About NEFF

What is NEFF?

NEFF, short for New England (Flag and Flex) Football, is the premier football organization in New England. Offering both Flag Football and Flex Football, NEFF helps players of all ages develop the skills that they need to succeed through development of the fundamentals of the game – passing, catching, footwork, running and more, regardless of their final football destination.

What the heck is a Spotlight Game?

Every football fan dreams of running out of a stadium tunnel and onto a field to the thunderous applause of a rowdy crowd before a big game. NEFF’s Spotlight Game is the closest thing to big-time on-field football experience that league members will encounter until if/when they go on to play in the NFL. Seriously. Player introductions, halftime dance shows, a scoreboard, and play-by-play announcing are just a few of the things that help make Spotlight Games the most anticipated events on schedules every year, and not just for players – coaches and parents alike look forward to these games with great anticipation. Referees have even been known to get involved in the Wobble at halftime! Over the top? Maybe – but that’s how we roll.

When/where does NEFF operate?

NEFF currently offers flag and Flex Football sessions in the following seasons/locations. We are growing rapidly, so check back often or subscribe to our email list to be notified of new seasons and locations as they are added.


The fall season runs from the first Saturday following Labor Day until the middle of November. Games are only held over Columbus Day weekend in the event of a location-wide cancellation in the weeks leading up to Columbus Day (weather-related cancellation, etc.).

  • Flag football: Hamilton, MA
  • Flex Football: Hamilton, MA


The winter season runs from the beginning of February until the end of March.

  • Flag football: n/a
  • Flex Football: Middleton, MA


  • Flag football: n/a
  • Flex Football: n/a


  • Flag football: n/a
  • Flex Football: high school leagues throughout New England. Contact us for more information.

Can girls play?

Absolutely – NEFF is for girls and boys!  In fact, NEFF’s 2017 fall flag football season saw an all-time high for girls’ enrollment, with 186 girls playing and 15 women coaching across 28 teams, 15 of which were all-girls teams.

Why does NEFF require soft shell helmets?

Over the years we’ve seen a lot of bumps and bruises from contact involving flag players’ heads (whether with another head, some other body part or the ground). After years of watching flag football games and doing some research on the issue, we determined we could do something to make this great sport even safer for our players. So, we decided to make RockSolid soft shell helmets mandatory this season.  Our goal in using soft shell helmets is to reduce the incidence of bumps, bruises, cuts, split lips, bloody noses and facial impacts – the most common types of head injuries in flag football. While we are the first in the area to require this extra layer of safety (as far as we know), numerous flag football leagues across the country have already taken this step to help protect their players. And, the league administrators with whom we’ve spoken were glad they made the move to increase player safety.

Why RockSolid helmets over cheaper models found on the internet? The answer is somewhat implied in the question. After reviewing options for soft shell headgear, we found that the RockSolid helmets were the only ones specifically designed for non-contact football use. While other helmets may look similar, the primary differences are to be found in the placement, density and type of the padding. Many of the options being touted for flag football use are rugby “scrum” caps, with half-moon shaped padding on the front exposing more of the frontal plate to impact and a lack of padding in the back (where the helmets are laced together) exposing the occipital area to unbuffered impacts. Other options were designed for martial arts, soccer, etc. and are now being rebranded as appropriate for non-contact football use. These other models simply do not provide the same levels of protection as the RockSolid helmets, which were designed specifically for the use for which they are being deployed in our league – providing added protection against incidental, football contact. In our view, ineffective head protection may create more risk than no protection at all.

So, in answer to the questions of “why would we make helmets mandatory?,” we say “how could we not?”

Note: Soft shell helmets do not prevent concussions. No helmet does. Even the big, bulky helmets you see in contact/impact sports like tackle football, lacrosse, hockey, etc. are designed to prevent cuts and abrasions. But, soft shell helmets do provide an added layer of protection for impacts involving players’ heads (the second most common injury type in flag football, following hand and finger injuries). 

Where can I get a Soft Shell Helmet?

While our research to date indicates that the RockSolid Helmets are well-suited for flag football and we recommend them, families are free to use approved headgear from their vendor of choice.

RockSolid helmets are available for purchase at https://www.liverocksolid.com/product/rs2-soft-shell-helmet/

There are families with kids that are no longer playing and/or have outgrown helmets, so before purchasing a new one it may be worth posting a message/inquiry on Facebook on the NEFF page (https://www.facebook.com/NEFFootball/) or the Hamilton Wenham buy/sell/trade page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/587968027958232/)

What size soft shell helmet should my daughter/son get?

Great question! Please refer to this Sizing Guide. Additionally we have samples that you can have your player try on – simply contact us to arrange a time!

How much of a commitment is NEFF?

Fantastic question – and probably the one asked most frequently. We completely understand that kids are interested in many different activities and thus have very busy schedules. NEFF operates on game days only and does not schedule or require practices.  Practice schedules are determined by the individual coaches, with many coaches opting to practice once during the week in addition to a pregame warmup.

Games consist of two 20 minute halves. Each team has one 60 second time out per half, with a five minute halftime. A single game will last approximately one hour.  With most teams opting to warm up for an hour or so before each game, plan on two hours at the field on game day.

How are players grouped – age or grade?

We offer a variety of divisions based on grade, however the divisions may be adjusted to accommodate registration numbers:

  • Grades K-1
  • Grades 1-2
  • Grades 3-4
  • Grades 5-6
  • Grades 7-8
  • High School

How do I register my daughter or son (or me!)?

Registering for New England Football is easy! Click here to access the online registration system, create an account, add children, and off you go! If you are looking to help out by coaching or volunteering, please be sure to register yourself as well.

Do I need to find a team before registering?

Many people have asked if they need to wait to find a team before registering. The simple answer is no, but doing so helps. At a minimum please provide us with some information about desired teammates and/or coaches when registering. If you have already spoken to a coach about having your daughter/son play on her/his team at the time of registration, indicate so when asked. Rest assured that we will also be working with coaches to make sure that players are placed on the correct teams.

Please note that placement on a particular team is not guaranteed however we will do our best to accommodate requests.

How can I get on the NEFF email list?

Simple – you can join it here

How are standings and playoff seedings determined?

How are standings and playoff seedings determined?

  1. Winning Percentage: (Wins + (Ties * 0.5)) / Total Games Played
  2. Head to Head results
  3. Net Points (less is more)
  4. # of Slaughter Rule victories (less is more)

Are games played in poor weather conditions?

For the most part, yes, we play rain or shine. However if the weather creates an unsafe environment such as lightning or poor field conditions, we may cancel games. We will also cancel games if towns close fields due to weather.  If the weather is questionable, please monitor the website for updates.

How do I request music during games?

Want to have you favorite song played during games?  Fire up Twitter & send a tweet with #playthisneff and a song title between asterisks:

#playthisneff *ice ice baby* 

That’s it!  It’ll automagically be added to our playlist

Flag Football

What are the age requirements for Flag Football?

Flag Football players must be between Kindergarten and Grade 8 as of August 1st of the targeted season

How many players are on a flag football team?

Five players are on the field at a time for each participating team.  A team size of ten players is recommended, however NEFF wants to provide as many kids that want to play with the opportunity to do so and reserves the right to ask a team to carry additional players if forming another team does not make sense.

Are flag football games played on a regulation-sized field?

No, the field is a bit smaller (70 yards x 30 yards). A first down is achieved by crossing mid-field within three plays of receiving the ball, and there are “no running zones” within five yards of mid-field and each end zone to protect players/minimize collisions.

Do I need to provide any special equipment for my flag football player?

Mouth guards must be worn at all times, and rubber cleats are recommended for outdoor play. All players must be wearing a mouth guard or they will not be able to participate. The league provides uniforms, flag belts, and footballs. Many players opt to wear tacktified receiver gloves, but they certainly are not required.

Beginning in 2018 the following equipment is mandatory and can be purchased during registration [Equipment Sizing Guide]:

  • RockSolid soft shell helmets

Note – helmets can be reused from season to season. Mouth guards are available for purchase at the field (while supplies last).

What are the rules of flag football?

NEFF follows a modified version of the NFL flag football rules.  NEFF’s rules are available HERE.

What size jersey should I order?

You can use this sizing guide to help select the best jersey size for your player:

Flex Football

What is Flex Football?

Flex Football bridges the gap between flag and tackle for the first time.  The addition of RockSolid’s soft shell equipment enables Flex to build on the benefits of flag football by introducing key concepts that have historically been reserved for tackle: blocking, line play (pass rushing, pass blocking), bump & run/press coverage, and pre-tackling to name a few.

Flex is the ultimate experience to develop true football fundamentals and teach proper technique while keeping the head out of the game, and is the ideal offseason training option for tackle football programs.

What are the rules of Flex Football?

NEFF follows a modified version of the RockSolid Flex Football rules.  NEFF’s rules are available HERE.

What type of equipment is needed for Flex Football?

RockSolid soft shell helmets, RockSolid soft shell shoulder pads, and mouth guards must be worn at all times, and rubber cleats are recommended for outdoor play. RockSolid equipment can be purchased during registration [Equipment Sizing Guide].   Teams must wear matching numbered uniforms.  Uniforms are provided by NEFF for all youth divisions and are available for purchase by high school and adult teams if needed.

NEFF provides the following:

  • Youth Division(s):
    • Flag belts
    • Uniforms
    • Footballs (two per team)
  • High School and above:
    • Flag belts

Note – equipment can be reused from season to season. Mouth guards are available for purchase at the field (while supplies last).

How many players are on a Flex Football team?

Nine players are on the field at a time for each participating Flex Football team.  A team size of fifteen players is recommended, however NEFF wants to provide as many kids that want to play with the opportunity to do so and reserves the right to ask a team to carry additional players if forming another team does not make sense.

What are the age requirements for Flex Football?

Flex Football is open to players in Grade 3 through college as of August 1st of the targeted season

What size field is used for Flex Football?

A regulation-sized football field is recommended for Flex Football, with two games being played simultaneously running lengthwise. Each possession begins on the 45 yard line with the offense driving towards the end zone. The area between the 45 yard lines is a common end zone used for defensive scores only (interception, safety).

Unlike flag football where first downs are achieved by crossing midfield, traditional first down rules apply in Flex Football, complete with chains and a yard marker.