Flag Football

The birth child of historic rebels

Nov 18, 2015 by Brittany M

Flag football is wildly popular, with modern college teams to intramural urban leagues, but what's really fascinating is the origin of how flag football came about. Being the nerds we are, we couldn't help but take a deeper dive into the history of one of our favorite sports.

Football and flag football were originally the same game, but parted ways in 1905. Prior to the split it was all just football, but not the football we know and love today. Not at all. Football was originally played without any protective gear and with minimal physical restraint — not even a John Parry to keep things civilized. Fun fact: Parry resides in the state of Ohio.

Football was a rough and tumble game and, after the deaths of multiple young men in the late 1800's to early 1900's, President Theodore Roosevelt stepped in and propagated that there would be rules, regulations and protective gear. We thank you for that ol' Teddy, because without these rules and protective equipment, Who–Dey Sunday wouldn't be as festive — it'd be a lot more like a Rhonda Rousey fight.


Living like Renegades

Nope not the latest single from the X–Ambassadors. We're talking about a different set of rebels...

Long live the pioneers and long live they did — they were the rebels, the mutineers of football. Go forth they did and without fear, as they continued to play football unregulated and with consequences.

OK, OK, we'll stop with the sing–song shenanigans. Back to the game.

The game of “touch football” was dramatically popular among the young men of the 1940s, especially those in the U.S Military. It was a base favorite; however, America couldn't really afford to send football–battered men into war. Luckily, someone had the genius idea to use rags (flags) attached to the soldiers' belts and — boom — flag football was born.

So you wanna play — now what?

Who doesn't want to play a game of flag football? It's fun, social and usually involves post– game drinks and wings ... umm, yes! Please and thank you. A game sounds great, but do you know how to play?

Don't worry, friends, we've got you covered. Check below for the basics to get you started.

Team Requirements:

  • Teams consist ideally of 7 players, with a minimum of 5
  • The offensive team must have 4 players on the line of scrimmage at the time of snap
  • Substitutions are allowed between plays and during timeouts
  • Quarterback — No matter the size of a team, each team MUST have a quarterback present. They're the ones receiving the snapped ball from the center, or they can have the ball in their hands to begin the play.
  • Wide Receiver — They're the warriors that line up on the line of scrimmage to begin the play. When the ball is hiked, they run down the field in a pre–calculated passing route. Receivers and quarterbacks must have some synchronicity going on, knowing where their other half is at all times.
  • Offensive Lineman — This guy's job is to keep the quarterback sitting pretty and protected, buying them time to find an open receiver. Just do it and do it well.
  • Center — A special one, he is. The center is responsible for snapping the ball with Jedi–like reflexes to the quarterback — the pretty one, in large flag football leagues. He must be ninja–like to raise up and take on a charging pass rusher to protect the quarterback. Don't go into a game with a burrito baby. OK?
  • Pass Rushers — These defensive players line up across the quarterback or the offensive line. When the ball is snapped, they rush forward and attempt to grab the quarterback's flag in the offensive backfield.
  • Defensive Backs — While the pass rushers line up near the line of scrimmage, the defensive backs are positioned to cover the rest of the field. It's a man to man, or woman to woman's world out there. Be ready!

For official rules and all the tiny details, go here:

Finding a Team with Physi

We connect people to play sports together — it's our jam, but we also know some gold organizations where you can sign up to play. Cincinnati is pretty flag football friendly and so is Austin, Texas.

Wait? What?

You're probably wondering why we're talking Texas, right? As an app that's available nation–wide, we decided to take a road trip and meet some new friends. This past weekend we hit the road to embark on a journey to Austin, where we will be setting up shop and sharing Physi with all the locals.

To celebrate our arrival in our second home, we've cooked up a list of the best flag football organization for both cities.



Flag football is one of our favorite sports and we hope you take this blog post as a reason to get outside and play! Schedule a game of flag football with Physi and start playing today.

Fresh off the gridiron? Share your flag football stories with us on Facebook and Instagram!

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