Former NFL stars Terrell Owens, Michael Vick and Chad Ochocinco played in the inaugural game of the new American Flag Football League at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California yesterday.
As a first of its kind pro league, the AFFL combines the energy of the fastest growing youth sport in America with world-class, elite athletes. It’s the beauty and artistry of football, minus the gratuitous violence.
Founded by New York-based financier Jeff Lewis, the initial game was a precursor for the league that plans to launch a full slate of games in the summer of 2018 with eight teams.
When I think about football in the future for guys who want to further their career, this could be an opportunity for them, Vick said in a video posted on the American Flag Football Leagues Facebook page. They could get enjoyment and fulfillment out of the flag league. I just wanted to be one of the first pioneers being involved.
This inaugural game in June will be the first step toward establishing a league and standard for a rapidly growing sport that is entertaining for todays generation of fans and captivating to witness in person, said Lewis.
Uploaded by The American Flag Football League on 2017-06-28.
When The Shadow League recently sat down with Vick at his Elite 7 football camp in Dallas, he said, “Guys who have played in the past, players who didn’t make it or whose careers have been cut short want to still compete. It’s structured, it’s not dangerous. When the idea was brought to me, I thought about taking it to the pro stage, it gives guys another outlet. Ball is ball, man. This is exciting. It’s gonna be great for the fans. It’s gonna be a passing game and a passing league. This is a great platform.”
Vick threw for 547 yards and eight touchdowns in Tuesdays launch, teaming up with Ochocinco to lead Team Vick to a 64-41 win over Terrell Owens’ Team Owens squad. Fullback Evan Rodriguez, who played tight end for the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2012-14 was named the game’s MVP after racking up 210 yards and four touchdowns on nine catches.
Tonights game was a massive success and displayed how exhilarating and competitive flag football can be when played by the best athletes in the world, AFFL founder Jeff Lewis said. Every player was very dedicated to this brand of football out on the Avaya Stadium field. They had that competitive spirit it takes to be a pro athlete Michael and Evans performances were outstanding.
ICYMI on the @ProFlagAFFL Instagram, here are the Launch Game depth charts! #TeamVick vs. #TeamOwens. #FlagFirst #AFFL
The marquee players like Vick, Owens, Ochocinco bring credibility to the venture thanks to their legendary careers, something that could help draw eyeballs to players like Rodriguez and others whose NFL experience amounted to little more than a cup of coffee, yet they remain great athletes that want to prove something.