Girls Flag Football on the Rise

  • The NFL and Nike are pouring money into high school girls flag football programs.
  • Though participation in tackle football has declined in the last decade, it is still the most popular high school sport.
The NFL and Nike are looking to bring flag football into the fore.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The NFL and Nike are partnering to boost participation in a less physical version of football, and they hope to bring in a new pool of potential players. 

The NFL and Nike are offering donations of up to $100,000 in products to state athletic associations that provide or pilot girls’ flag football programs.

Several teams are joining the effort, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, and Atlanta Falcons supporting the creation of girls’ flag football leagues in their local areas.

But there’s a long way to go before girls’ flag football participation reaches the same numbers as boys’ tackle football.

  • Over one million U.S. high school boys played tackle football in the 2018-19 school year.
  • 11,200 girls suited up for flag football in the same year.

Despite still being the most popular high school sport, football may be in need of a re-engagement with the youth.

Concerns over the long-term effects of concussions contributed to a 9% drop in high school football participation over the last decade — a loss of around 100,000 athletes.

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