Dallas Cowboys help FWISD launch women’s college football

The concept of girls playing football is not new, and for a generation before it was simply called “puff football”.

“Can you imagine using that term today?” Dallas Cowboys vice president Charlotte Jones said Thursday.



Provided the person wants their email and phone inbox buried with angry messages from people who find the term “puff football” offensive.

In 2022, puff football simply goes by the more socially acceptable term, “women’s football”.

It’s a game coming to Fort Worth, with the idea that it will soon be available to a generation of girls who want to play a sport that for about 100 years was almost exclusively for boys.

Starting this year, the Fort Worth Independent School District will offer varsity flag football to girls at 15 FWISD schools. It is one of the first public school systems in the United States to offer such a program.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, February 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the Dallas Cowboys will host a “Girls Flag Football Jamboree” to educate interested players about the game, with drills, terminology, techniques and a melee.

The game remains the game, just without a tackle.

It took almost 50 years, but girls play just about every sport these days as boys. Basketball, hockey, boxing, MMA, soccer, name your traditional men’s sport, and women can play it too.

With few exceptions, football has held up.

FWISD administrators have constantly looked for ways to increase women’s participation in sports, and in recent years football has ranked among the top three choices when they survey students.

For the past two decades or so, an occasional girl has ventured onto the football field to play with the boys, as a kicker.

In December 2002, Katie Knida became the first woman to play a Division I football game when she appeared as a kicker at the University of New Mexico.

In 2015, Reilly Fox made national news when she kicked field goals for the Paschal Panthers.

In 2020, Sarah Fuller became the first woman to star in an FBS game when she pitched a few games for Vanderbilt.

Fuller is scheduled to appear at the Jamboree on Saturday, alongside former Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, whose daughter plays flag football.

There was no place where girls could play organized football. What he needed was funding and the initiative to create a league.

All the necessary pieces are there to make it work, and Fort Worth will be the “kickstart” for the sport to be accessible to women as a college sport.

As of 2016, the NFL estimates that approximately 200,000 girls between the ages of 6 and 17 play flag football; 14 NFL teams, including the Cowboys, have pledged to work with their respective states to make women’s flag football a college sport.

The NAIA is working with the NFL to make women’s flag football a college sport.

“Girls doing sports have come so far since I was growing up,” Jones said. “The real expense in something like this is really the pitch and the use of time on the pitch. In terms of playing the game itself, it’s not that much and it doesn’t take much.

“But you want to fund coaches and you want to prepare coaches to coach and understand the game and the value of the game,” she said.

For schools and conferences, women’s flag football has its advantages because it’s not that expensive.

Now they just need the players.

This story was originally published February 4, 2022 5:00 a.m.

Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist with extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He covered high schools, colleges, the big four sports teams as well as the Olympics and the world of entertainment. It combines dry wit and first-person reporting to complement an almost unfair hairdo.
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