The Las Vegas Raiders
Perhaps, if I had the wildly imaginative scientific mind of Issac Asimov, I could imagine where the the game of professional football is headed in the next 10-20 years.
I don't. I'm not a science fiction guy.
And yet, with the rapid pace of technological advance in this "post" post modern world, imagined fiction becomes reality seemingly overnight.
Yesterday, I viewed the spectacular artistic renderings of the new stadium being constructed for the Raiders in Vegas .....
And now I'm filled with wonder!
Sure, AT&T Stadium, built for the NFL Cowboys in Arlington, Texas in 2009 gave us a glimpse of the future. I think many of us appreciated its reach to new heights of luxury but looked away quickly, just surmising it to be about Texan enormity.
Controversy is the preeminent strain in the Raiders DNA. Al Davis was their owner and GM from 1972-2011. Please, "wiki" his history. It's an absolute treat.
The questions today, given the league approval for this relocation, are many.
Is it "fair" for the NFL to leave a city with a fan base as loyal as Oakland’s?
Since the new 1.6 BILLION dollar facility will not be ready until 2020, will the Californian Raider fans still attend games for the next 3 years ?
Realizing the financial boon that this project will guarantee, will the NFL build similar futuristic venues throughout the world?
São Paulo ?
Mexico City ?
What will these cathedrals to human performance look like?!
The Cowboy's stadium in Arlington set the stage for what's next with the largest ( at that time ) hi-def TV screen hanging above the field.
It also features more than 3,000 LCD displays, a retractable roof, and a kinetic architecture quick conversion system to accommodate various events.
How will these new performance places affect the humans that inhabit them?
The players ?
The fans ?
Can we anticipate more intersubjectivity ?
Part of the allure of the NBA live experience is its intimacy. Courtside fans actually interact with players during a game!
Imagine Tom Brady running out of bounds, falling into your lap, saying "excuse me", and grabbing some of your popcorn?!
In my imagination, each of the 100,000 fans at future NFL Houses of the Holy will have laptops at their seats.
They will have input to coaching decisions and official calls.
Upon viewing replays, if 50,001 fans see the incomplete pass as being "interfered” with .... a 15 yard penalty, or more, will be assessed.
Imagine 80,000 fans demanding the backup QB subbing into the game .....
Or, "going for it" on fourth down, instead of punting!!
Futurist researcher, Jason Silva, says that the spaces we create, in turn, create who we then become in return.
Will technology be limited to the stadium and interactive usage of spectators?
Or, will it also affect the performers?
Will we first see “humans 2.0" on the stage of professional play?
Surely, Brady and Belichick will both retire soon and allow the rest to win.
Will the future players and coaches communicate more effectively with embedded chips?
Will the NFL allow biologically enhanced players?
How will the game itself change?
Of course, snow, rain, mud and slippery conditions are forever gone.
What about offensive schemes and defensive alignment?
American youth league development has declined due to concussion concerns.
Look for incredible new protective gear, new rules of protection, and worldwide funding for youth football.
That's what I see.
What would Asimov see??