A co-ed game of flag football being played at University of Texas.
|Team members||2 teams of 4-11|
|Type||Outdoor, indoor, team sport, ball game, Full-contact|
|Country or region||Worldwide|
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.
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 CFL size, NFL size (120 yards long by 53 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.
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 has a strong amateur following and several national and international competitions each year sponsored by various associations.
The majority of adult flag football leagues are organized by recreation departments of cities and municipalities, across all 50 states in America. Pickup games are common, as flag football is first and foremost a recreational sport. Flag football tournaments are held to boost competitive play. Every Memorial Day weekend in Roswell, NM. Hike it & Spike it 4-on-4 flag football has almost 600 teams playing in 42 divisions. Young, old, male and female are all welcome in the alien city.
The United States Flag and Touch Football League (USFTL) has a number of smaller organizations spread out over the US. Located in Ohio, this league supports a number of teams from the Mid Atlantic, NorthEast, and Midwest states. On the west coast XFLAGFOOTBALL has over 15 leagues throughout Southern California and Hawaii. In the south, FlagFootballX hosts many of the largest 5on5 cash tournaments, located in Dallas, TX. Texan Flag Football hosts many large tournaments and leagues in the Houston area as well. TAAF hosts a yearly 8on8 State Championship at a rotating location throughout Texas and a couple other events throughout the year. Flag lists all of Texas and the bordering states tournaments in one location to browse but does not host their own events.
In the Midwest, Timeout Flag Football league has an outdoor 4 v 4 session every Spring, Summer, and Fall and attracts 20 or more teams each session to participate in Recreational and Competitive divisions.
i9Sports a youth sports league franchise business in the U.S., is one of the country's largest providers of flag football leagues for boys and girls ages 3-14. Flag football participation has increased in the past decade while participation in tackle football among kids under age 14 has declined amid growing safety concerns from parents. National Flag Football is the country's largest youth flag football organization, with leagues in six states and over 15, 000 kids participating. The NFL conducts their own Youth World Championship for children 12-14 years of age. Held in different nations around the world. It is five man no contact football played between ten countries. Previous NFL Flag Football World Championships have been held in Beijing, Cologne, Mexico City, Tokyo, Toronto, and Vancouver. The NFL has also at times sanctioned "Air It Out" competitions aimed primarily at its fans in which tournament-winning teams were allowed to compete against retired NFL All-Pros. "Air It Out" has now been rebranded as "Let It Fly" a nationwide tour operated by North American Sports Group. Many universities around the continent have flag football divisions and leagues.
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.
Flag football competition in the United Kingdom is organized by the BAFA Community 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. 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.
In Germany, both 5 vs 5 and 9 vs 9 are played. While the former is played with no contact in a wide range of leagues and ages, the latter is played as per the above-mentioned "contact" rules, with blocking to the chest being allowed. Most teams playing 9 vs 9 Flag Football are organized into two conferences within the DFFL (Deutsche Flag Football Liga) and compete for the DFFL Bowl.
In Korea, the biggest tournament is the National Flag Football Tournament held by the Korean Flag Football Federation (KFFF). It attracts up to 20 teams, from middle school students to adults.
In Indonesia, there is the Indonesian Flag Football Association, or IFFA. IFFA was established on February 14, 2009 as a continuation of its predecessor, the Indonesian Flag Football League, that had been defunct since 2001.
In Israel, Flag Football is organized and governed by American Football in Israel (AFI). Over fifty teams play in leagues for adult men and women, as well as youth. The men's league plays 6 vs 6, with contact. Men's teams compete for the Holyland Bowl Championship. Women and youth leagues play 5 vs 5, non-contact, and both the Men's and Women's Israel National Teams compete in international 5 vs. 5 tournaments.
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.