Flag football

Last updated
Flag Football
Flagfootballut.jpg
A game of flag football being played at the University of Texas.
Highest governing body
First played
Characteristics
Contact Limited
Team membersTwo teams of 4-10
Type
Equipment Ball, flag
Venue Football field
Presence
Country or regionWorldwide
Olympic No
Paralympic No
World Games Yes, 2022 invitational sport

Flag football is a variant of American football where, instead of tackling players to the ground, the defensive team must remove a flag or flag belt from the ball carrier ("deflagging") to end a down. The sport has a strong amateur following and several national and international competitions each year sponsored by various associations.

Contents

In flag football, contact is limited between players. The international governing body for the sport is the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). In 2022, flag football was shortlisted as a proposed discretionary event for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

History

The creation of the game of Flag Football can be attributed to Porter Wilson, who was the man who invented flag-a-tag belts & flags used as equipment [1] [2] [3] to play the sport.[ citation needed ]

The best available records to date point to the early 1940s during World War II as the sport's starting point. [4] [5] The game began as a recreational sport created for American military personnel to help them stay fit but was designed in a way that would help prevent them from becoming injured during wartime. At the time it was called "Touch and Tail football", which then became "flag football" after the war ended. [6]

The first known recorded history of flag football can be traced to Fort Meade, Maryland, USA, which is now generally accepted as the sport's birthplace. The first national flag football organization, the National Touch Football League, was formed in the 1960's in St. Louis, Missouri. Since 1971, the league has had a national championship game. [7]

Basic rules

The specific rules of flag football vary widely by league, though all share in common their replication of the rules of traditional US-American football with tackling replaced by flag-pulling.

Traditional American football rules are often eliminated or modified to reflect the more recreational nature of the game, the desire to avoid physical contact and injury, and the generally smaller number of participating players per side.

Variations

Flag football is sometimes played on sand. Japanese team on Beach Flag Football XOKA5210bs (15749928216).jpg
Flag football is sometimes played on sand.

Chiefly, because there is no dominant sanctioning organization for the sport, the game has mutated into many variations: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, and 4 players on each side; coed or single-gender; with kicking and punting and with point-after conversions (including some with 1, 2, and 3 point tries) or without; and field sizes that vary from full Canadian Football League (CFL) size, National Football League (NFL) size (120 yards long by 5313 yards wide), to fields a third that size.

An important distinction is whether linemen are allowed to catch passes ("Eligible Linemen") or, as in the NFL / CFL, are not allowed to do so ("Ineligible Linemen"). Flag (and touch) football may also be divided into "contact" or "non-contact", depending on whether or not blocking is allowed; if allowed, blocking is usually restricted to the chest. [8]

The ability or inability for the quarterback to advance the ball past the line of scrimmage (LOS) by running is another rule subject to variation by league.

The sport is also played on surfaces other than a traditional grass football field, including on sand beaches; beach flag football has previously featured as a discipline at the Asian Beach Games. [9]

IFAF Flag Football World Championship

The IFAF Flag Football World Championship is normally conducted every two years.

IFAF Flag Football World Championship 2021

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) had selected Israel to host the Flag Football World Championships for 2021 IFAF Flag Football World Championship with World Games places up for grabs. The Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem, was originally scheduled to stage the men's and women's events, however, due to expected high winds the games were played at Teddy Stadium.

An IFAF event record of 39 men's and women's teams combined, spanning 22 countries, competed at the tournament in Israel. Normally conducted every two years, Denmark was scheduled to host the 2020 edition only for it to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States retained their men's and women's titles at the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Flag Football Championships in Jerusalem. The US fought back in both finals, against Mexico to successfully defend their world crowns.

We love the game of American football and are so proud to see the sport’s popularity continue to grow internationally in its various forms, including flag football... [10]

Robert Kraft, New England Patriots owner and Kraft Group chairman and CEO, International Federation of American Football News, 15 March 2021

Women's gold

Against Mexico in the women's gold-medal match, the Americans scored 12 unanswered points in the second period to seal a 31-21 victory. In the semi-finals the US beat Austria 33-6, and Mexico beat Brazil 47-6 to reach the final.

I'm extremely proud of our women coming together...They were dedicated to the mission at hand, and they succeeded.

US head coach, Chris Lankford

Men's gold

The US Mens team too rallied from behind against Mexico to a 44-41 victory and retain their world title. A 35-6 win over Panama sent the US through to the final, and Mexico beat Italy 36-35 to join them in the tournament's showpiece contest. [11]

Mexico played extremely well, but through the entire process our team made a statement...They represented their country, the programme, themselves, and their families well and I’m proud of them.

US head coach, Bryan Garcia

Other nations

Flag of Austria.svg Austria defeated Brazil 26-13 to win the women's bronze medal.

Flag of Panama.svg Panama edged out Italy 45-40 in the men's third-place playoff.

Medal table

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1Flag of the United States.svg  United States 5106
2Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 3104
3Flag of France.svg  France 1034
4Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 1001
5Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 0426
6Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 0213
7Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 0202
8Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 0022
9Flag of Panama.svg  Panama 0011
Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand 0011
Totals (10 entries)10101030

Olympics

In July 2022, the National Football League (NFL) and the IFAF partnered on a bid for flag football to be included as an optional event during the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent stated that the sport was "the future of American football", as it was inclusive and had fewer barriers to access. [12] The NFL had sponsored the inclusion of flag football as an invitational event during that month's 2022 World Games—a multi-sport event featuring sports and disciplines not currently contested at the Olympics—in Birmingham, Alabama. The men's tournament was won by the United States, and the women's tournament by Mexico. [13] [14] In August 2022, flag football was shortlisted as one of nine sports advancing to the next phase of the bid process. [15]

North America

Children playing the sport in Mexico 04142012Infantil290.JPG
Children playing the sport in Mexico

NFL Flag

The National Football League and its teams have promoted and sponsored flag football leagues in the United States as a youth sport under the branding NFL Flag; in 2020, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson became a chairman and co-owner of NFL Flag, as part of efforts by the NFL to expand its promotion of the sport into other territories. The program has also placed a particular focus on expanding women's flag football, due to gridiron football having predominantly been played by men. [16] [17]

American Flag Football League

On June 28, 2017, the inaugural game for the newly formed American Flag Football League was played. [18] The league plans to launch eight league-owned teams for 2018. [19]

Canadian Flag Football League

The Canadian Flag Football League (CFFL) was established in 2019 and runs Canada's CFFL National Championship. [20] The league is affiliated with Football Canada, the national governing body for football in Canada and its variants. The winners of the CFFL National Championship also gain the opportunity to represent Canada in international competition.

The league's major objective is to help integrate existing adult flag leagues on a nationwide basis. Depending on the region, teams compete in their Regional Championships, either Eastern, Western, or Central. The top two teams from each division will advance to the national championship.

There are three divisions for the CFFL: male, female, and mixed.

Varsity sport

America

In May 2020, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), in partnership with the NFL, announced the addition of flag football as a varsity sport for female student-athletes. [21] The NAIA became the first collegiate governing body to sanction the sport at the varsity level.

Women's flag began during the 2020–21 season as an emerging sport with at least 15 teams, and the NAIA and NFL also expected an upgrade of the sport to an invitational level sport by 2022 with at least 25 teams. [22]

International

Player at the point of taking other player's flag at a game at Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City. 03092012Borrego plata42.jpg
Player at the point of taking other player's flag at a game at Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City.

International Woman's Flag Football Association

The International Woman's Flag Football Association, otherwise known as the IWFFA, hosts 8 on 8 flag football tournaments and flag football trainings across the world with participants from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Scotland and several other nations. The organization is the largest organization for women and girls in the sport of flag football. The most active tournament is held each February in Key West, Florida, called the Kelly McGillis Classic where over 90 women and girls teams participate in 8 on 8, semi - blocking contact flag football. There are no restrictions to for girls and women to play.

International Federation of American Football

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) organizes the IFAF Flag Football World Championship every two years since 2002.

International Flag Football Festival

The International Flag Football Festival (IFFF) organizes the World Cup of Flag Football featuring teams from the United States, Mexico and several other nations.

United Kingdom

Flag football competition in the United Kingdom is 5-a-side and organized by The British American Football Association (BAFA). At a senior level as of 2021, there are fifty eight teams divided into six divisions, Highland (North Division), Northern (West Division), Southern (East Division), Northern (East Division), Southern (Wales Division), and Southern (West Division) [23] with the top teams qualifying for playoffs at the end of the season. As of 2021 the league will also run The Youth Flag Football League (YFFL) [24] and organize teams competing at under 17, under 14, and non-competitive under 11. [25] [26] Flag matches in the UK are played with five players on each side with no contact, and are officiated according to the IFAF flag football rules with a few minor variations. [27] The U17s and U14s compete in the National Youth Flag Football League, which runs from April to August, with teams battling it out to qualify for National Finals Day and ultimately be crowned National Champions.

The U11s take part in various regional festivals throughout the year. [28]

BAFA National Flag finals

[29]

Under 14s
2021South Coast Spitfires4420Leicester Huntsmen
2022Houghton Bears3427Leicester Huntsmen
Under 17s
2021South Coast Spitfires2018Coventry Cougars
2022Nuneaton Jaguars198Northants Titans
Mixed Adult
2022London Smoke4233Cardiff Hurricane
Adult Division 1
2022Reading Devils5227Swansea Hammerheads
2021 Final Standings
U14sU17s
1. South Coast Spitfires1. South Coast Spitfires
2. Leicester Huntsmen2. Coventry Cougars
3. Chorley Buccanneers Cutlasses3. Waveney Wolves
4. London Blitz4. South London Renegades
5. Nuneaton Jaguars5. London Blitz
6. Solent Red Storm6. Brighton & Hove Scorpions
7. Houghton Bears
8. Chorley Buccaneers Blades

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Women's gridiron football</span>

Women's gridiron football, more commonly known as women's tackle football, women's American football, women's Canadian football, or simply women's football, is a form of gridiron football played by women. Most leagues play by similar rules to the men's game. Women primarily play on a semi-professional or amateur level in the United States. Very few high schools or colleges offer the sport solely for women and girls. However, on occasion, it is permissible for a female player to join the otherwise male team.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gridiron football</span> Team sport primarily played in the United States and Canada

Gridiron football, also known as North American football or, in North America, simply football, is a family of football team sports primarily played in the United States and Canada. American football, which uses 11-player teams, is the form played in the United States and the best known form of gridiron football worldwide, while Canadian football, featuring 12-player teams, predominates in Canada. Other derivative varieties include arena football, football for smaller teams, flag football and amateur games such as touch and street football. Football is played at professional, collegiate, high school, semi-professional, and amateur levels.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Football Canada</span>

Football Canada is the governing body for amateur gridiron football in Canada headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. Football Canada focuses primarily its own Canadian form of the sport, and is currently the world's only national governing body for Canadian football.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">International Federation of American Football</span> International sport governing body

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) is the international governing body of gridiron associations. The IFAF oversees the IFAF World Championship of American Football, which is held every four years. The IFAF became a provisionary member of SportAccord in 2003, and became a full SportAccord member in 2005. The organisation's head office is located in the French commune of La Courneuve, in the Île-de-France region.

IFAF Europe is the governing body of American football in Europe. It is a member of the International Federation of American Football. IFAF Europe replaced the European Federation of American Football (EFAF) in 2014.

The British American Football Association (BAFA) is the national governing body for the sport of American football and non-contact Flag Football in the United Kingdom since 1985. It is affiliated to the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). In 2010, they formed the BAFA National Leagues as the country's primary competition for contact football. Their flagship event is the annual Britbowl which is competed by the top two sides of the BAFANL Premier Division's.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American football in the United States</span> Most popular sport in the United States

American football is the most popular sport in the United States. The National Football League has the highest revenue and average attendance of any sports league in the world. In the United States the game is most often referred to as simply "football".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American football</span> Team field sport

American football, also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, the team with possession of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with the ball or passing it, while the defense, the team without possession of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs or plays; if they fail, they turn over the football to the defense, but if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs to continue the drive. Points are scored primarily by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

The BAFANL are the primary American football domestic League competition in Great Britain. The League is run by the British American Football Association to coordinate contact football within England, Scotland and Wales.

American football was featured in the Summer Olympic Games demonstration programme in 1904 and 1932. College football was played at the 1904 Olympics, which was played at Francis Field, but was, in reality, college teams playing each other as part of their regular seasons. The sport was eventually played officially as a demonstration sport only once, in 1932. Though American football has not been played in the Olympics since then, various American football players have participated in the Olympics. The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) oversees the IFAF World Championship, which is an international tournament, which itself is held every four years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canada men's national football team</span>

The Canada Men's National Football Team represent Canada in Senior Men's international gridiron football competitions. It is governed and managed by Football Canada and is recognized by the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). Football Canada is the governing body for amateur Canadian football, however, IFAF-sponsored games are played using American football rules. They competed for their first and only IFAF World Championship in 2011.

The Great Britain national American football team, known as the GB Lions represents the UK in international gridiron. It is controlled by the British American Football Association.

The Canada National Football Junior Team a.k.a. the Football Canada World Junior Team represent Canada in international gridiron football competitions. The football program is part of the football development program and is controlled by Football Canada and is recognized by the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). It is the premiere team in male development for the organization. While Football Canada is the governing body for amateur Canadian football, IFAF-sponsored games are played using American football rules. Team Canada first competed on the world stage in the NFL Global Junior Championship in 2000 with a championship victory over Team Europe. They competed for their first IFAF Junior World Cup in 2009.

The sport of American football is played in the United Kingdom in domestic and international levels. Domestic games in England. Scotland and Wales are operated by British American Football Association who run the BAFA National Leagues for Adult Contact football and British Universities American Football League for the University contact game. Games in Northern Ireland are structured by American Football Ireland who are based in the Republic of Ireland. The UK has played host to games in association with the Americans' National Football League (NFL), including four regular-season NFL games, as of 2021.

American football is a sport played at the amateur and international competition levels in Israel. The Israel Football League (IFL) is the highest level of competition in Israel, although there are multiple flag football leagues, a high school league and a youth league. All forms of American football in Israel are governed by American Football in Israel (IFL). As of February 2017, there are 1,350 active football players living in Israel.

The North American continent is the birthplace of several organized sports, such as basketball, charrería/rodeo, gridiron football, ice hockey, jaripeo/bull riding, lacrosse, ollamaliztl, mixed martial arts (MMA), racquetball, ultimate, and volleyball. The modern versions of baseball and softball, skateboarding, snowboarding, stock car racing, and surfing also developed in North America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Flag football at the 2022 World Games</span>

The flag football competition at the 2022 World Games took place in July 2022, in Birmingham, Alabama in the United States.

The Great Britain women's national American football team is the official American football senior national team of Great Britain.

References

  1. "US Patent for Flag football device Patent (Patent # 5,709,621)". patents.justia.com. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  2. "Flag Football Belt Device Patent Grant Wilson May 25, 1 [Wilson; Porter C.] - USPTO .report". uspto.report. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  3. "Flag football belt device". patents.google.com. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  4. "Academics, Physical Education, Course, Team-Sports, Flag Football" (PDF). Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  5. "Flag Football" (PDF). Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  6. "6 Things You Didn't Know About Flag Football". i9sports.com. i9sports.com. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  7. "When did flag football start in the United States?". idswater.com. 5 July 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  8. "Flag Football Plays - Lineman and Blocking". Best Flag Football Plays. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  9. "Phuket 2014 - Flag Football". Olympic Council of Asia . 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  10. "International American Football". Archived from the original on 2021-03-15. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  11. "United States retain titles at World Flag Football Championships". 8 December 2021.
  12. "IFAF partners NFL to launch flag football bid for Los Angeles 2028 inclusion". www.insidethegames.biz. 2022-07-13. Retrieved 2022-09-26.
  13. "World Games flag football medallists honoured at season-opening NFL game". www.insidethegames.biz. 2022-09-09. Retrieved 2022-09-26.
  14. "NFL partners with The World Games to add flag football in 2022". NFL.com. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  15. "Motorsport, cricket and karate among nine sports on shortlist for Los Angeles 2028 inclusion". Inside the Games. August 3, 2022. Retrieved August 4, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. "Women fueling flag football's surging popularity: 'It's accessible and inclusive'". Los Angeles Times. 2022-09-19. Retrieved 2022-09-26.
  17. NBC Sports. "Seahawks QB Russell Wilson becomes co-owner and chairman of NFL FLAG" . Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  18. Taylor, Tom (June 29, 2017). "Star-studded flag football league leans on NFL influences in debut". Sports Illustrated . Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  19. Rovell, Darren (May 18, 2017). "Michael Vick to play in trial game for American Flag Football League". ESPN . Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  20. "League - Football Canada". footballcanada.com. Football Canada.
  21. "NAIA to sponsor women's flag football with NFL partnership". ESPN. 4 May 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  22. Kerkhoff, Blair (4 May 2020). "With NFL's backing, women's college flag football will debut at NAIA schools in 2021". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  23. "National Flag Football League – 2021 schedule and alignments". Britishamericanfootball.org. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  24. "Youth Flag Football League – 2021 schedule and alignments". Britishamericanfootball.org. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  25. "BAFACL Flag South". BAFA Community Leagues. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  26. "BAFACL Flag North". BAFA Community Leagues. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  27. "BAFA Rules Committee - Flag football". British American Football Referees' Association. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  28. "Children's Flag". Britishamericanfootball.org. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  29. "South Coast Spitfires at the double at 2021 Youth Flag National Finals – British American Football".