SAN JOSE, Calif.(KTVU) - Ex-NFL stars took to the field Tuesday night at Avaya Stadium in San Jose for the inaugural game of the American Flag Football League. The league is hoping to attract former NFL players who still want to compete as well as aspiring players.
“I saw some really great stuff with kids,” said American Flag Football League Founder Jeff Lewis. “Wow, I thought if this game is so exciting and fun to watch with little grade school kids, what would it look like played by great players?”
Back on the gridiron, ex-NFL greats, former 49er Terrell Owens, Quarterback Michael Vick and Wide Receiver Chad Ochocinco were among the players putting their star power behind the new league
“I want to do something different,” said Vick. “My playing days are over and I can play now but not get hit, not get tackled. I think that's pretty cool.”
“I was never able to share the field with them before,” said Ochocinco. “When I was, they were on opposite sides of the ball so playing along with Vick, playing alongside with T.O., who I happened to play with for one year is pretty cool.”
The first game pitted Teams Owens against Team Vick. It’s similar to traditional football, except no pads yet the competitive nature is still there.
“You are still playing a professional sport with professional athletes so the demand on your body is there, the reaction all of that is going to be required so it's not a walk in the park,” said Owens. “It's flag football but it's still football.”
The league is using high tech equipment including magnetic flags and sensors inside jerseys to accurately determine where the flag was pulled.
“It’s more of a game of passing and explosive plays,” said Former 49er Quarterback Jeff Garcia.
Garcia provided commentary. Other NFL dignitaries at the game former 49er coach Steve Mariucci. Those who enjoyed the game were the fans, including a diehard Michael Vick fan, who showed up at nine in the morning to get his jersey signed and a picture.
“This is nostalgic. Players I grew up with, people who are my heroes,” said Rafael Caracol of Hayward. “Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens. The opportunity to see them play was just too much to miss.”
The owner plans to have eight teams compete next year.