The Olympic flame had barely been extinguished and the medals had not yet been counted when the American sports public turned back to their favorite pastime. The new season of the National Football League (NFL) may not start until mid-September, but talk is already being made about the near and more distant future of the sport.
Incredible as that may sound, that future could be Olympic. American football at the Olympics? Yes, indeed: behind the scenes, the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), with support from the NFL, is working to get the sport included in the 2028 Summer Games program in Los Angeles.
However, with limitations: the high-tech NFL version
with its teams of up to 50 professionals and an almost even larger coaching staff, as the football officials also know, has no chance of becoming an Olympic game. In addition, the NFL clubs would never release their stars for such a compressed tournament with an increased risk of injury.
Instead, a slimmed-down version of the 해외축구중계사이트 is to find its way into the Olympic program: the so-called flag football is a softer version of football in which the muscular giants do not run over each other, but instead pluck a piece of cloth from the opponent’s belt as a substitute for tackle .
Bodiless and without major risk of injury
This largely disembodied version was originally invented to mimic plays in practice and is gaining popularity in the United States. Especially for parents who can now send their children back to football without risking a concussion. Women are also more likely to play flag football than the physically demanding original version. World championships have been held every two years since 2002, and next year flag football will be taking part in the World Games for the first time, this time taking place in Birmingham, Alabama. In order to convince those responsible for the Olympics, who fear a further inflation of the games, the teams are also to be downsized. Instead of the traditional 11 players on the pitch, only teams of 5 should compete – similar to Olympic 7-a-side rugby.
Even so, the idea that American football could become an Olympic game
still seems far-fetched – after all, unlike baseball, for example, the sport is not practiced at anywhere near the same level outside of the United States. However, in the end it is always about the money. And the NFL, the world’s highest-grossing professional league, has money. And a marketing concept that includes slowly but surely making the sport better known in the rest of the world.
For decades, the NFL has invested millions of dollars in development, not only financing the NFL Europe branch for years, but also taster courses and training camps, and supporting national associations and other leagues. Because more people playing football also means: more interest, more fans, more sales.
“We definitely support any effort to have flag football become an Olympic sport,” said Damani Leech, the NFL’s international strategy director. “We believe that our sport can continue to grow internationally in this way. The more people play football, whatever version of football, the better.”