CCFL Boston 5 x 5 Rules

5v5 Contact Rules Assessment


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1 Game

  1. At the start of each game, two captains from both teams shall meet at midfield for the coin toss to determine who shall start with the ball. The referee will toss a coin in the presence of both captains after which the referee designates which captain shall call the fall of the coin. The captain winning the toss shall choose one of the following:i.To start on offense
    ii. To start on defense
    iii. To designate which end-zone his team will defend.

The opposing captain shall exercise the remaining option.

1. During the regular season, the home team will automatically win the coin toss and during playoff tournament, the higher seeded team will win the coin toss.

2. The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 10-yard line and has four (4) plays to cross midfield for a first down. Offense will have another four (4) downs to cross the opponent’s 10-yard line for a first down. The offense then has three (3) plays to score a touchdown.

3. If the offense fails to score, the ball changes possession if a punt is declared, and the new offensive team takes over on its 10-yard line.

4.If the offensive team fails to cross midfield or their opponents 10-yard line for a first down or score a touchdown, the possession of the ball changes and the opposition starts its drive from the last offensive play or the opponent’s10-yard line after a punt is declated..

5. Interceptions can be returned and are spotted where the player is tackled. Interceptions returned but stopped inside the 10- yard line will be advanced to the 10-yard line (except in overtime). Interceptions in the end zone are considered a live ball and can be returned. If an interception is thrown during a PAT, and the ball carrier is held, two points will automatically be awarded.

6. Teams change sides after the first half. Possession changes to the team that began the game playing defense.

2 Terminology

– Boundary lines – the outer perimeter lines around the field. They include the sidelines, and the rear end zone lines.

– Line Of Scrimmage (LOS) – an imaginary line running through the point of the football and across the width of the field.

– Line-To-Gain – the line the offense must pass to get a first down or score.

– Rush Line/Marker – an imaginary line identified by a marker running across the width of the field 7 yards (into the defensive side) from the Line of Scrimmage.

– Offense – the team with possession of the ball.

– Defense – the team opposing the offense to prevent them from advancing the ball.

– Passer – the offensive player that throws the ball and may or may not be the QB.

– Rusher – the defensive player assigned to rush the Quarterback to prevent him/her from passing by pulling his/her flags or blocking the pass. There is an 5-yard open blitz on every play.

– Downs (1-2-3-4) – the offensive squad has four (4) attempts or “Downs” to advance the ball midfield and an additional four (4) downs to cross the opponents 10-yard line. They only have three (3) attempts within the 10-yard line to score a touchdown. They must cross the Line to Gain to get another set of downs or to score.

– Live Ball – the period of time that the play is in action. Generally used in regards to penalties, Live Ball Penalties are considered part of the play and must be enforced before the down is considered complete.

– Dead Ball – the period of time immediately before or after a play.

– Whistle – the sound made by an official using a whistle that signifies the end of the play or a stop in the action for timeout, half time or the end of the game.

– Inadvertent whistle – an official’s whistle that is performed in error.

– Charging – the movement of the ball carrier directly at a defensive player who has established position on the field. This includes lowering the head, making contact with the defender with a shoulder, chest or forearm.

– Flag Guarding – the movement of the ball carrier directly at a defensive player who has established position on the field. This includes lowering the head, making contact with the defender with a shoulder, forearm or the chest.

– Shovel Pass – a legal pass attempted behind the line of scrimmage by throwing the ball underhand or pushing it towards a receiver in a shot put type manner.

– Lateral – a backwards or sideways toss of the ball by the ball carrier. Unsportsmanlike Conduct – rude, confrontational or offensive behavior or language.

3 Eligibility

  1. All players must be at least 18 years of age. Players who have been previously ejected from games must get commissioner approval to play in any upcoming season or tournament.
  2. All players must present a signed league waiver via our Smartwaiver Website.
  3. Additional players may be added or removed by season deadlines. The commissioner will announce when all final rosters must be submitted. All players must play a certain number of games to qualify for the playoffs. For the Spring/Fall 2023 Season, a minimum of 4 games must be played. Scrimmage games count toward this requirement. Medical hardship situations will be considered and must be brought to the attention of the commissioner by the team captain. A team can only add substitute players from other teams up until the 6th game of the season (7 game/groupstage regular season). Substitutes can only be players from registered individuals within the CCFL. The CCFL will make announcements for team captains looking to fill their roster for an upcoming game if they feel they will be short players. The CCFL discourages forfeiting games and if 2 or more games are forfeited, the league can make a decision to remove your team from the remaining season schedule. Any other friend, pick- up, sub, last-minute player, etc. must register via the CCFL website and pay a $20 substitute fee to play in that scheduled game. At this point, they can be added to a team’s roster but still must play the minimum number of games to qualify for the playoffs.

4 Equipment

  1. The League provides each player with flag belts. League football balls are also available for use. Teams can also provide their own ball for use and use their own Flag-a-Tag Sonic Boom Style Flag Belt.
  1. Players must wear shoes. Cleats are allowed, however cleats with exposed metal are not allowed and must be removed.
  2. Players may tape their forearms, hands and fingers. Players may wear gloves, elbow pads, and kneepads. Braces with exposed metals are not allowed.
  3. Players must remove all watches, earrings and any other jewelry that the officials deem hazardous.
  4. Matching jerseys (with individual numbers optional must be worn during play (A CCFL game shirt is the only exception).
  5. A player’s jerseys must be tucked in at all times or tucked into the flag belt.
  6. Pants or shorts with belt loops or not permitted.

5 Field

  1. The recommended field size is 30 yards by 76 yards with two 8-yard end zones and a midfield line-to-gain. No-Running Zones precede each line-to-gain by 5 yards.
  2. No Run Zones are in place to prevent teams from conducting power run plays. While in the No Run Zones (a 5 yard imaginary zone before midfield, the 10-yard line and before the endzone), teams may not run the ball in any fashion. All plays, including those that begin with a handoff, must be pass plays.
  3. Stepping on the boundary line is considered out of bounds.
  4. Each offensive team approaches three (3) No Run Zones in each drive (one zone 5 yards from midfield and the10-yard line to gain the one of the two (2) first downs, one zone 5 yards from the goal line to score a TD).

6 Rosters

  1. Rosters will be limited to 10 spots. This includes any coaches that a team may have.
  2. All players must have a CCFL shirt with or an approval from the commissioner prior to the start of each game. Rosters with more than 8 players must pay an additional $110 per player.
  3. No more than 12 sweatshirts and or other prizes are available for the eventual champions.
  4. Any substitute player who is not on the original roster submitted by the team captain must sign a waiver and pay a one time $20 registration fee. Substitute player is not guaranteed a CCFL shirt.

7 Timing and Overtime

  1. Games are played on a 40 minute continuous clock. The clock stops for timeouts.
  2. Halftime is 2 minutes long.
  3. A team has 30 seconds to snap the ball after the end of the previous last play or when the offensive and defensive marks are set. Teams will receive one warning before a delay-of-game penalty is enforced.
  4. Each team has three(3)  30-second time outs per game. Unused timeouts from the first half will carry over to the second half.
  5. Officials can stop the clock at their discretion.
  6. In the event of an injury the clock will stop and then restart when the injured player is removed from the field of play.
  7. The clock will stop with change of possession, first downs, incomplete passes, dead balls, penalties and when a player steps out of bound ONLY DURING THE LAST 60 SECONDS OF THE 2ND HALF.
  8. If the score is tied at the end of 40 minutes, an overtime will be played ONLY during Playoffs/Final Tournament Play. A coin toss determines which team gets possession first. Each team is given only 1 possession on the 20 yard line and given 4 downs to score. Regular season there will be ties. During playoffs, teams must go for a 2-point conversion in the third overtime*.(Specific rules will be emailed to captains during playoff and final tournament play).

8 Scoring

  1. Touchdown: 6 points
  2. PAT (Point After Touchdown) 1 point is automatically given to the scoring team or a 2 point PAT can be elected by the scoring team (10-yard line). Note: A 2 point PAT can be run or pass.
  3. Safety: 2 points A Safety occurs when the ball carrier is declared down in his/her own end zone. They can be called down when their flags are pulled by a defensive player, they step out of bounds, the ball is fumbled, or they hit the ground with their knee or arm. A Safety also occurs when there is an offensive penalty in the end zone.
  4. A team that scores a touchdown must declare whether it wishes to automatically accept the 1-pt. conversion or attempt a 2- pt. conversion (from the 10-yard line). Any change, once a decision is made to try for the extra point, requires a charged time out. Decision cannot be changed after a penalty. Interceptions on conversions can be returned and if a Touchdown occurs the team the intercepted that pass will receive 2 points.
  5. Offensive false starts during PATs will be assessed a 5-yard penalty.

9 Captains

  1. Captains are responsible for their teams conduct. Captains are responsible for informing their players of these rules, and will be responsible for the conduct of their team and its spectators. Captains and/or teams will be subject to expulsion if unable to control team participants or spectators.

10 Live Ball/Dead Ball

  1. The ball is live at the snap of the ball and remains live until the official whistles the ball dead.
  2. The official will indicate the neutral zone and line of scrimmage. It is an automatic dead ball foul if any player on defense or offense enters the neutral zone. In regards to the neutral zone, the official may give both teams a “courtesy” neutral zone notification to allow their players to move back beyond the line.
  3. A player who gains possession in the air is considered in bounds as long as one foot comes down in the field of play.
  4. Substitutions may be made on any dead ball.
  5. Any official can whistle the play dead.
  6. Play is ruled “dead” when: a. The ball hits the ground. b. The ball carrier’s flag is pulled (clock continues to run under 1 minute of regulation). c. The ball carrier steps out of bounds. d. A touchdown, PAT or safety is scored. e. The ball carrier’s knee/arm hits the ground and is downed by contact (clock continues to run under 1 minute of regulation). f. The ball carrier’s flag falls out and is touched by the defense. (clock continues to run under 1 minute of regulation). g. The 6 second pass clock expires. (clock continues to run under 1 minute of regulation). h. An inadvertent whistle is performed (at the spot where the ball was whistled dead).
  7. In the case of an inadvertent whistle, the offense has two options: a. Take the ball where the whistle blew. b. Replay the down from the original line of scrimmage. Note: There are no fumbles. The ball is spotted where the ball hits the ground.
  8. A team is allowed to use a time out to question an official’s rule interpretation. If the rule is interpreted incorrectly, the time out will not be charged and the proper ruling will be enforced. Officials should all agree upon any controversial call in order to give each team the full benefit of each call. If the ruling is correct the team will be charged a time out.

11 Running

  1. Only 1 running play allowed per every set of downs within the same zone. The first player (Quarterback) to receive the ball after the snap must still hand-off or lateral the ball to the runner. A tackle behind the line of scrimmage does not constitute a running play. The Quarterback can directly run with the ball if a defender rushes the QB however this direct run option falls within the allowable run rules stated above. The QB has an additional 2 seconds
  2. The ball is spotted where the runner’s feet and hips are when the flag is pulled, not where the ball carrier has the ball. If one foot precedes the other, the forward foot marks the spot.
  3. Direct handoffs behind the line of scrimmage are permitted. Pitches and laterals are legal behind the line of scrimmage. Offense may use multiple handoffs.
  4. Only two (2) laterals are allowed after the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage or defense has intercepted the ball.
  5. “No-Run Zones,” are located 5 yards before each end zone, 10-yard red zone and 5 yards on either side of midfield. Teams are not allowed to run in these zones. If the subsequent line is LIVE. (Reminder: Each offensive squad approaches THREE No Run Zones in each drive starting from their own 10 yard line – one 5 yards from midfield to gain the first down, one 5 yards from the red zone goal line , and one 5 yards from the end zone line to score a TD).
  6. The player who takes the handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
  7. Once the ball has been handed off in front or behind the quarterback, all defensive players are eligible to rush.
  8. Runners may not leave their feet to advance the ball. Diving, leaping or jumping is considered flag guarding.
  9. Spinning is allowed.
  10. Runners may leave their feet if there is a clear indication that he/she has done so to avoid collision with another player without a flag guarding penalty enforced.
  11. No blocking or “screening” is allowed at any time. Players must establish themselves, facing toward their zone to gain, in a basketball type standing pick.
  12. Offensive players must stop their motion once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage. NO running with the ball carrier.
  13. Flag Obstruction – All jerseys MUST be tucked in before play begins. The flags must be on the player’s hips and free from obstruction. Deliberately obstructed flags will be considered flag guarding.

12 Passing

  1. All passes must be from behind the line of scrimmage, thrown forward and received beyond the line of scrimmage.
  2. Shovel passes are allowed, but must be received beyond the line of scrimmage. Successful attempts before the line of scrimmage will be considered a screen/run play.
  3. The quarterback has a five-second “pass clock.” If a pass is not thrown within the six (5) seconds, a marker will be thrown or referee will make an announcment either verbal or timer-alarm. The play will continue until the referee blows the play dead. The down is consumed and a 5-yard penalty will be enforced. Once the ball is handed off, the five-second rule remains in effect. If the QB is not rushed, and 5-second pass clock penalty will be enforced. If the QB has an allowable run play to use, there must be an action towards the line of scrimmage  if he is rushed by the defense. The QB may only run with the ball if he is rushed by the defense. If the QB passes the ball after the five-second clock, it is an illegal forward pass and will be penalized appropriately. If the illegal pass is intercepted, the defense may refuse the penalty and take possession of the ball.
  4. If the ball is handed off or lateraled behind the line of scrimmage, the 5-second count continues. The player receiving the handoff may run or pass the ball within five (5) seconds. After the five-second count is reached, the referee will indicate the option to pass the ball has expired by removing his cap or dropping a marker. The player receiving the handoff or lateral may only run with the ball. If the player passes the ball, it is an illegal forward pass and will be penalized appropriately. If the illegal pass is intercepted, the defense may refuse the penalty and take possession of the ball.

13 Receiving

  1. All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off behind the line).
  2. Only one player is allowed in motion at a time. All motion must be parallel to the line of scrimmage and no motion is permitted towards the line of scrimmage.
  3. A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception.
  4. In the case of simultaneous possession by both an offensive and defensive player, possession is awarded to the offense.
  5. Interceptions change the possession of the ball at the point of where the flag is pulled. Defense can score touchdowns. Interceptions are the only changes of possession that do not start on the 10-yard line.

14 Rushing the Passer

  1. All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of seven (7) yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. Any number of players can rush the quarterback. Players not rushing the quarterback may defend on the line of scrimmage.
  2. Once the ball is handed off, the seven-yard rule no longer is in effect and all defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage.
  3. A special marker, or the referee, will designate a Rush Line five yards from the line of scrimmage. Defensive players should verify they are in the correct position with the official on every play.
  4. A legal rush is: i. Any rush from a point 5 yards from the defensive line of scrimmage. ii. A rush from anywhere on the field AFTER the ball has been handed off by the quarterback. iii. If a rusher leaves the rush line early, they may return to the rush line, reset and then legally rush the quarterback. iv. If a rusher leaves the rush line early and the ball is handed off before they cross the line of scrimmage, they may legally rush the quarterback.
  5. A penalty may be called if: i. The rusher leaves the rush line before the snap and crosses the line of scrimmage before a handoff or pass – Illegal Rush (5 yards LOS and replay down). ii. Any defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped – Offsides (5 yards LOS and replay down). iii. Any defensive player, not lined up at the rush line crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is passed  – Illegal Rush (5 yards LOS and replay down). c. Special circumstances:

Teams are not required to rush the quarterback, five second clock in effect. Teams are not required to identify their rusher before the play. If rusher leaves the 5-yard line before the snap, he may immediately drop back to act as a defender with no offside penalty enforced.

  1. Players rushing the Quarterback may attempt to block a pass. However, NO contact can be made with the quarterback in any way. The defense may attempt to block a pass provided they do not strike the passer.
  2. Blocking the pass and then striking the passer will result in a 10-yard penalty.
  3. A Sack occurs if the QB’s flags are pulled behind the line of scrimmage. The ball is placed where the QB’s feet are when the flag is pulled. a. A Safety is awarded if the sack takes place in the offensive team’s end zone.

15 Flag Pulling

  1. A legal flag pull takes place when the ball carrier is in full possession of the ball.
  2. Defenders can dive to pull flags, but cannot tackle, hold or run through ball carrier when pulling flags.
  3. It is illegal to attempt to strip or pull the ball or pull from the ball carrier’s possession at any time.
  4. If a player’s flag inadvertently falls off during the play, the defense must touch the player with one hand and then he is considered down and the play will be whistled dead.
  5. A defensive player may not intentionally pull the flags off of a player who is not in possession of the ball.
  6. Flag guarding is an attempt by the ball carrier to obstruct the defender’s access to the flags by stiff-arming, dropping of head, hand, arm or shoulder, or intentionally covering flags with the football or jersey.

16 Formations

  1. An offensive team must have a minimum of one player on the line of scrimmage (the Center) and up to four players on the line of scrimmage. The quarterback must be off the line of scrimmage. One player at a time may go in motion. No motion is allowed towards the line of scrimmage during the snap. The Center and QB is the midway point. The offensive play is allowed and defense can decline the penalty.
  1. Offensive players must come to a complete stop for one second before the ball is snapped unless he/she is the one player in motion.
  2. Movement by a player who is set or a player who runs toward the line of scrimmage while in motion is considered a false start.
  3. The center must snap the ball with a rapid and continuous motion between his legs to a player in the backfield, and the ball must completely leave his hands.

17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct

  1. If the field monitor or referee witnesses any acts of intentional tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking, or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. The decision is made at the referee’s discretion. No appeals! FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
  2. Offensive or confrontational language is illegal. Officials have the right to determine offensive language. If offensive or confrontational language occurs, the referee will give one warning. If it continues, the player or players will be ejected from the game.
  3. Players may not physically or verbally abuse any opponent or official.
  4. Ball carriers MUST make an effort to avoid defenders with an established position.
  5. Defenders are not allowed to run through the ball carrier when pulling flags.
  6. Fans must also adhere to good sportsmanship: a. Yell to cheer on your players, not to harass officials or other teams. b. Keep comments clean and profanity free.
  7. Fans are required to keep fields safe and kids friendly: a. Keep younger kids and equipment such as coolers, chairs and tents away from the sidelines.

18 Penalties General

  1. The referee will call all penalties.
  2. Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play.
  3. All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage, except as noted (spot fouls).
  4. Only the head coach may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations. Players cannot questin judgment calls.
  5. Games cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it.
  6. Penalties are assessed Live Ball then Dead Ball. Live Ball penalties must be assessed before play is considered completed.
  7. Penalties will be assessed half the distance to the goal yardage when the penalty yardage is more than half the distance to the goal.




The “10-second runoff rule” is a penalty on teams for committing certain penalties that stop the clock in the final minute of the game. If the game clock has less than 10 seconds left when the referee orders the runoff, the game can end on this ruling. Such violations are: false start, an illegal forward pass, a backward pass out of bounds or a ball spiked or thrown from the field of play after a play ended — in attempt to stop the clock.


Defensive player lines up directly in front of a wide receiver and tries to impede him with arms, hands, or entire body and disrupt his intended route within a body spacing of the line of scrimmage. One bump will be enforced and excessive contact will be penalized.

There is no bumping the center at any time.


Illegal intentional grounding exists when a quarterback under pressure throws the ball away to avoid a sack and the ball does not cross the line of scrimmage or is not thrown within the “vicinity” of an offensive player. “Vicinity” is the judgment of the referee as they must determine if there was a valid attempt to have a reception. A 5-yard penalty will be assessed and loss of down


At the discretion and interpretation of the referee, a defensive player will not get penalized if they cross the line of scrimmage (LOS) if in pursuit of an offensive player who is attempting a screen or run play. They must immediately get back to the line of scrimmage without penalty. The defensive player can not get in the throwing lane of the QB or interfere with the offense’s blocking scheme, hand-off, or screen pass in any way.

Onside Conversion Rules:
i. There has to be 1 minutes or less remaining in the game for an attempt at an onside conversion.
ii. A team must have a time-out to use to set-up the conversion attempt. The attempt will then be an untimed down.
iii. There can NOT be a back-to-back 2-pt conversion attempt then an onside attempt.
(The only exception is if the 2-pt attempt is successful and they are still trailing by at least 1pt and no more than 8pts)
iii. The attempt is marked at the same spot as a 2-pt conversion.
iv.. The team chasing must be trailing by 8 points or less. (No attempts when score is tied)
v. A successful attempt will reward the team at mid-field.
vi. A failed attempt will reward the opposing team (team with lead) at mid-field.
vii. An onside attempt can not be attempted after a FAILED 2-pt conversion attempt. See iii.

Playoff/Tournament Overtime Rules:
i. The higher designated seeded team (home team on our schedule) will automatically win the coin toss at the beginning of the game.
ii. If there is an Overtime, the lower seeded team will have the option to play offense or defense first.
iii. If a second Overtime occurs, the higher seed will then elect the option to play offense or defense.
iv. If there is a 3rd Overtime (Final OT), there will be an official coin toss which will be called by the higher designated seeded team which will determine which team will play offense or defense. If the offensive team scores first and chooses the automatic PAT, then the second team if they score a TD must attempt a 2pt conversion.
v, Play will start 20 yards from the endzone, and each team has 4 attempts to score. (There are no first downs)