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On Saturday, 50 fifth- and sixth-graders came to an elementary school field in West Jordan, Utah, to play some football. Parents and coaches marked off a 60-yard-by-35-yard grid for them, and threw out some smaller footballs for them to throw around. It was hardly an abnormal scene, except for the fact that the players were all girls, and when the scrimmage started, they began tackling.
It was the launch of the first known girls tackle football league in America, it had the blessing of USA Football and the NFL, and there are even bigger possibilities in the distant future.
"The ultimate goal is for women to get paid to play, " said Sam Rapoport, the director of development for USA Football. "We'd love to see women's tackle football played at the pro level."
To the dozens of Utah families that showed immediate interest in the league, it has already been a great idea. But in an age of heightened concussion awareness and fear of allowing children to play football, is it a good idea?
The inspiration for the Utah Girls Tackle Football League came from a familiar place: Sam Gordon, the Utah girl wonder who became somewhat of a sensation in 2012 when her father, Brent. In the days after the surge of attention for "Sweet Feet, " the NFL reached out to Sam and began a relationship with the 9-year-old and her family. She even got to go to the Super Bowl and meet NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Last March, Sam, now 12, was speaking at a school near her Utah home and asked for a show of hands: How many girls out there would want to play tackle football?
Lots of hands shot up.
That convinced Brent to try it. He had already heard from several local parents who wanted to get their daughters into football but had worries about competition and safety.
"I thought, 'Let's do one division, 50 girls. Let's see what happens.' " Brent told Yahoo Sports. "By the time we got the website up, we only had five days to promote it and it still filled up in that time frame."