reception occurred prior to an inadvertent whistle then the reception will stand and the ball will be placed where the ball carrier was when the inadvertent whistle occurred. If a turnover occurred prior to an inadvertent whistle then the turnover will stand and the ball will be placed where the ball carrier was when the inadvertent whistle occurred. If the play is in the Head Ref’s opinion a clear breakaway when the whistle blows, the TD will count.

Players and Equipment

  1. OSSO Sports & Social will provide each player with a flag belt to use during each game.
  2. The flag belt must be clipped in such a manner that it will come off with one pull. It is illegal to create loops and knots with the belt to make it more difficult to pull off. Any player in violation will be warned, penalized 5 yards and loss of down, and will be ejected from the game on a 2nd offense.
  3. OSSO Target Jerseys are required. All shirts must be tucked in so that the entire flag belt is visible. Referees should inform players to tuck in shirts if they notice it before a play. If the ball carrier’s shirt is un-tucked, the ball is dead at the spot of the first legitimate flag-pull attempt made by the defense. This does not apply if a defender pulls the shirt out of the shorts of the ball carrier.
    1. Players must not wear shorts with intentionally deceptive stripes that mimic the shape/color of the flags
  4. The official ball shall be of rubber/leather/synthetic construction and of high school size or larger for co-ed flag football. All teams must make their ball available to opponents if asked to use it.
  5. Regular football equipment such as shoulder pads, kidney pads, and forearm pads are prohibited. Non-metal cleats are ok and highly recommended.
  6. No casts of any kind are permitted.
  7. All players must wear shoes. If wearing cleats, only non-metal cleats are allowed.

**Referees are responsible for checking the equipment of all players before and during the game.**

Rules – Offense

  1. The progress of the ball carrier is stopped when a defending player removes his flag belt.
  2. There must be a minimum of 5 players on the offensive line to start a play. No rules about how many players are inside the box.
  3. Offensively, everyone is eligible for a pass.
  4. Downs: If the offense fails to advance the ball to the next zone in 4 downs, it shall lose possession of the ball and the opposing team will get the ball at their 10 yard line.
  5. To start any offensive play, the ball must be passed between the legs of the center to a teammate. If any portion of the ball touches or crosses the line, the next zone is played.
  6. Offensive players may move around before the snap as they wish. The offense may have 1 player in motion at the time of the snap. One player may be in motion moving parallel or backwards from the line of scrimmage, but may not be moving forward at all or it shall be a 5-yard penalty.
  7. There will be a 10-second time limit between plays ONCE THE BALL HAS BEEN SET. If this time is exceeded, the clock will stop until the next snap of the ball. The head ref will begin an audible countdown at 10 seconds remaining in the play clock. 30 Seconds play clock on change of possession.
  8. No hideouts are permitted. That is, the offense cannot intentionally try to hide a player on the sidelines. Only 8 players may be in the huddle. A 5-yard penalty will be assessed otherwise. Substitutions can be made during a huddle if a player is going and a player is coming out of the huddle.
  9. On a fumbled snap, a handoff that is fumbled or backward pass or lateral, once the ball hits the ground, it is immediately dead and put in play where the ball hits the ground. If the ball lands forward, the ball will be spotted where the ball handler initially loses control.
  10. A fumbled ball is dead, unless caught in the air by a trailing teammate (lateral). The ball is spotted at the spot of the fumble or where the ball hit the ground, whichever is less advantageous to the offensive team. Reminder: for the play to be considered a fumble, the offensive player must first establish possession of the ball before a fumble may be called and the ball be ruled dead.
  11. No intentional move with the hands, elbows, or shoulders shall be made by the ball carrier to prevent the defender from removing his flag (flag guarding). See Penalties Section for Penalty Information.
  12. Any player, whose flags fall off without a defensive player making an attempt to pull them off, will not be considered “down” and play will continue until touched with only 1 hand by the defense. DON’T — USE UNECESSARY ROUGHNESS!
  13. Arms may not be extended while blocking. Use of extended hands is a violation and results in a 5 yard penalty.
  14. There may not be more than one legal forward pass during a down.
  15. The ball is placed in the middle of the field after each play.
  16. The ball cannot be run past the line of scrimmage.
  17. A ball carrier may not intentionally try to run through a defender. If a player is currently in “space”, he or she has the right to that space. Intentional contact made by the offensive player, into a defensive player will result in the ball being down and a 5-yard penalty.
  18. When the ball is snapped, there will be an audible 5 count from the Head Ref. If the ball has not been passed forward by the end of the 5 second count or a defender has crossed the line of scrimmage after 3 seconds, the head ref will blow the whistle and the play will be considered an incomplete pass.

Rules – Defense

  1. Defenders shall not impede the progress of the ball carrier in an attempt to remove the flag by running into the lane of the runner (cutting them off). They may wrap up the player if attempting to remove flags in the eyes of the officials.
  2. It shall be illegal to dive at the ball carrier from the forward plane. Diving from the side and behind is legal but potentially unsafe.
  3. It shall be a 10-yard penalty to tackle, hack, straight-arm, trip, push, hold or rough another player. Defenders may not contact an offensive player with extended arms. Bump and run or Press defense on any offensive player is NOT permitted at any time, however, they may stand in their path to alter their route within 5 yards.
    1. If, in the opinion of the Ref, that the tackle, hack, trip, or push was made on a “clear path” in an attempt to prevent the ball carrier from scoring, the ref may award the touchdown and penalize the offending team by having them start the offensive drive from their goal line instead of the 10 yard line.
  4. Defensive players can line up at least 1 yard from the spot of the ball. This zone shall be referred to as the neutral zone and an infraction shall be offsides.
  5. Defensive players may not return an extra point conversion.
  6. Defenders may not cross the line of scrimmage unless there is a handoff/option/lateral or a pass completed behind the line of scrimmage or once the ref has hit “3” on his countdown of time for the quarterback. Once a defender has crossed the line of scrimmage, any male ball-carrier may run past the line of scrimmage.


    1. The following penalties are 5 yards unless stated:
      1. Offensive false start or offsides – offensive players moving forward before the snap of the ball or offensive players are lined up in front of the line of scrimmage
        1. play is blown dead, and penalty assessed
      2. Defensive offsides – player lined up in neutral zone or crosses the line of scrimmage before the snap
        1. play is blown dead and penalty marked off
      3. Offensive Illegal shift – 2 players moving at the same time in motion
        1. play blown dead and penalty assessed
      4. The following penalties are 10 yards unless stated:
        1. Defensive Holding – grasp or arm bar preventing an offensive player from moving where intended
        2. Offensive Pass Interference
          1. Includes Loss of Down.
        3. Flag Guarding – from the spot of penalty, 10 yard penalty, loss of down
        4. Illegal forward pass – 10 yard penalty, loss of down
          1. Player’s entire body must pass the line of scrimmage for pass to be illegal
        5. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Play results in 10-yard penalty, loss of down, and possible ejection.
        6. Unnecessary Roughness: Play results in 10-yard penalty and either loss of down or automatic first down depending on who committed the penalty. It may also be combined with Unsportsmanlike Conduct if the official deems the play to be malicious. The player will automatically be ejected if this is the case.
        7. Timeout declaration when the team no longer has any timeouts to call.
      5. Defensive Pass Interference: Play results in 10-yard penalty or spot of interference (whichever is greater) and automatic first down


    1. There is no punting allowed. All non-turnover possessions start at a team’s 10 yard line.