Flag football is one of the fastest growing youth and high school sports in the United States. Anytime athletes compete, there is going to be a quest for more competition. Naturally, the desire for more competition has given rise to flag football tournaments. Tournaments are held throughout the US, at all levels, from youth through college and even military.
Although similar to 7v7 competitions, most flag football tournaments allow both running and passing. Instead of downs being accomplished through touching the ball carrier, defenders must pull out the offensive player’s flag. Grabbing a flag is more difficult than simply laying a few fingers on the opponent, so there is more in the way of yards after the catch and exciting runs.
Another big difference between 7v7 and flag is that some flag events offer prize money to winners. Also, there are many more adult flag football events, whereas most 7v7 events are for youth and high school aged players.
Flag football is normally played in 4, 5, 7, 8 or 9 player varieties. There are all mens’, all womens’, and co-ed divisions and tournaments. Flag football is also an evolving high school sport, having achieved varsity status in many districts throughout the nation. In Florida, girls’ flag football has taken it a step farther, with a state championship tournament. Look to other states to follow suit.
There are hundreds of city parks and rec league tournaments, college intramural tournaments, and others scattered from coast to coast and beyond. There are also high level competitions, with teams of elite level athletes vying for a title, and getting attention from sports media types.
Biggest Flag Football Tournaments
Here are some of the biggest flag football tournaments in the country. You’ll want to catch one if it’s in your area.
2016 was the 46TH Annual USFTL Flag Football National Championship. The United States Flag and Touch Football League is the world’s largest flag football sanctioning body.
Plant City, FL (Otis M. Andrews Sports Complex & Ellis-Methvin Park)
Held in mid-January, the US Flag and Touch Football League National Championships includes 16 different divisions, encompassing everything from 4-on-4 Flag to 9-Man Ineligible Lineman Flag, from youth to masters (35+ years old), with mens, womens, and co-ed.
To ensure the sheer number of games doesn’t slow up the proceedings, the USFTL chose a facility with 33 fully lighted fields!
The USFTL both sanctions and hosts major flag football tournaments throughout the year.
Some of the larger ones still on the schedule for 2016 include:
2016 DMVFFL Annual Summer Ca$h Flag Football Tournament. Bowie, MD – Aug 20-21, 2016 (4v4, 5v5, 8v8, & 9v9)
DMVFFL Reach For The Beach NIT – Ocean City, MD – Oct. 3-4, 2016 – (8M, 7M, 5M, 4M)
2016 USFTL 42nd Annual State of Ohio Championships – Columbus, OH – Nov 7-8, 2016 – (8M, 8C, 5M) Ohio-centric, but 58 teams from OH, MI, KY, and PA showed up for the 2015 tournament.
Flag Football World Championship Tour
The 2016 FFWCT kicked off with the Flag Football Mayhem tournament in Spokane, WA on the weekend of June 10-12, and culminates with the USFTL World Championship Event January 2017 in Tampa, Florida. Although this is the first time the Spokane event has been part of the FFWCT, Mayhem has been held since 2012, with teams attending from as far away as Canada and California in 2015.
Other tournaments on the FFW Tour are:
ASC Fallen Warriors NIT – July 15-17, 2016 – JP Mosley Park – 1041 Millers Mill Rd. Stockbridge, GA. Over 150 teams will be playing in this tournament. This is also a USFTL tournament.
Rose Bowl Classic – July 15-17, 2016 – Pasadena, CA – Rose Bowl…. yes, THAT Rose Bowl! 150+ teams
Fast Action Nationals – Las Vegas, NV – August 6-7 – 50+ teams
Windy City Kickoff – Chicago, IL – August 27-28, 2016 – 100+ teams
For the complete FFWT schedule, see here: http://ffwct.com/
Other Notable FF Tournaments
FlagFootballX AT&T (Cowboy’s) Stadium Tournament – July 23 – 24 – Dallas, TX – Texas Stadium (5M, 5W, 5C, 5Y, 4Open)
If you’d love to get a taste of what it would be like to play in the NFL, register for this tournament. Teams are guaranteed at least 2 games in Texas stadium, on the very same field the NFL plays on.
Saturday’s prelim games are held at Eastern Hills High School – 5701 Shelton St, Fort Worth, TX The school’s Herman Clark Stadium holds 12,000.
Flag football has been around for decades, but the growing popularity of football in general, safety concerns surrounding tackle football, and the country’s love of competition have driven a surge in large flag football tournaments. These are some of the biggest, but let us know about any large tournaments we missed.