Kings of the Underground / by Alex Young

We know basketball runs New York.  If you're from NYC, chances are you've played ball outdoors on the double-rim hoops.  Football, though, remains underground; a niche group of players looking to assert their dominance on the gridiron rather than the court has generated a new age of pick-up competition.  Eight teams representing the best street football clubs in New York came to compete in the Street Bowl Championship, but only two made it to the final day, vying for the $16,000 come-up.

We were introduced to Carver Mobb's leader, O.G. Pamz, in episode one of Kings of the Underground, Vice Sports' chronicling of the two-day tournament, as he talked about the ferocity of street football in the streets of the Concrete Jungle.  For all the smack he and his team from the Spanish Barrio talked, they also walked the walk beating arch-nemesis Undarated twice to advance to the championship. 

AFC was one of the more enigmatic teams in the tournament.  Originally from Queens, the squad comprised of doctors, lawyers, and college educated guys was written off as soft, unable to adapt to the grimy ways of up-town street football.  Despite their lack of bravado, AFC had a seasoned athletic pedigree that was unmatched by any other team.  Myron and Travis both AFC wide receiver/corner backs played collegiate football at American International College--a Division-II school--while Travis went on to add three more years of arena football to his resume.  Their skillful play along with some clutch playmaking led the underdog team to the finals.

Vice has unveiled the curtain to one of the most unique sports leagues in the United States.  We've all got our teams we root for on Sunday, but there's something special about watching neighborhoods within New York battle for supremacy.  It's not just for the money.  It's personal. 

Peep episodes two, three, four, and five to see how the tournament unfolded here.