A tongue-in-cheek look a why the world fears the Big 12.
Some call it American Football to differentiate it from football (soccer), but if you grew up in the United States, you know the rest of the world can kick rocks and eat its heart out: real football is what the NFL plays, and what the rest of the world (mistakenly) calls football is soccer. Soccer, of course, is still an awesome sport, but it woefully lacks monster hits and militaristic sounding lingoes like blitz, sack, bomb, air raid, and RPO. God bless America.
With the 2022 Winter Olympics opening in Beijing* a day after the East-West Shrine Bowl, I found myself wondering if I might ever get a chance to see my favorite Big 12 players play football in the Olympics. After all, if the Olympics did ever decide to start playing the greatest sport in the world, the USA would probably need to send at least some college players due to the millions an injury could cost NFL players.
Raise the Flag?
The good and the bad news is that the Olympics may include American football (aka, real football) beginning with the Summer 2028 Olympics in LA. The bad news is that if it happens, it won’t actually be real football; rather, it will be flag football.
While any kid at recess will tell you that flag football is a lot better than no football, this less-violent version of the sport is simply not the same. I want to see Will McDonald, Felix Aundike-Uzomah, and Siaki Ika on the defensive line wearing the Red, White, and Blue against an offensive line composed of Russians trembling in fear.
So could we ever hear shoulder pads pop in the Olympic games?
The Great Rugby Conspiracy
According to American Football International, there are several reasons real football will never become an Olympic sport. Some of those reasons, like the time needed for players to recover between games, make sense, but others point to a clear-cut international conspiracy against American dominance.
Quite simply, the main reason for not having real football in the Olympics is that the USA would totally dominate the competition (after all, there is no Big 12 in China). Another is the supposed similarity between rugby and real football. To me, these reasons sound like two sides of the same coin: Let’s pretend that rugby and real football are basically the same thing because the USA has the Big 12, so we could never beat them in real football.
Would the Big 12 Really Dominate the World in Real Football?
Big 12 players, who can play in all types of weather from blistering heat and humidity to frigid cold to tornadic winds and allergen counts that are off the charts, would most certainly make the USA an unstoppable force in Olympic Real Football. Of course, cold weather Big 10 players, muggy weather SEC players, and desert/mountain/beach Pac-12 players could contribute, but Big 12 players are equipped to play in any environment with the funkiest allergens and the most unpredictable weather. Checkmate, Russia.
Moreover, as the league that has clearly led the entire sport in innovation, from the NFL to Pop Warner, the Big 12 produces coaches and players on the cutting edge of football schemes and strategy. After all, what the NFL (and SEC) just started doing a few seasons ago is the same thing the Big 12 was doing in the late 1990s. The Big 12 is decades ahead of the game in general, and that would only make the USA even more dominant. You can’t cyberattack Big 12 genius. Checkmate, China.
Sadly, we’ll probably never see real football in the Olympics, and the reason is simple: the world is scared of the Big 12.
*Note: for a red-blooded, John-Hughs-films-watching Gen X’er who was Born in the USA like me, real Winter Olympics are only held in Lake Placid, the USA is the only real hockey gold medalist, and the answer to Who’s the Boss? is Bruce Springstein.