RFB Pro Rulebook
Reflex Football (RFB) is 7-on-7 contact-flag football. Even though RFB is not full-contact, some level of contact is allowed in our rules. As with any sport in which any level of contact is allowed, there is a risk of temporary or permanent injury, and even death. Players assume full liability while competing at RFB events.
- QB – Quarterback
- WR – Wide Receiver
- RB – Running Back
- TE – Tight End
- S – Safety
- CB – Corner Back
- LB – Linebacker
- LR – Line Rusher
Game Rules and Penalties
REFLEX Football is played on a 80 yard field, 44 yards wide, with 10 yard end zones. First down are predesignated on the field and are exactly 20 yards apart.
Scoring & Timing
WINNING: The team that scores the greater number of points during the entire game is the winner.
Touchdown: 6 points
Extra Point: 1 Point from 3-yard line or 2 points from 10-yard line
Safety: 2 points
GAME CLOCK: The Game Clock measures the amount of time surpassed in a game. The game is comprised of two halves with a running countdown time of 30 minutes. During the first 28 minutes, the clock will only stop for only timeouts, official review, play challenges, and injuries (Fake injuries will result in a 10 yard penalty and a loss of down). During the last 2 minutes of the game, the clock will stop for the following: 2-minute warning, ball carrier going out of bounds, timeouts, injury, first downs, incomplete passes, during a penalty, when a team scores, when the ball changes possession, during an official review, and during a play challenge.
HALFTIME: There will be a default 10-minute halftime break between halves. Both team captains may decide to shorten halftime to as low as 5 minutes.
PLAY CLOCK: The offense will have 30 seconds to get set and start the next play or else they will receive a 5 yard delay of game penalty.
Delay of Game: Automatic 5 yard penalty, redo down.
CHANGE OF POSSESSION: Directly after a change of possession, the defense will have 60 seconds to signal that they are ready before the offense may snap the ball. After the defense has stated that they are ready, the offense will have 30 seconds to get set and snap the ball.
TIMEOUTS: Each team receives 2 1-minute timeouts per half.
OVERTIME RULES: If there is a tie after the second half, there will be an additional “overtime” period added to the game. A jump ball (same as initial jump ball) will be used to decide which team will receive the ball first. Overtime period will be similar to college rules in which teams will begin 20 yards out of their opponent’s end zone and receive 3 downs to score a touchdown. If a team scores a touchdown, they will also have the option of 1-point or 2-point extra point from 3-yards or 10-yards respectively. The first team to earn a higher score and stop the other team from tying the score wins the contest. If a team scores to get in the lead, but then the opposing team scores and goes for a higher extra point, and is successful, that team will be deemed the winner of the contest.
CHALLENGES: A team’s HC can decide to spend a remaining timeout to review a play or rulebook ruling. During a play review, only the act that is being challenged may be overturned. Officials are the only individuals that may review the film to make a call during a challenged play. In the event that something is missing from the RFB rulebook, the officials will go with whatever the rule is in the NFL.
All scoring plays receive an automatic booth review. Controversial plays within the last 2-minutes of play in a half or period will receive an automatic booth review. On rare occasions, officials may decide to review the film to make an accurate call if none of the officials are sure about a call.
PLAYOFFS: Playoff games may require different rules, check with your head captain to make sure you understand the rules for playoff games.
Every game begins with a jump ball competition in which the winning team will receives the option to begin with the ball on offense or defense.
- Home team selects one player to defend, Away team selects two players to receive.
- Away team also selects a thrower that must throw a lob to the players from 20 yards away.
- The away team must catch the ball to win the jump ball, while the home team defender attempts to defend the receivers from catching the football.
The winning team of the jump ball contest will get to decide if they would like to throw or receive for the opening throwoff, or select which side they want to go first and let the opposing team decide whether they would like to receive or throw the ball first.
A Throwoff will occur after every scoring play from the scoring team to the opposing team.
All 7 players of the throwing team must be behind their 30 yard line and may not go passed it until the ball is in the air.
The throwing team must throw a lob passed the opponent’s 30 yard line, within the boundaries of the field. The ball may not go out the back of the end zone.
Illegal Throw On Throwing Team: (ACCEPT: 10yds + Rethrow | DECLINE: Take From Spot)
Each player on the receiving team must line up on or behind their 30 yard line, prior to the ball being thrown in the air.
Illegal Formation On Receiving Team: (ACCEPT: 10yds + Rethrow | DECLINE: Keep Play)
The receiving team player that catches the throwoff may take a knee immediately after catching the ball while within the end zone, prior to advancing into the playing field, for a TOUCHBACK at the 10 yard line.
A player on the throwing team is not allowed to deliberately make contact with a player on the receiving team attempting to catch the throwoff, before the receiver makes contact with the ball. If a player on the throwing team is attempting an onside recover, they must play the ball.
Illegal Contact On Throwing Team: (ACCEPT: 10yds + Rethrow | DECLINE: Keep Play)
Prior to snapping the ball, the QB must first get set behind the Spot Cone and hold the football out in front of them. Once the QB is set, the line-ref will give the ready signal and hold it in the air (a thumbs up). The snap occurs when the QB slaps, shakes, or moves the football. The QB may not be in motion once the line-ref gives the ready signal the snap. There is no snapping by a “center” in RFB.
FALSE START: If the offense jumps or moves across the line after the play is set and prior to the ball being snapped.
False Start On Offense: (Dead Ball Penalty | 5 Yard Loss From Previous Spot, Replay Down)
OFFSIDES: If a player is caught on the wrong side of the LOS when the ball is snapped.
Offsides On Offense: (ACCEPT: 5 Yard Loss From Previous Spot, Replay Down | DECLINE: Keep Play)
Offsides On Defense: (ACCEPT: 5 Yard Gain From Previous Spot, Replay Down | DECLINE: Keep Play)
PASSING: When performing a forward pass, a player may only attempt the pass before their entire body is across the line of scrimmage.
Illegal Forward Pass: (ACCEPT: 5 Yard Loss From Previous Spot, Loss of Down | DECLINE: Keep Play)
1ST DOWN: Offense has 3 downs to get a 1st down, which are 20 yards apart and are predesignated on the field.
TURNOVER ON DOWNS: Turnover on downs results in the offense starting from their own 5 yard line.
PITCHING/LATERALS: A ball carrier may throw, toss, or give the football to their teammate during a play, as long as the ball does not travel forward in the process. If the ball is pitched backwards, and is dropped or fumbled, the ball is down where it made contact with the ground.
- A player is in possession when he is inbounds (one foot) and has a clear, firm grip and control of the ball with their hands or arms.
- If there is any question by the covering official(s) as to whether a forward pass is complete, intercepted, or incomplete, it always will be ruled incomplete.
- If a player would have caught, intercepted, or recovered a ball inbounds, but is carried out of bounds, player possession will be granted.
- If a receiver steps out of bounds without being forced by a defender, prior to the ball being caught, they may not be the first player to make contact with the ball after a legal forward pass.
- Illegal Touching: (ACCEPT: 10 Yard Loss From Previous Spot, Loss of Down | DECLINE: Keep Play)
- If a receiver’s flag is pulled BEFORE they make contact with the ball that they’re catching, they must be touched to be down. Otherwise, they are still in play.
POSSESSION OF A LOOSE BALL: (NFL Ruling) To gain possession of a loose ball that has been caught, intercepted, or recovered, a player must gain complete control of the ball while inbounds, and maintain control of the ball long enough to clearly become a runner. player has the ball long enough to become a runner when, after his second foot is on the ground, he is capable of avoiding or warding off impending contact of an opponent, tucking the ball away, turning up field, or taking additional steps. If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any other part of his body to the ground, there is no possession. This rule applies in the field of play and in the end zone.
SIMULTANEOUS POSSESSION: (NFL Ruling) If a Loose Ball is controlled simultaneously by two opponents, and both players retain it, it is simultaneous possession, and the ball belongs to the team last in possession. It is not simultaneous possession if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control.
POSSESSION WHILE FALLING: (NFL Ruling)
- A player who goes to the ground in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball (with or without contact by an opponent) must maintain control of the ball until after his contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, there is no possession. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, it is a catch, interception, or recovery. A player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is clearly a runner with clear control of the ball.
- If a player goes to the ground out of bounds (with or without contact by an opponent) in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball at the sideline, he must maintain complete and continuous control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, or there is no possession.
- If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball will not be considered loss of possession. He must lose control of the ball in order to rule that there has been a loss of possession.
PASS INTERFERENCE: (NFL Rule)
- It is pass interference by either team when any act by a player more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage significantly hinders an eligible player’s opportunity to catch the ball. Pass interference can only occur when a forward pass is thrown from behind the line of scrimmage, regardless of whether the pass is legal or illegal, or whether it crosses the line.Defensive pass interference rules apply from the time the ball is thrown until the ball is touched. See Article 2 for prohibited acts while the ball is in the air.Offensive pass interference rules apply from the time the ball is snapped until the ball is touched. See Article 2 for prohibited acts while the ball is in the air and Article 4 for prohibited acts prior to the pass.
- Not Permitted
- Contact by a player who is not playing the ball that restricts the opponent’s opportunity to make the catch.
- Playing through the back of an opponent in an attempt to make a play on the ball.
- Grabbing an opponent’s arm(s) in such a manner that restricts his opportunity to catch a pass.
- Extending an arm across the body of an opponent, thus restricting his ability to catch a pass, and regardless of whether the player committing such act is playing the ball.
- Cutting off the path of an opponent by making contact with him, without playing the ball.
- Hooking an opponent in an attempt to get to the ball in such a manner that it causes the opponent’s body to turn prior to the ball arriving.
- Initiating contact with an opponent by shoving or pushing off, thus creating a separation in an attempt to catch a pass.
- Incidental contact by an opponent’s hands, arms, or body when both players are competing for the ball, or neither player is looking for the ball. If there is any question whether contact is incidental, the ruling shall be no interference.
- Inadvertent tangling of feet when both players are playing the ball or neither player is playing the ball.
- Contact that would normally be considered pass interference, but the pass is clearly uncatchable by the involved players, except as -5.
- Laying a hand on an opponent that does not restrict him in an attempt to make a play on the ball.
- Contact by a player who has gained position on an opponent in an attempt to catch the ball.
- Not Permitted
Face Guarding: A defender may not deliberately hinder a receiver’s vision of the football without attempting to deflect or intercept the football.
Pass Interference On Offense (ACCEPT: 10 Yard Loss From Previous Spot | DECLINE: Keep Play)
Pass Interference On Defense (ACCEPT: 10 Yard Gain From Previous Spot, Automatic 1st Down | DECLINE: Keep Play)
FALLING: Ball carriers may get up after falling to the ground if their flag was not pulled. If a player is on the ground (any part of their body besides hands or feet), they may be touched to be downed, otherwise they may get up and continue running. If a ball carrier is pushed to the ground, but is not touched while on the ground, then the ball is still in play. A ball carrier must be touched by an opposing team player, while the player is on the ground, to be downed. If a receiver catches a pass and gets touched while in mid air, then falls to the ground, they are down where they fell.
VOLUNTARY PLAY KILL
- If a player wishes to down themselves, they can pull off one of their own flags, or voluntarily take a knee.
- If a ball carrier says “I’m down” or any similar phrase that would cause the defense to believe the play is dead, then the play is dead.
- The Line Official must give the ready signal before the QB can snap the ball.
- At least three players must be lined up ON the line of scrimmage.
Illegal Procedure On Offense (ACCEPT: 5 Yard Loss From Previous Spot, Replay Down | DECLINE: Keep Play)
- Only one player (cannot be the QB) may be in motion as the ball is snapped (QB may not be in motion as the ball is snapped).
Illegal Motion On Offense (ACCEPT: 5 Yard Loss From Previous Spot, Replay Down | DECLINE: Keep Play)
FORWARD PROGRESS: If a ball carrier is pushed or carried back against their will as their flag is pulled, then the ball will be spotted at the position where the ball was prior to the player being pushed back.
PULLING: A ball carrier’s flag must be pulled by a defender in order to down them, unless otherwise stated in this rulebook. When a ball carrier’s flag is pulled, they are downed at the position of the ball the instant the flag clearly detaches from the players belt. If a ball carrier’s flag falls off prior to a defender making contact with the ball carrier or their flag, the ball carrier must be touched to be downed. If a defender makes contact with a ball carrier or their flag(s), and it later falls off (delayed fall), the offensive player is down where they were when the flag detached from the player.
DEAD BALL: If the ball makes contact with the ground (even while still in possession of the ball carrier), the ball is considered dead at the spot in which the ball made initial contact with the ground.
LOOSE BALL: A loose ball is a live ball that is not in player possession, i.e., any ball that has been thrown, fumbled, or pitched. A Loose Ball is considered to be in possession of the team whose player threw, fumbled, or pitched the ball. It is a Loose Ball until a player secures possession or until the ball becomes dead.
FUMBLES: A Fumble is any act, other than passing, handing, or pitching, which results in a loss of player possession. The use of the term Fumble always means that the ball was in possession of a player when the act occurred. The ball is considered loose until a player secures possession or until the ball becomes dead. A fumble is only recovered by a team after a player from that team gains possession of the ball while in bounds. If the ball is fumbled behind the ball carrier, the ball will be down where the ball made contact with the ground. If the ball is fumbled in front of the ball carrier, the ball will be down at the spot of the ball carrier where they lost possession of the ball.
- Note: An intentional fumble that causes the ball to go forward will be considered an illegal forward pass.
STRIPPING: In RFB, a defensive player is allowed to strip (take) the ball from a ball carrier, however, the strip must be performed without excessive force (intentionally tackling or using the ground as leverage). A recovery by the defender must be made prior to the ball touching the ground.
BLOCKING: In RFB, players are allowed to block with their hands and forearms above the waist, however, a player is not allowed to lower or use their shoulder, head, elbows, or anything else outside of hands and forearms to drive into or through another player. Blocking below the waist is prohibited.
Block in the back: a block that is delivered from behind an opponent above his waist
- If a player is making a personal attempt to recover a loose ball
- If the opponent turns away from the blocker when contact is imminent
- If both of the blocker’s hands are on the opponent’s side. (If either hand is on the back, it is a foul.)
Illegal Block (ACCEPT: 10 yard loss from spot of the foul, replay down | DECLINE: Keep play)
ROUGHNESS: Tackling, impact blocking, lowering the shoulder/head, and trucking are prohibited. Trucking includes players attempting to run, jump, or dive straight through players without trying to get around them.
STIFF ARMS & FLAG GUARDING: Ball carriers may stiff arm players in their torso area only. Stiff arms to neck or face are dead at the spot and will result in a penalty.
PUSHING: Defenders may only push ball carriers towards the nearest sideline, while the ball carrier is near the sideline and in bounds. All other instances of pushing are prohibited.
- Unnecessary Roughness On Offense (Continuous Penalty | ACCEPT: 10 yard loss from spot of the foul| DECLINE: Keep play )
- Unnecessary Roughness On Defense (Continuous Penalty | ACCEPT: 10 yard gain from succeeding spot + automatic 1st down | DECLINE: Keep play )
TACKLE IMPEDING A TOUCHDOWN: If a defensive player resorts to tackling in order to prevent a player from scoring a touchdown, the ref may still rule a touchdown if it is obvious that the offensive player would have scored if the defending player was not in the vicinity of that player.
HOLDING: If an offensive player grabs onto a defensive player in attempt to block them from reaching another player, this is considered an offensive hold. Defensive players ARE allowed to hold onto a player if necessary to pull their flag (this is to counteract the fact that offensive players are allowed to swat and stiff-arm other players). If a defensive player holds on to the garment of an offensive player unnecessarily when it is obvious that they will no longer be able to pull the flag, then this is considered holding on the defense. If the hold is done in an overly aggressive manner, the defensive player may be flagged for unnecessary roughness. If you are concerned about your shirt or shorts being ripped, then do not continue to aggressively try and escape if you are being held on to (please don’t whine).
Holding On Offense (Continuous Penalty | ACCEPT: 5 Yard Loss From Original Spot, Redo Down | DECLINE: Keep Play)
Holding On Defense (Continuous Penalty | ACCEPT: 5 Yard Gain From Resulting Spot, 1st Down | DECLINE: Keep Play )
Disrespecting an Official/Volunteer: If a player at anytime disrespects (use of profanity, threatening, taunting, etc) an official or volunteer (recorders, photographers, etc), this will result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the first offense, followed by an immediate player ejection for the second offense.
Unnecessarily Loud Profanity: We understand we are all adults, but we do need to look out for our fan base, especially the youth. Therefore, officials are required to penalize players for use of unnecessarily loud profanity. This may result in a warning the first time, but will definitely incur a penalty on the second offense.
Disrespecting/Vandalizing Equipment: Individuals are prohibited from forcibly/frustratingly throwing, striking, kicking, or vandalizing RFB equipment in anyways. This includes pylons, cones, footballs, referee flags, game clock, the commissioner, etc.
First Offense: Automatic 10 yard penalty.
Second Offense: Ejection from the game.
Striking: Striking anyone at an RFB game or event will result in an automatic ejection, as well as being escorted off the field, and local authorities contacted. NO TOLERANCE!
Leaving the Bench: If one or more players from a team enter the field of play to argue with officials, intervene with a fight, or to delay the game in anyway. The team will receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty the first and second time. The third time will result in an automatic forfeit.
Uniform Violation: Automatic 10 yard penalty
- All forms of glasses/eye wear must be strapped.
- Only RFB hats are permitted to be worn on the field during games.
- Player’s Jersey must be worn during the game.
- All players must wear their team shirt over any existing tops worn by the player (Including hoodies/jackets).
- Team shorts must be worn during the game.
- All players must wear athletic shoes or rubber/plastic cleats.
- Metal cleats and spikes are strictly prohibited.
- Towels and any other accessory that rests on the players waist will be counted as a flag if they get pulled off the player (it must be easily detachable).