|Founded||2014 (play began in 2015)|
|Motto||"The Game America Wants"|
|No. of teams||16|
|TV partner(s)||Eleven Sports Network|
American 7s Football League ("A7FL") is a semi-professional traveling league in the United States which plays a seven-man version of American football named American 7s Football. Launched in 2015, its games are played without football helmets or other protective equipment. The A7FL is the only organized level of competition in American 7s football. All of its teams are based in the mid-Atlantic United States in the states of New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Founded in 2014 with play commencing the following year, the A7FL plays an eight-game schedule running from March to June. It primarily attracts semi-professional football players seeking opportunities to stay in-shape during spring. In 2016, the league participated in a safety study led by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
As of 2016, the league reported it had four teams in New York City (in Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens, and The Bronx), four teams in Florida (in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville), four teams in the deep South (in New Orleans; Baton Rouge; Montgomery, Alabama; and Jackson, Mississippi), and four teams in the northeast (in Newark, New Jersey; Trenton, New Jersey; Philadelphia, and Baltimore). The league says it seeks to expand to 32 teams by 2017. There are also considerations towards expanding outside of the United States.
Eleven Sports Network acquired the exclusive United States and International rights to broadcast the A7FL 2017 Championship on July 9, 2017 from Palisades Credit Union Park in metro New York City. Through ELEVEN Sports Network distribution with DirecTV, Verizon FiOS, and AT&T uVerse the A7FL 2017 Championship will be accessible by over 70MM homes worldwide.. In 2018, Eleven Sports Network acquired the exclusive United States and International rights to broadcast a 21 game package of the A7FL 2018 season including the Playoffs and Championship. In 2019, Eleven Sports Network acquired the non-exclusive United States and International rights to broadcast the A7FL 2019 Playoffs and Championship.
In 2019, Twitch.tv acquired the exclusive United States and International rights to broadcast a 21 game package of the A7FL 2019 season including the Playoffs and Championship.
Differences from mainstream American football
A7FL players play without pads or helmets as part of what the league describes as an effort to reduce the potential of head injuries resulting from helmet-to-helmet contact. League games also do not include kickoffs, field goals, or punts, and, instead of the kickoff, implement a unique version of special teams called a 3-on-1 throw off (three 'throwing' players and one receiver). Games are played on narrow fields of 37 yards width (between one set of hash marks and the furthest sideline away) to accommodate fewer players on the field on each team. A7FL games are played between two seven-man teams; teams are, additionally, required to cap their rosters at 25 active players with five alternates..
In 2019, David Isaacs (UFC Cofounder) joined the A7FL to serve as chairman of the advisory board. Isaac's said, "Removing equipment to make any sport safer seems counterintuitive and we faced similar issues when we launched the UFC and created the sport of mixed martial arts. With the A7FL, football can be safer but still thrilling full-contact competition. I can't wait to get started."
Athletes playing in the A7FL are required to sign a player injury waiver and be 18 years of age or older.
Once expanded to 32 teams the league will be structured around eight groups divided into two divisions. The teams play each other twice in the group stages with the top two teams going forward to a divisional championship. The winners of the divisional championships will play each other to decide the winner of the championship.
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