JAM rules for Football - Outdoor Flag 7's (STAGE 3)
© JAM 1996-2021
- The following guidelines supersede any of our traditional rules for Flag Football. We have made adjustments to promote safe participation while minimizing the impact of these changes to the in-game experience.
- All players must be listed on the team roster to participate, no exception. The online roster may include no more than 12 players and subs. This rule allows our leagues to adhere to provincial guidelines dictating that division sizes cannot contain more than 50 total participants.
- Please review the location details in your schedule for site-specific guidelines.
- Please keep in mind that we are all responsible to make every effort to minimize prolonged or deliberate contact between players.
- While standings may still appear in your schedule, there is significantly less focus being placed on winning and championships. New teams may be added and teams may be removed throughout the season for health and safety reasons.
- At this time masks are not mandatory during gameplay. Masks are mandatory to access any indoor portion of the facility. We encourage players to wear masks to and from the fields to help reduce your risk of exposure.
Gender guidelines in Coed leagues are still being observed to help balance team participation but are being relaxed as it relates to defaults. Teams are encouraged to not enforce a default if their opponent is unable to reach a gender minimum for a specific game. Captains should be communicating with each other in advance to ensure opponents are aware and to address any concerns. Our primary goal is to get people back out and playing. Please do not abuse this rule. If a default is being enforced, it must be clearly stated BEFORE the game.
- Subs maintain a 2-meter distance from one another along the sideline.
- High-fives or any other physical acknowledgements are not allowed. Please find another physically distanced way to acknowledge your opponents.
- Teams should come with 3-5 usable game balls each and enough sanitizer or wipes for players to clean the balls.
- A clean football replaces a used football after each touchdown. Teams are encouraged to swap in clean footballs more frequently if desired.
- Captains are responsible for ensuring that players have sanitized their flags and hands prior to play.
- Players are encouraged to wear gloves.
- Every effort should be made during gameplay to limit any prolonged physical contact with your opponents.
- Deliberate contact should be avoided with the understanding that we are playing with a reduced level of intensity.
- A “Play-on” mentality is enforced - no arguing or disputing calls.
- Teams are responsible for administering and addressing their own first aid needs. Our League Ambassadors can call 911 if requested to do so.
- Please take all of your belongings at the end of the session including any used PPE. It’s unlikely that garbage receptacles will be available at the fields.
Football – Flag 7’s (Outdoor)
There are two formats of Flag Football 7’s under JAM Rules. The major differences between the two formats are game lengths. Games are either two (2) 40-minute halves with a 5-minute break for half-time OR are 55 minutes in length. Check your specific program details and your online schedule for exact start and end times. Both formats are described in their entirety below.
There are two formats of Flag Football 7’s programs under JAM programming. Games are either two (2) 40-minute halves with a 5-minute break for half-time OR are 55 minutes in length. Check your specific program details and your online schedule for exact start and end times. Please arrive early to ensure you get the full use of your allotted field time. Regardless of when your game begins your game will always end on time to allow the succeeding games to begin at their scheduled time.
Time Keeping: The JAM Ambassador on site will be keeping track of time and will determine the end of your game. In this instance, you will receive a warning indicating the final five (5) plays remaining in your game and a final signal for the end of your game. Once the final signal occurs your game is over. The same will apply for time warnings leading into halftime (if applicable)
Halftimes: In the 85 minute game time format, there will be two 40-minute halves and 5-minute halftime for all games. For the 55-minute game time format, there is no stoppage for halftime unless requested by one of the teams. If a half-time is requested, then it must be accommodated by the opposing team.
Switching Sides: If one side of the field has a potential advantage, teams should agree BEFORE the game that they will be switching sides at approximately the mid-point of the game (and agree on the time to switch). A captain that requests a switch pre-game MUST be accommodated.
Teams are comprised of seven (7) players with a minimum of two (2) of each gender on the field. A default will occur if any team cannot field a squad by 15 minutes after the official start time. A team can play with a minimum of 6 people, as long as there are two (2) of each gender.
Gender Numbers: Teams are comprised of seven (7) players with a minimum of two (2) of each gender on the field.
Defaults: A default will occur if any team cannot field a squad 15 minutes after the official start time. A team can play with a minimum of 6 people, as long as there are two (2) of each gender.
Exceptions: Captains may agree to waive the rules regarding minimum people but this should be decided before the game starts. IF IT IS AGREED THAT THE GAME COUNTS, IT COUNTS!
Depending on the game location, either the on-site JAM Ambassador or Team Captains will pace out the field so it is approximately 35 paces wide and 50 paces long with end zones 10 paces deep. Team Captains should review the field dimensions before the game begins.
Team captains are responsible for bringing the supplied football, four (4) field markers, a set of ten (10) flag belts (with 2 flags each) and field permits (if necessary) to each location for every game. Each team should bring both light and dark coloured shirts to each and every game.
- Metal cleats are NOT allowed. Turf shoes are recommended.
Teams are required to bring both light and coloured shirts to every game. Team colours are posted on the JAM website in your schedule. If two teams have the same colour the team captains should contact each other to ensure that each team knows what colour to wear.
Defaults: There is no default for players that don’t wear the right colour. However, that player must do everything they can to ensure it’s not confusing for the opposition. Whether this means wearing a pinny, a hat, a teammate’s shirt, etc. Under no circumstances can a player purposely deceive the opposition.
Flag Football 101
The following outlines the basis of the rules of Flag Football 7’s Programs:
- A coin toss or Rock/Paper/Scissors will decide the opening kick-off/side. The winning team may choose to either kick/receive OR which side they want. The losing team then chooses the other option. For the start of the second half, the roles from the start of the game are reversed (i.e. other team kicks off, switch sides).
- The kicking team will kick-off from their own end zone line (they may punt or kick the ball from the ground). If the ball is kicked out of bounds, the offensive team will start their drive at the spot where the ball left the playing area - there is NOT an option to ask for a re-kick.
- Each offensive play starts at the line of scrimmage. The ball MUST be placed on this line prior to the "snap" - i.e. a play CANNOT be started with the ball in the hands of the Quarterback behind the line of scrimmage or in the huddle. The quarterback can "snap" the ball to him/herself, or receive the ball via a snap from a 'centre', but must shout "Hut" loud enough for everyone on the field to be aware that the play has started.
- Spinning - An offensive player CAN turn their bodies from side to side, but CANNOT spin 360 degrees. This prevents defensive players from injuring their fingers. If a player spins, the ball is dead at the point where the spin occurred.
- Offensive players may not block or otherwise obstruct any defensive players
- Offensive players cannot protect/cover/hide/block his/her flag. If the person with the ball blocks the defender's hand from grabbing their flag, the play is dead where the block occurred.
- Flags should be placed on the hips of each player at the outset of each play. The flag must be on top of all clothing and cannot be folded over such that the Velcro attachment is on the inside. As well, all shirts/jerseys must be adequately tucked in to provide clear access to the flag. An offensive player that is missing a flag may make a play on the ball, but once they have possession of the ball while missing a flag they are considered "down" and the play is dead at that spot. A defensive player cannot pull off the flag of the offensive player before the offensive player receives the ball. Flags must be a minimum of 16 inches in length (from top to the tip), and 2 inches in width. These exact flags are provided by the league. If you need to replace old flags that have been cut in a previous season, please let us know and we can swap those out for you.
- The line of scrimmage will be set for the next play at the spot of the flag being pulled.
- An offensive player can dive or jump to catch a ball, but once in possession, he/she cannot leave their feet at any time (this includes all forms of jumping and diving). If the ball carrier breaks this rule, the play is dead at the point where the player stood before the infraction.
- First point of contact: A receiver is determined to be "in" or "out" based on their first point of contact with the ground. If a player lands first with one foot in-bounds, and then the other foot touches down out-of-bounds, it IS a fair catch, but the play ends where they touched the out of bounds line. If a player catches the ball but is straddling or lands straddling the sideline, it is NOT a catch. Only a ONE foot landing is needed - as long as that foot touches down in-bounds.
- Scoring: A point is scored when a player catches any legal pass or runs the ball into the defensive end zone prior to having one of their flags stripped. Please note that it is not enough to have the "plane of the end zone" broken by the ball - to score a player must step over the line in the end zone.
- The offensive team has four (4) downs to cover the entire field.
- The offensive team may punt on the 4th down, and do not need to notify the defence of their intentions to do so.
- The defence must loudly count five (5) "steamboats" before rushing the quarterback. While counting, the defence must line up at or behind the line of scrimmage.
- As soon as the quarterback releases the football, the defenders can cross the line of scrimmage. Therefore, if the quarterback makes a pass or handoff to a receiver who remains behind the line of scrimmage, the defender CAN rush the receiver. (i.e. the defenders do not have to wait until the receiver crosses the line of scrimmage).
- The quarterback may only run the football at the end of the 5 "steamboats" when and if the defence crosses the line of scrimmage.
- Teams receive one (1) point for each touchdown. There are no conversions.
- From the time the ball is placed on the line of scrimmage, the offence has 30 "steamboats" to start the next play. Running down the clock with an unnecessarily long huddle is not an acceptable strategy.
- Safe Plays: A defender may not step in front of the ball carrier or block a running lane if it has the potential to create an unsafe play. Likewise, an offensive player should not run with their head down, in an attempt to run through the defenders. In other words, incidental contact is inevitable, but players should not be run over. Please use your best judgment.
- If a defending team sacks the quarterback (or any offensive player with the ball) in the offensive end zone, the ball is turned over at midfield to the defending team. No points are scored.
- If the ball is kicked through the end zone on either a punt or kick-off (or kicked into the end zone and the receiving team elects not to run the ball out by letting the ball go), the offensive team will start their drive 10 paces out from their end zone, in the centre of the field. If the receiving team elects to catch the ball in the end zone (or runs back into the end zone after catching the ball), the receiver is in play and runs the risk of being tackled in his/her own end zone. If the receiving team player is tackled in the end zone, the kicking team will then take control of the ball at midfield (i.e. it is a turnover like a quarterback sack).
- If there is an interception in the end zone and the person now with the ball is tackled before they get out of the end zone, then the team that caught the interception will start the next offensive play 10 paces out from their end zone.
- At no time should any player hold onto the clothing of another player in an attempt to slow them down or impede their playing space.
- Other obscure or minor NFL or CFL rules WILL NOT APPLY (e.g. it is NOT a foul if a defensive player has his/her back to the ball and inadvertently blocks a pass with their arms or back of their head).
- Ending the Half or Game - With three minutes to go in the half (game), there are 5 plays left in the half (game). A kickoff after a touchdown is not considered a play.
- A game can end in a tie during the regular season. In the playoffs, if a game is tied at the end of regulation time, teams will break the tie with this overtime format:
- A coin toss (or rock-paper-scissors) will determine which team has first possession to start overtime. Teams will take turns trying to score from their opponent's 5-yard line. Teams will have only 1 down to score a touchdown. Each team will get a chance with one possession to score. If still tied after both teams have had a single possession, it will be sudden-death and the next team to score wins. If a team scores on defence (runs an interception back for a touchdown) then the game is over. Please ensure this overtime runs quickly as teams after you need to get their games started.
- Teams may call a one (1) minute time-out per half if needed except during the last 10 minutes of play
- If a player runs out of bounds during a play for any reason, he/she CANNOT re-enter the same play (i.e. a player runs out of bounds, then back in bounds and catches a touchdown, this does not count.
- If a player carrying the ball slips/falls and one knee touches the ground, the play is dead and the defence does not have to remove a flag for the play to stop. PLEASE OBSERVE THIS RULE CAREFULLY! It helps immensely in promoting safer play. In addition, if the football touches the ground for any reason (kickoffs, punts, fumbles, handoffs, etc) the ball is dead and the play is over. The next play is started at the spot where the ball hit the ground in the case of punts and kickoffs, and at the spot where the last person touched the ball for all other situations.
- All games are self-officiated. Disputes about a possible infraction are to be discussed amongst the people involved in the play. If an agreement cannot be reached, don't waste time arguing the play - simply redo the down. Please play safely and with good spirit.
Regular Season Matches
Games can be tied during the regular season.
Playoffs Eligibility and Tiebreak
There must be a winner in a playoff match. In the event that the match ends in a tie, teams will partake in the following tie-breaker until a winner is determined:
A coin toss (or rock-paper-scissors) will determine which team has first possession to start overtime. Teams will take turns trying to score from their opponent's 5-yard line. Teams will have only 1 down to score a touchdown. Each team will get a chance with one possession to score. If still tied after both teams have had a single possession, it will be sudden-death and the next team to score wins. If a team scores on defence (runs an interception back for a touchdown) then the game is over. Please ensure this overtime runs quickly as teams after you need to get their games started.
Any rough or physical play will result in immediate expulsion from further league play and may result in a lifetime league expulsion. Please see the JAM General Policy for our official guidelines on this subject. It is recognized that incidental contact between players is inevitable; however, all players should go out of their way to avoid creating an unsafe play. This rule supersedes all others.
Please note that on-site staff members have full autonomy when supervising games. Games may be stopped entirely, players may be asked to leave the playing area or be removed from the game entirely under their discretion.
There are absolutely no alcoholic beverages permitted on JAM property. Any offenders will be asked to leave the league without refund. No exceptions.