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American Football is one of the more popular sports in the states, but why isn’t it considered an Olympic Sport?
American Football has grown into one of the more popular sports in the United States. The NFL monopolizes Sunday afternoons for many football fans, along with Monday and Thursday nights. Fridays and Saturdays are home to college football, where school spirit and passion take center stage on the gridiron. The sport has grown worldwide also, as it is the ninth most popular sport in America with over 400 million viewers, according to Top End Sports.
Despite the excitement and fanfare over American Football, it has not yet made its way to the Olympics. So why isn’t it considered an Olympic sport, and could the pigskin come to the games in the future?
Why isn’t American Football and Olympic Sport?
One of the reasons why American Football isn’t an Olympic Sport is due to eligibility rules. If made an Olympic sport, pro players would be eligible for international representation under the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). NFL players, however, aren’t eligible for IFAF representation.
For people who are hearing of the IFAF for the first time, you’re not alone. Many people are unaware this organization exists or what they even do. That is because the IFAF lacks a true vision or direction for what they want to do for the growth of American Football. The NFL hasn’t been too supportive of the IFAF in the past, according to Growth of a Game, which hurt their chances of gaining the support they need to bring the gridiron to the Olympics.
The IFAF applied to make American Football a part of the 2020 Summer Olympics, but it was rejected. They received provisional recognition for the 2024 Olympics, and the NFL is now working with the IFAF on a proposal to bring flag football to the Olympics in 2028.