ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Flag Football is NOT for Weenies

Updated on October 22, 2011

I always thought of flag football as being a weeniefied version of regular football - like powderpuff only with either men or women playing. There's no tackling, so how rough could it get, right? But after experiencing this game firsthand at age 50, surrounded by a bunch of 20-something Air Force women going against our newly formed Army squad, I was humbled. This is no sport for weenies.

Military men and women on deployments tend to look for outlets for stress, and flag football turns out to be one of the ubiquitous games on the various forward operating bases across Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait to accomplish just that. And even though tackling and blocking with the hands are a no-go, there is inevitable physical contact, often at the highest speeds.

The rules of the game are similar to tackle football, but the defense is tasked with grabbing the opponent's flag belt instead of tackling players to the ground. The ball is then downed wherever the de-flagging of the ball carrier occurred. The number of players on the field varies from 4- 9-people on a side. There can be kicking and punting or not; there are point-after conversions (including some with 1, 2, and 3 point tries) or not; and field sizes can be as large as a regular football field or much smaller depending upon the number of players on each side. In short, it is an adaptable team sport, and it can get dicey out there.

In flag football, the defensive and offensive linemen are not allowed to use their hands to block the opponent, but they can shuffle move their bodies as a unit to draw off the other lineman. The defensive players cannot impede a runner with their hands or bodies, but they can try to grab the flag without causing a foul. Offensive players are likewise not supposed to block defensive players using their hands in order to keep them from grabbing the flag.

Even with all those rules about blocking, it's really the grabbing part that becomes fairly violent. Taking hold of a moving target with small streamers flying out the back and sides at the hips is much harder than it appears at first glance. For whatever reason, those flag belts elude capture such that one must almost purposefully try to rip the pants off the opponent to assure that the flag is downed! I prefer to wear relatively tight-fitting shorts to avoid being "de-panted."

Because there are no pads or helmets, the risk of injury when one is run over or otherwise forced to go to ground is significant. The individual player should be in good physical condition with a fitness regimen that includes both cardio and weight training. Additionally, basic ball-handling skills for all players is necessary since even linemen are allowed to receive passes from the quarterback.

On the field of battle, playing defense for the Army team, I was tasked with shadowing the wide receiver on the opposing Air Force side. It was a good match-up. The Air Force woman was nothing short of a gazelle when she made her zig-zagging route toward the end-zone. But I was right there with her, step for step. The Air Force quarterback lobbed the ball high and into the corner....I jumped; the gazelle jumped; we collided, and I came up with the ball between my interception, but definitely a thwarted touchdown. I was elated and disappointed all at once because an interception could have won that game...but there's no crying in flag football.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 

      6 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      I remember playing flag football when I was in the Air Force. All those rules to prevent injury, and I don't think anyone made it through the season without getting hurt!

      I don't know if I could still play it. Injuries don't heal so quickly as they did in my twenties. Back then, I just wrapped my sprained ankle so tightly it couldn't bend, and went for it!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)