So What Did We Miss? Uh, Nothing

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - August 03, 2011
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Dolphins employees, including one with a Don Shula head, celebrated the end of the NFL lockout last week. AP photo

It was supposed to be one of the darkest periods in U.S. history. Cut off from our cultural anchor and Sunday excuses for sofa-induced lethargy, the battle reports between owners and players ignited heated public debate not seen since Lyndon Johnson decided to increase U.S. Forces in Vietnam.

At least that’s what we were led to believe.

It seemed like not a day went by without some dire warning about the future of the NFL, and therefore the nation as a whole. We were threatened with a loss of a season, millions squandered from the loss of early season ticket sales, devastated small business owners who depend on fan foot traffic, shifty owners, greedy players and, of course, the complete disregard of the most impacted and least represented group, the fans.

But a funny thing happened on the way from limbo to treachery nothing changed. After months of “what if” scenarios and doomsday prophecies, the only thing the lockout has proven is that the off season is just that, the off-season, a time when nothing of real importance happens. Guys get drafted and signed, a few recognizable free agents find different places of employment and players head off to practices they would give anything to miss. Which is what we have now. As it turns out, we didn’t miss a thing. Now I feel ripped off.

In preparation of football Armageddon, I followed the advice of Ray Lewis and started stockpiling weapons of limited destruction. Lewis predicted the lack of NFL football would mean a rise in crime rates as people searched for ways to expend energy. His reasons were quite solid. “There’s nothing else to do,” he told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. Who am I to argue?


Now what am I supposed to do with my Glock and ergonomically correct lead pipes? Convert them into New Year’s party favors? Actually, that might work now that I’ve been told I’m too immature to handle sparklers.

Whatever.

Had the work stoppage not occurred, the Patriots still would have signed Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco. Mike Brown’s sanctimonious rebuttal of Carson Palmer would have continued even to the detriment of his own team, and Nnamdi Asomugha would still be the best-looking belle at the ball even in the eyes of teams who don’t need him I’m talking to you, New York!

The point is that for all the commotion, the NFL has not missed a thing, minus a worthless preseason game that does little to honor the newly inducted Hall of Fame members.

In fact, the labor disagreement saved the reading and viewing public the nausea of June and July scouting reports and player speculation that do little more than provide free publicity for an organization that can afford its own PR.


On the plus side, the rush of player movement has condensed what is normally a tedious employment process into an efficient period of negotiation that has been far more interesting and easier to follow.

Not everyone will agree with this summation. The laborious labor discussion has left many fans angry over the lack of consideration shown toward them and the effect it will have on their fantasy teams. But those folks need therapy anyway, so who cares.

The NFL is back, so enjoy the games for what they are entertainment, and a worthy excuse for further delaying the honeydo list you’ve been ignoring since February.

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