NFFL Rules

Needham Flag Football Rules

Please see rules below with updates in BOLD

For grades 2-3 and 4-5, teams must have at least 5 players to play at game time or game is forfeited.

For grades 6-8,  teams must have at least 4 players to play at game time or game is forfeited.

Divisions are shown below and may be adjusted depending on the number of players in each division.

1) K-1st Grade

2) 2nd and 3rd Grades

3) 4th and 5th Grades

4) 6th-8th Grades


1) All teams will play 8 weeks even if eliminated from the playoffs.

2) The playoff format is a consolation format meaning that if a team loses one of the games they are put it a separate bracket for the Presidents Cup. If they lose in the Presidents Cup bracket, they are out of the playoffs but will continue to play week 8. The Championship game will be for those 2 teams who are undefeated in the playoffs and will be played the same night as the Presidents Cup game on 11/4.

The clock will stop for a 2 minute warning at the 2nd half only. After the 2 minute warning the clock will stop for incomplete passes, plays that are out of bounds, change of possession, fumbles, and penalties. Each coach gets 3 timeouts per game.

If the score is tied at the end of regulation, teams move into overtime. Overtime is a one point or two point conversion competition for the first two possessions. Both teams will choose the amount of the conversion prior to their turn and take turns attempting one or two point conversions for the first two attempts unless a winner is determined. On the 3rd overtime, the winner will be determined by yardage gained with ball spotted on the 2 point conversion unless they score. If team A scores in the third overtime, team B must also score. If team A does not score, the yardage is marked and team B must either obtain more yards then team A or score. If there is a tie on yardage the process is repeated until there is a winner. The winner of the opening toss will chose whether to go on offense or defense first. The loser of the toss can choose the end of the field on which play will occur during the entire overtime period. During overtime, an interception may be returned for a score but it will not count towards yardage gained in the 3rd+ Overtime. All applicable regulation period rules and penalties are in effect. There are no timeouts in OT.



General Rules:

6 on 6 no contact flag football played on a 53 x 20 yard field

K-1 and 6-8 play 5 on 5

Forward progress is stopped where the player’s front foot is (not the ball)

Away Team calls the coin toss to determine:

o   First possession

o   Goal to defend

o   Or defer to 2nd

All possession changes, except interceptions, start at the offense’s 5-yard line.

The offensive team takes possession at their 5-yard line. The offensive team then has (3) downs to either advance the football to mid-field or score a touchdown. If the offense reaches mid-field it receives 3 more downs to score. If the offense fails to reach mid-field or score, the football changes possession to the opposite team and it starts its own drive from their own 5-yard line.

Coaches Location During Game

K-1 Coaches can be in the huddle prior to the snap of the ball and then can be close to kids at snap

2-5 Coaches can be in the huddle prior to the snap of the ball and then should be heading toward the sideline or off the field at the snap.

6-8 Coaches can be in the huddle prior to the snap of the ball and then coaches should be off the field completely at the snap of the ball.

Game Penalties

NFFL is a non contact league where good sportsmanship is enforced. Any tackling, pushing, blocking, foul language, trash talking, or any other form of unsportsmanlike conduct may result in that players ejection and an automatic turnover.  Any ejection will be reported to the League for further discipline.

Unsportsmanlike comments made by a coach or assistant coach will result in a 15 yard penalty and possible ejection.

Only coaches/assistant coaches can speak with game officials.


Off sides/Illegal Motion 5 yards

Illegal Forward Pass Loss of Down

Flag Guarding- play is dead and ball is placed where foul occurred.

Illegal Screen-play is dead and ball is placed where foul occurred.

Delay of Game- loss of down

• Defensive:

Pass Interference- Ball at spot of penalty. Automatic First Down

Holding 5 yards from spot of penalty and first down

Illegal Contact 10 yards from spot and first down.

llegal Flag Pull 10 yards from spot and first down.

Off sides/Illegal Rush 5 yards

Roughing QB 15 yards from spot. Automatic first down. Player warning or ejection

Game Clock

  • Each game is 40 minutes in length with two 20-minute halves.
  • There will be a 2-minute intermission.
  • After halftime, the team who started on defense will start on offense.
  • There will be a change of possession and direction at halftime.
  • The game clock will not stop at any time during play except for a team timeout or at the referee’s discretion or a delay of game penalty.
  • Each team will receive three (3) 30 second timeouts per game.
  • Once the referee has spotted the football for play, the offensive team has 30 seconds to snap the football. The referee will announce when 10 seconds remain before calling a delay of game penalty. Please note: The K-1 division will be allowed 45 seconds).
  • The offensive team may not snap the football until the referee has set the football for play.


  • Touchdown = 6 points
  • Extra Points:

o   1 point = 5-yard line (Can Not Run)

o   2 points = 12-yard line

o   2 points = defense returns interception on extra point try for touchdown

  • Safety = 2 points


  • The Quarterback (QB) (player who receives direct snap) cannot run except:

o   When the football is handed off, lateraled, etc. to the QB by an offensive player other than on the direct snap.

  • All handoffs must be behind the line of scrimmage and behind the offensive player handing off.
  • Offensive teams may pitch, lateral, throw back; BEHIND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE ONLY; however, once the ball hits the ground the play is dead.
  • “No Run Zones” are located 5-yards from the mid-field line and end zones. Once the ball has been spotted in these areas, no running plays are allowed. (Please note: does not apply to K-1 division)
  • The football is spotted where the ball carrier’s front foot is when their flag is pulled off the belt.
  • Spinning away from a defensive player is allowed. This action must be deemed to be “under control” by the referee and the player’s arms may not swing wildly away from his/her body.
  • Offensive players may not guard their flags in any way by shielding, holding, moving, etc.
  • Offensive players may not block in any way. The only acceptable scenario is a, “non-moving screen.” A “non-moving screen” must meet the following criteria to be legal:

o   The player(s) feet must be stationary

o   The player(s) hands must be at their side or touching their own body.

o   The player(s) may not move until the ball-carrier has past them by 2 yards.

  • A “non-moving screen” may only be implemented to screen for an offensive ball carrier.


  • All offensive players are eligible to receive passes.
  • Players must have at least one-foot inbounds when making a catch.
  • Players who run out of bounds are not eligible to make a reception.
  • An offensive player can be in motion when the football is snapped provided they do not cross the line of scrimmage.
  • QB’s must pass the football within 7 seconds after the snap. If the football is not thrown within 7 seconds, the play is ruled dead. There is no penalty.
  • If the football is handed off, lateraled, etc. the 7-second rule is no longer in effect.
  • Intentional grounding is not a penalty.
  • Interceptions may be returned by the defense. Interceptions downed in the end zone will result in the football being placed at the 5-yard line.
  • The intercepting team may not implement a “non-moving screen” during an interception return.
  • The first 4 Weeks of the K-1 Program will have coaches as QB

Rushing the Quarterback:

  • Any defensive player(s) that rush the QB must start 7 yards off the line of scrimmage when the football is snapped. Any number of players may rush the QB or none at all. Players not rushing the QB may defend at the line of scrimmage. Please note: FOR K-1 Only All defensive players must stay 7 yards off the line of scrimmage until the football is snapped and the defense can not cross the line of scrimmage until the football is handed off or lateraled by the QB.
  • Once the football has been handed off to an offensive player, by the QB, the 7-yard rush rule is no longer in effect.
  • Defensive players defending the line of scrimmage may not follow offensive players behind the line of scrimmage. Defensive players who are not 7 yards off the line of scrimmage may only cross the line once the ball has been handed off or lateraled by the QB.
  • The referee will designate the 7-yard mark before the ball is set each play.
  • There is no tackling, blocking, pushing or contact of any kind allowed.
  • Defenders are not allowed to “bump” receivers at any time.
  • Defensive players may not charge thru an offensive player in a “non-moving screen,” they must go around.
  • Defensive players may not attempt to strip the ball from the ball carrier.
  • Defensive players may not dive from behind to pull the flag. Doing so will results in a touchdown for the offense.

Dead Balls:

  • The football must be snapped between the legs, not off to the side, to start play.
  • Substitutions may only be made during dead ball situations.
  • Dead ball situations include:

o   Ball carrier’s flag is pulled

o   Ball carrier steps out of bounds

o   Touchdown is scored

o   Ball carrier falls on the ground of their knee or the ball touches the ground.

o   Incomplete pass

o   A timeout is called

o   7-second QB pass rule violation

o   Any player who starts the play without a flag belt and touches the football

o   Any time the ball is fumbled the play is dead where the football hits the ground


  • All players must wear their official NFL Flag Jersey, official flag belt, shorts or pants and a protective mouthpiece must be worn on every play! No exceptions!
  • Players may wear wristbands and gloves.
  • Players may not wear helmets, any type of padding or metal cleats.
  • All players shirts must be tucked in at all times and their flag belt worn properly with no obstructions to the flags.

The purpose of the league is to have fun and promote sportsmanship. Any unsportsmanlike behavior will not be tolerated.