Youth flag football teams from across the United States had the opportunity to make their mark at the Phoenix Convention Center, home of the NFL Experience engineered by GMC, earlier this week as they completed in the NFL FLAG Championships at Super Bowl powered by USA Football.
Thirty-two teams competed in four divisions at the annual event with a winner crowned at each level: Ryan Football from Miami (9-10 coed); VXS Purple from Leesburg, Va., (10-11 coed); Tucson Turf from Tucson, Ariz., (13-14 boys); and the Steiner Ranch Cowboys from Austin, Texas (13-14 girls).
Teams qualified for the national championships by winning regional tournaments hosted by NFL clubs. In 2014, a record number of 250,000 boys and girls ages 5-17 were part of NFL FLAG powered by USA Football, a fun and dynamic non-contact football experience where kids can develop skills and learn lessons in teamwork, dedication and discipline.
Players and coaches arrived Saturday, Jan. 24, for a five-day trip to the Phoenix area to compete in the tournament. The stay included hotel, food, transportation and social events for all teams. Players and coaches also participated in the NFL Pro Bowl pre-game and halftime show, and participated in Super Bowl Media Day as part of the festivities. Flag teams had the opportunity to practice on Saturday and Sunday before taking the field to compete in the NFL FLAG Championships at Super Bowl.
"We are pleased to welcome talented NFL FLAG players from around the country to take part in their very own championship, just days before the NFL's championship," NFL Director of Youth and High School Football Roman Oben said. "NFL FLAG is a great way to learn the basics of our game in a fun, fast-paced environment, and we enjoyed watching these kids experience the excitement of Pro Bowl and Super Bowl while competing."
"USA Football congratulates all of our NFL FLAG teams that earned the right to compete for a national title this week," said Samantha Rapoport, USA Football's director of football development. "The excitement of watching these 32 teams compete in Phoenix was only surpassed by the enthusiasm shown and the fun being had by these young players themselves."
Every team who participated that earned young player who earned his or her way to Phoenix deserves
For the first time at the NFL FLAG national championships, all of the 32 qualifying teams wore different replica jerseys representing each of the 32 NFL teams.
Championship teams, players and coaches:
-- NFL Communications