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Flag Football

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For those who love rigorous activity but who don't want risk playing contact football, flag football is a great alternative. It offers all the fun and excitement of football with significantly less chance of injury. This makes it an ideal for men, women, and children who love the rewards of playing outdoor sports.

The game of football first grew in popularity around the middle of the 19th century. The first official college game was played in 1869 by Rutgers and Princeton. Coming along a few decades later, flag football teams began to organize shortly after World War I, and many early players were returning soldiers. Another common name for flag football is touch football.

Flag football is so popular in the United States that there are tournaments all over the country, which include college teams as well as teams consisting of children or adults. National champions are crowned every year at several levels. It is estimated that approximately 20 million people play flag football.

In the last couple of decades, professional flag football leagues have emerged, and, by 1999, a six-team professional league established a traveling schedule in the north. While professional team organizations have not yet taken root in the sporting consciousness, it is expected that more professional leagues will emerge.

Playing Flag Football
Flag football is usually played in parks or fields where there is room to run. Many teams and local leagues work with city, county, or state recreational facilities to secure sites for a schedule of games. Most flag football teams do not require participants to "try out," but instead welcome all comers. Professional teams are, of course, more selective.

The rules of flag football are both similar and very different from those of contact football. The game is much more structured and specifically geared towards fun without injury. To start the game, each team is expected to be able to field five players with two on the sidelines. Typical games last 44 minutes instead of one hour, but the game is divided into two 22 minute halves with a short break in between.

Unlike contact football, flag football has a mercy factor so that, if the losing team falls 19 points behind, the game can be stopped. Scoring is similar to that of contact football, but there are some differences. For example, a touchdown awards gives a team six points, but the extra point is never kicked and may be tried from a number of different areas. The point after can earn the team up to three points depending on which line of scrimmage is used. A safety earns the team two points.

Flag Football: Rules and Equipment
Flag football includes penalties for fouls, officials, and different sized footballs, depending on the age of the players. Football gear must meet strict guidelines to protect the safety of the players. One of the major differences between flag football and contact football is that defensive players are not allowed to grasp or hold a runner while he or she is attempting to grab the runner's flag.

Flag football is the kind of game that anyone can play from young children to seniors to persons with disabilities. It's geared to fun and meeting a challenge, but without the need for padding or helmets. Getting involved with flag football is a great way to meet people who want exercise and fun all in one great package.

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