On Oct. 30, the Seattle Seahawks hosted a NFL FLAG Open tournament for kids ages 7-13. Youth flag football teams from across the country traveled to Silas High School in Tacoma, Washington to compete for an invitation to the 2022 NFL FLAG Bowl.
"NFL FLAG is a great opportunity for kids to learn the game of football and it provides a platform for those who usually are underserved and don't have access to organized football," said Paul Johns, the Seahawks' director of youth and high school football. "It also teaches the importance of teamwork and leadership on and off the field."
As the largest youth flag football league in the United States, more than 1,600 teams and 500,000 athletes compete every year in NFL Flag events. Previously, NFL Flag events were open only to NFL FLAG participants and were required to adhere to certain border restrictions. However, with the introduction of the NFL Flag Open tournaments, for the first time, any player or team has the opportunity to participate with no border restrictions.
Of the teams that competed on Oct. 30, one from each age division were recognized as winners and received a paid bid to the NFL FLAG Bowl at the Super Bowl. The NFL FLAG Bowl is a five versus five boys, girls, and coed tournament hosted around Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. More than 100 teams across nine age divisions will compete in a three-game round-robin to advance to a single-elimination playoff until one is named National Champion.
Three of the seven winners from the first NFL Open tournament series were from Washington; the Northwest Hawks and Seattle Swag from Seattle represented the 10U and 13U divisions, respectively, and the Everett Elite from Everett, Washington represented the 14U division.
Seattle Open Winners:
- 8U division: Tucson turf (Tucson, AZ)
- 9U Division: Tucson Turf (Tucson, AZ)
- 10U Division: Northwest hawks (Seattle, WA)
- 11U Division: HFFL Empire (Henderson, NV)
- 12U Division: Apex Predators (Las Vegas, NV)
- 13U Division: Seattle Swag (Seattle, WA)
- 14U Division: Everett Elite (Everett, WA)
"We enjoyed partnering with NFL FLAG to host the first open tournament in our community and look forward to more in the future to continue to grow the game and provide these experiences to our local youth," said Johns.
"The inaugural NFL FLAG Seattle Open was a success thanks to the support and enthusiasm of Russell Wilson and the entire Seahawks organization," said NFL FLAG Executive Director and RCX Sports CEO Izell Reese. "We're grateful for the Seahawks' continued partnership and look forward to working with other teams across the country to create even more opportunities for athletes to play flag. We look forward to seeing the winning teams in Los Angeles in February for the NFL FLAG Bowl! "