This "In popular culture" section may contain too many minor or trivial references. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture rather than simply listing appearances, and remove trivia references. (May 2009)
The Nuclear Football carried by the President of the United States has appeared many times in popular culture.
The football played a major role in the 1999 movie Chain of Command where pro-Taiwan independence extremists (along with the President of Taiwan himself leading the operation) try to steal the football to launch a nuclear attack against China using the United States' ICBMs. This results in the attack and destruction of Beijing and then Washington, D.C. in retaliation. Later, both China and the United States narrowly avert a full scale nuclear attack on each other once the United States regains control of the football. Although the movie portrays the football as having a very advanced laptop computer inside with both thumb print and eye retina scans of the President needed to verify himself, the actual security measures for the real Football are unknown.
The football makes a brief appearance in the film Air Force One, when a terrorist hijacking of the President's plane results in the activation of a new football back in the White House as a precautionary measure (the terrorists were not interested in the football).
The football played a small role in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, where it served as the activation unit for the Arsenal Gear. In the Game, the football is shown to require periodic entry of Biometric data relayed by the Nanomachines in the President's body in order to function, to prevent the President from being forcibly coerced to activate it.
The football (and its Russian counterpart) was featured in the climactic sequence of the film The Sum of All Fears.
The football played a small role within the pilot episode "Yankee White" of NCIS. Terrorists plotted to take out the ball carrier to cause the president to resort to a back-up Air Force One. Once on the backup plane a reporter/terrorist would break into the gun locker and attempt to assassinate the president.
The football was used in a side story of an episode of JAG, when Lt. Bud Roberts was selected to carry it for George W. Bush. Bud went to use the bathroom, and accidentally was left behind. He had to run a few blocks back to the White House.
The football appears in the film Deterrence where the president uses a pair of biometric binoculars to verify the launch code relayed to him.
The football appears in the 1997 film The Peacekeeper where terrorists steal the device. The film (with dubious accuracy) shows that only the carrier has the key to prevent a Presidential assassination or a nuclear holocaust.
The football played a major role in one episode of the television series Seven Days. In the episode, the president's military aide is left behind and forced to make his way back to the White House. He is mugged and the football is stolen, and a nuclear missile is accidentally launched. In keeping with the series' standard format, the main character goes back in time seven days to prevent this from happening.
The football plays a large role in the Tom Clancy video game Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter when Mexican rebels manage to steal it, compromising the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
The football appears in the Matthew Reilly novel Area 7 where it is stolen by a rogue military unit attempting to stage a coup to force the President into participating in a Battle Royale style game.
The football appears in the graphic novel Watchmen where it is depicted as a football shaped case handcuffed to President Richard Nixon.
The football appears in the fourth episode of the fourth season of Lexx. It is camouflaged as an American football.
The football appears in the 2008 movie Swing Vote when the acting president tries to persuade Bud Johnson to vote for him by showing him The Football whilst giving him analogies about war using football terms.
The football appeared in the novel The Kid Who Became President, by Dan Gutman.