Chicago Sports Zone

Rules (Co-ed)

Who said you can’t play football indoors? Sports Zone Arena Flag Football League provides a fun and competitive football environment that enhances character, community and passion for the game year around in a clean, safe and warm environment! Get Inside and Have Some Fun!

**ALL participants MUST complete waiver prior to participation, NO EXCEPTIONS! Waiver MUST be updated once a year**




Game Time:  Each game will consist of two (2) 20 minute halves.

Game Clock:  Playing time will be kept on the scoreboard or on a stop watch on the field by an official.

Play Clock:  The play clock is 25 seconds and will begin once the official spots the ball on the field of play.  The official will blow the whistle to signal the start of the play clock. With five seconds to go in the play, the official will start counting down with his/her arm.

Running Clock:  The clock will run continuously, except for timeouts (official or team), including the two-minute warning.  During the last two minutes of the half, the clock will stop for the following:

  • Scores
  • Time-outs
  • Incomplete Passes
  • Penalties
  • Serious Injury
  • When a player is out of bounds

Time Outs: Each team will be issued one (1) time-out per game. A team’s time-out shall not exceed 30 seconds.

Halftime: Each game will have a two minute halftime period.

Overtime: If the time expires with the score tied, the game will be called a tie, except for the final championship game. In the event of a tie in that instance the game will continue until the first team scores.


Starting Drive: Each team will start their drive at the 14 yard line at the start of the game, after halftime, and after a score.

Rushing Quarterback (QB): Quarterback(s) will have 3 seconds, before the rusher is allowed to rush. The official will count out loud 1 one thousand, 2 one thousand, three one thousand go!

Snap:  The snap may be an underhand toss, overhand throw, or a handoff. The person snapping the ball may not move their feet to make the snap. The QB cannot snap the ball to him/herself. During the entire game, the offensive team has 25 seconds to snap the ball once the ball has been spotted on the field by the official.

Line of scrimmage: A defender cannot cross the line of scrimmage until:

  • The official says “GO”
  • The quarterback hands the ball to another player.
  • The quarterback makes a pass to another player.

Side Line:  The ball is out of bounds when the player with the ball steps out of bounds.

Marking the Ball:  The ball will be marked where the ball is at when the flag is pulled, or where it falls off.

Yards to 1st Down:  Each team will have four (4) downs to obtain a first down.

First Downs: First downs are awarded after you cross your 14 or the opponent’s 14 yard line.

Legal Forward Pass:  Once a player crosses the line of scrimmage, you cannot attempt a legal forward pass. Only one legal forward pass can be attempted per down.

Ceiling Netting:  During an offensive play, the netting on the ceiling is in play. If a ball is caught after touching the netting it can be caught and advanced or intercepted.

Backward Pass (pitch): A runner may pass the ball backwards at any time. A backward pass (pitch) that hits the ground will be considered dead at the spot it hit the ground.  

Simultaneous Catch: If members of opposing teams catch a forward pass simultaneously, the ball is dead at the spot and it belongs to the team that snapped the ball.

Stripping:  Once a player has possession of the ball, the opposing player cannot knock the ball out of the controlling player’s hand.

  • A player running with the ball cannot be stripped of the ball.

Play Stops:  Play shall continue until…

  • The Ball carrier has flag/belt pulled off by opponent.
  • Ball carrier leaves the field of play.
  • Ball carrier scores.
  • Ball carrier touches the ground, except for palm of the hand.
  • Ball touches the ground.
  • Official blows whistle

Inadvertent Whistle:   If the official blows an inadvertent whistle, the play is dead.

  • If the play was for positive yardage, then it is the offensive team’s ball at the spot of the ball carrier when the whistle was blown. The down counts. The offensive team may opt to replay the down but the ball will be spotted at the original line of scrimmage.
  • If the offensive play was developing in the backfield or if the ball was in flight then the ball is dead. The down will be replayed from the line of scrimmage.

Turnovers:  Turnovers may occur by change of downs or interception. A fumble results in a dead ball where the ball touches the ground.

  • If a turnover occurs in the end zone or the defensive player is carried in the end zone, and the ball is not advanced out of the end zone, the ball comes to the 14 yard line.


Offensive Play: If an offensive player steps out of bounds during a play, he/she is an ineligible player until an eligible player touches the ball.

  • If an offensive player is forced out of bounds by a defender he/she is an eligible player as soon as they return to the field of play.
  • If an offensive player touches the dasher boards he will be considered out of bounds at that spot.

In Bounds/Out of bounds: If a player leaves his/her feet on an attempt to catch the ball, the player first must obtain possession with at least one foot in bounds prior to going out of bounds unless contact by an opponent forces the player out of bounds (official’s discretion), to be ruled a catch.

  • If a defender causes the receiver to go out of bounds (official’s discretion), prior to the receiver landing in bounds after a catch, the receiver will be credited with a reception where he/she went out of bounds. This includes a play in the end zone, in which the official will rule the play a touchdown.


Flag Inspection:  When a player scores the opposing captain may request for an official to quickly inspect the flag belt of the player that scored for tampering. This is done to insure that the flag belt has not been illegally secured.

TD’s and Extra Points:

  • TD’s = 6 points
  • Extra point from the 5 yard line = 1 point
  • Extra point from the 10 yard line = 2 points

Once a team has made their choice on the extra point, they can only change their decisions by calling a timeout. Defense can return an interception for an extra point’s value.

Safeties:   A safety = 2 points (defensive team is awarded the ball on the 10 yard line)

  • A safety is scored when a player is deflagged in his/her end zone.
  • A safety is scored when the offensive player fumbles in his/her own end zone.
  • A safety is awarded if a player snaps the ball out of the end zone or if the ball hits the back dasher boards.
  • A safety will also be awarded if a player drops the ball and it hits the ground in the end zone.
  • A safety is awarded when an intentional grounding is called in the end zone.

Mercy Rule:  When a team is leading by 30 or more points in the last two minutes of the second half, the game will be called.


Female Play:  Every third play has to involve a female player in the capacity of:

  • Quarterback
  • Ball carrier
  • Receiver

The official will announce if the play is a mandatory Female play.

Handoff:  If a female receives a handoff, she must make an attempt to advance the ball passed the line of scrimmage to be considered a female play. If a female crosses the line of scrimmage and laterals the ball back to a male, the play will be considered a female play. If a male crosses the line of scrimmage and laterals it back to a female the play will not be considered a female play.

Deflections: If a female (first touch) deflects a pass or the defense deflects a pass, a male can receive the deflection. If a male on the offense touches a pass before a female on the offense it will not be considered a female play.

Sack: If a male quarterback is sacked on a female play, the sack down counts and the next play is still a female play.

Female Quarterback:  If a female player is the quarterback, the pass must be a forward pass towards the line of scrimmage to be considered a female play. A female QB giving a handoff to a male does not constitute a female play.

Penalty:  A penalty for a female play infraction results in a 10 yard penalty, loss of down and the next play is a female play. Intentional grounding penalties will be enforced on female plays.


Notification: The offense must notify the official of their choice to punt or attempt the ball on a 4th down. 

Punting Guidelines:  ALL “PUNTS” will be throws. No kicking will be allowed. In the event that the ball hits the netting, the ball will be spotted by an official at that spot of the field.  Both teams must have four players on the line of scrimmage and remain motionless until the “Punt” is made, anyone attempting to block the throw will be penalized 5 yards for illegal procedure.

  • Snaps that are fumbled are dead balls at the spot the ball touches the ground. If a kicker fumbles the ball, the ball is dead at the spot the ball touches the ground and will be considered a turnover on downs.
  • The can be caught in the air or on a bounce.
    • Once the ball is touched /deflected by the punting team, the ball is considered dead at the next spot the ball touches the ground.
    • Once the ball comes to a complete stop, the ball is considered dead.
    • Once the ball enters the end zone the ball is dead. The ball will be placed on the 14 yard line.


5 – Yard Penalties:

  • Illegal Procedure penalty
    • Anyone trying to distract the “kicker/thrower” or block the kick will be penalized for illegal procedure.
  • Intentional grounding (includes loss of down)
    • Female Plays: Next play is still a gender play
    • Quarterback spike: A QB spike can be used to stop the clock inside 2 minutes of a half or end of the game but will not be considered a female play regardless of who the QB is.
      • Female play 0 the pass must be intended for a female
  • False Start/Illegal Motion
    • One player may move laterally, parallel to the line of scrimmage, during the play. If the player moves up the field at any time except to set on the line of scrimmage this is considered offside’s. Players must be set for at least 1 second before the ball is snapped.
  • Illegal forward pass (5 yards from the spot of the foul also includes loss of down)
    • When any player throws the ball forward after crossing the line of scrimmage
  • Delay of game:
    • 25 second play clock infraction
  • Encroachment penalty
    • Crossing the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped or before the official says “Go”
  • Too many people on the field
    • More than 7 players on the field or more than 4 males on the field when the ball is snapped.

10-Yard Penalties:

  • Flag Guarding Penalty
    • Runners shall not flag guard by using any part of the body or ball to deny the opportunity for an opponent to pull or remove the flag belt. Flag guarding includes but is not limited to:
      • Swinging the hand over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from deflagging
      • Placing the ball in possession over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from deflagging
      • Lowering the shoulders in such a manner that flag guards
      • Stiff arming
  • Illegally deflagged flag belt
    • Players must have possession of the ball before they can legally be deflagged.  It is illegal for a defensive player to intentionally pull a flag from an offensive player who is not in possession of the ball.
  • Illegal offensive block
    • Offensive screen blocking shall take place without contact and without moving. The blocker shall have his or her hands behind their backs or down in front across their chest. Any use of the hands, arms, elbows, legs, r body to initiate contact during an offensive play is illegal.
  • Diving or hurdling a player
    • Hurdling an opponent is illegal. Players are permitted to dive to catch the ball only. (Exception: a player may jump over a player that is already on the ground).
  • Offensive/Defensive holding
  • Offensive picking/Offensive pass interference

15 – Yard Penalties:

  • Illegally secured belt
    • If the belt is illegally secured the score is disallowed, the player is ejected and a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty will be administered from the previous spot.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: (possible ejection, official’s discretion)
    • From the spot of the foul
    • This includes pushing any player into the dasher boards
  • Tackling (possible ejection, official’s discretion)
    • From the spot of the foul
  • Fighting (Automatic ejection, possible indefinite suspension from the league and the Sports Zone)
    • From succeeding spot
  • Spitting (Automatic ejection, possible indefinite suspension from the league and the Sports Zone)
    • From succeeding spot
  • Threatening, verbally assaulting, or throwing objects at players, officials, or fans (Automatic ejection, possible indefinite suspension from the league and the Sports Zone)
    • From succeeding spot
  • Bump and Run (possible ejection, official’s discretion)
    • From the spot of the foul

(Penalty’s may result in player suspension or permanent removal from the league and NO REFUND of fee will be given in the case of dismissal for disciplinary reasons).

Automatic First DownThe following will result in an automatic first down

  • Defensive pass interference (automatic first down at the spot of the foul)
  • Roughing the passer

Team Points

Wins: In the regular season, points will be awarded for wins. A win is worth two (2) points.

Losses: No points are awarded for a loss.

Ties: Both teams will be awarded one (1) point

Forfeits: One (1) point will be deducted from a team’s total for a forfeit and the other team will be given the two (2) points for the win.

Points total Tie Breaker:

  • If two teams have the same points total at the end of the regular season, the following tie breakers will apply for playoff seeding:
    • Head to head records
    • Point differential (points scored-points allowed)
  • If three or more teams have the same point total at the end of the regular season, the following tie breakers will apply for playoff seeding
    • Point differential (points scored-points allowed)


Fines:  A credit card will be kept on file for each team and all fines will be charged before the next contest after the manager is contacted. Consecutive infractions will cause fines to double. After two forfeits, the team will be expelled from the league and forego their league fee: Fines include, but are not limited to:

  • Missing Flags = $10
  • Forfeit = $75
  • Suspension = $50 per player