American football has been facing a number of controversies in the last several years. Including the long-term effect on the bodies of the players. Head injuries have been a particular point of emphasis, but there have also been others.

In response, organized leagues for the sport have made several rule changes with safety in mind. There has also been a surge in popularity of a different version of American football. Flag football is generally considered to be a safer sort of the game that it was based off of. Rather than tackling and other heavy forms of contact, players are stopped by "deflagging." Tearing off a flag typically attached to a belt at a player's waist.

And the world's top American football league has been increasingly embracing it.

The NFL hopes for it to be an Olympic sport by 2028

The National Football League announced that it's making a "strong push" to make flag football a new Olympic sport. Preferably by 2028. Which, coincidentally or not, is when the United States is next slated to host the Olympic Games.

Top NFL executive Troy Vincent also made comments to that effect in a recent interview, indicates CBS. Troy Vincent currently serves as the executive vice president of football operations for the league. A member of four teams, he was a longtime star cornerback in the NFL. Prior to that, he was a star at the collegiate level with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Vincent stated that flag football becoming an Olympic sport was "the ultimate goal." It was among several remarks he made giving high praise to flag football.

"When we talk about the future of the game of football, it is, no question, flag," Vincent said. The rise of flag football is almost certainly in large part stemming from its lack of heavy contact.

Though there are some variations of it where some contact is permissible. But there are numerous other aspects that could be advantageous.

One of which is cost. Without equipment such as helmets and padding, it can suddenly become much cheaper to play football. The nature of the sport can also potentially draw in more diverse demographics of participants, including women.

Some also believe that skill sets from other sports transfer better to flag football than traditional American football. Soccer and cricket, for example.

American football has been part of the Olympics before

It remains to be seen how the NFL's hopes of Olympic flag football pan out. If it should happen, it would not be the first time that American football is included in the Olympics. It was included as a demonstration sport in 1904 and again in 1932. More recently, unsuccessful efforts were made for it to be included in the 2020 slate of Summer Olympic sports.

In the meantime, flag football is set to be participated in at the 2022 World Games. The World Games are an international sporting event for non-Olympic sports.

Flag football is thought to have been created during World War II

The exact origins of flag football are unknown at present. But there are some details that have become generally accepted as being true. Such as that it developed among members of the American military during the Second World War.

Historians believe that it emerged at Fort Meade in central Maryland. It was meant for recreation, but also served as a way for soldiers to stay fit with a low risk of injury.