NFL and IFAF announce Drew Brees as Global Flag Football Ambassador

Drew Brees will headline the most recent list of NFL Legends to become Global Flag Football Ambassadors. LeCharles Bentley, Tony Richardson, Elisa De Santis and Bobby Taylor are also among the latest to be added to the all-star team of men and women, including current American and flag football players, Legends, coaches and officials, as ambassadors who will work together to further raise the profile and promote the unique values of one of the world’s fastest-growing sports.

“I am excited about the opportunity to help the National Football League grow the great game of flag football throughout the world,” said Brees. “Flag football prioritizes a safe way to learn, practice and play the game, while also emphasizing the values of hard work, character and sportsmanship. The many positives that come out of flag football are why I have become heavily involved in starting my own youth coed league nationwide.”

The Flag Football Ambassadors team – first announced ahead of the NFL’s 2022 Kickoff – supports the combined global efforts of the NFL and IFAF to increase awareness, interest and participation in flag football internationally and drive forward the development of the game.

“It’s an honor to use my platform to help grow the game of football,” said Taylor. “It is the greatest game in the world. I’m also excited about my role in helping grow girls’ flag-football participation around the world and here in Texas where I reside and operate my own NFL FLAG leagues, with hopes through hard work that flag football will become a sanctioned sport for high school girls in our state.”

Earlier this year, the NFL announced the transformation of the Pro Bowl, renaming the tentpole event as the Pro Bowl Games. Taking place in Las Vegas in 2023, the week-long celebration of player skills featured an exciting new format that spotlights flag football. In addition to the AFC vs. NFC flag games on Sunday, the Pro Bowl Games now integrate flag throughout the week, including the Play Football Opening Night and NFL FLAG Championships, created in partnership with RCX Sports and featuring the top girls’ and boys’ youth flag teams from across the country and around the world. USA Football and IFAF will hold the 2023 IFAF Americas Continental Flag Football Championship in Charlotte, N.C., from July 5-7.

“NFL Flag is a tremendous opportunity for young athletes to fall in love with the game while building transferable life skills like teamwork, communication, and goal setting that they will carry with them throughout life,” said Bentley.

Currently played by people of all genders and all ages in more than 100 countries around the world, flag football is poised for even greater expansion as the cornerstone of the NFL’s domestic and international participation and development strategies. Momentum is growing behind the sport following its debut at the World Games in Birmingham, Ala., last year with IFAF preparing to launch the biggest-ever cycle of elite international flag competition, including full continental representation for the first time in 2023. Flag is a fast-paced, non-contact, creative and highly skilled format that benefits from being easily accessible and inclusive, making it the perfect vehicle to attract new players, accelerate growth and promote the message of football for all.

“The game of football is evolving as a sport in an enormous way,” said Richardson. “Flag football is an entryway for many girls and boys of all ages to get involved in this great game. I witnessed first-hand how dynamic flag football can be played by athletes from all over the globe at the World Games in my home state of Alabama last year. I want to be a part of the growth of the game, and I am excited about the potential of flag football becoming an Olympic sport.”

The newest members of the Global Flag Football Ambassador team are:

  • LeCharles Bentley – NFL Legend who played for the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns, currently a senior advisor of player performance and development.
  • Drew Brees – NFL Legend and Super Bowl XLIV MVP for the New Orleans Saints, ranks second on the NFL’s all-time career lists in both passing yards and touchdown passes.
  • Tony Richardson – 16-year NFL Legend with multiple NFL franchises and member of the NFL’s all-decade team of the 2000s.
  • Bobby Taylor – NFL Legend and 10-year veteran with the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks.
  • Elisa De Santis – Played flag football for Team France since she was 15 years old. Traveled the world playing flag football and was in Mexico with Diana Flores last season for the national championship.

The global appeal of these international athletes highlights the scope and ambition of the group to grow the game worldwide but also points to the impact international players have on the NFL itself.

Among the previously announced ambassadors with international ties:

  • Osi Umenyiora, the first British-born player to win a Super Bowl, born in London to Nigerian parents and now works to raise the profile of the game in Europe and Africa.
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions wide receiver and German national who speaks fluent German and French, thanks to his German-born mother.
  • Desiree Abrams, who made a name for herself on the international stage as a member of the officiating teams that oversaw flag football at the World Games the IFAF World Flag Football Championships in 2018 and 2021, and the IFAF Women’s World Championship in 2022. In 2016, founded the National Women’s Football Officials Association that seeks to accelerate opportunities for female officials in football.
  • Diana Flores, the starting quarterback for the Mexico women’s team who won the gold at the 2022 World Games by defeating the USA. Has been a member of Mexico’s national team since 2014 when she was 16 years old.
  • Liz Sowers, head coach of the women’s flag football team at Ottawa University, where she won the NAIA championships in her first year in 2021.
  • Andrea Castillo, who won the bronze medal at the 2022 World Games for the Panama women’s flag football team.
  • Sebastian Vollmer, NFL Legend and former New England tackle, born in Germany, who helped the Patriots to a Super Bowl XLIX title.
  • Luke Zahradka, quarterback of the Italian national flag football team.
  • Fouzia Madhouni, Morocco native and NFL Mentee in the Global Sports Mentoring Program.

De Santis is definitely thankful for having played flag football:

“I started playing flag football when I was 10, and it became a lifestyle for me. Over the years, it was getting more prominent worldwide. Thanks to this sport, I’ve seen so many places, traveled around the world, met many great people, and learned how to be dedicated to achieving my goals. I wouldn’t be the same without flag football.”

About IFAF:

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) is the international governing body for the sport of American football and is responsible for all regulatory, competition, performance and development aspects of the game on a global level. Provisionally recognized by the International Olympic Committee, IFAF is a member of GAISF and a signatory to the WADA Code. IFAF has 72 member nations across five continents.

About NFL:

The National Football League is America’s most popular sports league, comprised of 32 franchises that compete each year to win the Super Bowl, the world’s biggest annual sporting event. Founded in 1920, the NFL developed the model for the successful modern sports league, including national and international distribution, extensive revenue sharing, competitive excellence, and strong franchises across the board. The NFL is the industry leader on a wide range of fronts.

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major