The NFL Flag Football World Championship (FFWC) belongs to Canada after the Hamilton Steelers, who won the National title in Winnipeg in July, beat Mexico’s Los Diablitos 27-14 in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on Friday.
Canada had finished as runner up in three of the previous seven tournaments, but convincingly won the 2007 title before the New Orleans Saints took on the Buffalo Bills in NFL pre-season action.
“We are proud to win for Canada and for our families who have been fantastic the way they have supported us here,” said quarterback and team MVP Alex Hill. “It was fantastic to play in the Superdome and we believed all along, even when we weren’t playing well or when things were going against us that we were going to win.”
The Canadians’ composure throughout the FFWC proved crucial as they overcame a loss to Mexico in the group stages, sealed a dramatic victory over USA when trailing with only seven seconds remaining in the semi final and came from behind in the championship game.
Mexico took an early lead in the Superdome on only the game’s second play when Kevin Palomino reeled in a touchdown pass and Alan Mendoza scored the extra point. Canada were held in check, but on their next drive Chris Johnson caught a touchdown pass from Hill and Jaclyn Carbone tied the game.
Lucas Mancini, whose aerial threat had been a constant weapon in the Steelers’ armory, gave Canada a 14-7 halftime lead and added three more touchdowns and an unassailable 27-7 lead. When Mexico threatened, the tournament’s female MVP Alexandra Petermann twice produced sacks before the male MVP Daniel Mier scored a late consolation touchdown.
As guests of the New Orleans Saints, the ten teams taking part in the FFWC watched the pre-season game that followed from field level sideline seats, provided a guard of honor when the Saints entered the field and gave a halftime NFL Flag football display. Canada received the championship trophy from Saints owner/executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc and an enthusiastic welcome from the fans in the Superdome.