At AfterDark Technologies, we believe understanding the fundamentals of flag football is key to fun and safe play. Below, we have compiled a list of common terms.

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Ball Carrier

An offensive player in possession of the ball who tries to advance it by running with the ball.

Center (hike)

Putting the ball in play from the ground by passing the ball between the center's feet.


(Run = 1 point; Pass = 2 points) is attempted after a touchdown is scored; it is one scrimmage play from the three yard line.

Dead Ball

Signifies the time starting from the end of a down to the centering of the ball to initiate the next down.

Defensive Team

The team trying to prevent the offensive team from scoring.

Defensive Play

After the flag is pulled, the ball is dead. The ball is dead when a flag is pulled, the ball goes out of bounds, or a fumble occurs.


A unit of the game that starts with the centering of the ball and ends when the play is dead (over). A team shall have four downs (trials) to advance the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. If touchdown is not made, the team shall turn the ball over to the opposing team. They will begin their own 20 yard line.

End Zone

The area between the goal line and the end line.

Flag Guarding

A player using hands, arms, or clothing to prevent a player from pulling his or her flag. This illegal in regulation play.

Forward Pass

A pass thrown by any offensive player from behind the line of scrimmage toward the opponent’s goal line. Only one forward pass is allowed per down.


Occurs when a ball carrier loses control of the ball and it drops and hits the ground. The play is over and the ball is dead.


Handing the ball to a teammate who is nearer to his or her goal than the player handing it to him or her.


Defensive player catches the ball before the pass receiver.


A kick from the team’s own hash mark line at the beginning of the game and after each touchdown.

Lateral Pass

A pass that is thrown parallel to or backwards toward the passer’s own goal line.

Line Player

Offensive line players shall be those lined up not more than one yard behind the line of scrimmage.

Line of Scrimmage

An imaginary line the width of the football field from sideline to sideline that separates the offensive team from the defensive team until the ball is centered to start a down. This also determines where a forward pass must be thrown from (behind).

Line of Scrimmage Offense

From the front tip of the ball.

Line of Scrimmage Defense

Three yards from the offense's line of scrimmage.


When an offensive backfield player sets for one second and then runs parallel to or away from the line of scrimmage before the ball is hiked.


Occurs when a player on the receiving team, during a punt or kick off, touches the ball but never gains control of the ball.

Neutral Zone

The length of the football field sideline to sideline. The offensive team is on one side of the ball and the defensive team is on the other side of the ball.

Offensive Team

The team that is in possession of the ball and is attempting to score.


An offensive or defensive player in the neutral zone or beyond when the ball is centered.

Own Goal

The goal that the team is defending.

Offensive Play

The ball carrier may run, lateral pass, or hand-off (the ball) anywhere; He or she may forward pass only from behind the line of scrimmage; Players may screen by body position arms; No more than tow running screens at one time is allowed; Simultaneous possessions are awarded to the offense.

Pass Interference

An act in which a player blocks, removes a flag from, or holds an opponent to prevent him/her from catching or intercepting a forward pass after the ball has left the hands of the passer.


A scrimmage play where the offensive team kicks the ball using the punt technique. A punt usually takes place on a fourth down when the offensive team does not think it can get a first down or score a touchdown.

Quarterback Sack

Defender grabs quarterback's flag before a pass is thrown.


Is scored when the ball legally in the possession of a player becomes dead behind his or her own goal line (2 points).

Screen Blocking

The only type of blocking in which the blocker is positioned directly in front of an opponent with arms positioned at the sides or folded across the chest, much like a pick used in basketball.

Scrimmage Play

The offensive team behind the line of scrimmage must be motionless except one backfield player. There may not be more than four players in the backfield. The defense must be five yards away from the line of scrimmage. The ball must be centered in a reasonable amount of time...extended delays will not be allowed.


The action of a properly thrown pass - a tight spin in clockwise motion.


When a ball is downed in the end zone by the receiving team. Usually on a punt or kickoff, but may also be on an interception. The team making the touchback puts the ball in play at its own 10-yard line.


(6 points) is made when a runner carries the ball across the goal line or a pass is completed in the end zone.

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