It’s Not Just a Men’s Sport

Depending on which format would be used (our guess is either 5v5 or 7v7), flag football requires far fewer participants than traditional tackle football. Part of this is due to it being a less physically demanding sport and the need for less substitutions, and another part is due to needing less specialist players, such as kickers, punters, special teams, offensive lineman, etc. Where each traditional tackle football team would probably carry 50+ competitors, flag football would need probably 15 players at most, cutting that number to less than a third. This is important because the Olympics cap their total participants to 10,500 athletes and coaches. It also again allows more countries to compete, especially poorer countries, where fielding a smaller and less financially demanding team coupled with the reasons above makes more sense.

4. It’s Not Just a Men’s Sport

Gender equality is a major emphasis for the IOC. The 2012 Summer Olympics marked the first time all sports included competing women in their category. Today, any new sport that is added to the Olympic Games must include both male and female participants. For tackle football, there is just not nearly enough interest from women participators for it to make sense. While there are some female players, and even some female tackle football leagues and organizations, it just doesn’t fit the mold, especially with the other issues relating to physicality and barrier to entry. For flag football this is not a problem as detailed above, with female participation booming internationally.

NEXT STEPS FOR FLAG FOOTBALL AND OLYMPIC INCLUSION
So how do we take the next steps to ride the momentum of flag football straight into the next available Olympic games? The IFAF has already helped begin the process of getting the sport of American Football in front of the IOC in recent years, but with their public issues and seemingly no movement since 2014 more needs to be done to keep moving forward. What we do know is that flag football is being taken seriously at all levels for really the first time in history, with major organizations making moves to get more into the flag football space and the creation of bigger and more international events to fuel the sport. We believe that either on it’s own, or as a discipline of tackle football, flag football WILL be included in the Olympics at some level in the next 10-20 years.

If that happened, what do you think that would do to boost the popularity and legitimacy of the sport of flag football long term? Let us know in the comments below!
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