Sounds just absolutely insane, doesn’t it? Of course America would obliterate the world while playing American football. American football is American, and being really good at American football is the most American thing an American can do.
But, as NFL.com’s Albert Breer notes, 50 or so years ago the same attitude existed about basketball. That sport would never, ever be included in the Olympics, we thought, because the conclusion of an Olympic competition in men’s basketball was a mere formality. The United States would serve finely prepare platters of whoop ass routinely, embarrassing the world.
For a long time, that was true, and hell, we could be about to start an Olympics in which the American men impress on the hardwood again and win gold. But now they’re just winning, and they’re no longer dominating and scattering the underwear of their opponents throughout the arena. We’re only one summer Olympics removed from Team America losing gold to Argentina, which was a massive accomplishment on a world stage, and a sign of the game’s immense global growth.
Growth is the goal, and as the NFL’s regular-season series in London continues along with Roger Goodell’s serious flirtation with the notion of expanding that series or (gulp) allowing a team to cross the pond permanently, the NFL’s international aspirations are clear. As basketball has discovered, the Olympics are the greatest tool for international growth, and the primary driver would be the showcasing of the NFL’s top stars under a global spotlight.
So sure, the inclusion of football in the Olympics seems outlandish and ridiculous now, especially since sports like softball and baseball have been axed recently, while rugby will finally be included on a trial basis in 2016. But that won’t stop the push for football, an effort that’s already underway.
An official from the International Federation of American Football (which definitely exists, and they have a championship tournament every four years) told Breer that 2020 is possible for football’s Olympic debut, although realistically, no target date has been set right now.
“In theory, if we get recognition this year, which we could, we’d be in play for 2020,” said Tommy Wiking, the Sweden-based president of the IFAF. “Our next shot after that is 2024, and the decision on (pursuing) that will be made in four or five years. If everything goes our way, 2024 is possible. Do I think we’ll be in the Games in 2024? No, not really. I think we’ll have IOC recognition — if not this year, then next year — and (we’ll) go from there.”
Failing that, NFL players can resort to equestrian if they want to be Olympians.
And now the links part of the links post…
- Ownership of the Cleveland Browns is maybe, probably about to change hands. Randy Lerner has issued a statement saying that he’s been approached by Jimmy Haslem, who’s interested in making an “investment” in the team. [Adam Schefter]
- Michael Vick knows that disobeying presidential orders is grounds for treason, so he’s saying all the right things about Barack Obama’s slide recommendation. [Bleeding Green Nation]
- Vick’s tight end Brent Celek has taken the honor of being the first training camp casualty, although his injury is a mild one. He has an MCL sprain, and is day-to-day. [Jeff McLane on Twitter]
- There were over 4,000 fans and media present to watch Peyton Manning run around in shorts yesterday. Go crazy, Broncos fans, but we won’t really know if the real Manning will show up until September. [Jason Cole]
- Oh, so you mean in his final season when Brett Favre was busy making sure the worldwide distribution of his dong pictures didn’t ruin his marriage he wasn’t committed to football? [Total Packers]
- Tim Tebow fumbled on the second day of training camp. Cut him. [Rich Cimini on Twitter]
- Matt Moore was the first Dolphins QB to line up in training camp and take snaps with the first team offense, which means absolutely nothing at this point. Well, it does crush the assumption held by many all summer that David Garrard would open camp as the starter. So yeah, there’s that. [Ben Volin]
- Mike Wallace’s holdout is Mike Wallace’s idea. [Ed Bouchette]