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CrimsonBull9584

The Sum of All Fears and the NFL

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I don't know why, but I was thinking about the film "The Sum of All Fears" today. Not really for the story, but for a scene in the film. If you recall, the villains of the film plant a nuclear bomb at the film's version of a Super Bowl (held in Baltimore of all places). The result is a stadium (and city) of dead fans and players.

 

Now the morbid side of me could't help but think how such an event would play out in real life. We know that the Super Bowl has very tight security, but things slip thought. Like that idiot after Super Bowl XLVIII. So I want to construct a scenario based on the film and apply it to next year's Super Bowl to ask the following questions. To be sure, this is speculative fiction and not meant to be taken any other way. I'm really curious on how the NFL could possibly handle a "doomsday scenario".

 

Here is the scenario as follows:

 

Super Bowl LI is being held in Houston (home of the Texans) next year. For the sake of argument, let's say that the Patriots and the Cowboys make it to the big game. Again, just for the sake of argument. Further, terrorists detonate a nuclear device and... that's all she wrote. I'm curious as to the fall out (no pun intended) that the NFL would have to go though and what would happen. Consider that if such a situation would happen you would have the elimination of two football teams, an NFL stadium, and NFL training facility (as the Texans' facility is right across the street), the possibly elimination of the Texans themselves, leading NFL personal such as the commissioner, owners, and everyone else who shows up. Also, not just the players but the personal that help run the franchise from the GM to the video guy and ball boys, and countless others that help the NFL operate. Given all that I mentioned, what does the NFL do after that?

 

Would the NFL continue after that? If so, what would happen to the franchises of the Patriots, Cowboys, and Texans? You have three franchises, two of which are ingrained in football lore and history, do you shut down operations all together or do you star over? Would it be "fair" that Dallas loses a franchise because of this situation, or would that be exactly what happens? What about the leadership of the NFL, like the commissioner, owners, and other personal. Who takes over when everyone in the front office is gone and everyone in the Patriots organization is gone?

 

While a scenario like this would be on par as that of 9/11 and would be a tragedy for the country, you do have to wonder what about the NFL itself and what would happen. I don't think that the film nor the book addressed what the fictional football league did to recover form something like this, but what would the NFL do in a situation like this you think?

 

Again, this is meant a speculative fiction so let's limit responses to answering the question and please be tasteful. 

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I ran the scenario on a website called nukemap and the Texans would probably shut down as there wouldn't be a stadium for them to play in.

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That would almost certainly be the final Super Bowl ever, IMO. It may even be the final pro football game, or hell, even final pro sports game. But, sports would be the very least of our concerns if this were to ever happen. 

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Teams would turn over to whomever was identified as heirs. Houston would most likely relocate their training facilities to another city. They'd also have to possibly play as a traveling team, similar to what the Saints had to after Katrina.  Another option would be to suspend operations until the stadium and facilities were replaced.  The two teams playing the game would probably be rebuilt in a dispersal draft and extra draft picks,. 

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1 hour ago, Gothamite said:

Possibly, although nobody blamed Wall Street for 9/11.  

 

Yeah but 9/11, for as awful as it was, is nothing compared to someone detonating a nuclear device that takes out an entire stadium/city block/metropolitan area full of people (especially one the size of Houston). That's an event that would fundamentally change the course of American history, and would have global repercussions that we can't even fathom at this point. Sports would take a back seat (IMO permanently) simply because there are more important things to deal with, such as trying to save the very existence of our fractured country. 

 

 

Something like that happens, and even though I'm pretty strongly anti-war, I'm at the recruitment center that same day. I assume that most red-blooded American males would be as well. 

 

 

Im not usually a doomsday scenario type of person and really am turned of by this whole "it's gonna change everything!" talk, but in a case like that, it really would. 

 

We we wouldn't have this talk about "temporary facilities" or "dispersal drafts" because there isn't a single person out there who would give a crap about sports. 

 

 

 

IMO, of course. 

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I don't think the NFL or sports in general would shut down or anything. If anything? The start of the next NFL season would see the league decked out in black armbands, flag waving, and tributes galore.

The two teams that were destroyed would probably be put on hiatus as the league worked to re-establish them.

 

There would certainly be more important things on everyone's minds, but I don't see professional sports as an industry, or the NFL as a business, vanishing because of it.

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I'm going to strap on my crazy hat for a moment. You have been warned. Some of you may will certainly be offended by what I will post, so it has been hidden in spoilers.



 

Spoiler


I echo the sentiment that America would prepare for more war, because that's how they respond to any crisis of this magnitude and nature. I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with that response - just that I believe it would happen. It is American nature to respond with "an eye for an eye", and this makes the whole world blind with hatred.

I actually blame the British Empire for this, because they caused the USA to be born from war. To break free of perceived oppression is all Americans have ever known, and I think that's the fundamental problem (and difference) between Canada and the USA. One country was forged out of peace; the other was not. This also explains the general level of distrust in government that many Americans have, and the reasoning behind having their 2nd Amendment. Trust is hard to come by when your parents didn't treat you well.

As for the status of the teams involved and the league as a whole, I don't think it would shut the league down.
If American citizens love anything as much as their military, it is their football. The owners of the three teams (or their heirs) would be granted replacement franchises and startup funds from the NFL coffers, and in a few years, after the cleanup of Houston and surrounding area, a new stadium somewhere outside the no-man's land in Houston would be constructed, likely partially at the expense of taxpayers, because these same taxpayers would view it as their civic duty to restore a symbol of their resilience in the face of adversity - conveniently forgetting that it's just a football stadium.

The NFL will carry on with a 29-team schedule, because it continued to play throughout the periods of the Vietnam War, Cold War, and War on Terror. Nothing's going to stop that. When the new franchises are ready to be admitted to the league, it will resume play as a 30, 31 or 32 team league. The date of future Super Bowls will be moved permanently, as that date will become another 9-11/Pearl Harbor in the minds of American citizens.

And all will continue as normal, because America continues to believe it has the God-given right to be both world police and world bully.

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2 hours ago, Ice_Cap said:

I don't think the NFL or sports in general would shut down or anything. If anything? The start of the next NFL season would see the league decked out in black armbands, flag waving, and tributes galore.

The two teams that were destroyed would probably be put on hiatus as the league worked to re-establish them.

 

There would certainly be more important things on everyone's minds, but I don't see professional sports as an industry, or the NFL as a business, vanishing because of it.

 

Well, this is all speculative, and we can just agree to disagree, but look at what how WWII effected major league baseball. Now, I totally understand that was a different era when conscription was still part of the process, but the reason for that is because it was literally a war that effected the well-being and survival of the entire nation. I think something like that would be comparable. Especially if the attacks were linked to a particular nation, like Iran or North Korea, for example. We may have to do things like reinstate the draft for our very survival. 

 

If someone were to detonate a nuclear weapon within this country and it took out a full stadium of people during the Super Bowl, the magnitude of the damage and lives lost would be absolutely enormous. TSOF was really weird (And also, sort of an awful movie), I've heard that as few as 2,500 people were "killed", but if something like that were to happen at the Super Bowl, you'd end up seeing something closer to 100,000 people dead. I mean, that's more people dead in one event than we've lost in any war combined since WWII. And it's also the Super Bowl, so the amount of "influential" lives lost would as well be extremely high. Athletes, entertainers, politicians, top law enforcement agents both locally and federally, ect. And then there are things such as nuclear fallout we would have to worry about as well. That alone could end up slowly killing the entire midwest. 

 

Pro sports as an industry may not entirely vanish, but it's not like we'd just move on the next season like the two teams died in separate plane crashes or anything. It would take this country decades to get back on their feet after something like that. Japan is still facing the consequences of the atomic bombs, and that was half a century ago. 

 

 

1 hour ago, Magnus said:

I'm going to strap on my crazy hat for a moment. You have been warned. Some of you may will certainly be offended by what I will post, so it has been hidden in spoilers.



 

Hidden Content

 

No, I understand what you mean. And I don't think you're that far from the reality of the situation in terms of how we react to something like that. But like I said, it would probably change the course of our history a lot more than you think. 

 

 

This article is a somewhat interesting look at what an attack of that magnitude would do. It's horrifying, and basically anyone with a full mile of the blast zone (AKA, all of downtown Houston) would be completely gone. It' hard to even comprehend how many people that would be. 

 

Let's just hope this kinda thing never happens

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With ALL due respect, a nuclear blast triggered on American soil, the NFL probably wouldn't even be a thing for another 1-2yrs.  

 

9/11 shut the airline industry into temporary oblivion.  I can't begin to imagine pop culture/sports echo from a nuclear attack.  If it was the SB, maybe nothing in America until you all decided to open a MLB season bumped back to May or something.

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Bucfan56 said:

 

Pro sports as an industry may not entirely vanish, but it's not like we'd just move on the next season like the two teams died in separate plane crashes or anything. It would take this country decades to get back on their feet after something like that. Japan is still facing the consequences of the atomic bombs, and that was half a century ago. 

Oddly, with the OP's scenario, the league would probably hold some annual Patriots-Cowboys memorial game in the summer replacing the HOF game.  

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5 hours ago, Bucfan56 said:

That would almost certainly be the final Super Bowl ever, IMO. It may even be the final pro football game, or hell, even final pro sports game. But, sports would be the very least of our concerns if this were to ever happen. 

Certainly the final SB 'as we know it'.  The NFL would probably then make it a fully streamed event for media with only a few thousand live in attendance.  As it might be within 100yrs anyways.

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First, this would be assuming the world doesn't devolve into World War III because of it.

 

However, with the upheavel, etc. There would be a lot of moving parts. Those with the biggest stake in keeping things going (the players, the television networks, and those responsible for building/maintaining/financing the stadiums) are going to want to a) make money playing the game, b ) televise sports to the masses, and c) have those giant hunks of steel and concrete put to use.

 

So, the NFL gets one thing that other leagues don't. And that's individual ownership. There is no corporate bickering. The league had bylaws at their New York office all teams dealt with. All teams had their heirs listed. Whoever gets the team has to agree to the bylaws to keep the team. The NFL office in New York still exists. The league is a collection of the 32 team owners (whoever they may be). The heirs would have their teams (anyone who was at the game that perished) and would elect a new comissioner. "Marshall law" sort of league rules would be in effect to try and get a good portion of this together in such a short time frame.

 

Dallas and New England, in this example would sit out the year. There is no team. You can't restock a team that fast on short notice. There would be no dispersal draft, etc. They'd just have to go about (whoever 'owns' the teams) rebuilding their front office, personnel, etc. Maybe two years. But, one year could probably push it along. Those, the Browns were pushed through in about a year, and we saw how well that worked in 99.

 

Texans may sit out. Depends on how much of their staff and players were effected. As host, they'd have a lot more people in the immediate area or stadium. It also depends on how big the bomb was. If it took out a big chunk of the city, the city might just not be able to handle it, a la New Orleans after Katrina (even if the Superdome was functional). So, either sit out a year or play a traveling schedule.

 

If it was a 'small bomb' that only obliterated NRG Stadium, then you could see them simply plunk down at Houston or Rice's stadium. Or, maybe get out of the city, go to San Antonio or Kyle Field in College Station.  Or, if they want NFL venue, go to New Orleans.

 

The biggest player in this would be the TV networks who wouldn't want to give up broadcasting live sports, as it is, especially NFL, a major eyeball draw. And with that money as the carrot on the end of the stick, the heirs, the NFL owners, personnel, new commissioner, etc, would get things working, even slightly, for the next season. Though the two participating teams probably sit out at least one year.

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Actually the NFL does have contingency plans for restocking teams that have had their rosters devastated by disasters, so I'm not entirely sure the teams would go on hiatus.

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1 hour ago, rams80 said:

Actually the NFL does have contingency plans for restocking teams that have had their rosters devastated by disasters, so I'm not entirely sure the teams would go on hiatus.

Yep, just do an expansion draft and you are good to go for all teams involved

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13 hours ago, Sykotyk said:

First, this would be assuming the world doesn't devolve into World War III because of it.

True, yet I went on the assumption it was a lone wolf attack.  A country wouldn't just launch a single ICBM at a football game & sit back feeling secure about it.

Unless perhaps North Korea blowing up Los Angeles, in which case less than 30mins later North Korea would no longer be on the map.

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Hell, a war with North Korea would be over before the US could even get there. South Korean and US forces already on the peninsula could probably steamroll the DPRK easily enough. 

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On 2/14/2016 at 3:07 PM, Ice_Cap said:

I don't think the NFL or sports in general would shut down or anything. If anything? The start of the next NFL season would see the league decked out in black armbands, flag waving, and tributes galore.

The two teams that were destroyed would probably be put on hiatus as the league worked to re-establish them.

 

There would certainly be more important things on everyone's minds, but I don't see professional sports as an industry, or the NFL as a business, vanishing because of it.

 

I once read somewhere that the NFL has a catastrophe plan in place. If something like a plane crash or...I suppose...a nuclear bomb takes out a team, rebuilding the team is basically treated like an expansion draft.

 

EDIT: Just did a search and it turns out each of the Big Four leagues has a catastrophe plan. Better yet, the response depends on the number of players lost. For example, in the NFL, a loss of less than 15 players is called a "near-disaster." No special draft is held for a "near-disaster." More than 15 players lost triggers the "disaster draft" - or as some people call it, "your typical Browns draft." 

 

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22 hours ago, Bucfan56 said:

 

No, I understand what you mean. And I don't think you're that far from the reality of the situation in terms of how we react to something like that. But like I said, it would probably change the course of our history a lot more than you think. 

Thank you for not over-reacting, Bucfan.

After seeing Tank banned, I certainly don't want to ruffle anyone's feathers here.

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