by Rob Loeber
Did you hear that? That was the sound of a nation letting out a collective sigh of relief.
The NFL will have a season, and all is once again right with the universe. The lockout is officially over and now you can move forward with important decisions like when to schedule your fantasy draft.
I guess I always believed deep down the owners and players would eventually come to some kind of resolution, but I was starting to have more doubts and I actually began to envision a world with no professional football. It wasn’t a pretty picture.
Sure, you’d still have college football but that would only account for half of a weekend. It wouldn’t have been enough. What would you have done with all that free time on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights? The hours normally reserved for eating wings, drinking beer, and finding that optimal couch position would have been spent shopping with wives and girlfriends, getting yard work done, or finally fixing that leaking faucet. It would have been a world with empty sports bars, crowded golf courses, and a lot of men walking around Target in a semi-conscious haze mumbling about missing the second half of a game that wouldn’t even exist.
Instead of rushing home from church to put on your team’s jersey, you’d be talked into brunch or a trip to the in-laws for the afternoon. There would be no reason to call your buddy at halftime and meticulously analyze every play of the first two quarters. There would be no opportunity to text the friend who you were currently pasting in your fantasy league just to let him know that the Smelly Brees In Your Face had no chance of coming back against your squad, Eagles’ Fans Are Terrible People. Heck, you wouldn’t even have a reason to spend the better part of your day coming up with an awesome team name.
There would have been a void in your soul. A weekend of 14-16 hours of football viewing, plus another four hours on Monday night is the perfect way to escape adult responsibility. Without that weekly vacation from reality into the world of stats, standings, and betting lines, there wouldn’t be much to look forward to during the work week. And let’s face it, you need that. It isn’t just the games; it’s the week-long anticipation of the games. The trash talk and the friendly wager would be eliminated and replaced with conversations about actual work. It would be horrible.
More importantly, think of the children. Sunday afternoons represent an opportunity for fathers across this country to indoctrinate their kids into the culture and the tradition of their favorite team. How else are the youth going to learn that the Redskins must be despised above all other franchises? Some kids would be deprived of a spelling lesson because dad wouldn’t be screaming J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS! Comprehension skills would falter because sons and daughters wouldn’t be forced to memorize the complete numerical roster. They would never learn the signal for intentional grounding or the value of field position in a close game. You wouldn’t have a legitimate excuse for dressing them up in your team’s colors, or making sure they know the superstition of changing hats or shirts if the team is performing poorly. Men have a great responsibility to force these values upon their offspring and ensure that they carry on the tradition for future generations. Without football, kids would accidentally become open-minded, and God-forbid, choose a team at random. It would be simply heartbreaking.
What if the lockout had wiped out an entire season? What if there was no Super Bowl? Forget about the devastating economic impact and think of what’s really important here. Without the Super Bowl, you’d no longer have a day to unabashedly stuff your face with barbecued meat, pepperoni pizza, buffalo wings, foot long grinders, beer, sausage pizza, soda, ice cream, and cookie cake in the shape of a football. You would miss the single greatest day of food consumption for the entire year. You’d like to eat like that everyday but you can’t because your wife would think less of you than she already does. But on that one Sunday, you are allowed to embrace gluttony. If there was no Super Bowl, you’re large intestine would catch a break, but you’d be spending just another Sunday afternoon at home with your family. Does it get much more frightening than that?
Thankfully, that nightmare isn’t going to come true, at least not for this season. The owners and players agreed on a deal, training camps are opening, free agents are being signed, and you’re starting to drool just a little bit. Jerseys are being purchased, fantasy leagues are being formed, and tickets are being reserved. In other words, order has been restored to our world. Let’s play some football!