NATIONAL FLEX FOOTBALL STORY
The path to the creation of Flex Football started with the recognition that football needed change. In the mid 1980’s, our founders were born into a country that loved football…the Colts had just moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis, the Bears completed their legendary 1985 season, the NFC was in the early stages of its decade of dominance, football was doing well. It was our modern-day gladiator sport. The sport that connected with the heartbeat of America more than any other.
Like the rest of the country, football immediately influenced the leaders of Flex. As they navigated through life, football was there molding them into the men they would eventually become. For every real-life problem along the way, the sport seemed to have foreseen the obstacle coming and prepared them for it. Football taught them how to push their limits. It taught them how to win, but more importantly, it taught them how to lose. It taught them how to work together as a team, no matter who the teammate was, where they were from, how much money they had or what color they were, they were considered a brother on that field.
Fast forward a quarter century and the NFL careers of our founders were coming to a close. The words of “what next” echoing in their heads. At this time, the sport was beginning to show cracks in its foundation. Concerns over head trauma started the move to the front page of every media outlet, the letters “CTE” began to be a household acronym, and the movie concussion sent waves of fear throughout the American public.
Our founders had grown up receiving gifts from the game…the lessons, the experiences, the fun, the career. They decided it was time to give back. Understanding that a structure is only as strong as its foundation, they knew that in order to solve football’s problems, they had to start at the youth level. The thought was to support those organizations that were bringing children into the fold. During this time, flag football was rapidly growing throughout the country. Tackle programs were utilizing flag in the Fall for their youngest age groups and in the spring as an off-season recruiting program. Their goal was to boost their numbers and hopefully transition these participants to tackle.
Seeing an opportunity, our founders built a company providing support to flag leagues throughout the country. The next years were spent happily watching flag numbers grow. Unfortunately, a problem arose. Although flag numbers were steadily on the rise, tackle numbers continued to decline. The initial plan to support flag in order to grow football was not working. In truth, it was actually doing more harm than good. Flag was forming its own identity and instead of being the training program for football, it became a competitor that was eating away at football’s numbers. The sport needed something that brought these two football styles back together.
Our founders got to work, and Flex Football was launched. The gameplay was genius. It was a 9v9 format that included all positions and enabled true football IQ to be learned as the scheme directly correlated to 11v11 tackle. The rules allowed all necessary fundamentals to be developed but protected the head from trauma. Lastly, with the inclusion of soft-shell gear, participants received that real football feel and coaches had the ability to teach correct technique.
Football now had a solution, but how do you get this league play adopted throughout the country? A number of obstacles had to be conquered. Youth football leagues are run by volunteers…saints really. Between their own job, their family, and running a football league, they have no time to take on a new concept no matter how beneficial it could be. In order for Flex to be successful, inspiring, innovative content had to be created, marketing had to be executed, gear and jerseys ordered and fulfilled, websites updated, parents educated and their questions answered, registration set up…the list goes on and on. Football’s future needed a service that worked alongside these league directors. With that idea, National Flex Football was born.
NFX is a comprehensive platform that supports Flex Football for youth programs throughout the country. It gives league directors the ability to do what they do best, run a league, and avoid the tedious, although vitally important, busy work. Think of NFX as the youth programs o-line, designed to do the uncelebrated hard work so the youth program can score. From email and social media campaigns to answering parent questions, the NFX machine never stops working.
After a successful year, we are proud to say that the clock is turning back on football. Our league partners are experiencing growth for the first time in years. Flex has created an entry point to the game that provides a realistic experience and actually teaches the sport’s fundamentals along with an off-season program that develops better, safer players when they return to Fall football.
There is a quote that says, “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” Our founders had a vision. They used the tools the sport gave them to bring that vision to action and change the world of football. With the help of NFX and Flex Football, the game will continue giving the gifts it gave our founders, helping to develop and carry on those tools to the next generation of young men and women.