Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What Will Be Lost If There’s No NFL In 2011?

If you play for the Green Bay Packers or are a fan of theirs, you’ve got to like the idea that you might be champions for a longer period than previous Lombardi trophy winners.

The only problem is that while they can hold the crown for an unknown length of time, they all will undoubtedly want to begin preparing to defend their title as soon as possible and not sit around wondering when or if they will.

On March 11th, the NFLPA filed for decertification as a union, which now sends the dispute over the collective bargaining agreement between players and owners into a courtroom. With discussions breaking down and a lengthy time line for a conclusion appearing eminent, the first signs of players putting on pads doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon this year.

While the issue deals more with the players and the owners, the biggest losers of them all will be the fans. Die hard football followers will feel their heart twist tightly as summer approaches and teams are not beginning OTAs. Sports enthusiasts will be distraught when the World Series ends at the end of October and there’s no football to fill the void of sports entertainment.

Here’s what would be lost for pigskin fans if there is a lockout for the 2011 NFL season.

1) No unofficial Super Bowl holiday party

It would be a shame to see the loss of one of the greatest days in America if there is no CBA agreement in place anytime soon.

The Super Bowl is a signature of American life, an event anyone outside of this country can associate America with. If Steve Harvey were to ask a 100 people to name an occurrence synonymous with the U.S. for his show “The Family Feud”, one of the highest answers would be the NFL title game.

Now that there is a possible lockout for the season, people in America, as well as around the world, will be let down that they can’t sit down with their families to watch the greatest championship game in sports. There will be no barbecue pits topped with loads of red meat, hot dogs and chicken wings burning over hot coals, or enormous amounts of salads, spinach dips, chili, or other pig out food to eat since the game may not go on as usual.

Along with the loss of the game and food comes the disappearance of the million dollar commercials that people love to watch. Some of the best and most comedic ads on television filter through the tube on this special day and if there is indeed no season, there will definitely be an extreme sadness for the loss of those over-the-top commercials.

2) No more Sunday chill-ins

When football season comes around, significant others of hardcore fans understand one concept: Sundays are spent sitting in the living room with games plastered on the tube from sun up to sun down.

Football is different from other sports, in that the games go on the last day of the week (aside from the Monday night and holiday games) instead any day in the week like baseball, basketball and hockey games. Having it on Sundays allows the fans to relax and unwind from the tension of the previous six days.

If the lockout indeed goes on and extends to the regular season, Sundays will be awfully boring for most people. No longer will they look forward to watching players smash one another on the gridiron and have to find other ways to culminate the week. The week will feel a tiny bit longer now that they don’t have football to vent away the frustration of the weekly grind.

At least significant others of those fans can be happy and begin to plan a nice Sunday or weekend outings and trips with the family if indeed football ends up being postponed.

3) Where is Chris Berman?

No one is more reflective of football than ESPN’s own Chris Berman.

When baseball and basketball come on, the network has shows such as Baseball Tonight and NBA Fastbreak/Shootaround that discuss games and news going on in those sports. Yet, these shows don’t have the face to go along with it like the NFL does with Berman when NFL Primetime and Monday Night Countdown pops on.

One of the greatest, if not the greatest, voices in sports, Berman makes football interesting to watch when there are no games on. Whether it’s the famous “Whoop!” shriek he makes when he describes a player juking out another player or when he mumbles about a player “rumblin’ and stumbling’” over tacklers, the analyst makes the game come alive even when it’s not going on.

The loss of Mr. Berman would be immense for the fans and for the sport as his antics and voice are just as important to the sport as the players are in terms of getting on the field and actually playing the game.

Everyone understands what will be lost if the NFL cannot come to an agreement both sides can agree on. Yet, there will be more that is lost if the sport doesn’t commence. Events and moments that are so valuable and dependent upon football, aside from just the actual playing the sport, will be nowhere to be seen for its fans.

In the end, a lockout means a loss of extreme magnitude not just for the players and owners, but for its fans and the experiences connected with football.

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