Matt Bailey’s Ready For Brigade To Join Boston’s Pro Sports Franchises

Matt Bailey grew up playing traditional football from Pop Warner through high school, but his life changed when he started playing flag football in the early 2000s.

After some of his buddies invited him to a pickup game, he knew he had found a new passion.

“I immediately fell in love,” Bailey told “Since that point, I’ve been playing consistently through the leagues, traveling to play, and I’ve just developed such a love for the game after the first time I played it.”

His passion has turned into a new career.

Story continues below advertisement

Bailey is the head coach of New England’s newest professional sports franchise — the Boston Brigade, one of the four teams fledging the American Flag Football League. The AFFL launches its inaugural season in April with teams from Boston, Nashville, Dallas and Las Vegas.

Being from New England himself, becoming the Brigade coach was that much more special to Bailey.

“I wake up every day and I’m like, ‘I’m a professional coach. I’m a professional coach.’ And then, I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m Boston’s professional flag coach.’ There’s a lot of greats in this area that I kind of have to step up to and see if I can replicate what they did. I look forward to the challenge, but certainly a dream come true.”

The AFFL plays seven-on-seven across four 15-minute quarters with a running clock, except for the final two minutes of the second half. The field itself is divided into four 25-yard boxes, with first downs awarded to the offensive team when they reach the next box. Blocking is a no-no with a rush count of two seconds, or four seconds for a quarterback to release the ball if there is no rush.

Story continues below advertisement

“In the NFL, having that NFL quarterback that can run and throw is certainly a good thing to have in flag football, it doesn’t need to be a must on either side. In flag football, it’s hugely beneficial,” Bailey explained. “In standard football, you don’t really see handoffs to double quarterbacks, as we call them in flag football, it’s very uncommon.”

Bailey continued: “A lateral and then a pass down the field maybe happens two or three times a season (in the NFL). In the flag football game, you’re gonna see that happen 50 to 60% of the time. … It’s exciting because there’s plays that you will never see on a traditional football field that you’ll be able to see in a flag football game.”

I’ve just developed such a love for the game after the first time I played it

Boston Brigade head coach Matt Bailey

The Brigade’s 12-man roster is almost complete with the type of athletes Bailey was looking for — on and off the field.

Story continues below advertisement

“We need to be very team-orientated,” Bailey said. “We need to be out there in the community getting involved, going to youth camps offering up our time as volunteers. I think that’s very important to the AFFL and to the Brigade. That needs to be on everybody’s mind, and the guys that I’ve been picking are all about that.”

Like the other professional sports franchises in Boston — the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots, Bailey is hoping to build a winning culture in the Brigade locker room.

“Boston is probably going to be considered the underdog,” Bailey said. “That’s just how we are, and Boston has been so successful in its professional sports team history … they just do a lot of winning. We’re going to have to try and come in there and step into those shoes and do a lot of winning ourselves. With the team that’s created, the staff that I have, and the support … I think that we’re going to do very, very well.”

The Brigade is set to kick off their season at Cashman Field in Las Vegas on April 27. Boston’s home field is Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy, Massachusetts. They will host two doubleheaders on May 11 and June 1.

Story continues below advertisement

“Quincy is a city right in the heart of everything,” Bailey said. “It has the Boston skyline attached to it. It’s just another arm of Boston and the stadium itself is gorgeous. It’s stunning. It’s the perfect atmosphere for these flag football players to play in. … The atmosphere in that location was absolutely perfect.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.