Flag football

Flag football is a version of American football where the basic rules of the game are similar to those of the mainstream game (often called "tackle football" for contrast), but 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, and contact is not permitted between players; it will result in a penalty for the team that initiates it.

Flag Football
A co-ed game of flag football being played at University of Texas.
Team members2 teams of 4-11
Mixed genderYes
TypeOutdoor, indoor, team sport, ball game
EquipmentBall, flag
Venuefootball field
Country or regionWorldwide


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; without 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 53​13 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.[1]

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.


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

The sport has a strong amateur following and several national and international competitions each year sponsored by various associations.

North America

Children playing the sport in Mexico

On June 28, 2017 the inaugural game for the newly formed American Flag Football League was played. [2] The league plans to launch eight league-owned teams for 2018.[3]


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.

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

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


Flag football competition in the United Kingdom is 5-a-side and organized by the BAFA National Leagues. At a senior level as of 2011, it is played by fifteen teams divided into two regional conferences, North (Scotland), and South (England & Wales) with the top teams qualifying for playoffs at the end of the season. The league also organizes teams competing at youth and cadet levels.[4][5] 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.[6]

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 omitted, changed or simplified to reflect the more recreational nature of the game, desire to avoid physical contact and injury, and the generally smaller number of participating players per side.

See also


USFTL.com United States Flag & Touch Football League

  1. ^ "Flag Football Plays - Lineman and Blocking". Best Flag Football Plays. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  2. ^ Taylor, Tom (June 29, 2017). "Star-studded flag football league leans on NFL influences in debut". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Rovell, Darren (May 18, 2017). "Michael Vick to play in trial game for American Flag Football League". ESPN. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  4. ^ "BAFACL Flag South". BAFA Community Leagues. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  5. ^ "BAFACL Flag North". BAFA Community Leagues. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  6. ^ "BAFA Rules Committee - Flag football". British American Football Referees' Association. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
American Flag Football League

The American Flag Football League is a newly-formed professional flag football league started in 2017. The league was founded by Jeff Lewis in May 2017. Lewis spent nine months building the league, getting investors, setting the rules, and finding players and broadcasting partners. The league has signed a deal to air its games on the NFL Network.

American Football in Israel (organization)

American Football in Israel (AFI) is the governing body of all American football activities in Israel, including the Israel Football League and various flag football leagues, and is a member of the International Federation of American Football.

Beach flag football at the 2014 Asian Beach Games

Beach flag football competition at the 2014 Asian Beach Games was held in Phuket, Thailand from 12 to 14 November 2014 at Saphan Hin Sports Center.

Bernard Pierce

Bernard Hayward Pierce (born May 10, 1990) is a former American football running back. He played college football for Temple University. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Brandon Browner

Brandon Kemar Browner (born August 2, 1984) is a former American football cornerback. In 2005, Browner signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon State. Browner played four seasons with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL) where he was a three-time CFL All-Star and won a Grey Cup championship in 2008 before signing with the Seattle Seahawks before the 2011 season. After winning the Super Bowl with Seattle in 2013 and the New England Patriots in 2014, Browner became one of the few players to win two consecutive Super Bowls as a member of two teams. Browner is currently serving 8 years for attempted murder.

British American Football Association

The British American Football Association (BAFA) is the national governing body for the sport of American football in the United Kingdom. It is affiliated to the European Federation of American Football (EFAF). In 2010, they formed the BAFA Community Leagues as the country's primary competition for both contact and flag football.

BAFA member bodies:

BAFCA (British American Football Coaches Association)

BAFRA (British American Football Referees Association)

BUAFL (British Universities American Football League)Former Members:

BAFL (British American Football League) - split from BAFA in 2010, and ceased operations in the same year.

BYAFA (British Youth American Football Association) - dissolved 2007 and merged into BAFL

BSAFA (British Students American Football Association) - Disaffiliated 2007 leading to the foundation, by BAFA, of the BUAFL.

SGA (Scottish Gridiron Association)

City 6

The City 6 is an informal association of college athletic programs in the Philadelphia area. It is an inter-city intramural competition, but it is also used as a colloquial term to describe all the Division-I schools in the Philadelphia area.

The colleges in the City 6 are all of the Philadelphia Big 5 schools—La Salle University, Saint Joseph's University (SJU), Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Villanova University—along with Drexel University.

The City 6 Extramural Classic features the best intramural teams from each school competing against one another. The classic was founded in 1986 by representatives from Saint Joseph's and Temple. Games between the intramural programs are held at such locations as SJU's Hagan Arena, Penn's Franklin Field, and Villanova Stadium.The sports are flag football, volleyball, basketball, and softball. Each sport includes competition for men, women, and co-ed.Over 13,000 intramural participants have competed in City 6 events over the last twenty years.

Cumberland Panthers

The Cumberland Panthers are a Canadian football organization based in the Orleans area of Ottawa and the largest minor football organization in eastern Canada. The Cumberland Panthers were founded in 1993, starting out in the Mosquito level of the National Capital Amateur Football Association. Progressively, they have increased the number of teams being fielded as their players aged. In 1994, the organization added a team to compete in the Peewee level, followed by Tyke in 1996, and Bantam in 1997. The Panthers previously had three teams competing in the Ontario Provincial Football League in Varsity (Under-20) Junior Varsity (Under-17) and Bantam Varsity (Under-15) levels. In 2004, the Panthers fielded their first Junior Football team, in the Quebec Junior Football League, joining the Ottawa Sooners and Ottawa Junior Riders as the leagues entries from Ontario. The Cumberland Panthers organization also fields Girls' Touch Football teams, as well as Tyke and Mosquito Flag Football teams and a cheer squad. Various training programs are also offered, including Jr Panthers, for ages 5, 6 and 7 and the off-season Varsity training program for players age 15-19. The Panthers wear royal blue, silver, andwhite uniforms.

The Panthers currently use Millennium Sports Park as their home field.

Dead ball

Dead ball is a term in many ball sports in which the ball is deemed temporarily not playable, and no movement may be made with it or the players from their respective positions of significance. Depending on the sport, this event may be quite routine, and often occurs between individual plays of the game.

Gridiron football

Gridiron football, also known as North American football or, in North America, simply football, is a football sport 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 indoor football, football for smaller teams (most commonly eight players), and informal games such as touch and flag football. Football is played at professional, collegiate, semi-professional, and amateur levels.

The sport originated in the 19th century out of older games related to modern rugby football and soccer (association football). American and Canadian football developed alongside each other and were originally more distinct before Canadian teams adopted features of the American game. Both varieties are distinguished from other football sports by their use of hard plastic helmets and shoulder pads, the forward pass, the system of downs, a number of unique rules and positions, measurement in customary units of yards (even in Canada, which mostly metricated in the 1970s, yards are still used), and a distinctive brown leather ball in the shape of a prolate spheroid with pointed ends.

The international governing body for the sport is the International Federation of American Football (IFAF); although the organization plays all of its international competitions under American rules, it uses a definition of the game that is broad enough that it includes Canadian football under its umbrella, and Football Canada (the governing body for Canadian football) is an IFAF member.

Harry Coleman

Harry Corday Coleman (born November 10, 1985) is a former gridiron football linebacker, last with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. He played college football at LSU as a safety and was switched to linebacker during his senior year. He signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent, but was subsequently released by the team on July 21, 2010. In high school Coleman played football, basketball, and baseball. He was later re-signed by the Saints on August 14, 2010. Coleman would ultimately be released again before he ended up in the United Football League. He signed with the Edmonton Eskimos on May 9, 2012, but was released on June 23, 2012. In 2018, Coleman was a member of the amateur flag football team Fighting Cancer during the American Flag Football League's first US Open of Football. Fighting Cancer was crowned the America's Champions for winning the amateur branch of the tournament and faced the Professional Champion team, Godspeed, in the Ultimate Final, which they also won.

IFAF Flag Football World Championship

The IFAF Flag Football World Championship is the international championship in flag football, organized by International Federation of American Football. The men's and women's competitions are usually held in the same venue.

Jarrin Solomon

Jarrin Solomon (born 11 January 1986) is a Trinidadian track and field sprinter who specializes in the 400 metres. He was part of the Trinidad and Tobago team that won the bronze medal in the 4 × 400 m relay at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Solomon also competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics, where his 4 × 400 m team again won the bronze medal. He was also part of Trinidad and Tobago's 2014 Commonwealth Games 4 x 400 team, where they also won a bronze.His personal best on the 400 m track is 44.98 s, set in 2014.

Solomon is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States, where he attended La Cueva High School and the University of New Mexico. His father, Mike Solomon, is from Trinidad and was also a 400 m sprinter.In the summer of 2018, Solomon was a "flex" player for Godspeed, a flag football team made mostly of former professional American football players that participated in the American Flag Football League (AFFL). The team were crowned the champions of participating pro teams but lost in the final match to the amateur champion team.

Michael Griffin (American football)

Michael Devin Griffin (born January 4, 1985) is a former American football safety who played 10 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Texas. He was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

National Gay Flag Football League

National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL) is a nonprofit LGBT flag football league, currently comprising 200 teams in 24 leagues in the United States and Canada.

Nine-man football

Nine-man football is a type of American football played by high schools that are too small to field teams for the usual 11-man game. In the United States, the Minnesota State High School League, North Dakota High School Activities Association, and South Dakota High School Activities Association hold high-school state tournaments in nine-man football.

The size of the playing field is often smaller in nine-man football than in 11-man. Some states opt for a smaller, 80-yard-long by 40-yard-wide field (which is also used in eight-man and six-man); other states keep the field of play at the standard 100 yards long while reducing the width to 40 yards, some even play on a full-sized playing field (with the 53 1/3 yard-wide field). In games played on 80-yard fields, kickoffs take place from the 20-yard line rather than from the 40-yard line.

A similar nine-man modification of Canadian football is played on the Canadian standard 110-yard field by small schools in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta and for small community associations in British Columbia. It is the standard format of play for eight- and nine-year-olds. The format is similar for five-, six-, and seven-year-old flag football, where the field is reduced to 50 yards by 50 yards.

The rules require that the offense align four players in the backfield and five on the line of scrimmage. A standard I formation has a quarterback, a fullback, a tailback, and five linemen. Usually, the outside linemen are a tight end and a wide receiver, but the alignment varies by formation. The fourth player in the offensive backfield often plays as an additional wide receiver or tight end.

A common defensive formation is the 3-3-2, with three defensive linemen, three linebackers, and two defensive backs with one safety.

The games are frequently high-scoring because the number of players is reduced by more than the size of the field; thus, fast players usually find more open space to run within the field of play.

Some leagues, like the Sunday Football League in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have used nine-man football as a way of furthering their "Passion to Play". They play 16-game seasons and keep full statistics. Their format differs slightly in field size, but formations are similar with the exception of a "lurker" in the deep backfield. Typically, the lurker leads the team in interceptions and spies on the quarterback on deep passes.

In France, most competitions are played nine-man: games and leagues involving 19-year-old players or younger, division 3 (Le Casque d'Argent) and regional leagues. Blocking under the belt is strictly forbidden under nine-man French rules, but the field size remains the same as in standard 11-man American football.

The junior division (under 18s) of every state in Australia also play nine-man football. The game is played on a full-sized field, with modified timing rules (10-min quarters, running clock except the last 2 min of each half).

In Norway, division 1 games are traditional 11-man games, while division 2 games are nine-man football.

Italy, Poland and Argentina also have nine-man leagues.

In Germany, some lower youth classes play in nine-man leagues.

In Israel, the Israel Football League is a nine-man league.

Pop Warner Little Scholars

Pop Warner Little Scholars, commonly known simply as Pop Warner, is a nonprofit organization that provides activities such as American football, for over 425,000 youths aged 5 to 16 years old, in several nations. It is the largest youth football organization in the United States. In the 2010s, concern grew about the dangers of brain injury, including that from a steady diet of sub-concussive hits. There have been proposals to replace tackle football with flag football below certain ages.Its headquarters are in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Pop Warner Little Scholars is named after football coach Pop Warner, who heavily contributed to the organization in its early years.

Sport in Denmark

Sport in Denmark is diverse. The national sport is football with the most notable results being qualifying for the European Championships six times in a row (1984–2004) and winning the Championship in 1992. Other significant achievements include winning the Confederations Cup in 1995 and reaching the quarter final of the 1998 World Cup. Other popular sports include handball, cycling, sailing sports, badminton, ice hockey, swimming and recently also golf.

A few youths also play Basketball.

Sport is encouraged in school, and there are local sports clubs in all cities and most towns.

The national stadium for football is the Parken Stadium.

Sports in Washington, D.C.

Sports in the Washington, D.C. area include major league sports teams, popular college sports teams, and a variety of other team and individual sports. The Washington metropolitan area is also home to several major sports venues including Capital One Arena, RFK Stadium, FedExField, Audi Field, and Nationals Park.

Washington teams are widely known as some of the least successful in recent American sports, as prior to 2018, no Big Four team (the NFL's Washington Redskins, the NBA's Washington Wizards, MLB's Washington Nationals, and the NHL's Washington Capitals) had reached its sport's conference championship round since the Capitals advanced in the 1998 Stanley Cup playoffs, and no team had won a league championship since the Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI in 1992. However, D.C. United of Major League Soccer had won several league championships during the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2018, the Big Four streaks were broken when the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals. These teams are also known for having spectacular regular seasons followed by demoralizing playoff losses.

The area is home to two regional sports television networks, NBC Sports Washington, which is based in Bethesda, Maryland, and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

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