Detroit Lions’ QB Joins Growing List of NFL Stars Eyeing Olympic Gold in Flag Football for LA 2028

Published 10/30/2023, 7:15 AM EDT

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It became official not that long ago. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave flag football the green light. Flag football became an Olympic sport following that fateful meeting in Mumbai, India. It joins cricket, lacrosse, squash, and baseball-softball as new additions to the Olympic itinerary in Los Angeles.

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Representing the nation in the Olympics remains the staple dream of young athletes. Following these developments, in an unprecedented move, NFL players are daring to dream the same. The NFL is encouraging the different franchises to send their star players to be part of Team USA for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games. They believe the Olympics will go a long way in their quest to make the NFL a global phenomenon. NFL stars, past and present, have voiced their hopes of competing in flag football.

Jared Goff wants to compete for gold in flag football

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Detroit Lions‘ quarterback Jared Goff became the latest to throw his hat into that ring. He joined the likes of Miami Dolphins‘ wide receiver Tyreek Hill and former NFL star Rob Gronkowski to express interest in that event. Tom Brady admittedly marked the dates in his calendar but is unlikely to don the national team jersey for the same. Gronkowski, in particular, admitted he would consider canceling his retirement only for the Olympic games.

Despite the encouragement from the NFL, it remains to be seen if franchise owners accede to that request. Olympic glory may or may not be as big an incentive to risk serious injury. Would an NFL team really be okay with losing a key player for a full season due to a flag football injury? Injuries are part and parcel of almost every sport. Mishaps cannot be ruled out completely.

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A lot less physical variant of football

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Flag football is similar to football as it is played in the NFL but there are significant differences. It is a non-contact sport. Tagging a player to end a sequence of play involves pulling a flag away from his belt instead of tackling him. Moreover, the number of players on the smaller field is less. Depending on the league one considers, the teams can have at most 10 players. There are also no run zones established to limit the possibilities of contact. Will that be enough to keep injuries at bay?

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One solution suggested is to choose NFL players who have retired. Another question that arose was whether any team besides the USA had a realistic shot at the gold medal. American Football International posited there are teams such as American Samoa, Australia, and Canada that can cause the host nation problems. It is also uncertain whether NFL franchises would keep paying their stars while on international duty, as it were.

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With flag football set to make its Olympic debut, the buzz is expectantly rising for a myriad of reasons. The NFL will look to expand its reach into other parts of the globe. A lot will ride on the success of the sport at Los Angeles in 2028. Only time will tell just how successful this addition will be.

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Written by:

Anirudh Haridas

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Anirudh Haridas is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. A staunch sports fan, Anirudh brings his experience as a Soccer content writer. A diehard fan of ice hockey, Anirudh delved into the US sports arena, driven by the phenomenal pace of the sport.
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Edited by:

Sampurna Pal

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