Why is American football not in the Olympics?
American football is not in the Olympics because lack of an international governing body, lack of logistics, & it is not popular outside of the USA & CA. Additionally, this spot is dangerous to play affecting both the athletes’ physical health and mental well-being.
American football is a relatively new sport:
Of course, people have been throwing things at each other for as long as there have been people, but the game of American football as we know it today was invented in its modern form in the late 1800s.
In contrast, the first Olympic Games took place in ancient Greece around 776 BC. Given that American football is a relatively new sport, this might help explain why it has never been included in the Olympics.
One more thing to note is that while American football may be extremely popular in the United States and Canada, it is not yet very popular outside of North America.
In fact, according to FIFA’s most recent survey on global sports popularity (released in 2017) soccer (football) remains by far the most popular sport on Earth with 3.5 billion fans worldwide compared to just 400 million fans of American football worldwide (English Premier League).
The world’s second-most-popular sports are cricket with 2.5 billion fans and field hockey with 2 billion fans (FIFA).
The lack of an international governing body:
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) accepted rugby as an official Olympic sport in 2009 and is now planning to add rugby sevens to the 2016 Rio Olympics. But why no American football?
Although the IOC is primarily a governing body for international sports, its mission also includes unifying the world of sport through a positive educational influence.
American football does not meet the first criteria: it does not have a governing body that is recognized by the IOC. The NFL is the most popular league in America, but only has 28 teams and plays games within one country. By contrast, soccer’s FIFA organization has more than 200 member associations from countries all over the world.
According to FIFA rules, there must be at least 15 players on each team for a soccer match to count as official. For American football, that number would need to increase significantly before leagues expand into other countries; currently, all NFL teams have 53 players on their rosters, a huge difference from what’s required of soccer teams!
It takes so long to play
You may be surprised to learn that the world’s most popular sporting event, the Olympics does not include one of America’s most beloved sports: football. Although American football isn’t played in the Olympics, other countries have their own versions of the sport that are more like soccer, and those do feature in the games.
There are a few reasons for this: for one, American football takes much longer to play than any other sport featured in the Olympics; another is that professional athletes aren’t eligible to compete.
Player’s health and safety:
The danger of playing American football is a double-edged sword, affecting both the athletes’ physical health and mental well-being. The number of hard hits and collisions in a game can cause serious injuries, especially to three main areas: the head, the neck, and the knees.
The sheer size of players has also caused concern over athletes’ long-term health, as more mass means more weight that players carry around with them throughout their lives.
If you’re not a fan of American football but want to explore another sport where competitors are routinely knocked out cold by their opponents, then taekwondo might be up your alley.
One team does not represent the USA:
I think the bigger question is, why do you expect the US to send a national team to the Olympics in sports where there are already leagues that have international participation?
American football has been played outside of the US since it was invented, so if you want to see an international tournament with teams representing their countries then you’re better off watching one of those other leagues.
Just because we don’t send a national team doesn’t mean that no Americans play in the Olympics. There are plenty of NFL players who compete for other countries in various sports. Some examples include:
- Julius Peppers (defensive end): Competed for Germany in track and field at the 2000 Summer Olympics
- Raheem Brock (defensive end): Competed for Trinidad & Tobago in track and field at the 2000 Summer Olympics
- Chris Chambers (wide receiver): Competed for Jamaica in track at the 2008 Summer Olympics
- Patrick Chung (safety): Competes for Jamaica in the 2018 Commonwealth Games
Because of logistics:
Let’s start by addressing what most people assume is the biggest issue:
There is no governing body in American football. They don’t have a FIFA that governs everything like soccer does or FIBA for basketball.
There are many different organizations, mostly at the college level, but there’s nothing even close to an International Olympic Committee equivalent. The NFL doesn’t have any authority over college football, so it wouldn’t be able to organize anything with them.
Plus, the NFL has a unique organizational structure: it’s made up of 32 teams that are owned completely independently and work together (mostly) for their own benefit. It would be easier to organize a Super Bowl every day for two years than it would be to get all the owners to agree about something like this without being bribed into doing so.
But even if you forget about that issue and pretend that the NFL alone could somehow pull this off, there are still several major hurdles standing in their way:
is American football in the Olympics?
The answer is no. American football (also called “football” by certain people) is not a sport that has been included in the Olympic Games.
There are two main reasons why this sport hasn’t been added to the Olympic roster:
- The fact that it’s only played seriously in a few countries means that it doesn’t fit with the international spirit of the event
- It’s an incredibly complicated game, which makes it too difficult to standardize between countries and would make watching NFL very confusing
How to solve it?
We’re not proposing a new sports federation or some changes to the rules of the game. What we’re outlining here is a solution to a problem that’s been around for decades, if not centuries: why can’t the sport be played outside of the United States? Our proposal only needs the support of existing international governing bodies (FIFA, UEFA, etc.), and doesn’t require any change in existing rules.
To begin with, let’s define what makes football dangerous. The players are bigger and faster than they’ve ever been before; they have more money and better access to healthcare than ever before; players have much longer careers than they did in previous generations… but sadly, there’s also more risk involved.
Football has become bloodier because it requires more focus, acceleration, tackling ability, and sheer power – all characteristics that heighten risks for injury: hamstring injuries are common; broken jaws are less uncommon among linemen; concussions occur so frequently that doctors now routinely ask about them when evaluating an athlete from any sport at any point in his/her career.
And most devastatingly, multiple studies have shown that 8 out of 10 athletes who die on the field each year were killed by someone else (mostly someone wearing either white or blue): referees and other officials.
That means football is essentially the same game as it was 100 years ago – which means we can fix one part of its danger: playing outside America. Since international bodies like FIFA and UEFA make final decisions on eligibility for their championships based solely on where players’ home countries are located…
Is it good for American Football?
If you are a fan of American football, then this is bad news for you. As per the IOC guidelines, no sport that is not global can be inducted into the Olympic games. Football is popular only in North America and hardly in any other country. Since American football has its own quadrennial mega-event called the Super Bowl, it will not have to rely on Olympics for popularity or funding.