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Is it possible for the NFL’s goal of making football a worldwide phenomenon to be achieved with the competition from cricket and basketball for attention in the 2028 Olympics?


Many exciting developments have emerged in the world of sports. The 2024 Olympic Games will be held in Paris, while the USA will host the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Niccolo Cmapriani, the Olympics Sports Director, has announced that the LA28 Olympics will feature new sports such as Cricket, Squash, Lacrosse, Softball, and Flag Football. However, there is a unique twist to the inclusion of Flag Football that may please football fans.

Sports like Basketball and Soccer have been on the Olympics’ list of sports for ages. Even Cricket is added to the list after more than a century, considering the international following that the sport has. Did you know that the Cricketer Virat Kohli has more followers than LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Tiger Woods combined? Massive numbers, aren’t they? So, what has stopped the NFL from joining the Olympic ranks? Well, as it stands, American Football has just been recognized as an Olympic sport and will be a part of LA28.

The NFL has long had plans to expand globally and now has the chance to do so. A few regular season NFL games have already taken place in London, but this is just the beginning as the league wants to ensure it receives its fair share of international attention. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as football will be included in the Olympics for the first time since 1932.

Flag football has become the newest frontier for the NFL, with the introduction of Olympic flag football.

The latest news states that Gridiron football is now a part of LA28. However, instead of traditional football, athletes will be playing a game of ‘Flag Football’, which has its own set of rules. The main difference between Flag Football and Gridiron is the lack of tackling in the former. Other differences include restrictions for the quarterback and the absence of fumbles. While there are minor rule changes, the overall effort to include this sport in the Olympics is significant and comes with a price of inclusivity.

Advantages and disadvantages of incorporating.

These regulations have been implemented to safeguard players from any potential injuries, especially since they may also be participating in the NFL. While Flag Football has been officially added, there is still discussion about compensating players. With minimal physical contact involved in the game, the risk of injury is low and players simply need to remove a tag/flag from their opponents to stop play. Full rules and guidelines can be found on the NFL Flag website. However, the issue remains that a deal must be reached between the government, NFL, and Olympics to satisfy all parties when it comes to compensation. But what if all parties are in agreement, yet team owners refuse to sponsor their players for the Olympics?

On September 14, 2023, during a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, Jalen Hurts, quarterback for the Eagles, scored a touchdown on a unique play called the “tush push.” The photo was taken by Andy Lewis and is available for editorial use only.

Currently, team owners have no motivation to risk their top players. While this can result in high rewards, the potential for injuries and subsequent compensation is a major factor. In the past, there have been injuries that ended players’ careers without adequate compensation. The NFL offers substantial salaries to its athletes, so some may prioritize a stable income over risking injury. One solution could be to involve former NFL players alongside current ones. This could address concerns about injury and compensation, as the monetary transactions for retired players would likely be lower than those for active players.

The twists and turns

NFL executive Peter O’Reilly recently stated that the NFL and the players’ union will collaborate to determine the potential for current and former players to participate in LA28. However, this presents a challenge as there are currently over 100 players from foreign countries competing in the NFL who may want to represent their home countries in the Olympics.

Out of all the athletes in the league, Tyreek Hill appears to be highly interested in LA28. He has expressed his goal of “bringing one home” and also discussed on his podcast the possibility of putting together a super team to compete in the Olympics at some point in the past.

Tyreek Hill

On September 18, 2022 in Baltimore, MD, during the NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, Tyreek Hill (wide receiver for the Dolphins) threw up a peace sign with two fingers after catching a pass and running into the end zone for a touchdown. This photo was captured by Randy Litzinger of Icon Sportswire.

The NFL has been actively promoting and advocating for flag football to reach a wider audience. Last year, the league organized a series of games featuring the AFC and NFC stars competing in multiple flag football matches. While there is still a significant amount of time before these plans can be fully implemented, it is expected that by 2028, these initial ideas will develop into concrete plans with efficient logistics. Until then, the NFL may need to examine the strategies used by the NBA to establish a strong global presence.

The NFL still faces some challenges in the future.

The NBA has been successful in capturing the attention of a global audience, especially in comparison to the NFL. This is evident in their strong presence in countries such as India and China. Additionally, the potential for revenue has not been considered until now. The NBA’s international marketing efforts, along with income from ticket and merchandise sales, and broadcast revenue, contribute greatly to the success of their expansion. Most recently, Abu Dhabi hosted preseason games as a part of the NBA’s partnership with the UAE.

Team USA

The United States faced off against Czech Republic in a men’s basketball match at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan on July 31, 2021 for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Khris Middleton from the United States and Jakub Sirina from Czech Republic were seen competing in the game. The action was captured by REUTERS photographer Brian Snyder.

When discussing other athletic activities, it is important to acknowledge Cricket, which will be included in the Olympics for the first time since 1900. After a 128-year gap, Cricket has been accepted into the extensive list of sports at the Olympics, possibly due to its vast global audience of 2.5 billion. Typically lasting 7-8 hours, Cricket matches are quite lengthy, so the introduction of a shorter version, T20, will be included in the LA28 Olympics. As the second most popular sport worldwide, it has taken over a century for Cricket to gain recognition on this significant platform.

Niccolo Campriani mentioned to CBC Sports about his friend Virat Kohli, who has 340 million followers on social media, making him the third most followed athlete in the world. This number surpasses the combined followers of LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Tiger Woods, making it a win-win situation.

The Indian cricket team, led by Virat Kohli, was seen before their 2022 ICC Mens T20 World Cup Super 12 match against Zimbabwe at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne on Sunday, November 6, 2022. This photo can only be used for editorial purposes and cannot be archived or used for publishing in books. Copyright belongs to Joel Carrett.

The NFL is strategically expanding its reach by hosting games in various countries, such as Japan, Argentina, and the UK, to attract a global fanbase. According to the Joe Pomp Show, the NFL has increased its revenue potential to $20 billion this year, with international games playing a significant role. The introduction of Flag Football presents a prime opportunity for the NFL to generate revenue and expand the sport’s international presence, reaching a wider audience than ever before.

As up-and-coming star Puka Nacua prepares to go against lockdown cornerback Joey Porter Jr. in a highly anticipated first-time matchup, the Steelers’ CB is ready for any challenge.

The NFL’s growth raises numerous inquiries, but participating in LA28 Flag Football is a simple way to address them and begin your journey.

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Can the NFL’s goal of making football a worldwide sensation be achieved with the competition between cricket and basketball for attention in the 2028 Olympics? This is the question discussed in the article “Perspective” on EssentiallySports.