I’ve held my tongue on this as long as I can. I’m two days into your “Lockout-is-over-gasm,” and I’m officially sick of your bullshit. I don’t care who you are, whether you are from ESPN, or some penny-ante blog like this one, the next person who says “thank God the NFL is back” will find me at their front door flattening their skull with a shovel.
It’s not that I don’t like the NFL; it’s not that I’m not glad we will have football this fall. But you people really have to stop with this line of thinking like you lost something because of this lockout. In case you didn’t notice, this whole affair took place during the off-season. This means the fans lost nothing of consequence; the only event 99.9% of football fans care about which occurs between March and July is the NFL Draft, and you even got that. In fact, you used that occasion to boo the shit out of Commissioner Goodell.
The only people who can legitimately claim to have been screwed by this lockout are those of Canton, Ohio. By cancelling the Hall of Fame Game, the NFL has cost the economy of that town the boost it normally gets from hosting that annual event. Of course, even that wrong has a simple way to right it: have a Monday Night game there as a neutral-site affair; the league can pick up any costs and/or defray any expenses incurred. Don’t tell me it can’t be done; if the Vikings can have home games in Detroit and in a college stadium because their roof caved in, this can get done.
So, that takes care of Canton…so what about the rest of you? Fuck you. You didn’t lose anything, so quit your whining. Go back and look at the labor stoppages of 1982 and 1987 too see what a true screwing of the fans looks like. The 1982 NFL season got a 57-day hole blown into the middle of it, forcing the reduction of the regular season from a 16-game schedule to 9. This led to a special 16-team playoff tournament; eight teams were seeded 1-8 based on their regular season records. The true horror for all of you who bitched about the Seattle Seahawks being in the playoffs despite their 7-9 record…under this format, two teams qualified for the playoffs despite losing records; Cleveland and Detroit were both 4-5 and in the playoffs.
The 1987 season offered all these horrors and one more: replacement players. Thanks to a 24-day players’ strike, the season was reduced from the usual the 16-game season to 15. The games that were scheduled for the third week of the season were canceled, but the games for weeks 4-6 were played with each team’s rosters composed of guys were were loading trucks the week before. There nothing like reading about how your starting quarterback can’t play on Sunday because he can’t get out of his morning shift at Denny’s.
Not to mention, recent memory is full of other work stoppages in sports which had a real cost; baseball lost parts of two seasons and a World Series, the NHL lost an entire season, and lord knows how ugly the current situation in the NBA is going to get. In other words, before you start crying about how wonderful it is to have the NFL back, ask yourself when did it ever really go away?