NFL Flag Football League begins in Fairbanks

Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 8:07 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Alaska is one of few states that has girls high school flag football. Now, as the game of flag football develops, there are opportunities for girls to play flag football in college. However, the rules differ in Alaska high school than at colleges. For example, in Alaska, it is 7v7, but college plays 5v5. There are other rule differences, and Jamie Darby has founded an NFL Flag Football League in Fairbanks.

“Colleges have sanctioned flag football and are giving scholarships. Because of that, we want to start investing and pushing more into it so the girls have another opportunity to go to college on a scholarship,” stated Darby. “We noticed the rules were different when our daughter went to college... When we realized that, we knew our girls needed the training up here to go (play in college).”

With the different number of players on the field, it drastically changes strategies, play calling, etc. With fewer players, the game is quicker with more passing plays. Another big difference between the two leagues is how a player can guard their flag in play and contact (or lack thereof).

Currently, the NFL Flag Football League in Fairbanks is girls only, but Darby mentioned future expansion to boys and adult leagues. There will be 6 and under (U), 8U, 10U, 12U, 14U, and 17U age groups to get girls involved from a young age. This also allows more time for development rather than waiting until high school to get into the sport.

“Overall, that’s the reason for it to start young. We don’t have an all-outdoor season year round. Getting them in young, makes them more proficient and gives them the competitiveness of the states,” added Darby.

During the winter months, NFL Flag Football Alaska will utilize the Carlson Center for practice and games with the indoor courts are placed on top of the ice sheet. The league will move outdoors as soon as weather permits.

The deadline for signing up is January 31, and first day of practice is February 1. The easiest way to get more information and signing up is by visiting their Facebook page, NFL Flag Football Alaska.

There are also hopes of expansion in Anchorage for more opportunity to compete outside Fairbanks. NFL Flag Football Alaska will compose a competitive team that will travel and compete against other teams in the western region of the United States.