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The New Flag Football

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A modification of flag football for greater involvement by more students.
By Kenny Angel



This game provides a refreshing change from the traditional sport of Flag Football. This modified game for middle and high school students, offers additional opportunities for participation, enjoyment, and success. In this game, we divide the students by ability level and/or allow the students to self-select the style of game they would enjoy playing (Style #1: recreational or just-for-fun; Style #2: somewhat competitive; Style #3: highly competitive). The games are played outdoors, using cones to mark off each of the playing fields.

Like the traditional game of Flag Football, the objective of New Flag Football is to score a touchdown by running or passing the ball into the end zone while avoiding the defensive players, who are trying to pull the flag belt off the player with possession of the ball. New Flag Football follows most of the rules of Flag Football (i.e., each team gets four downs; off sides, etc.), but has several different features as explained in the sections that follow.

The Kickoff:
The game starts by having one team kick the ball from the 20-yard line to the other team. Players on both teams will line up on their 20-yard line for the kickoff. Once the ball is in possession of the receiving team, it may be moved down field by either kicking it (soccer style) or throwing it in any direction to an open player. When the ball carrier’s flag is pulled by the opposing team, play is stopped as in the traditional game of Flag Football. Teams have four downs to advance the ball. If the ball goes out-of-bounds, the team with possession of the ball retains possession. After the fourth down, the ball is given to the opposing team.

Touchdowns are scored either by carrying the ball over the goal line, passing it to a player who runs the ball over the line, or passing it to a player who catches it in the end zone.

  • 5 points are scored for a solitary “run- in” touchdown,
  • 7 points are scored if the ball is passed to another player and then run-in, and
  • 7 points are scored if the ball is passed to an open receiver in the end zone.

General Rules:
During the kickoff, only a receiving player may pick the ball up with their hands to run or pass it to an open player. In other words, the kicking team is not allowed to touch the ball on the kickoff. However, if a ball is fumbled or an incomplete pass hits the ground, ANY player is now able to kick/dribble the ball with their feet or do a self foot-flip (kicking the ball up so it can be caught by the player).

Flag Belt Violations:
In this game, it is a penalty if a player:

  • Pulls another player’s flag belt unless he has possession of the ball.
  • Dives or leaves his feet to pull a flag belt.
  • Does a “late flag belt pull” (2 or more seconds after the release of the ball).
  • Slaps away the hand of the defensive player attempting to pull the flag.
  • Drops or purposely throws the ball away to avoid having the flag pulled.

Two Point Penalty:
All flag belt violations gives the opposing team 2 points. If the penalty is made by the offensive team, the ball is given to the other team as the game continues.

W.O.W. (words of wisdom)
Please feel free to modify the rules as needed. For example, you may want to have a “soft rush” rule (i.e., the defensive team has to wait 3 seconds before rushing), rotate quarterbacks, etc.

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