The story first appeared on nyjetsinuk.com
The off-season is a time for many intriguing storylines, and one has caught my interest and delight in equal measure. Two NFL teams, the New York Jets and the Chicago Bears, will host a girls’ flag football league in London this spring.
NFL UK has already seen tremendous success with its flag football program with 476 schools participating in the touchless version of American football. Over 28,000 primary and secondary school boys and girls are now playing flag football across 26 regions of the UK.
And now the Jets and Bears are committed to promoting the sport of American football in Britain by hosting a 12-team tournament in west London schools with girls aged 12-14. And while this will be a fun and rewarding experience for all involved, bragging rights will also be at stake; The league will be split into two conferences with six teams representing the Jets and six representing the Bears.
I love watching little kids play flag football. It’s a great entry point into the sport and one my own son George did when he was playing for the Kent Exiles when he was 13. He transitioned from quarterback at flag to the kitted version of the game; He represented Great Britain and later played for the NFL Academy, which helped him win an athletic scholarship [BD1] at the University of Ottawa in Canada.
Each year I attend the NFL’s Flag Championship and find the whole event very entertaining and a great way to attract new fans to the sport we all love. Last summer’s tournament winners – Little Ealing Primary School – represented Britain at the Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas. But every kid and team seemed to be having fun, even though there could only be one champion to emerge from Loughborough.
And thanks to the Jets and Bears, more girls are now being introduced to American football and gaining insight and benefits the sport has to offer. Women’s football is thriving in this country, with the UK national team winning a silver medal at last summer’s World Cup. More and more girls playing the sport can only be a good thing at all levels of the game.
Such commitment to Girls Flag is nothing new for the Jets and they should be applauded for their commitment to growing the game on both sides of the Atlantic. The Jets have their own Girls Flag program in New Jersey, which started in 2021 and has expanded to Long Island and Upstate New York, encompassing more than 100 schools. Additionally, they have sponsored a league in Manhattan that has grown to 62 teams — more than the boys’ tackle programs.
The Jets and Bears NFL Girls Flag Tournament is April 17th through May 22nd, and whoever comes out on top, I know that… everyone who attends is going to have a blast, and NFL aside -Become a fan.