Football

Football

Where baseball resisted cyber, football embraced it with open arms. The first modified players suited up in 2025, their vatwork used to fix bad injuries. But after New York Jets' linebacker "Gorgo" MacGuiness shredded season rushing records after getting his legs rebuilt, and Tim Washington won the 2025 Super Bowl with a 99-yard pass from his rebuilt right arm, team owners were clamoring for new rules. Not to keep the refitted players off the field, but to let teams put cybermods on players whether they were injured or not.

The floodgates opened in 2027 and a wave of cyberjocks hit the astroturf. The 2028 season was delayed for two months while necessary emergency stadium alterations were finished. A regulation football field in the NFL is now 160 yards long by 65 yards wide. The end zones are still 10 yards long, but the distance from end zone to end zone is 14O yards. Completing a first down on the ground means moving the ball 20 yards instead of 10. The ball itself is made of denser material and weighs about two kilos, and player padding has turned into light armor (Impact Rating 3). Almost every season record for the NFL got creamed in 2027, and so did a lot of players: there were 227 serious injuries and 4 deaths. Getting used to cyber takes a little time.

Football had it kind of rocky in the years after the Crash of '29 and the merging of the U.S. and Canada. No Super Bowls or organized league action was seen from 2030 to 2037. Teams arranged their own games. Some franchises folded. Others kept going without any organized funding or coverage, nets picked up games and showed them or not, pretty much at random.

Things eventually returned to normal. No one could call the 2038 season spectacular, but something like a full schedule of games was played by teams based in the UCAS and CAS, and the Washington Chieftains won the Super Bowl.

Two pro football leagues now clash regularly. The UCAS League is the bigger one, with two conferences (Eastern and Western) totaling sixteen teams. The nine CAS and CFS franchises are organized into the Freedom League, a name chosen when secession fever was still pretty high in the countries that split from the UCAS. The winner of the UCAS League playoffs faces the Freedom League champions in the Super Bowl.

Cyberware

Completely cybered limbs are out, but anything that can be implanted, grown, or grafted onto the original muscle and bone is in. Even full limb replacements that grew in a vat instead of being built on a workbench are legal. Edged, powered, or missile implants are out, but implants that increase the striking power of the natural limb are wiz as far as the leagues are concerned. Football does not limit the quantity of cyberware a player can load in. He can mod up until he's got less Essence than a Fuchi cyber-servo robot, and it's still null perspiration.

Typical mods run to boosted or wired reflexes, subdermal armor, muscle implants, boosters for natural bone and tendon, especially in tricky spots like knees, the lower back, and the neck, and so on. Mastoid implant radio links for on-the-fly directions from the quarterback or coach were legalized in 2047, as was "smartball" technology (See Sure Shot).

Updates

  • January 2063: Representatives of three teams in the Freedom League presented a petition today to the league commissioners for the inclusion of changelings. SURGE spawned a league controversy in early 2062 when disaster struck Tampa Bay Buccaneers star receiver Tracy Keller. One of the few leading sports figures affected by SURGE, Keller was transformed into a changeling with elongated, extra-jointed arms and digigrade legs. Never one to quit, Keller rallied, recovering from his ordeal and getting back into the game with flying colors. Keller's change proved quite useful to his game, a fact that was not unnoticed by league officials, who disqualified individuals affected by SURGE from competition. Keller and the Buccaneers have appealed the decision. and they are now joined by the Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints.

UCAS Teams

City Team
Eastern Conference
Brooklyn Giants
Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Chieftains
Western Conference
Chicago Bears
Denver Broncos
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Indianapolis Colts
Minnesota Vikings
Pittsburgh Steelers
Seattle Seahawks

Freedom League

City Team
Atlanta Falcons (CAS)
Dallas Cowboys (CAS)
Houston Oilers (CAS)
Sacramento Chargers (CFS)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (CAS)
Orlando Thunder (CAS)
Los Angeles Rams (CFS)
New Orleans Saints (CAS)
Richmond Raiders (CAS)
San Francisco 49ers (CFS)
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