MN Flag Football uses Minnesota High School Rules with the following modifications intended to make the rules work for flag football and our enjoyment.

Personal Conduct

  • Arguing with officials or league directors may result in one of three things:

    • Personal foul penalty

    • Requirement to sit for a series of plays

    • Ejection from the game (or league)

  • Its no fun to listen to people complain. Arguing will be defined as anything beyond a 'reaction'. We understand you will react and no official is perfect, but beyond the initial reaction if you continue to argue you WILL be penalized. We all just need to live with calls that don't go our way and overcome them. (and often we're wrong as players anyway).

  • Profanity: Use of a lot of profanity may result in penalty, even if not directed at official or other team.

  • Fighting: Any punches thrown will result in ejection and potential ban from the league. Shoving and pushing or other rough physical conduct determined by an official or league director to be malicious will be cause for ejection and potential suspension. If this occurs at or near the end of a game, you may be suspended for the following week.

'Tackling' & Running

  • Ball carrier is down at the point where a flag is removed or falls off.

  • If flag falls off out of no action by defense, play continues but defense only needs to reach near ball carriers belt to down the ball carrier.

  • Players may not jump over another player in any instance whether with the ball or not.

  • No Flag Guarding (10 yard penalty from the spot of the foul)

    • This is one of our most important rules to keep the game fun. Its a natural tendency, but work to prevent it.

    • No swatting of the defensive persons hands, stiff arming from the ball carrier, or using elbows or ball to physically prevent a defender from grabbing the flag.

    • This will be penalized even if the defender gets your flag.

  • No Holding.
    Players may not grab hold of a ball carrier to impede progress; they must only pull the flag. (Note: Slight grabbing of the shirt or body may occur when going for the flag and may not be a penalty, if it is sustained it will be. This is an Officials judgment and the judgment will stand, be in control of your hands.)

  • No 'Charging'
    Like in basketball, Ball carriers must avoid contact with a defender who holds a position. If a defender is holding a position, the ball carrier must go around the defender. If he has no where else to go, he must stop or go out of bounds to avoid running into a player with position.

  • Spin only Once
    Ball carriers may only spin once, then they must take a full step before spinning again. This is to avoid flying elbows and crazies spinning down the field.

  • Break-away penalty
    If an offensive player has a clear path to the end zone and they are tackled by a defensive player (intentionally or un-intentionally), a touchdown will be awarded. NOTE: This has to be clear to the official and is a judgment call.

Blocking & Pass Rush


  • How to Block
    Blocking must be achieved by using outstretched hands, not body. (Never act like you are taking a charge in basketball, always have your arms out to cushion.

  • Blockers do not initiate contact, so your arms should not be used to push and move a rusher. Blockers get position and cushion their block with their hands both at the line or down field. No blocking below the waist.

  • No "Bull-rushing"
    This means the defense must work around offensive blockers, not plow or push over or through them.

  • No Arm Slapping.
    Rushers cannot slap the blockers arms away. A blocker can push the arms of a defender off of him, but not slap or hit. Make sense? Note this is obviously a judgment call by the official.

  • No hands, arms, or legs to the face of an opponent at any time.

  • Hitting Arm or Ball of Passer or Runner
    Defenders cannot hit the ball (or arm) while it is in the hand of an offensive player at anytime - even if you get 'all ball'. You can't hit a passer's hand or arm (including the ball) when they are passing. If the ball has left their hand and you block it.

  • Offsides
    We do not blow the play dead on defensive offsides (different from High School rules), we do with false start on the offense.


Passing Game

  • Offense may throw TWO forward passes behind the line of scrimmage. See next rule.

  • Once the ball crosses the line of scrimmage, even if it is brought back behind the line of scrimmage, a forward pass is illegal.

  • Defensive backs may bump a receiver (not a center) only ONCE within the first 5 yards before the ball is in the air.

  • Defenders cannot bump the center. If the center has already engaged them as a blocker, you still can't 'bump' them like a receiver, but contact would not be considered a penalty.

  • Defenders cannot line up right in front of the center and must allow a center clear path to go out on a route.

  • Pass interferience will result in an automatic first down and a spot foul (may be different than High School rules).


  • Six players on the field at one time. Minimum of 5 players to start a game, 4 to continue a game.

  • Players must play in at least 2 regular season games (in an 7 week regular season), or 1 regular season game in a (5 week regular season) in order to play with your team in the playoffs.

  • Players must play on only one team in the league unless they receive an exception from a league director to play on two teams. Players will never be allowed to play on a team that is two divisions lower than the top team they play on. Email football@mnflagfootball.com or talk to a league director and you will get approval by email.

  • Subs: If a team does not have 6 rostered players they may pick up a sub to get up to 6 players before the game begins. Any further subs above 6, or added during the game must be OK'd by the other team prior to participation.

  • Interceptions on extra points that are returned to the opposite end zone are worth 2 points. It does not matter if the offense was going for 1 or 2.


  • Only league balls may be used during the game

  • All teams must have matching jerseys or shirts.

  • Each player must wear a league provided belt with 3 flags evenly distributed on the sides and one on back.

  • Flags or flag connections must not be covered by jerseys


  • First down is located at mid-field and is the only first down available. Doesn't matter where your series starts, the first down is always mid-field.

  • At the U of M, the yellow walls are considered 'in bounds ground'. All other ceilings, netting or other structures are 'out of bounds' ground.


  • Two 24-minute Halves.

  • The first half is completely running time. The second half is running time until the last 2 minutes of the game, which are stop time. Official may stop time anytime for injuries or obstructions at their decision.

  • 1 timeout each half


  • Each team will have a chance on offense.

  • Teams flip coin, winner of flip decides if they will go first or second

  • Each team has 4 plays from Mid-field to score or make as much forward progress as possible. Punting is not allowed. Extra points are used. Penalties are applied as usual during the 4 plays.

    • If only 1 team scores, the scoring team wins.

    • If neither team scores, the team who advanced the furthest wins.

    • If both teams score, the process repeats from the opposite 8 yard line.

    Interceptions in Overtime

    • If an interception is returned for a score, the defense wins

    • If an interception is returned back behind the line of scrimmage of that play, the forward progress of the offense is marked at the point where the flag of the defender is pulled. Meaning the offense lost yards and the other team simply needs to make sure they don't lose as many yards.

    • If the interception is not returned back to the original line of scrimmage of the play, the forward progress is marked at that play's line of scrimmage. Meaning the offense does not get to gain yards on an interception.