"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
Where did you come from, Byron Donzis?
"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
"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." —Typical Byron Donzis
"Football by 2000 is going to need more logic and brains and much less violence, because look at the generation growing up today. They're all playing computer games, calculator games. Football as it is today is just not going to be entertaining and challenging enough for them. You're simply not going to get anyone to play the interior line positions much longer. This generation won't tolerate such positions. The NFL is working on making the wrong rule changes. First, they've got to figure out ways to make more of the positions more glamorous. The field must be divided into different colored zones. There's got to be more strategy put into football. It's got to be more of a war game. I'm really very concerned about football because I've loved it all my life, and if it doesn't move ahead, we are going to be a country of soccer players in 2000." —Vintage Byron Donzis
"All the stadiums will have seats that will collect power from the sun. The field will be blown up, a large air mattress, so you can change the air pressure, depending on who is playing, to make it safer. The pros might play on a surface with seven pounds per square inch, while a bunch of junior high school kids would play at 2� psi. The athlete will be trained by new types of computers, and there will be more than four downs—all with different names, of course—and the equipment manager and the trainer will be as important as...."
Byron, stop, stop. Who are you? Where do you get off saying these things about a sport in which the last original statement—made 19 years ago—was: We will draft the finest athlete irregardless of position. Credentials, Byron.
O.K., try this for size. Remember the guy who snuck into a Houston hospital room last fall with a friend and a baseball bat. That guy was Byron Donzis. In bed in that room was Dan Pastorini, the quarterback of the Oilers, who had been maimed that particular Sabbath past. Pastorini was in the hospital with broken ribs. Donzis introduced himself, and then his friend hauled off and whomped Byron across his ribs. With the baseball bat. Pastorini flinched. Donzis did not. Then Donzis showed Pastorini how he had on this dandy little inflatable vest. Soon, Pastorini was back in action, wearing one of Donzis' so-called flak jackets, and the Oilers went to the playoffs. Now the National Football League has taken Donzis under its wing and agreed to underwrite much of his research that pertains to gridiron safety.