Admit it: you’re a bit jealous of your basketball-loving brethren getting a second helping of ’90s nostalgia via the new Big3 basketball league. That startup hauls boy band-era icons like Allen Iverson out of grainy YouTube videos and back onto the court, and it’s already a measurable success.
The same isn’t quite possible in the NFL; the last thing anyone wants to see, or do, is a league full of 40-something players clonking into each other at one-quarter speed. But there’s a loophole! Flag football allows players to tap back into their skills without as much possibility of bone-crushing collision, and we’ve now got a star-driven league on the horizon.
The American Flag Football League kicks off Tuesday night with an inaugural game in San Jose, California, with the goal of launching a full-scale tournament in 2018. And players including Michael Vick, Terrell Owens, and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson are already on board. While they may not play much (if at all) their plan is to show a future for ex-footballers who’ve seen their NFL days conclude.
Here’s Vick on his rationale for connecting with the new league:
“When I think about football in the future for guys who want to further their career, this could be an opportunity for them,” Vick said. “They could get enjoyment and fulfillment out of the flag league. I just wanted to be one of the first pioneers being involved.”
The rules of this flag football league are familiar: seven-on-seven teams, 25 yards for a first down, no more than one lateral per play. Games are 60 minutes, with a clock that runs continuously except at the end of each half. No blocking and no kicking are permitted, and fumbles are a dead ball at the spot of the drop. Touchdowns under 50 yards are six points; anything over is seven points. Teams can go for one, two or three points after a touchdown.
Here’s a hype video of the game in action, or at least of practice:
The inaugural game will feature former 49er (and T.O. antagonist) Jeff Garcia as color commentator. This could be a lot of fun, if only to see some beloved legends throwing and catching a few balls one more time.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.