Chicago Sports Zone

Rules (Mens)

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**




Teams consist of 5 players on the field of play. A team must have a minimum of three (3) players on the field of play at game time to avoid forfeit.


• Cleats are not allowed on indoor fields.

• Dangerous or loose jewelry is not permitted.

• Hard Casts are not permitted

• Jerseys or similar colored shirts must be worn.


Game Time: Each game is 40 minutes long with 2 twenty 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 begins once the official spots the ball on the field of play. The official blows the whistle to signal the start of the play clock. The official will count down the final 5 seconds of the play clock with his or her arm.

Running Clock: The clock runs continuously, except for timeouts (official or team timeouts) and the final two minutes of play. During that time the clock stops for incompletes, going out of bounds, change of possession or time outs.

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

Overtime: If the time expires with the score tied, the game will be called a tie, except for all playoff games. In the event of a tie in those games, each team will be guaranteed one possession starting at midfield, having four plays to score. If a team scores it has the right to choose if it will go for 1-point or 2-point conversion. If after one round of Overtime the score is still tied, each team will get another possession starting at midfield, having four plays to score. In the event that a team scores in this round, the scoring team must go for a 2-point conversion. The game will end when at the end of an Overtime round, one team has more points than the opponent.


Starting Drive: Each team will start their drive at the 5 yard line at the start of the game and after a score. Rushing the Quarterback (QB): Only players starting 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage can rush the passer once play starts, rusher may go behind the rush line and start again. The Quarterback has 7 seconds to attempt a pass or the play is ruled dead, ball placed at line of scrimmage and a loss of down.

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 defensive player starts at the 7 yard rush marker and then blitzes the Quarterback.

• The quarterback hands the ball to another player.

• The quarterback makes a pass to another player.

Side Line: A player is considered out of bounds when he steps on or over the outer borders of the field (the sidelines). The ball is then marked down at the spot in which he stepped out of bounds.

Marking the Ball: Ball is marked where the flag is pulled, or where the offensive player is marked down. Yards to 1st offense has four plays to score.

First Downs: First downs are awarded after you cross the midfield marker.

No-Run Zones: The “NO-RUN ZONES” are located 5 yards from the goal lines. In those zones the offense can only advance the ball via the pass.

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

Ceiling: During an offensive play, the ceiling is in play. If a ball is caught after touching the ceiling 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 offensive team.

Down: The offense has four (4) downs to get to midfield. Then from midfield the

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.

• Ball carriers flag falls off without someone pulling it and the player is two hand touched by a member of the opposing team

• Official blows whistle

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

• If the play was for positive yardage, the offensive team has the choice of accepting the play and the down at the spot that the ball carrier was when the whistle was blown. The down counts. Or 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, the offensive team retains possession of the ball.

• If a turnover occurs in the defenses end zone and the ball is not advanced out of the end zone, the play results in a touchback and the ball will be marked at 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 offensive player touches the 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.

• An illegally secured flag is one in which the flag has been tied in such a manner that it cannot come off easily when pulled.

• An illegally secured flag is one in which the flag is not held together by the plastic clip that is attached to the flag.

• A shirt that is on the outside of the secured flag will be considered an illegally secured flag as it does not allow normal access and view of the flag. 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 (and the defensive team is awarded the ball on its’ 5 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.

• A safety is 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.


5 – Yard Penalties:

• Illegal Procedure penalty

• Anyone trying to distract the Quarterback will be penalized for illegal procedure.

• Intentional grounding (includes loss of down)

• Intentional grounding is when a quarterback throws the ball out of bounds or into the ground, not in the general direction of teammate, to avoid a sack.

• Quarterback spike: A QB spike CAN be used to stop the clock inside 2 minutes of the end of the game.

• 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 Illegal Motion. 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 prior to the defensive player going behind the 7 yard rush line.

• Too many people on the field

• More than 5 players on a team 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

• Lowering the shoulders in such a manner that flag guards

• Stiff arming from deflagging

• 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 out of bounds

• 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 tournament and

NO REFUND of fee will be given in the case of dismissal for disciplinary reasons).

Automatic First Down: The 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: Points will be awarded for wins and ties. A win is worth three (3) points.

Losses: No points are awarded for a loss.

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

Tie Breaker for Playoff Seeding:

1. If two teams have the same points total at the end of the season:

• Head to head record

• Points Scored

• Points Against

• Coin Toss

1. If three or more teams have the same point total at the end of the Season, the following tie breakers will apply for playoff seeding

• Point differential (points scored-points allowed)

• Coin Toss


Fines: A credit card will be kept on file for each team and all fines will be charged after the manager is contacted. Consecutive infractions will cause fines to double. Fines include, but are not limited to:

• Missing Flags = $10