In a column for Automotive News' Jan. 23 special issue celebrating the National Automobile Dealers Association's centennial, former NADA President Phil Brady recalls some of the challenges that arose after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. NADA members contributed more than $1.6 million to a Survivors Relief Fund for the attacks' victims.
"A much more prosaic, but difficult, challenge also arose," Brady writes, "when I received a call from NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The league had canceled all its games for the weekend following 9/11 but was intent on playing a full schedule. That meant changing the date of the 2002 Super Bowl in New Orleans to the following weekend, which would conflict with the NADA convention. Swapping the dates wouldn't be easy: The exposition was sold out, and almost 10,000 attendees had registered, many with airline tickets already in hand."
Negotiations "included a meeting with Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), whose office was chock-full of memorabilia from NFL teams," but no model cars, Brady recalls. "As for the growing media interest, it was best summed up by a Times-Picayune headline: "Make Way or Pay, Phil.'"
The date switch happened. The NFL compensated NADA and contributed $500,000 to the Survivors Relief Fund.
For Brady's full column, and more, watch for the NADA 100 special issue in January. For information about the centennial issue, go to autonews.com/nada100.