There are girls in every community itching to play flag football. How can it be organized? Do they have equipment? Are there enough players? Well, the Eagles provided the opportunity and girls arrived at Lincoln Financial Field by the numbers.
The Eagles Girls Flag Football Jamboree was hosted on March 5 for local high school teams to kick off the inaugural season.
"It's critical to remove the barriers that keep girls from playing sports and football in particular," Eagles SVP Media & Marketing Jen Kavanagh said. "Our motivation and where we invested our time and energy was really in understanding what those obstacles are, and how we can remove them."
Fourteen teams from across the Philadelphia region received new jerseys hanging in the Eagles' locker room, participated in player photoshoots, and finally took the field for a scrimmage. Family and friends were in the stands to watch their girls make history.
Archbishop Wood High School's Head Coach Donna Ellis said, "We're going to be the trailblazers to make Girls Flag Football really special and something that is really coveted and people want to watch. When you have the support of someone like the NFL, this isn't going away."
As part of Eagles Inaugural High School Level Girls Flag Football program, the Eagles proudly hosted the Girls Flag Football Jamboree at Lincoln Financial Field.
Ellis herself certainly isn't going anywhere as she had a waitlist of girls interested in joining the team. She describes her group as "eclectic" and open to any young woman who wants to participate. Ellis plans to take it a step further with hopes to build the team its own field. She said with the help of her players, husband, and a local landscaper who is donating time, this team is ready to level the playing field … literally.
"We're going to do something special because we're making history," Ellis said. "It builds self-esteem, camaraderie. I can see it already – when they put those uniforms on, their self-esteem went up three points."
The Girls Flag Football Jamboree is step one in chasing a much larger goal:
"I'm hoping to get the state of Pennsylvania to 100 teams so that this is officially recognized as a sanctioned sport," Kavanagh said. "I think for these women anything truly is possible, and everything that we can do to just normalize, organize, and invest in that is what we'll continue to do."
The Eagles organization is standing tall in its support of not only the first group of Girls Flag Football players in the area, but for the flag football players to come.
"We view ourselves as connectors to this whole community, so playing this role to provide this access – it was so important because we set the standard here in Philadelphia," Dan Levy, Youth Football and Community Relations Manager for the Eagles said. "We want to form as a pillar of this sport here in our home arena at Lincoln Financial Field."