In todays edition of the 5 toughest we speak to one of the biggest characters you may have come across if you have ever participated in Big Bowl. His blitzing is friegtening and he can literally hurt you from any position on offense.
NP Flag, Code Red, Team USA
Hi Jeff! First of all congratulations on winning the 2018 World championships in Panama, can you tell us a little about the experience?
Well let me take the time to thank USA Football for selecting me to represent the red, white, and blue across my chest. But anyway the experience was something you only dreamed about. I felt like I was living in a professionals life for a whole week. From the gear we got, to playing the best teams in the world, to meeting many different culture and styles of flag football and people, to teaching kids from panama the USA way of flag, and signing autographs like we were famous, is an experience I will never forget.
Were there any teams that really impressed you?
There were a couple teams that impressed me. The first one which is not a shocker but team Denmark. They are quick, talented, and very smart on both sides of the ball and always play as a team. Another team that stood out was the hometown team Panama. They were a well rounded team with some top notch players. Another one was Austria. They were very big and strategic and never once backed down to anyone. Final team that I was impressed with was Japan! look out for them to make some noise in the near future. Fast, tricky, and they carry themselves well.
How did you get involved with the USA set up and how did the selections happen?
Well flag football is huge in the states and I play all the time so I found out through word of mouth. They had a Battle USA tournament held in Texas and they hand selected people from that tournament plus previous players from years before. Selections weren’t based on just talent though, they picked someone who was an all around great person and led on and off the field.
A lot of our readers will know you from Big Bowl when you were playing with NP Flag but how long have you been playing flag and how did you get into the sport?
I’ve been playing flag since I was 9 years old. My brother started up his own travel team and leagues and as I grew up I continued to play. Now I play on one of the best teams around the country Code Red. If you didn’t know you should now after our impressive final four finish in the AFFL.
How do you find the level in European flag compared to back in the U.S?
I think European flag and the states flag are similar in ways but definitely different. I honestly like the way European flag is played way better to what I am custom to. Flag in the states is very rough and usually for cash money tournaments. Also there are very many different styles including contact and non contact where as European flag only has one style and plays for honour, greatness, and a trophy. Your game is way more respected and loyal in my opinion and you have to be more as an athlete.
Are we likely to see you back at Big Bowl or any other of the big European tournaments?
Yes you will definitely see me back at Big Bowl no matter what. It’s my most favourite tournament to go to and I look forward to it every year. Everything is rain perfect and its always a great time and honour to play in.
With so much experience, it is only fair to ask you who your top 5 toughest players are!
1. Silas Juhulin (Denmark/ Barbarians)
Silas is, I think, the best player in Europe. He his very smart and athletic and can play both sides of the ball. Put him on offense and he will make your defenders look silly, put him on defense and he’s an offense’s nightmare. He runs excellent routes and don’t let his looks fool you cause he’s super quick and will burn you on a route if you under estimate him. On defense he’s a ball hawk and a great flag puller. All around my favourite player on and off the field and always is fun to watch.
2. Jonas Bo Hansen ( Denmark/ SGD)
They call him the superman look a like. He is the best route runner I have ever faced. Definitely the best offense player I have ever seen. He is quick, tall and can shake you in many directions. He also is a two way player and is very talented on defense. He’s probably one of the nicest person you will meet to. Most humble and well round person I have ever played in flag and is one hell of a team player.
3. Niklas Derby Johansen( Denmark/ Armadillos)
This guy is one hell of an athlete and the best defensive player in Europe. He is like a hawk in the sky and overseas everything. He is quick, elusive, and very smart. try to beat him short and your flag will end up in his hand. Think you can go over the top… think again, he may be a shorter defender but can jump and has very good ball awareness. Much respect for dude.
4. Tariq Khan (London Ex Pads)
I don’t know where to even start with this guy. He’s honestly everything you can ask for in a flag player. He is always a role model on and off the field and over the past couple of Big Bowls I have looked up to him as a player. He is the nicest person you will ever meet and carries himself with pride. Probably is my most favourite player to play against cause its always close games and fun. He is the smartest quarterback I know and never plays favourite. He might not look like much of a player to you but when you are across from him on the field he’s a threat. Great arm and vision and what’s even better is his play calls. Always an honour to play against him and looking forward to playing him again.
5. Gary Elliot (GB)
I thought I was tall Jesus! This man is a freak! very tall I mean tall. He is a great player on both sides of the ball. He has very clutch hands and rises to the challenge when he is faced with adversity. Well respected player and very smart. On defense don’t try to go over top because you know he’s Tall and if you go short well he covers a lot of ground so you’ll run out of room really quick. Great flag puller and great athlete.