Philadelphia-area webmaster Stacey Marshall taps into passion for sport with 'Madness' tournament
Founder, League Coordinator, Webmaster
The 6-foot-4 Marshall grew up in Kenilworth, N.J., where he was a running back at David Brearley High School. His love for football was equaled by his passion for the arts, an uncommon combination at his school, he said. “I was a weird guy in that I played sports and loved art,” said Marshall, who studied graphic design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Giving up football wasn’t easy, Marshall said. “The worst fall of my life was my first year in college when I didn’t play football.” Through with college and not having played in years, Marshall thought he was done with the game, then his brother suggested he give flag football a try. “I laughed at it at first,” Marshall said. Then he played in a game, and right away he was hooked. He liked flag football so much he formed a league in the Philadelphia area eight years ago. What started as single, five-team league has grown to 16 teams playing in multiple seasons. Marshall and partner Troy Chiddick also run a youth basketball league in the Upper Merion area north of Philadelphia. Marshall said he still referees all of his league's flag football games, and a run-in with a player proved to be a life-altering moment. He met his wife, Loretta, through his co-ed league. “She cursed me out,” he said. “She said, ‘These refs stink.’ ”
Marshall ensures schedules, rosters and scores are entered from each of his leagues. He even enters statistics from all of the leagues, too, a feature that’s especially popular among the players, Marshall said. Flag Football America’s Adult Co-Ed League, described by Marshall as, “the best in the nation,” has a Hall of Fame. Inductees have colorful names such as McLovin, Megatron, Juice and The Gov. Marshall has also compiled a list of the league’s top all-time quarterbacks. Top players are honored after each season with awards ranging from league MVP to most improved to rookie of the year.
Marshall has spent the past several years studying the hundreds of flag football leagues around the nation. As a leading expert on the sport, he produces a weekly podcast that highlights top players, teams and tournaments. He combined his vast flag football knowledge and design skills to create the Flag Football Madness tournament. Leagues are pitted against each in a bracket-style popularity contest (Marshall created the bracket using logos from each league), with the winners in each round determined by voting on the Flag Football America site. The spike in his site’s traffic has been dramatic. The poll for the East bracket alone has more than 7,000 votes as Orange County Flag Football and North Shore Flag Football squared off in an epic battle, with each receiving more than 2,400 votes.