So the NFL Player's Union and the owners have extended the deadline, but there remains a real concern that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) will expire and a new one will not be created for quite some time, possibly costing the fans and players some games in the 2011 season.
Now, I really don't know much about these negotiations, and I don't really care to, and I also don't want to be one of those guys that rambles on about how it should be pretty easy to split a $9 billion pie such that both parties are happy. I understand that there is a degree of negotiation required here, and I just hope that both parties realize that football is always better than no football for everyone involved, so some concessions will need to be made.
On ESPN this past week, they have been asking players and analysts what 5 things they would miss most if there were no football in 2011. OK, I'm no expert, but I am a die-hard fan of the game and there are a lot of things that I would be devastated if they were to be out of my life. However, I'm going to overachieve a bit and go for the 6 things that I would miss the most if there weren't a 2011 football season.
6. Making fun of ineptitude
Yes, Rex Grossman, that includes you.
And Derek Anderson too.
And, for old times' sake, I'll throw in a little Dan Orlovsky.
Oh, and who could forget this bad boy. (you can skip to the 0:50 mark)
No, I didn't forget about you, Eli, but I couldn't find a video of your god-awful attempt at a slide in our first matchup this year.
5. The plays that make your jaw drop
And definitely this.
And, if you're into that sort of thing, this.
4. The stats and records
I've always been a big fan of important sports events happening in my lifetime so that I can bore my grandchildren to death with the stories about them. Tom Brady's 300+ consecutive passes without an interception, Devin Hester returning the most kickoffs/punts for touchdowns in a career, Chris Johnson's 2000 yard season, Adrian Peterson setting the individual game rushing record, Antonio Cromartie returning a missed field goal 109 yards for a TD... It's just awesome following all of these pursuits. I feel some sort of pride in the fact that I was around for all of these great accomplishments (football-wise, at least). And we didn't even get into Brett Favre.
3. Fantasy Football
I think that everyone reading this should be at least to some degree surprised that this one isn't first, given the fact that I wrote a blog post a week about one of my fantasy leagues, and if you spend any time around me during football season you know I eat, breathe, and sleep fantasy football when it's going on. The draft strategies, the sleepers that pan out (Dwayne Bowe, Arian Foster, Mike Wallace), the midseason pickups that drive you to victory (Michael Vick, Brandon Lloyd), the weekly opportunity to get your competitive juices flowing... Aside from March Madness, the fantasy football season is my favorite time of year sports-wise. And without football, what the hell am I going to do all day every day during fall semester?
2. Watching the games, drinking a Bud
OK, so I won't really miss the latter part (although I am at least qualified to drink a Bud now), but just being able to sit around on a Sunday with my roommates or my family and watch the Eagles (or whoever's on CBS) play is a great experience. Having played so much fantasy football and Madden over the years, my appreciation for the little things in the game has increased significantly, so I am so much more compelled by the game than I was as a child. Throughout my college career I have set aside Sunday as a no-work, all-football day; now what?
1. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat
There's no feeling quite like the euphoria of your team winning a big divisional matchup and being able to watch the highlights on TV of the team you live vicariously through putting one in the win column. On the flip side, there is no feeling quite like the devastation of your team dropping a ten-point lead and losing to a team that never should have had any business beating you, and then not being able to stomach the TV and radio personalities incessantly talking about football when you just want to hide from the shame. I wouldn't trade that rollercoaster for anything (although I guess an entirely euphoric sensation would work fine).