Rules, Flag Football 7Man

Nashville Sports Leagues 
Please read our "General Rules" first that govern all Nashville Sports Leagues programs -> General Rules, Nashville Sports Leagues

Rules listed here are modified from NIRSA Rules. You can purchase a copy of NIRSA rules here -> Nirsa Rules

Game time is forfeit time. There is no grace period.

MENs 7v7
Games will be played with 7 participants maximum on the field

7v7 teams may begin and end a game with 5 players. Teams may "pick up" during the regular season (NSL members only with accepted roster/waiver on file). You may not pick up more than the number of players needed to be at full strength. 

The team winning the coin toss can:
Choose to receive the first half or the 2nd half. The opposing team will then choose a direction to defend. One team cannot start both halves with possession.

The length of the game is 40 minutes, divided into two halves of 20 minutes. Running time with no clock stoppage is used for the first 19 minutes of each half. During the final minute of each half, traditional clock stoppage is used. The playoffs will have a 2-minute warning.

A 25 second play clock will start once referee blows his/her whistle readying the ball for play.

Each team receives two timeouts per half. Each time out is sixty-seconds. During the first 19 minutes of each half the game clock will start once the time out is over and the ball is readied for play (only during regular season). During regular season only one timeout can be used inside the one-minute warning.

If a team is winning by 35 or more points the opposing team is provided a minimum of one possession to reduce the advantage to less than 35 points. Following the possession, if the winning team still leads by 35 points the game will be ended by mercy rule. At the 1-minute warning, the game will be ended by mercy rule if either team holds an advantage of 19 or more points.

Overtime is decided by extra point attempts. Teams will choose to try for 1, 2 or 3. Team 2 is not required to choose same extra point try as Team 1.

After scoring, the scoring team can elect to give the opposing team the ball at the 20-yard line in order to keep the opponent from using up the clock. Once this is done, the scoring team must give their opponent the ball at the 20-yard line until the end of the game. This hurry-up tactic becomes irrevocable right of the opponent. This rule only applies after scoring plays. In the case of turnover on downs or an interception by the defense ball will be spotted at the end of the live play. 

The triple threat flag belt is the only acceptable flag belt (teams may bring their own or will be provided by NSL). Football must be provided by the teams. High school, collegiate or NFL size footballs are the only acceptable sizes allowed. No metal cleats allowed No hard football pads may be worn. Mouthpieces are suggested. No hard billed hat will be worn. No pockets are allowed (you will not be able to play with pockets and you will not be allowed to tape pockets) THIS WILL BE ENFORCED! 

The spot of the ball is the location of the ball at the time of the flag belt removal (broken clip) or one hand touch in the appropriate scenario.

BACKFIELD BLOCKING: The blocker in the backfield may shield a defender with no separation of the arm(s) from the body. A blocker is allowed to move (shuffle) left, right or backwards. The blocker may not initiate contact with the rusher. A blocker may not run a route under a rusher to impede the rusher's route to the quarterback.

DOWNFIELD BLOCKING: A basketball style (non-moving) screen is the only acceptable form of downfield blocking. A blocker may shield a defender with no separation of the arm(s) from the body. The blocker also may not run between a rusher and ball carrier impeding a defender's progress to the flag.

Only 1 player is required to be on the line of scrimmage (center).


Any offensive player can receive the snap as long as they are 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

The receiver must have one foot in bounds and control for a legal reception. If a player steps out of bounds on his own, he cannot re-enter play.

The quarterback is defined as the player attempting a legal forward or lateral pass behind the line of scrimmage. A flag pull in the act of throwing the ball (prior to release) by the quarterback will be considered a sack.

Simple Offensive Penalties Legend
- LOD - Loss of Down
- LOS - Line of Scrimmage
- EOP - End of Play
- Spot - Spot of Infraction
- ROD - Replay of Down

Illegal Procedure (Live Ball): LOS - 5 Yards ROD 
Delay of Game: LOS  5 Yards ROD
Illegal Use of Clock: LOS - 5 Yards - ROD
False Start (Dead Ball): LOS - 5 Yards - ROD 
Illegal Contacting: Spot - 10 yards - ROD
Offensive Pass Interference: LOS - 10 Yards - LOD 
Flag Guarding: Spot - 5 Yards - LOD
Illegal Forward Pass: Spot - 5 Yards - LOD
Illegal Equipment (Live Ball): LOS - 5 Yards - ROD 
Unsportsmanlike (Conduct): Spot/EOP - 10 Yards 
Offsides (Live Ball): LOS  5 yards ROD 
Intentional Grounding: Spot 5 yards LOD
Illegal Participation/Substitution (Live Ball): LOS - 5 yards - ROD 
Illegal Participation: LOS - 10 yards - ROD
Male Operative Play: LOS - 5 yards - LOD

Simple Defensive Penalties
Holding/Impeding Progress: EOP - 10 Yards - ROD
Defensive Pass Interference: Spot Foul - 1st Down (10-yard min) 
Encroachment (Dead Ball) 1st Attempt: LOS - 5 Yards - ROD
Encroachment (Dead Ball) 2nd Attempt: LOS - 10 Yards - ROD 
Roughing the Passer: EOP - 10 Yards - 1st Down
Illegal Contact: EOP - 10 Yards - ROD
Illegal Participation/Substitution: LOS - 5 yards - ROD
Illegal Participation: LOS - 10 yards - ROD