It wasn’t long ago flag football was just a P.E. activity, a pick up game or college intramural, but today it is more. High schools are picking up flag football as a women’s varsity sport, and the interest is soaring. There is an estimated 19,000 girls taking part nationwide on organized teams, and the NFL introducing some 12,000 girls to the sport in the last year.
At the center of it all is Florida. There an estimated 5,000 girls play at the varsity level.
“I think it’s a very antiquated statement to say that football is a boys sport anymore,” said Samantha Rapoport, who manages the NFL’s Girls Flag Football Leadership Program and a former quarterback herself in her native Canada. “The fact that girls are playing it at such a high level, that’s what is changing people’s minds. If girls couldn’t play this sport, I don’t think people would be that interested. But girls are thriving at it.”