July 19, 2024

Joe Burrow serves as inspiration for 2028 U.S. Olympic flag football ‘Dream Team’

Flag football won’t be part of the 2024 Paris Olympics (July 26-Aug. 11), but it will debut at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, and Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow wants in on the action.

“I really want to play for the Olympic flag football team. Like me, Ja’Marr (Chase), Justin (Jefferson), me and my friends out there playing football,” Burrow said recently about his former LSU teammates on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. “I think it’d be really cool.”

Olympic flag football is a five-on-five game, with speed an important trait for all the players. For offense, there’s a quarterback, one running back and three wide receivers. One of the receivers snaps the ball to the QB, who can pass but not rush.

Here’s a way-too-early look at a potential U.S. “Dream Team” on offense:

Quarterback | Lamar Jackson | Baltimore Ravens

Sorry, Joe Burrow, but no other NFL player fits the Olympic flag football mold at quarterback better than Jackson. Jackson, who will be 31 in 2028, is a magician with the ball in his hands and can make any defender miss. His ability to extend plays could be a game-changer for the Americans. He must improve his accuracy (64.5 completion percentage in six seasons), but Jackson’s completion percentage might top 90 with the players below.

Running Back | Bijan Robinson | Atlanta Falcons

Running back is one of the more difficult choices. Of course, San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey or Baltimore’s Derrick Henry would be interesting selections, but in 2028, they’ll be 32 and 34, respectively. This team needs youth, and that’s where Robinson (58 catches as a rookie in 2023) comes into play. In 2028, this speedster will only be 26 and probably still fast. Imagine what he can do with the ball without worrying about being tackled.  

Wide Receiver | Justin Jefferson | Minnesota Vikings

Jefferson’s selection could be the easiest decision. He is the NFL’s best receiver (392 catches, 5,899 yards in four seasons) and has a chance to be among the greatest of all time. Jefferson can outrun and outjump almost every defender in the league. He’s in his prime now, but he’ll only be 29 in 2028.

Wide Receiver | CeeDee Lamb | Dallas Cowboys

Lamb is similar to Jefferson. He’s fast, has tremendous leaping ability and has some of the best hands in the league. Lamb — who averages 13 yards a catch — has shown no signs of regression through four seasons. Lamb and Jefferson will almost always catch end-zone fades and downfield jump balls. 2028 Lamb will be 29, and if the Cowboys sign him to an extension, he might still be with “America’s Team.” 

Wide Receiver | Amon-Ra St. Brown | Detroit Lions

St. Brown’s skillset differs from Jefferson and Lamb’s, but he would complement their games excellently. He thrives in the short-to-medium passing game and can shake a defender quickly. Like Lamb, St. Brown — who has averaged 105 catches in the NFL  — has shown no signs of regression through his first three years. In 2028, he will be 28, right in his prime.