Drew Brees wants to “save the game of football” with flag football

Getty Images

A bunch of retired guys played flag football in San Jose last night, in hopes of creating a product someone will watch on television.

But Saints quarterback Drew Brees is aiming even higher with his attempt to popularize the safer version of his sport.

According to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, Brees is launching a co-ed youth flag football enterprise called the Football ‘N’ America League with an eye toward the future of the game.

“I think that this has the opportunity to really save the game of football, honestly,” Brees said. “I think we’re filling a void that is much-needed.

“We felt like, you know what, we have the opportunity here to really create what will be the premier youth co-ed flag football league in America.”

Brees said he came upon the idea while coaching a kids team in San Diego the last few offseasons. The league will begin in New Orleans and around Louisiana this fall, before expanding to other states next year.

Brees played flag football as a kid in Texas and didn’t play tackle until his freshman year in high school And he’s turned out OK. But now that he has four kids, he’s even more sure of the need for such programs.

“I would not let my kids play tackle football right now, because I don’t think that’s necessary, and I don’t think it’s as fun at this level, and I just think there’s too much risk associated with putting pads on right now at this age,” Brees said. “So how can I still allow them to enjoy the game and learn about the game and develop a passion for the game and enjoy everything it has to offer? Well, flag football.

“I think that flag football is the perfect alternative to the parents who have concerns about concussions and the injuries around football. Because you’re still able to enjoy the game of football, but in a very fun, safe and yet competitive environment. And you can still learn all the same life lessons and values from a game of flag as you would tackle.”

Between concussion concerns and the cost of equipment and insurance, it’s possible that the move toward flag football becomes a trend anyway. But while Brees is getting in this is as a business venture, he also raises some valid points, and his support can only help the movement.

42 responses to “Drew Brees wants to “save the game of football” with flag football

  1. The whole development model needs to change – it doesn’t even have to be flag football per say. Stop having 8-year-olds slam into each other, while being coached by barbaric old fat guys who got cut from thier JV teams.

  2. I think I suited up with pads and tackling drills when I was 8. Looking back it was probably funny to watch. But I agree with Brees on this. People are bigger, and they run faster, which means there’s a lot more force being applied to young people whose bodies aren’t necessarily built for it. But you can learn the team approach, the value of commitment, and the mechanics of the game without that risk.

    I’d support it. I actually support it more than I support the retiree version. Not sure what they’re looking to accomplish there.

  3. Brilliant idea. With the safety concerns from parents, I can definitely see this taking off. If the kids excel in flag football, at least they will have some fundamentals down should they enter into tackle football at a later time.

  4. Disgusting. Mr Brees this is contributing to the downfall on the game of football. No big hits, can’t touch a wideout or a quarterback, now you think flag football is the future, just remove tackling? Why would I watch that over rugby?

  5. Save the game of football with flag football.

    Drew should consult with the Colts for their expertise.

  6. Totally agree with Drew. No way my kids are playing tackle before high school. But they love playing flag. And between that and Madden, they have an amazing understanding of the game. If they want to play tackle, they will be able to pick up the physical part no problem.

  7. Makes sense. No need to have these kids slamming into each other and causing bodily damage so early on in their development. Learn the game, the technique, the fundamentals at a young age, then put the pads on when they’re in high school.

  8. I played one game of flag football when I was young. After the first few plays we all discovered it was much easier to remove the flag if you tackled the guy first.

  9. BRAVO Drew Brees!

    Watch what happens when all High Schools and Middle Schools drop Football 100% for INSURANCE REASONS.

    Football will become 100% CLUB (signing waiver, no school affiliation)

    Flag is a great way to keep it going.

  10. Yes because no one ever gets hit by accident or falls and hits their head in flag football. hey why not just eliminate the actual sport and just use the Madden game? It’s so life-like now anyway. That way it ensure NO ONE will get hurt!!

  11. Eventually the NFL will use a similar concept…touch sensors on uniforms and helmets a designated (zone) on the body will be assigned to the QB/WR/HB and the defense will have to (hit/touch) that area for the down….#nfl2027

  12. Batters in baseball risk death if they get hit in the head by a fastball, let’s remove pitching from baseball and just let every batter line up and play tee ball. It’s for the kids.

  13. If kids are forced to choose between flag football or being a stoner, most of them will choose stoner. Way to go Brees.

  14. Too bad they didn’t televise that game last night, I would love to see T.O and Vick back in action

  15. Dodgeball and tag are already banned in many schools. Why can’t we just have a sport where we hug and express our feelings. Then maybe the military will adapt this trend and we can become one big nation of wussies

  16. Football can’t escape from being a violent sport with concussions. Sad but true. Why not consider an alternate sport like ultimate frisbee (aka frisbee football)?

  17. kayakattack says:
    Jun 28, 2017 10:35 AM
    The whole development model needs to change – it doesn’t even have to be flag football per say. Stop having 8-year-olds slam into each other, while being coached by barbaric old fat guys who got cut from thier JV teams.
    —————————————————————-

    Very well said! Especially the part about the coaches. I go watch my nephews play and their coaches who are screaming stupid crap the whole time never even played on our highschool teams.

  18. I loved playing flag football as a kid. Our “regular” football coach was a psychopath who regularly grabbed kids by their facemasks and slapped them. It wasn’t worth the trouble to me to play as our high school team was always mediocre. They finally canned the jerk after one too many lawsuits. Football is the ultimate team sport and flag football is an excellent way to introduce the greatest game to children.

  19. Without a doubt 100% correct. So many kids would find out the enjoyment of playing on a football team. I played in HS and college (and a rinky dink, dangerous, so called ‘semi pro’ crap) and I realize kids need to develop skills and technique to make them a better and safer player. Don’t start hitting until you are in the 9th grade.

    The only ones who start huffing and puffing and sticking their man boobs out about it is the high school hero who really never did much of anything and is frustrated with himself so he needs to channel this through kids.

  20. Nice idea (that probably already exists) but you know Drew is only in it to make a buck.

    Most overrated player of all time.

  21. Great idea Drew! My son didnt play tackle until soph year of high school. he’s playing in college now..
    His two teammates who played tackle from 9 yrs old and on.. both of them barely made it thru their senior seasons..their bodies had broken down.

  22. SparkyGump says:
    Jun 28, 2017 1:49 PM
    I loved playing flag football as a kid. Our “regular” football coach was a psychopath who regularly grabbed kids by their facemasks and slapped them. It wasn’t worth the trouble to me to play as our high school team was always mediocre. They finally canned the jerk after one too many lawsuits. Football is the ultimate team sport and flag football is an excellent way to introduce the greatest game to children.

    —————————————-

    It wasn’t worth your time playing because your team was mediocre? Sounds like a typical excuse for guys who don’t play. It’s fine if someone doesn’t play football but your reasoning is weak.

  23. Maybe he is right. What I would expect to see is that football would become a game of only skill players. The fast and quick kids would play and keep playing later. The kids who were a bit slower but tougher would lose interest early in life and not return. Big slower guys wouldn’t play as youths and might not be interested later. It could result in adult flag leagues of just fast/quick guys. Not interesting.

    btw – I played many years of football through age 20 and was never injured at all, but did break my thumb playing flag football (while reaching for a flag) later on.

  24. We had flag football in college intramurals, usually 4 games going on at a time .
    The ambulance used to make an appearance just about every day. The games get as ruff as you let them become.

  25. Everyone’s body will break down over time and we will all eventually die. The “experts” would say life is too dangerous and we shouldn’t participate. Millions of kids have played football over the decades. Where are all these ex-players with brain damage? These same experts will eventually say that flag football is too dangerous. Teach your kids to be active and enjoy life and not live in fear.

  26. Eagerly awaiting the Amazon stream of NFL Thursday Night Flag Football.

    It would probably be a better game than the current fare.

  27. They better wear helmets. I’ve seen some nasty head on collisions in youth flag football. Kids running patterns across the middle and running full speed into each other. Flag football without helmets is worse than tackle football with helmets.

  28. rutchaser says:
    Jun 28, 2017 4:30 PM
    SparkyGump says:
    Jun 28, 2017 1:49 PM
    I loved playing flag football as a kid. Our “regular” football coach was a psychopath who regularly grabbed kids by their facemasks and slapped them. It wasn’t worth the trouble to me to play as our high school team was always mediocre. They finally canned the jerk after one too many lawsuits. Football is the ultimate team sport and flag football is an excellent way to introduce the greatest game to children.
    —————————————-
    It wasn’t worth your time playing because your team was mediocre? Sounds like a typical excuse for guys who don’t play. It’s fine if someone doesn’t play football but your reasoning is weak.

    ———————————————

    No, it wasn’t worth it to play for a psychopath. Your reading comprehension skills are weak.

  29. I don’t know the exact numbers but a lot of people who end up playing beyond high school football never played the game prior to high school. I myself never put on a pair of pads until my freshman year of high school but played college ball. I played pick up with my friends and understood the game.

    Youth football is dumb those kids look like bobble head dolls out there running around spearing each other. No need for it mostly risk almost no reward.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!