What if football were in the Olympics?
It’s not popular enough internationally, you say. There isn’t enough competition. It wouldn’t be fun to watch.
But could those concerns be addressed by simply putting the sport in the Olympics and giving it some time?
The first year might look a little something like this:
Eli Manning finds Calvin Johnson for their fourth touchdown of the game while a helpless Austrian pro-am safety clings to his last bit of dignity on international television.
No, no one would watch that.
But every country has sports that they are better at than others. And the Olympics are the catalyst for spreading the love, skill and passion from one country to another.
Though baseball is considered “America’s Past Time,” it has become a relatively international sport in recent years with some of the game’s best hailing from places like Japan or the Dominican Republic.
When basketball was first introduced into the Olympics in 1936, the U.S. won the first seven straight games. Only three other countries have won the Olympic title since making it still one of the mother land’s strongest sports. But the program is not bullet proof.
And it’s not to hard imagine why. Their names are Tony Parker and Pau Gasol. The European talent has grown in breadth and depth.
It is possible, that the Olympic games had something to do with that. There is no real proof, but basketball doesn’t have a World Cup like soccer to propel its international appeal. Something must have spread the word.
And though modern wonders such as television and the internet have aided its spread, the world still needed a reason to watch what it had been given. And that only happens when the world plays each other.
So what if the world played each other in football? What if they saw what the U.S. saw every weekend in the fall? Yes, the U.S. might always have a slight edge as in basketball, but there is no reason to say that some countries might take advantage of the new addition to the Olympics and concentrate more on their own development programs.
The qualities of football are inherently American. The blue-collar work ethic and brute strength that defined the growth of our country draws us to the game. By nature, American’s play their sports as brutally as possible. Even in soccer the Europeans, who indeed still own that game, play with finesse while Americans play with aggression.
And for a while, if football were to go international, that concept might still reign. And it might frustrate some that the rest of the world won’t play “our game” on “our terms.”
But, they would be playing it.