Rules & Gameplay
Section 1 – Playing Field and Equipment
The field is 80 yards long and 30 yards wide, and consists of a 60-yard playing field and two 10‑yard end zones. Standard college- or pro-size footballs must be used.
Section 2 – Team Rosters
Each team may carry a maximum of 12 players on their roster. Teams may add players to their roster through Week 4. Four (4) players are required on the field at all times. All players must sign an official roster before they are eligible to play. It is the team captain’s responsibility to verify that each player has signed the roster and waiver form before any game is played. Participants may not play on more than one team in a league, OR on one team in a tournament.
1. Uniforms – All teams must wear uniform shirts (same color; same jersey) with UNIQUE numbers permanently affixed to the back of the jersey. Beginning week 2 of the season, teams will be penalized two (2) points per player out of uniform (legal jerseys) at the beginning of each game played. Officials will determine whether shirts meet league requirements and will apply penalties prior to play. Pocketless shorts are recommended (bring extra). At the start of each play, all players must have shirts tucked into pants, or shirts must terminate one inch above the flag football belt line. No headgear or jewelry. Hats may be worn with bills to the back of the head.
2. Shoes – All players should wear shoes with molded rubber or removable cleats. Bare feet, street shoes (non-athletic), and shoes with metal cleats are not allowed.
3. Belts and Flags – All players will use a two-flag belt provided by Top Gun. Belts are to be worn snugly around the waist, with flags at either hip. Towels, playbooks, or any other items tucked into a player’s waistband are considered flags, and constitute a flag pull if pulled during play. Oversize belts are available for individual purchase from Top Gun.
Section 3 – Player Conduct
1. Team members and spectators are bound by these game rules, and shall be governed by the decisions of the assigned game officials.
2. The use of drugs or alcohol is strictly prohibited. First offense will result in a 1-week suspension; second offense will result in player/team being dropped from league.
3. No dogs. No littering of sidelines. Teams must police their area immediately after their game.
4. Zero tolerance for any unsportsmanlike conduct, including trash talk, verbal abuse and rough play. Offending players may be ejected from game and/or league play.
5. All players shall abide by the decisions of the officials. Players are not allowed to show objectionable demonstration of dissent at an official’s decision by throwing equipment of any sort (balls, cones, etc.) or other forceful action.
6. Players must position themselves between the offensive and defensive 10-yard lines. In addition, all players from a team must remain on a common sideline. Substitutes must enter from that sideline. Infractions will be assessed a 5-yard penalty.
7. Players/teams may be suspended and/or ejected from game field any time before, during or after game. Suspended players/teams may be asked to not be at the field during suspension. Players attending games during suspension and being disruptive will subject their team to further penalty at the discretion of the officials.
8. In addition to immediate ejection from the game, any player involved in fighting will be subjected to a minimum suspension of two (2) games and a $50 fine (max of $100/team). Any team “clearing the bench” to fight will be penalized with a loss of that game, a minimum one-week suspension, and a $100 fine.
9. Any player who verbally abuses (yells, cusses, screams, threatens) a Top Gun official or representative following a game will at a minimum be subject to a one (1) game suspension.
10. Players may not at any time lay a hand upon, push, shove, strike or threaten an official or representative with Top Gun Flag Football League. Players involved in such action before, during or after a game shall be permanently banned from participating in any Top Gun Flag Football League event, and can be prosecuted for assault and battery.
11. Players who receive a second personal foul (intentional or not) will be automatically ejected from game, along with the team captain; play will continue. Should a team captain receive two personal fouls in a single game, the team will forfeit the game.
12. Defensive players should be advised that it is illegal to count the six-second clock or cadence out loud. Officials will allow one warning; teams not heeding warnings will be assessed a penalty of 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.
13. Only assigned captains on the field are allowed to confer with officials during the game. Captains only are asked to contact the league directors to discuss disputes. Players who wish to protest calls should remain calm while at the field, and protest to the director(s) through team captain.
14. Captains are responsible for informing their players of these rules, and will be responsible for the conduct of their team and its spectators. Captains and/or teams will be subject to expulsion if unable to control team participants or spectators.
Section 4 – League Rules
1. Game Time – Games will consist of two (2) 20-minute running halves.
- The clock will stop when:
- either team uses one of its time-outs, or
- in the last two minutes of the second half if the score is within 14 points.
- during the last minute of the first half and the last two minutes of the second half on a punt attempt. The clock will start once the opposing team has taken possession of the ball and the markers have been set. (If official clock is in effect, the clock will stop until the snap.)
- If an official clock is in effect, the clock will stop until the snap for:
- incomplete passes;
- receiving catcher goes out of bounds;
- extra point attempts; During regular play, the official will blow the game back into play following an extra point attempt.
- defensive penalties (except offsides);
- quarterback sacks;
- six-second fouls;
- changes of possession.
- The clock will stop only until the ball is set for:
- first downs,
- defensive offsides, and
- ALL offensive penalties in the last 2 minutes of the second half (exceptions: QB sack and 6-second foul).
- Official has the right to stop the clock, or not to do so, if deemed necessary or appropriate.
- In the last minute of the first half, following an extra point conversion attempt, the clock will be started up as soon as the ball is set, NOT at the snap of the ball.
2. Time-Outs – Each team is allowed two (2) time-outs per half. Time out duration is 45 seconds. Should a team be leading by 21 or more points in the second half, that team may not utilize any of its remaining timeouts (Baca Rule).
If the offense elects to punt, then decides not to, a time out will be charged to that team. If the team has no time-outs left, they must punt.
- Touchdown = 6 pts
- yard conversion = 1 pt
- yard conversion = 2 pts
- Safety = 2 pts
- Interceptions returned for touchdowns during conversion attempts will be awarded 2 points.
4. Mercy Rule – Should a team be trailing by 30 or more points with five (5) minutes left in the game, the clock will not stop AND the referees will not allow either team to utilize their remaining time outs.
5. Forfeits – A game will be ruled a forfeit in the event a team does not show for their game, or by a team’s inability to start or finish the game with a minimum of four (4) players (see “Number of Players”). Referees shall keep the official time.
In order to continue league play, forfeiting teams must replenish their $50 forfeit bond with the league within two working days. Teams not complying will be removed from the season schedule. Any remaining fees posted by a team dropped due to forfeiture are non-refundable.
6. Number of Players – Each team is required to have at least four (4) players to start a game. Teams short players at the scheduled start time will be given a five (5) minute grace period to field a minimum team, but will be penalized seven (7) points. Referees shall keep the official time. If team is not successfully fielded at the end of the grace period, game will be an official forfeit.
7. Tied Game – In the case of a tied game, a sudden death overtime tiebreaker will be played at the end of regulation time. Captains will meet with the official for a coin toss to determine possession of ball.
Each team will have a single play going out from their own 10-yard line to score or advance the ball farthest. One point is awarded to the winning team if the win is by yardage.
Whichever team advances farthest, or gains the most points, wins. Teams must always go for “the win” when attempting extra points. For example, if the first team scores and earns an extra point, the second team must attempt 2 extra points should they score.
If an interception occurs during overtime, the offense is awarded yardage gained to the lesser of 1) the last successfully completed pass or 2) the point to where the INT is returned. If the ball is returned beyond the offense’s initial line of possession, the defense automatically wins.
In a tied game, any defensive penalty will result in the application of the penalty plus a re-play of the down. Games cannot end on a defensive penalty.
8. Coin Toss – Officials will call “Coin Toss” at mid-field prior to game with the captains of each team. Winner of the coin toss chooses to be offense or defense. Loser of coin toss decides direction of ball. At half time, teams switch sides, and team starting game on defense begins second half on offense.
9. Possession – Starts at offense’s 10-yard line.
- 4 downs for first down – 30-yard line
- 4 downs for first down – 10-yard line
- 3 downs inside 10 yard line, starting with 2nd and goal.
If defense successfully defends goal inside the 10-yard line, ball is returned to 10-yard line upon change of possession.
Possession is when a player controls the ball while touching one or both feet, or any part of his body other than his hand(s) to the ground inbounds. Inbounds is determined by the lines of the field, regardless of the position of field cones or markers. Ref’s call.
10. Spotting of Ball –The ball’s forward progress is measured at the farthest advancement of the body or ball when player is in possession of the ball.
11. Taking a Knee – will not stop the clock. Play is live until ball carrier is either touched or flagged.
12. Intentional Grounding – is legal.
13. Inadvertent Whistle – In the case of an inadvertent whistle, the offense has the option to either replay the down or to take the play at the point the whistle was blown. Should an inadvertent whistle occur after an interception, the ball will be marked at the spot where the whistle was blown.
14. “All-Passing” League – All players are eligible to catch the ball. The ball must cross the line of scrimmage in air. Receivers must have at least one foot in-bounds for a legal catch.
15. Six Second Rule – Quarterback has six (6) seconds to release the ball; time clock is from snap of ball. The ball must be completely out of the quarterback’s hand before duration of time. If the ball is not thrown within six seconds, it is a sack and team is assessed a five (5) yard penalty. During a muffed snap, the 6-second count continues to run.
In the case of a ball being batted back to the QB by the defense, the QB may run with the ball (acting as a receiver). If the QB catches the ball behind the line of scrimmage, he has the option to either run or throw the ball with no time limit.
If the QB drops the ball after taking possession of the snapped ball, the play is blown dead. If this takes place while the QB is throwing the ball, the play is incomplete and the ball returns to the line of scrimmage. Otherwise, the ball is spotted where dropped.
16. Field Markers – Field markers are used to mark the line of scrimmage and rush line. QB (or another offensive player) is responsible for moving markers forward after each play. Failure to do so will result in a penalty for delay of game.
17. Counting Out Loud – It is illegal to count the six seconds out loud. Officials will allow one warning; teams not heeding warnings will be assessed a penalty of 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.
18. Begging A Call – During or after a play, if a possible infraction occurs and players or coaches from either the field or sidelines begin yelling out or excessively question calls, a penalty of 5 yards can be tacked onto the end of the play.
19. Cussing – Use of foul language on the field or sidelines during a game is prohibited. This carries a 5-yard penalty per incident. (Not to be confused with unsportsmanlike conduct, which carries a 15-yard penalty.) Ref’s discretion.
20. Center Snaps
- Quarterback can receive ball directly from between center’s legs, via long snap (shot gun), or from standing center who tosses ball from his side.
- Wild/muffed snaps are live (for six seconds).
- Center must always be behind ball at time of snap.
- If defensive player recovers a “muffed snap”, the ball is a turnover, but cannot be advanced. Defensive possession must be clear; simply touching the ball is not possession.
21. Double Passes – Double passes are allowed behind the line of scrimmage, and are subject to the six-second rule. Dropped double passes are blown dead and spotted where the ball is dropped. Shovel AND overhand passes are legal. Ball must be completely released within six seconds of the snap. There can be no forward advancement of the ball on a lateral or shovel pass (the key is a lateral pass).
22. Hand-Offs, Laterals and Snaps From Center to motion man are all legal plays (subject to six-second rule from snap of ball).
23. Downfield Laterals – are legal. Receiver, after catching ball, may lateral one time only. Shovel AND overhand passes are legal. Ball must be lateralled behind the progress of the initial receiver. Dropped laterals are spotted where the ball lands or at the spot of the initial receiver, whichever nets the least yardage. A lateral dropped into the end zone results in a safety
24. Flag Guarding – This is intentional covering of the flag. In addition, the ball carrier cannot lower his head or shoulders to charge through the opponent. An offensive ball carrier must attempt to avoid the defender and cannot collide with a defender to take him out of play. In addition, the QB cannot use his body or the ball to impede a rusher’s ability to pull the QB’s flag. Flag guarding carriers a 10-yard penalty. A QB flag guard in the end zone results in a safety.
25. Blocking – Blocking can only be done to protect the quarterback, and must always be done with extended arms (no body blows) and open hands. Absolutely no blocking is allowed below the waist or above the shoulders. Blocker and rusher must always keep their hands off the opposition’s face or head.
No blocking rusher from behind (unless contact is maintained when rusher spins, and then blocker cannot drive defender into ground). Once contact is lost, there is no blocking to the back. No blocking is allowed once the rusher is past the center. No clipping. No holding. It is illegal to cross the line of scrimmage for a block. No rips; no head contact – 5 yard penalty. No down field blocking allowed.
26. Impeding the Rusher – Offense cannot get in the way of or knock down the rusher; offense must avoid the rusher. This carries a 5-yard penalty; ref’s discretion.
Center must do all blocking behind the line of scrimmage.
27. Bumping of Center – Bumping the center while he is down is not allowed, and carries a 10-yard penalty. Bumping the center is allowed only after center crosses the scrimmage line.
28. Bump and Run – One initial bump is allowed by defense directly on the line of scrimmage only, and only after offense has crossed the line. Defense may slide with offense on the line. Offense may defend self on line of scrimmage. No reverse chucks by offense. Bumping must be done with extended arms (no body blows) and open hands, between the waist and shoulders. No contact to face/head. No clipping or holding. NO DOWN FIELD BUMPING ALLOWED. Any contact on the bump and run is to be done solely on the line of scrimmage. Ref’s discretion call.
If offense is bumped or pushed out of bounds by defense, offense may re-enter field and continue play.
29. Pass Interference – No face guarding by defense; defense must look for ball. In the case of a tipped ball, defender must play the ball, NOT the player.
30. Stripping – Absolutely no stripping of the ball allowed. Players must go for the flags. The stripping rule comes into play only when the receiver has brought the ball into their body or when the QB has possession of the ball. 5-yard penalty.
31. Rushing – Defensive rusher(s) must start rush five yards from line of scrimmage, and be completely behind the rush mark. If rusher jumps offside, then goes back behind rush mark, he may still rush. Rusher must go for the QB’s flags or straight up to block the pass. There is absolutely no knocking the ball out of the QB’s hands.
There is no limit to the number of players who may rush. No bull rushing (rusher must pick a side). Rusher must keep shoulders up and make an attempt to avoid offense. Rusher cannot drive blocker backwards. No ripping; no holding. If the ball is lateralled behind the line of scrimmage, the rushing rule is not in effect once the initial pass is completed.
32. Roughing the Passer – This is when the passer is hit BEFORE, DURING or AFTER a pass. Any contact to the ball or body is a penalty – rusher must go for the flag or up to block ball. Penalty will be tacked on to the end of the play. This rule is not in effect when a defender tips the ball, or when the QB’s follow-through results in contact. 10-yard add-on penalty. Discretion call by official.
33. Unsportsmanlike Conduct – Carries a 15-yard penalty. Includes unnecessary roughness, trash talking, and verbal abuse. Official’s discretion.
34. Offside – If offensive player(s) line up offside, it is a dead ball play. If defensive player lines up offside, it is a live ball play.
35. Formations – At the snap, team must have one receiver on the line of scrimmage to each side of the center, plus one offensive player in the back field. Three receivers stacked on one side, or “trips” formation to one side of the center is an illegal formation. You can motion out of this three-receiver set. Center hiking to the weak side receiver is legal. A 4-player team may stack receivers in any formation.
36. Player Down of Own Accord – If receiver catches the ball and falls to the ground on own accord, receiver can get up and run, unless flag is pulled or player is touched while on ground by opposing team. This is a judgment call by referee. Officials are advised to blow play dead if it is even close, especially in heavy traffic (but no stacking on).
37. Illegal Motion – Players, markers and officials must be set for at least one count before the ball is snapped. Only one player can go in motion on any given play. There can be no forward motion until the ball has been snapped.
38. Picks – are illegal. If player intentionally runs into (makes contact with) a defensive player to free up an offensive player, it is considered a pick play and is prohibited. It is not considered a pick without contact. Offense is not allowed to discontinue a route in order to impede the defense.
39. “Last Man Rule” – If there is no one between the ball carrier and the end zone goal line, and the defensive player tackles, pushes, or holds in an effort to stop the offensive player from scoring, the offense will be awarded a touchdown.
40. Interceptions – returned but stopped inside the 10-yard line will be advanced to the 10-yard line (except in overtime). Interceptions in the end zone are considered a live ball and can be returned. (LATERALS ARE LEGAL ON INTERCEPTIONS EFF 5/20/10.)
If an interception is thrown during a PAT, and the ball carrier is held, two points will automatically be awarded. Last Man Rule dues not apply.
41. Fumbles – are dead at the point of fumble, and cannot be advanced. No change of possession.
42. Punting – Punted ball may be returned. Return team may field only two designated punt returners. A lateral is allowed on a returned punt. The punting team cannot run down field until the ball has been kicked. NO BLOCKING ALLOWED ON PUNTS. Ball is ruled dead if dropped by return team or downed by punting team. Punter must take a center snap.
During the last minute of the first half and the last two minutes of the second half, the clock will not run during a punt attempt/return until the opposing team has taken possession of the ball and the markers have been set. (If official clock is in effect, the clock will stop until the snap.)
If the offense elects to punt, then decides not to, a time out will be charged to that team. If the team has no time-outs left, they must punt.
43. Interference on Punt Returns – Defense must allow return man room (min. of 5 yards) to receive the punt. Official’s judgment call. 10-yard penalty.
44. Substitution – Can be done after ball is blown dead. For substitute receiver to be a legal player, he must be at least five yards from sidelines (unless coming out of the huddle) and have entered from his team’s common sideline. With the exception of timeouts, only 5 players are allowed in the huddle. 5-yard penalty and replay of down.
Section 5 – Scheduling
Top Gun reserves the right to change scheduling, and will notify team captains of such. Captains will be the only members of team contacted by Top Gun. Team captains are responsible for notifying their teammates of any schedule changes.
Section 6 – Penalties (Offensive)
All offensive penalties will be immediately blown dead.
NOTE: If player crosses first down marker before infraction, and penalty brings the ball back, it is still a first down.
NOTE: Offensive penalty on extra point attempt nullifies extra point attempt.
NOTE: All offensive penalties behind the line of scrimmage will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.
1. Offside = 5 yards + replay of down (dead ball penalty)
2. Delay of game = 5 yards + replay of down (25 seconds allowed between plays)
3. Illegal pass (quarterback) = 5 yards + loss of down (quarterback crosses line of scrimmage before releasing ball)
4. Illegal pass (receiver) = 5 yards + loss of down (receiver catches ball behind line of scrimmage)
5. Kicking the ball out of bounds on a muffed snap = 15 yards
6. Illegal blocking behind the line of scrimmage = 5 yards + loss of down
7. Illegal downfield blocking = 5 yards from the spot of foul
8. Illegal motion = 5 yards + replay of down
9. Diving/jumping to advance ball or avoid flag pull = loss of down at point of foul (ball returned to place player left his feet)
10. Offensive interference = 5 yards + loss of down
11. Flag guarding = 10 yards + loss of down from spot of foul. This penalty can only be assessed if the flag has not been pulled.
12. Unsportsmanlike conduct* = 15 yards from end of play
Section 7 – Penalties (Defensive)
1. Illegal rush = 5 yards + replay of down, or decline penalty
2. Illegal flag pull/Holding = 5 yards marked from end of run
3. Illegal contact = 10 yards + replay of down
4. Pass interference = automatic first down at spot of foul. No face guarding by defense; defense must look for ball. Any interference committed by defense in end zone, ball will be placed at two-yard line. In the case of a tipped ball, defender must play the ball, NOT the player.
5. Stripping the ball = 5 yards
6. Roughing the passer (any contact to quarterback’s arms) = 10 yards + automatic first down
7. Last man call = automatic TD for offense (last defensive player holds up or pushes out of bounds the ball carrier)
8. Unsportsmanlike conduct* = 15 yards + automatic first down
NOTE: 2 personal fouls by team member = ejection from game.
2 personal fouls by team captain = forfeiture of game.