Punting On Paper

There are few pastimes as simple, as fun, and as thoroughly American as paper football games. A piece of paper, a table, a couple fingers, and you have a game. It can be played almost anywhere, almost anytime, by almost anyone. And you don’t have to be any good to have fun.

First, a flat surface serves as your “field” in paper football games. You can mark it with yard lines, side lines and the like, but you don’t have to (you don’t even really need a table if you don’t want to play a full game). Next, a sheet of notebook paper folded into a right triangle – it should be about the size of a thumb – is your “football.”

Now just “kick” the ball down the field by flicking it with your middle finger and thumb. You can have kick-offs, punts and first downs, or go as simple as you like. The goal in paper football games, of course, is to score points by landing touchdowns or field goals. Touchdowns occur when you land your ball so that it’s hanging off your opponent’s end of the table. You win field goals when you flick the ball through your opponent’s fingers.

Paper Football Games: The Rules Don’t Matter

But there’s no need to follow those rules in paper football games. It can be just as fun to waste an hour of detention playing a game of field goals, doing nothing more challenging than flicking the ball back and forth between each other’s fingers. On the other extreme, you can add extra details, such as fouls, touchbacks and extra points.

Ties are a good case in point. Typically, overtime breaks a tie in paper football games, followed by sudden death if that doesn’t work. A game of “rock, paper, scissors” traditionally serves as the tie-breaker in overtime, but really, anything goes.

Paper football games are a pleasant distraction to most, something picked up in childhood to avoid dozing off in class. Others are true competitors. Some play in national tournaments for major prizes. A small industry has even built up around these people, with high-quality tables and paper football accessories for sale online.

Of course, the whole point of paper football games is that everyone can play, no matter what their abilities. Better skills are needed to play more seriously, but paper football is a game you can start on the spot with even the weakest of players and still have fun.

The Origins of Paper Football Games

No one knows for sure who invented paper football games, but they were almost certainly born in an American classroom sometime during the 1950s. It also goes by the names finger football, Biren football, tabletop football and flick football. Early variations on the theme included a New England version using quarters, a Midwest game using matchbooks, and a penny version that is still played.

Skilled players can find a handful of amateur leagues, with a few tournaments. Major sponsors have provided prizes in the past. Most of the organizations haven’t been around long, but with paper football games only growing in popularity, the groups should grow too.

Brandon covers many different topics when he writes, and flick football is one of them.  If you are looking for a great flick football game, then check out this site.