7 on 7 Is Here To Stay & Thrive
By FirstDown PlayBook on Jul 9, 2018

We have written about this before referring to the fact that we are a fan of 7 on 7 football. As the trends in football seem to be constantly changing and evolving FirstDown PlayBook remains more confident than ever that 7 on 7 football is not the evil that many preached it to be early on but it may actually be what saves our game. So today we want to refer back to parts of an older article that have been updated  but still seem to ring as true today as they did a few years back.

I remember the first time I read an article on 7 on 7. It was maybe ten to twelve years ago. I was coaching for the Chicago Bears, trying to figure out why the headline of the article was implying that 7 on 7 was harmful to the sport of football. I was naively thinking that they were talking about the 7 on 7 drill that was included in any football practice I had ever been a part of for my entire coaching career. Of course, I soon realized they were talking about the 7 on 7 tournaments sprouting up across the country in the spring and summer that may or may not be associated with the players’ team that same fall.

The general concern was that some of the people coaching these teams were essentially turning into “Handlers” for the kids and that this might be the first step towards sending football down the same perilous road of basketball with AAU tournaments where outside coaches became involved in the recruiting process. Additionally, the High School coaches who were interviewed pointed out all of these things and made a valid point about the fact that someone else was coaching and interacting with some of their better players, thus adding to the layers of advice the kids were getting on and off of the field.

As a coach (and recruiter) at several major college football programs in my past, I immediately jumped on board with the idea that 7 on 7 was not a good thing for football. Several years later I am seeing things a lot differently.

We still have concerns over who is teaching what to the 7 on 7 players during the off season months of the year, but honestly it looks like the quality of coaching is getting better instead of worse as a lot of former professional quarterbacks are getting involved. Also, football scholarships and recruiting, when done correctly, are normally based on football played while in pads, when you can hit and be hit, and therefore the parallels to basketball only go so far.

Cheating? Well if there is cheating involved with recruiting then it will be solved the only way it is ever solved and that is by the integrity of the recruiting coach and or the NCAA rules that govern recruiting. Trying to squash something like 7 on 7  football because there is cheating involved is almost like saying let’s don’t play in the fall either because there is cheating involved.

Looking at 7 on 7 football in the year 2018, we see that it has become a partial remedy for a much larger issue. It is one of the bright positive spots about the game if you take a look around. It is hard to say that the game of football is great because of any one thing but one thing that always has to be included is the fact that the players, the fans and many of the coaches like to throw the football. Every level of football has a different set of challenges and throwing the football becomes increasingly important to an offense the higher the level of ball.

So while like anything else 7 on 7 football may have it’s great parts as well as it’s warts, all in all, we still think it’s good for the game and we should be encouraging folks to play any type of football as opposed to rejecting it. Here are a few reasons why…

If you want to get good at throwing the ball..throw it.

All coaches are fighting to keep their jobs and you have to do what you have to do to win. If running the spread, and the read option game is what gives you the best chance to win and stay employed, then who can blame any coach for going that route? However, running skills normally come to young players before throwing skills and the odds are that you will find a running quarterback before you find (and develop) a throwing quarterback. Let’s face it, a pimpled face Peyton or Eli might not even get the chance to throw it these days if the coach was committed to running a spread read option offense and had the quarterback to do it.

7 on 7 offers a partial solution in a couple of ways. There is no harm or foul if a kid who is maybe your backup quarterback wants to work on his skills during the off-season. He may be a great quarterback who is just beginning to grow into his body and develop into a good thrower. The second reason is that this work may actually develop the young quarterback into a player that convinces you as a coach to adjust your thoughts about what style of offense you want to run.

It’s just fun to throw the football.

The passing game is arguably the most exciting thing about football. It is also arguably the most fun thing about football. That is why so many kids want to, not only, play in a system that incorporates an exciting passing game but it is also the reason that 7 on 7 leagues are everywhere and have kids wanting to play the game year round. Encouraging kids to play multiple sports is great and the right way to go but if the choice is to play 7 on 7 football or play video games at home then why discourage players from 7 on 7 involvement?

7 on 7 gives a person a chance to play football for life

We all know the numbers. Every time you step up a level in football there s a small percentage of players who make the cut. This doesn’t mean that the players who graduate from high school and college stop loving the game of football just because they won’t be playing on Saturday or Sunday. 7 on 7 and flag football have provided the general public (most of us) a way to play football up into our forties and fifties if we want.

What’s different from getting together with your weekend warrior buddies and shooting hoops or playing softball from playing on a 7 on 7 football team? Sure the same knee injuries will show up as we grow older but at least we can still play the game that we all love as opposed to becoming a couch potato and just watching.

So just like anything else in life, change doesn’t always come easily. However, it is pretty obvious to us that 7 on 7 football is here to stay and thrive. We think the question you have to ask yourself is  “Is 7 on 7 good for the overall health of the game of football?” If you ask us, 7 on 7 football is good for the game to the point that maybe what was thought to be the villain may end up saving the day and the game of football as we know it before it is all said and done.

FirstDown PlayBook is the only Digital Football PlayBook that gives you access to over thirty three thousand football plays, schemes and technique help all designed by coaches and players with NFL experience. FirstDown Playbook is also the official PlayBook resource of USA Football and Football Canada..

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