There are few youth sports programs as engaging, dynamic and intelligent as the NFL's flag football initiative.
Launched all the way back in 1996, it seems that never has the program been more important than it is right now. See, there is this perfect storm surrounding football that makes flag football a key piece of the current NFL empire.
Childhood obesity in the United States has tripled in the last 30 years. In fact, more than one-third of children and adolescents are obese across the country.
The NFL has been avid in its efforts to raise awareness and get kids active through both flag football and its Play 60 campaign, which encourages children to get outside and play at least one hour every single day.
While the league's efforts to combat obesity are both respected and commendable, there is no way it could have predicted the newfound irony that surrounds its flag football initiative.
All of the current talk surrounding the sport of football is about player safety and the danger of concussions and violent head trauma from prolonged exposure to high-speed collisions and hits. As the league continues to claim it is safer than ever, it also provides a youth experience void of contact to any degree.
Yet despite this twisted irony, having a flag football league is still a great move by the NFL.
This is not a publicity stunt or a lame attempt at claiming interest in the well-being of children.
Joining a team costs only $20 and gives kids the opportunity to experience the game safely while also learning teamwork and sportsmanship.
Too often we hear of how America's youth are becoming lazier, communicating less effectively and struggling in group situations.
Here is a perfect antidote—a relatively cheap and affordable team environment with little to no risk of injury and a high-profile sports league backing it up and supporting the venture.
Flag football is not a new concept, having been created back in the 1930s, but never before has it resonated so much with the American public. Parents are scared of the repercussions that full-contact football may have, and yet they also want their kids to be able to play the most popular sport in America.
Here is a solution to their dilemma.
Is flag football a perfect substitute for the real thing?
Absolutely not. There is no replacing the sport itself, but finding a fun and inexpensive alternative option can never be a bad thing.
The NFL knows this and is helping to guide children in the right direction both physically and mentally.
Sounds like a perfect plan to me.