American Football received provisional recognition by the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday during the group's meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, according to Pro Football Talk.
The move, which reverses the IOC's May 2013 stiff-arm to the IFAF, means that a vote on adding American football to the Olympic games could happen as early as 2017. If that occurs, American football would become a sport in the 2024 Summer Olympics.
(After this past weekend's games, American football could be far more compelling as an event in the Winter Olympics.)
"IFAF is proud to receive this recognition and join the Olympic family," IFAF President Tommy Wiking said in a news release forwarded to PFT. "The enduring ideals of sport that comprise the Olympic Charter reside in our game's timeless values and in the spirit of the millions who love to play it."
However, Fox Sports reported that 7-on-7 football -- more similar to the kind played in Texas passing leagues than the NFL -- could become the version the IOC adopts for the 2024 games.
Because of logistics and a cap on the number of overall athletes invited to participate, the most likely style of American football that would potentially gain acceptance is of the seven-on-seven variety already played by some U.S. high schools and youth programs. Having both men's and women's competitions also would likely be required for selection as an Olympic sport.
"The federation has long demonstrated strong youth appeal and is making great progress in developing their sport around the world," IOC sports director Christophe Dubi said in a statement. "We trust that this provisional recognition will generate momentum in the further universal development of their disciplines."
American football was last played in the Olympics in 1932, as a demonstration sport with college all-stars.
-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor