Thanks to SI opening up its treasured vault last week, its now possible to dig up hilarious old articles on pretty much anything you can think of. Today's randomly awesome story comes from 1979, where Frank Deford interviewed coaches, front office figures, and the inventor of the NFL flak jacket to get their take on what the NFL would look like in 2000.
Some were dead on, like Raiders coach Tom Flores - "Everything will become more specialized. On defense, you'll get pass rushers and run defenders, first-down and third-down defensive ends. You'll see relief quarterbacks."
Others, uh, not so much. Especially by flak jacket man. So let's take a look at the most hilarious predictions. There sure are plenty.
"The quarterback will have a calculator in his helmet. It will be on his Lexan visor, so he'll be able to see readouts based on percentages and statistics to determine the ideal play to run." —Byron Donzis (a Houston inventor who invented the first football flak jacket)
"The coaches will begin to dress alike, and maybe there will be a machine out there doing the coach's job. It'll be second and four, the guy will punch a button on his chest and—wonk, wonk, wonk—he'll say, 'O.K., run off tackle.' " —John Madden, Former Coach, Oakland Raiders
"I think you'll have a lot of women playing quarterback by 2000. For one thing, they have a higher threshold of pain." —Byron Donzis
"It's a very tough, very hard game, and I think more and more it's going to be played by the so-called underprivileged. It's too tough, too physical a game for a society that's become so affluent. Kids can get the same great cardiovascular exercise from soccer." —Marv Levy, Head Coach, Kansas City Chiefs
"The 25-yard end zone is the single greatest thing that could change the game. The whole concept of goal-line defenses would change with that." —Marv Levy, yet again
"Maybe the football players will come from someplace else. The best lineman in the country might be on the streets of L.A., and not at USC—and we'll find a way to find him." —Bum Phillips
"In the year 2000, there won't be any contact below the waist." —More Bum Phillips
"We'll see equipment that will be supportive of body functions. I'm visualizing devices that will allow a player—a receiver, say—to jump two or three feet higher than he does now. Or we'll put a strong enough biomechanical device on a quarterback's back so he can pass 150 yards, which will be important, because the field will have to be that large by then." —More Byron Donzis
"Or a power-pack device on a running back's legs, so he can drive through the line. And we'll need smarter players, too, because you won't be able to use these charger devices except for a few specified number of times each game. If you're a defensive back and you waste your spring action on a play that doesn't require it, then the receiver can spring up six feet high next time, and you won't be able to deal with him. And think of the excitement in the stands when the odds on the pari-mutuel boards reflect this." —Even more Byron Donzis
Davis has even more insane ideas in the article, which is worth a read. He actually wanted multi-colored fields. Yes, I know what you're thinking, that would have been awesome.
I'll offer my own predictions for 2030. Hover boards for everyone and cloned versions of Lawrence Taylor shoot players with lasers. It's going to be excellent.