Don't disagree that old flags don't mean too much in the scheme of things but the reason VFL flags are counted is because we are all still in that same competition.To add to this: bragging about flag count is laughable when you consider that prior to expansion, the VFL was just another state league. You can argue it was more competitive than the others, but that's up for debate. Back in the day, it was not viable for people to uplift their entire families and move across the country to play footy for mediocre wages, so it resulted in all-time legends playing out majority of their careers in the WAFL and SANFL. Add to that the issue of non-existent salary cap, no draft, and a multitude of other factors contributing to an unfair competition, and it essentially meant any club could buy their way to a flag instead of developing the strongest list.
Even looking back 100 years ago, and you had the VFL and VFA existing side by side. It's not even fair to claim the VFL produced the only legitimate flags from the two when you consider that, prior to Footscray moving into the VFL, they beat the reigning premiers (Essendon) in an exhibition match. Why do VFL flags magically count towards the overall tally, but not WAFL, SANFL, VFA, etc.?
Looking at the official flag count, you might almost think Essendon and Carlton are strong clubs, but in reality they've had maybe 1 or 2 flags between them in the AFL era that didn't have question marks over it thanks to salary cap rorting and whatever other dodgy sh*t was happening behind the scenes. The tally doesn't give a true view of the real powerhouse clubs.
Carlton and Essendon are not stronger clubs than Geelong, Hawthorn, West Coast or now Richmond, who have all enjoyed huge success (Richmond only in the last few years, but still) as AFL clubs, and don't rely on reputation from their state league days. It's just funny seeing some people brag about their clubs flag count when they were probably weren't even toilet trained last time their club won a flag, or even a final.