Powder puff football fact

Basic Rules to Play Powder Puff Football

Started in the 1930s, powder puff football is a variation of flag football, made for girls to be played at school or college level. This article describes the rules, regulations, and other requirements to organize and play this game successfully.
Did You Know?
The name 'powder puff football' comes from an incident during a match in 1945, where the players applied fresh makeup in jest during halftime in front of the surprised and amused audience.

Only a few decades back, sports for women was frowned upon, more so with the game of football. The scenario has changed significantly now. However, this was only possible with the encouragement of games such as powder puff football.

Powder puff football rules are very similar to that of flag football, the only major difference between them being that the former does not permit tackling and other aggressive play. Players who are unnecessarily aggressive while playing can be sent out from the game. It is prerogative of the captains that each member of their team is aware of all the rules. Let's now learn how to play the powder puff football game.

Powder Puff Football

Common Terms

Offense: The team attempting to score points by running and passing the ball.

Quarterback: One of the most important players in the team, her role is to call signals, throw passes, and make runs with the ball.

Running Back: The primary role of this player is to get the ball from the quarterback and run to the opponent's end zone.

Receiver: These players run and pass the ball to each other while trying to get closer to the opponent's end zone.

Center: This team member passes the ball to the quarterback at the start of each play.

Line of Scrimmage: A line which runs from one sideline to the other, dividing the playing field into two halves, i.e., the offense and defense side.

Cadence: The signal given by the quarterback to start play.

Snap: The move when the center passes the ball to the quarterback.

Defensive Back: This team member tries to stop the receiver from getting the ball.

Interception: A move by a player in the defense of catching an opponent's pass and getting possession for her team.

Sack: To pull off the flags of the opponent quarterback behind the line of scrimmage.

End Zone: Either end of the field where the touchdown is made.

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Equipment and Playground

Each player has to wear a flag on both sides of their hips in line with each other. These flags are provided to the teams.

Players of each team must wear jerseys of one particular color. Pockets and belt loops are not permitted in the clothing; however, they must be taped up if they exist.

All players must wear shoes; however, those with exposed metal cleats are not permitted. Cleats of other materials are allowed.

Players are not allowed to wear any kind of jewelry, unless specially permitted by the official of the game.

Players are allowed to wear protective equipment such as elbow pads, knee pads, gloves, etc., as long as there are no exposed metal parts. The players can also tape their hands and fingers if they need to.

Important Positions

Quarterback: The role of the quarterback is to receive the snap from the center, and then run back while looking for open receivers. Alternately, they can also pass the ball to the halfback or run with the ball themselves.

Halfback: The role of a halfback is multifaceted, and they may play a different strategy depending on the situation. They may have to advance the ball when given a pass from the quarterback, or they may have to protect the quarterback by blocking the opponents. They can also act as a receiver.

Wide Receiver: These players start at the line of scrimmage, and run on a predetermined route to receive a pass from the quarterback. However, if the halfback or another receiver gets the ball, then they will have to work on blocking opponents.

Offensive Lineman: These players work to protect the quarterback while she looks for a receiver. Alternately, they try to create routes for the halfback to use.

Center: These players snap the ball to the quarterback, and immediately work on blocking opponents from getting to the quarterback.

Pass Rusher: These are defensive players who try to get the flag of the quarterback or any ball carrier. They also perform the function of putting pressure on the quarterback by not giving her time to look for a receiver.

Defensive Back: These players work on shadowing a particular opponent or covering a certain part of the field, while at the same time, rushing a ball carrier for her flags, and anticipating and intercepting passes.

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Rules of Play

Both teams must have at least seven players each, to avoid forfeiting the match.

The captains and senior coaches of both teams come together for a coin toss. The visitors get to call the toss.

The team which wins the toss can choose whether they want to go on the offense, defense, or give the choice to the other team. In case the latter option is chosen, the winner of the toss gets to choose their side of the playing field.

The team playing offense starts off at the twenty-yard line, and has four play chances to cover twenty yards for a first down. After the offense completes four downs, they have to make a declaration about whether they want to punt or if they want to go for the first down mark, and play accordingly. If a team is unable to get the first down, the other team gets possession of the ball.

When punting, both the teams, except one player from the receiving team, stand at the scrimmage line. The single player can stand at the back to catch the ball. If the catch is taken cleanly, the team can move forward. However, if the ball hits the ground, it becomes a dead ball.

Blocking a player is allowed as long as the hands are within the shoulder area of the opponent. Blocking with the arms fully extended, or with the back towards the opponent is not permitted.

Rules of Conduct for Players and Coaches

Players are expected to behave in a civil manner. The first act of unnecessary aggression will get a warning, and every subsequent act will be penalized.

Playing in a reckless manner which the referee feels is dangerous can be penalized. If a player continues to be reckless after the first warning, she will be removed from the game.

A player who is intentionally playing in a harmful manner will result in a penalty, and removal of the player from the game. If two such acts take place from the same team during the game, the team will have to forfeit the game.

Coaches can come onto the field only if a player is injured. If the coach enters the field any other time, the team will be penalized.

Only the head coach is allowed to interact with the game officials.

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Timing Regulations

A match consists of four 15-minute quarters. Both teams have to change sides after each quarter.

Players get a 60-second timeout after every half.

The referee can stop play at any time in the game for injuries, animals entering the field, etc.

If the score is tied at the end of the fourth quarter, the game goes into overtime. During this period, both teams will alternately get two chances to score one or two points. Which team will play first will be decided by a coin toss. All regular powder puff football rules apply during overtime, except that there are no timeouts.

Scoring Points

Every touchdown equals 6 points.

Extra points are scored in the following situations:
  • 1 point at the 3-yard line
  • 2 points at the 7-yard line
  • 3 points at the 12-yard line
  • 2 points for a Safety, i.e., a fumble at touchdown.
If the defense returns an interception during an extra point attempt, they get the same score as the opponent chose for the extra points.

Dead Ball Situations

A dead ball is declared if either the ball touches the ground or the player carrying the ball has a flag pulled off.

Other situations which warrant a dead ball are when a touchdown is completed; a ball carrier runs out of the boundary line; a carrier's hip, behind, knee, or elbow touches the ground.

Ball Spotting

If the ball carrier's flag is pulled or falls off, the ball is spotted at the place of the incident.

If the ball touches the ground, the ball will be spotted from the same location.

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Play at the Center

A snap from the center can be done from under the legs or from the side. However, the player catching the snap cannot immediately pass the ball back to the center. The center player must take one step forward to receive a pass from behind, or take a step backwards to accept a hand-to-hand pass.

A pass can be made from the center to any player of the offensive team. Before the snap takes place, any of the offensive players are free to move around. However, when the snap is taking place, all players, except one, have to remain still. The one player may move backwards or parallel to the scrimmage line.

Running and Passing

Any player who receives a snap or a pass can run with the ball towards the opponent's end zone.

The first pass of a play has to be a forward pass to a player behind the scrimmage line. After this, pass throws or hand offs can be made to a player backwards.

Double passing is not allowed unless the second pass is from behind the scrimmage line.

Receiving the Ball

An offensive player who runs out of the boundary on purpose cannot re-enter the field till a dead ball occurs. However, if a player goes out of the boundary due to contact with an opponent, she can return to play immediately.

If a defender pulls out the flag of the receiver before she catches the ball, the defender will be flagged for an illegal move. However, play shall continue till a player of the defense touches the receiver.

Both, the players of the offense and defense can attempt to catch a pass. However, intentional aggressive contact like shoving and pushing will be considered illegal. If both players make the catch, the ball will be declared dead, and the offense will get possession of the ball. This will be determined by the official referee.

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Challenging the Quarterback

Any player who wants to challenge the quarterback has to be within one yard of the scrimmage line at the time of the snap. The player can move directly towards the quarterback, as long as she is not forcefully pushing through other opponents to get to the quarterback. While moving through opponents, a player can use her hands; however, the hands cannot go above the neck.

Any number of players can challenge the quarterback. These players can jump to block the throw; however, they cannot touch the quarterback's arm while doing so.

If the defender leaves her position before the snap, she can return to her position to then legally challenge the quarterback, as long as play has not already begun.

Rule Violations

Jumping and diving to move the ball towards the end zone is not permitted.

No player is allowed to come onto the field after play has started. Such action will be penalized.

Any clarification about any aspect of the game has to be done by the head coach immediately after the particular play. Any delays will be penalized.

Snatching the ball from a runner is illegal.

Neither the players or coaches are allowed to challenge the calls of a referee.

A personal foul will always take precedence over an impersonal one.

The game cannot finish with a defense penalty, unless the offensive team rejects the penalty.

If a team calls for a timeout when they have none left, their request will be acknowledged, but they might be penalized by the referee for this.

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Poor Sportsman Conduct: 10 yards from play.

Delaying the Game: 5 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Incorrect Equipment: 5 yards from the line of scrimmage and the loss of a down.

Illegal Throw: 5 yards from the point of incidence.

Extra Players on the Ground: 5 yards from the line of scrimmage.

False Start: 5 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Illegal Offensive Blocking: 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Protecting the Flags: 10 yards from the place of the foul.

Illegally Participating: 5 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Offside: 5 yards from play.

Illegal Contact: 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Holding Offensive Player with Ball: 10 yards from the place of the foul.

With this guide, I hope that you are now better informed about what powder puff football is all about, and that you are able to enjoy this sport to its fullest. Best of luck!