What would happen if one of the Super Bowl teams was killed en route?

At a restaurant yesterday, TV on. Steady crawl at the bottom of the screen saying reporters are at San Jose airport awaiting arrival of one of the teams. Of course, they eventually arrived safe and sound.

But what if they didn’t? What if, heaven forbid, the plane carrying the team crashed with no survivors? Would the game be cancelled? Would the team have to scramble to put together a roster of substitute players (what chance would they fare in the Big Game)?. Would the other team be awarded a championship by forfeit (perhaps with an asterisk in the record books). What about (legal) bets that were placed on the game. If the game was cancelled, would ticket holders get their money back. What about sponsorships, commercials, etc.?
Clearly the odds are very low, I’m just wondering if there is a contingency plan.

Parallel thinking?

Unless the NFL is staffed completely by sociopaths, I’m sure they’d cancel the game. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to play under such circumstances, and any fan who insisted on the game going on with an alternate team would be a complete asshole.

Ah, I did do a cursory glance to see if a similar thread was started, didn’t see one.

I guess this one could be closed or merged, although I am curious still about the various questions posted in my OP, and about the Super Bowl specifically.

I suspect that that would count as a forfeit under the rules of the game, though the NFL would probably just declare the game cancelled for PR purposes.

We nearly* found out the answer to this question earlier today…

Denver Broncos team bus involved in minor accident

  • For certain definitions of ‘nearly’

In hockey the 1919 Stanley Cup was suspended after 5 games due to an outbreak of influenza and no champion was declared.

Almost certainly, game cancelled and “no winner” declared (similar to how there is no 1994 World Series winner or 2004-05 Stanley Cup winner). Something similar happened to the Stanley Cup final in the late 1910s, when it had to be cancelled because of the worldwide influenza epidemic.

There is way too much money involved. The NFL would not cancel the Super Bowl, the losing conference champion would replace the team affected by the deaths.

Even if we assume that the NFL guys who make this decision are simply money-loving robots with no feelings or sense of humanity and propriety, they are smart enough to know that this would end up losing them a whole lot more money in the long run.

Of course the game would be canceled.

If this is actually true, the Broncos better be on guard, because Belichek may be plotting something at this very moment…:smiley:

Unlikely, they wouldn’t just pull the team that lost the conf championship to play after they’ve already gone their separate ways at the end of their season. The game would be cancelled and some sort of tribute would take its place. There would be no Super Bowl champion that year.

I don’t think it would have been too difficult to get the Cardinals or the Patriots together to play in the Super Bowl if a team was devastated by deaths. There is simply no way the highest rated tv program would be cancelled. Besides, adding in the tragedy and a good cry would also help ratings even more.

Plus all the money paid for commercials as well as all the hotel/tourist revenue for the host city, not to mention all the corporate events, there is no way a Super Bowl will be cancelled unless there is a war being fought on US soil.

I think that if it happens early (first week) they would at least play around with the idea of a substitute team. If in the second week they would cancel the game but still do something in the stadium/for tv to show how great the NFL is.

They’d just postpone the game a week. The Super Bowl did that after games were postponed following September 11, 2001.

I don’t believe so. There was already a two week break between the conference championships and the Super Bowl planned.

Since the teams don’t generally fly in until the second week, it seems unlikely that it could happen during the first week.

Either way, it doesn’t matter. The game is cancelled. Some sort of tribute is scheduled in its place. No SB champ that year.

That is so much a different situation than what we are talking about that it actually weakens rather than strengthens your already tenuous argument. A few examples of the massive differences:

[li]The timing of the tragedy (almost half a year before the Super Bowl vs. within the week or two before)[/li][li]The relationship of the event to the NFL and football in general (National tragedy vs one of the teams playing the game actually being completely wiped out)[/li][li]The direct impact to the game itself (again, one of the teams being killed, which completely changes every rule of eligibility, provides tremendous logistical problems, and problems in 100 other areas)[/li][li]Public perception (After 9/11, absolutely no one was calling for the cancellation of the Super Bowl. If this event happened, almost everyone would be calling for the cancellation)[/li][/ul]

The NFL would never hear the end of it if they tried to replace the affected team and announced that the winner would be considered the “official” NFL champion for that season, and receive the Vince Lombardi Trophy - and anything less that that makes any game a “who cares” game, with the resulting selling of tickets and cancelling of plans. They might as well cancel the game, and promise a future Super Bowl to the host city.

Yes, there would be considerable problems with flight and hotel bookings, but how would that be different than if the game had to be postponed because of, say, an earthquake a few days before the game?