This study assessed the mitochondrial related signaling responses to a single bout of noncontact, modified football (touch rugby), played as small-sided games (SSG), or cycling (CYC) exercise in sedentary, obese, middle-aged men. In a randomized, crossover design, nine middle-aged, sedentary, obese men completed two, 40-min exercise conditions (CYC and SSG) separated by a 21-day recovery period. Heart rate (HR) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were collected during each bout. Needle biopsies from the vastus lateralis muscle were collected at rest and 30 and 240 min postexercise for analysis of protein content and phosphorylation (PGC-1α, SIRT1, p53, p53(Ser15), AMPK, AMPK(Thr172), CAMKII, CAMKII(Thr286), p38MAPK, and p38MAPK(Thr180/Tyr182)) and mRNA expression (PGC-1α, p53, NRF1, NRF2, Tfam, and cytochrome c). A main effect of time effect for both conditions was evident for HR, RPE, and blood lactate (P < 0.05), with no condition by time interaction (P > 0.05). Both conditions increased PGC1-α protein and mRNA expression at 240 min (P < 0.05). AMPK(Thr172) increased 30 min post CYC (P < 0.05), with no change in SSG (P > 0.05). CYC increased p53 protein content at 240 min to a greater extent than SSG (P < 0.05). mRNA expression of NRF2 decreased in both conditions (P < 0.05). No condition by time interactions were evident for mRNA expression of Tfam, NRF1, cytochrome c, and p53. The similar PGC-1α response between intensity-matched conditions suggests both conditions are of similar benefit for stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis. Differences between conditions regarding fluctuation in exercise intensity and type of muscle contraction may explain the increase of p53 and AMPK within CYC and not SSG (noncontact, modified football).