Skip to main content

The Super Bowl Could Be Greatly Affected By The Government Shutdown

A closeup photo of the Super Bowl trophy with Eagles colored confetti in the background.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: A view of the Vince Lombardi trophy after the Philadelphia Eagles 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

This year's Super Bowl is just over two weeks away, and unfortunately, it looks like the government shutdown could greatly affect the event. Why? Both security and travel could be compromised if the two sides don't come to an agreement by February 3.

Security for the event, which typically includes members of the Department of Homeland Security, could be forced to work without pay - if it's deemed they need to.

Meanwhile, air traffic controllers and other essential airport personnel could be forced to do the same. With the government shutdown, they won't be able to plan effectively for the surge in traffic through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

NBC spoke with Dan McCabe, a representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

Dan McCabe, a National Air Traffic Controllers Association representative, told NBC News that his colleagues had been holding meetings over the past year to prepare for the surge in travelers to the area. But now the planning meetings, which included officials from his union, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Football League, have been grounded.

"As soon as the shutdown happened, these meetings stopped happening," McCabe said. As a result, controllers feel less prepared than they'd like for the anticipated 1,500 additional flights a day to the area during Super Bowl week.

While it's a longshot, one NFL analyst, Mike Freeman, joked on Twitter that the Super Bowl could be cancelled.

More likely though, it seems the league could be forced to deal with less-than-ideal safety situations.

There's still time for the shutdown to end before the big game, but there doesn't appear to be any indication that the two sides are close. We'll keep you updated.