“SC Report” is a regular feature of the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter. Running approximately two minutes, the report focuses on an interesting news topic of the day.
National reporter Michele Steele is one of several reporters who contribute to the “SC Report,” and this week, she presented the second part of a two-part series on the exploding growth of girls flag football.
“Our bureau producer in California, Jessica Shobar, had initially flagged pun definitely intended this story to me,” said Steele, who is based in Chicago. “She saw the state she lives in was unanimously approving making girls high school flag football a varsity sport.
“I looked at it and thought it is a great story,” she said. “I think that we all know some of the trends around young people and their interest in sports, and here’s a sport that’s become, in pretty short order, the fastest-growing youth sport in the country. And it involves girls and growing the game of football by expanding the tent.”
Flag football is the fastest growing youth sport in the country and NFL teams like the @chargers are getting more girls in the game adding California to a growing list of states making flag a varsity girls sport pic.twitter.com/NHedNggBoL
— Michele Steele (@MicheleSteele) February 7, 2023
As she looked into the story, Steele realized there was enough there for a two-part series, and the 6 p.m. SportsCenter team agreed. The first, which aired Feb. 6, was essentially on the growth in California, and the second part, which aired Feb. 14, delved into which states were coming next.
“We worked hand-in-hand with two NFL teams to secure information and to get sound on the ground for this story,” she said. “Whenever we do these news-of-the-day pieces, they force you to be incredibly resourceful because we don’t have four months to work on a story sometimes you have closer to four hours.
“So when we can’t go to Los Angeles on that kind of turnaround, we called up our contacts at the [Los Angeles] Chargers and [Atlanta] Falcons and were able to get great video and sound from both coasts because both of those teams are working on significant girls flag football programs.”
Steele also interviewed former NFL player Izell Reese, the executive who is driving the NFL’s flag football program.
Steele praised the team she worked with on the series, including producer Patrick Abraham and editors Ashley Colley and Joe Formisano.
“They really shepherded these pieces with a lot of different video from different sources and helped make them enjoyable and informative for our audience,” she said.
“The response from viewers has been overwhelmingly positive,” Steele said. “So many women have said they wish they had this when they were coming up, and so many parents are saying ‘I’m so fired up for my daughter to be involved in this.’”
14 *more* states are piloting girls flag football programs with the goal of adding it as a varsity HS sport, including Illinois, New Jersey & Texas. Is your state included on the list?
Our latest for SportsCenter: pic.twitter.com/AjNMUhTVbA
— Michele Steele (@MicheleSteele) February 15, 2023