Flag Football makes its debut in the NFL Pro Bowl, aiming for LA 2028!

Flag Football will be part of the NFL Pro Bowl for the first time alongside other skills competitions. The new event will be named The Pro Bowl Games and held on Feb. 5, 2023, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning’s company, Omaha Productions, will be responsible for programming and promoting the event. Manning will also serve as the coach for one of the flag football teams.

🌍 However, this movement goes beyond the Pro Bowl; the NFL is using flag football to help globalise the sport. The league and its 32 teams have invested time and resources in this contact-free sport. The inclusion in the Pro Bowl schedule is just part of the league’s strategy to spread the sport with the youth, not only in the USA but abroad, and not only among the boys; the girls are a vital part of this holistic plan. 

📈 Flag football has grown in the last years among kids in the USA, creating several youth leagues; there are more than 1,700 youth flag leagues in the USA. Another factor to support this popularity increase is the parents’ concern over brain injuries from playing tackle at a young age. Additionally, it reflects the emphasis on girls’ sports, as both genders play flag football.

The league has the clear objective of paying media attention to flag football, and its inclusion in the Pro Bowl is just part of a broader strategy that includes accepting the sport in the 2028 Los Angeles Games. It competes against motorsports, cricket, karate, baseball/softball, lacrosse, kickboxing, breaking and squash. In fact, Cricket is doing a fierce campaign to get the inclusion of T20, a shorter variant of cricket, into the Summer Games in Los Angeles.

As Flag Football for the NFL, T20 is the ICC, the international cricket governing body, bet to globalise the sport, and the Olympic Games is the best way to get that.  Similar to the idea of World Rugby with the addition of Rugby Sevens into the Olympic Program. The similarities among these three new versions are mainly that they are shortened versions of the original sport, with the possibility of global exposure due to easier rules that makes it more comprehensive. 

🔜 Let´s see if the National Football League reaches its goal of making flag football an Olympic Sport. If they get this, it will be a huge step in the league´s internationalisation strategy. The IOC is expected to announce its decision regarding additional sports for the Los Angeles Games at its general meeting next spring in Mumbai.

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