124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

This tackle football league with no pads and no helmets looks like our kind of human rights violation

October 15, 2020

The AAF is dead. The UFL is long gone. The AFL is a footnote only Gen Mountain Dew remembers and The Rock’s XFL won’t give it their charmed third try until the spring of 2022. If you’re looking for a backup football league to follow just in case the NFL goes belly up with COVID, the options are endangered to the point of extinction. That is, until today, when we discovered the A7FL, a seven-on-seven tackle football league with one major selling point: NO PADS AND NO HELMETS. This is what XFL 2K1 wanted so badly until the bloodsucking lawyers got involved.

Essentially the premise here is “NFL Street, but make it real,” and the results look at once incredible and terrifying. As the NFL bends over backwards, breaking its own spine to improve player safety, the A7FL has carved out its own bloody corner of the market, CTE and out-of-pocket medical expenses be damned. If that sounds like your brand of brutality, you can even go ahead and invest in the carnage. Sure, you may be complicit in human rights violations down the road, but for now it seems like good, clean, old fashioned fun.

While this is pretty jarring for American football fans to see, this is pretty much what any Premiership Rugby or National Rugby League fan gets on a weekend-in, weekend-out basis. And that’s nothing compared to international sevens, where the New Zealand All Blacks have been cracking skulls like coconuts since the advent of the steamship. Speaking of those All Blacks, seems like they got wind of the A7FL, and if you have their attention, you know you’ve done something right downright scary.