In Two Minute Warning: How Concussion, Crime, and Controversy Could Kill the NFL, veteran sports journalist Mike Freeman concludes his book by referencing my sci-fi novel ULTRA BOWL and quoting me at length on the future possibility of robot football.
With public awareness of the issues plaguing the NFL—from domestic violence, drug use, and health of the players—there is a possibility that football as we know it could vanish in the very near future. In Two Minute Warning, author Mike Freeman, who has covered the league for almost three decades, looks at all the factors that could cause the league, as we know it, to collapse in on itself.
Mike Freeman concludes Two Minute Warning this way:
One day, because of the toll football takes on the human body, perhaps not so far in the future, robots will play football.
That is the premise of a science fiction book called Ultra Bowl. In the book, published in 2014, the concern over football violence combined with technological innovation leads to a future 100 years from how in which the violence in football is outsourced to robots. Go ahead and laugh. They laughed at Galileo, too. (Actually, they imprisoned him, but you get the point.)
"Robot football became the perfect vehicle for Corporate America's relentless drive to sell and profit," the author, I. J. Weinstock, explained in one interview. "Where once the Super Bowl was the most prized, viewed and expensive ad space, an actual game of robots, showcasing the latest technology while competing in a world championship, would become one big ad. The game's point-spread would determine tech supremacy, stock price and ultimately market share. It would be called the Ultra Bowl because if a nation stumbled, stocked tumbled and economies crumbled.
"The financial interests of Wall Street will combine with the political support of a growing segment of Main Street for whom football is too violent, to make robot football not only plausible, but probable," Weinstock said. "Science fiction writers try to imagine what tomorrow might look like, and they've often been right. Credit cards, radar, solar power, voice mail, flat-screen TVs, virtual reality, even atomic bombs were all first imagined by science fiction writers."
I'm not laughing.
Michael Freeman is a football columnist for Bleacher Report. He has previously been a writer for the Boston Globe, CBSSports.com, theDallas Morning News, the Florida Times-Union, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. He is the author of seven books, includingClemente: The True Legacy of an Undying Hero and Undefeated: Inside the 1972 Miami Dolphins’ Perfect Season. He lives in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.