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NFL 5 on 5 Flag Football

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NFL Flag History



  • In the 1990s, when the NFL launched a global health and wellness initiative called Play Football, they had one goal: to make football accessible for all children—no matter their age, size, or gender. And this is where the idea for NFL FLAG began.


  • In 1994, the NFL officially kicked off its first youth camp series at the New England Patriots’ stadium, where they introduced the rules of flag football and taught children how to play. Shortly after, leagues began to pop up nearby in Massachusetts—and they quickly took off. By the early 2000s, youth athletes all over the U.S. were participating in NFL FLAG, from school programs to local park districts to Boys and Girls Clubs.


  • Today, with more than 500,000 participants, NFL FLAG continues to evolve. It’s a pathway for female athletes to play in college, as well as an outlet for tackle athletes to compete in the offseason. But as NFL FLAG grows, one thing stays the same: It’s a place for every boy and girl to play football.



While youth participation in sports has declined 13 percent over the last decade, flag football has become one the fastest growing youth sports in the country. In fact, the number of 6-to-12-year-olds playing has increased by 38 percent, to more than 1.5 million, since 2015. And NFL FLAG is leading the way as the largest flag football league in the U.S., with more than 1,600 leagues in 50 states.


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