Please refrain from laughing during flag football at the Olympics.

Can flag football be included in the Olympic Games?

Be honest: You couldn’t help but smile at the idea.

Well, hold the laughter. This apparently is a serious thing, though it’s increasingly difficult to keep a straight face with anything involving the International Olympic Committee.

The individuals in charge who approved the inclusion of 3-on-3 basketball, also referred to as pickup games at the local Y, in their extravagant event and supported the concept of awarding gold medals for breakdancing in the upcoming summer, are now attempting to determine the selection of new sports for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Out of the nine options being considered, the most attention-grabbing one is the modified version of the game that is popular in America but not widely recognized elsewhere.

It is not surprising that the NFL is actively promoting flag football to become an Olympic sport, particularly for a single event in Los Angeles. This endeavor presents an opportunity for the wealthiest league in the world to potentially increase its revenue even further.

The NFL is currently hosting regular-season games in Europe and actively establishing its presence worldwide, with the aim of broadening its fan base beyond its usual boundaries.

Now it’s pushing for football in the Olympics, even if means using a version where tackles are made by grabbing a strip of cloth. The sport has grown significantly across the U.S., especially at the youth and high school levels where it provides equal opportunities for both males and females to play our true national pastime – without turning one’s brain to mush.

However, the Summer Games are intended for elite athletes participating in sports that have widespread popularity across multiple countries. Flag football does not meet this criteria.

Except for the United States and possibly Canada, American-style football is considered a niche sport in all other countries, regardless of the specific variant being played.

There are indeed many skilled flag players participating in global competitions, but they are not being confused with Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow.

However, the Olympics already incorporate racewalking, which we can only assume was created by individuals who were not sufficiently fast in track events.

Flag football, lacrosse, squash, cricket, baseball-softball, karate, kickboxing, and motorsports are being considered as discretionary sports for the 2028 Games. Breakdancing, which made its debut in Paris, is also hoping to continue being a part of the Olympics.

The finalization of the sports selection was scheduled for last week. However, the vote was postponed as the IOC and Los Angeles organizers work towards reaching an agreement on what should be included in an already extensive program.

Meanwhile, individuals participating in the U.S. national flag football teams are eagerly anticipating news regarding their chances of becoming official Olympians within the next five years.

“I have been a fan of the Olympics since childhood, admiring both the American athletes and those from other nations,” expressed Housh Doucette, a 34-year-old New Orleans resident and the enthusiastic leader of the men’s team. “It would be truly incredible if people could witness me and my teammates participating in the Olympics.”

Madison Fulford, a 28-year-old rookie on the women’s national team, used to be a college track athlete. When asked about her thoughts on people who believe flag football should not be included in the Olympics, she was questioned on her response.

“Hmm,” she paused, carefully choosing her words. “I have two possible responses to that. Firstly, one way to address it would be to challenge you to come out onto the field and attempt to defend against me. Secondly, I would suggest giving it a chance. Take the time to observe the games and watch the various clips available, and you will witness the incredible athleticism required to excel in our sport. It is truly a fantastic sport that demands a great deal of skill.”

No argument there. These men and women are very good at what they do, and their sport – with all its trickery and speed and none of the bone-crushing, head-jarring violence of the real thing – certainly has its appeal.

Can it be considered suitable for the Olympics?

That seems like a stretch, especially since many consider flag football nothing more than a watered-down version of a violent game that parents let kids play growing up so they don’t get hurt, or maybe one that’s goofed around with on the intramural fields at college.

Certainly, similar to any other sport, flag football becomes significantly intricate and demands a considerably higher degree of athleticism when played at its most competitive levels.

If it’s not Chiefs vs. Eagles, it’s still an exciting game worth watching.

“I cannot reword”

Last summer, the 5-on-5 variation of flag football was tested out at the World Games, which is an event similar to the Olympics but includes sports not featured in the Olympic program.

In the men’s competition, the United States emerged victorious, defeating Italy 46-36 in the final match. However, in the women’s category, the American team had to settle for a silver medal as they suffered a 39-6 defeat against Mexico in the championship game.

“I cannot reword”

Can flag football be included in the Olympics?

Perhaps it is not a subject to be taken lightly.

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