The A7FL, American 7s Football League, was founded in March of 2014 as the national league representing 7 on 7 no-pads tackle football, that is American 7s Football, which is played without hard pads and helmets.
Generally, athletes generally range from 18 to 30 years of age, must be 18 to play, and must sign an injury waiver. The A7FL field size is 100 x 37 yards and does not utilize the field goal posts. The narrower field width increases the pace of the action with fewer men on the field making for vicious hits while the 100 yard length maintains the grind. The quarterback has 4 eligible targets with 2 down linemen. Offenses can run bone or pistol, and there are no blitz restrictions for the defense.
A7FL season runs from April to July.
The idea for an organized no helmets no pads football league popped into A7FL co-founder Ryan DePaul’s head late in 2002. His high School football days were over – he had to quit college football due to concussions – and he just wanted to keep playing the game he loved but in a safer format so he was playing pickup games of tackle football anywhere he could find them. In late 2005 he began to develop the format and rules for 7 on 7 no pads no helmets full contact football.
In 2014, Ryan DePaul was approached by lifelong friend, technology mogul, and serial entrepreneur, Sener Korkusuz, with the intention to elevate his new format of football to the major league level. Shortly thereafter the American 7s Football League was founded in March 2014, with the goal to introduce the newly branded sport of American 7s Football to the world.
In its first official season April 2015, the A7FL was featured in numerous online publications both nationally and internationally as well regional US television news. Online publications including Forbes, Sports Illustrated, BleacherReport, and SportingNews.com covered the A7FL’s launch. Forbes discussed the business of this exciting sport of American 7s Football while Sporting News discussed the popular topic of concussions and traumatic brain injury posing, as a growing number of industry, medical, sports experts did, that football without helmets is the safer alternative to traditional (NFL style) football. WPIX 11 in New York and ABC2 in Maryland covered the season opener with regional news coverage (see our press to learn more).
The 2015 A7FL Champion was the Paterson, New Jersey U. The 2016 A7FL Champion was the Trenton, New Jersey Brothers in Christ (BIC). The 2017 Champion was the Union City, New Jersey Chiefs. A7FL continues to expand nationally across the United States with plans to develop national metro areas within the coming years.
In 2016 the A7FL entered into a strategic partnership with Athlete Intelligence, maker of the Vector Mouthguard – a biometric monitoring and tracking mouthpiece – in a partnership to equip players in the A7FL so that a study can be conducted on the effects of playing football without helmets compared to with helmets. The New Jersey Institute of Technology is supporting the study jointly with A7FL and Athlete Intelligence offering internships and institutional scientific oversight. 2017 marked the second year of this groundbreaking scientific study with results to be published into scientific journals upon completion. The partnership continues through 2018 to gather multi-year data for further research and follow-on studies.
In 2017 the A7FL entered into a strategic partnership with 2nd Skull, maker of soft padded headgear, in a sponsorship to equip players in the A7FL with blow softening skull caps for incidental contact protection. In 2018 the sponsorship continues in a major milestone naming 2nd Skull the official headgear of the A7FL and optional equipment for all A7FL athletes to take advantage of.
The 2017 A7FL Championship was a historic milestone for the league, televised in a partnership with ELEVEN Sports Network and accessible to fans in 70MM households in the USA and another 8 countries world wide.
Following on the leagues breakout success in 2017, in 2018 A7FL reached a major milestone to distribute the 21 games of the season on TV with ELEVEN Sports Network and formed a new and exciting partnership with Facebook Watch to LIVE stream the season.
In 2019 the A7FL signed an exclusive multi-year live streaming partnership with Twitch to live-stream the season. In just the last 2 seasons, the Spring (April-July), American 7s Football League has grown to 16 teams and over 500K social media followers and over 100M views of our viral highlight videos with 21 live games distributed via national cable TV (ELEVEN SPORTS: DirecTV, Fios, Uverse) and online (Twitch and Facebook Watch). The league has just added UFC Co-Founder David Isaacs to its ranks and is poised for further growth with the upcoming launch of its sixth season – April 19, 2020.
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