First, no Steve. Now, no NFL.
And no. I'm not talking about Steve Sabol.
Maybe I should have paid more attention when the sisters in Sunday School told me to study End Times 3:21. Maybe there was something I could have done to prevent the biggest, most-successful, and most entertaining sports business from calling it a season. Maybe I could have said a few more Hail Mary's, or a couple more Our Father's.
You see, the National Football League has locked out its players until a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached. A labor impasse like this, however, has been in the back our collective minds for the last couple of years. With an expiring CBA, escalating salaries, a stagnant economy, safety and health concerns (not just for the players, but the owners too. Did you know that there are FIVE owners who served in The Second World War?), and owners not exactly being honest about profits, it really should come to no surprise that NFL facilities across God's Country are now closed indefinitely.
But it is surprising.
I've done some travelling throughout the US. There's two (2) things I can say for certain about Americans. They love their food. And they love their sports. College sports, for example, consumes whole towns and cities. I was in Lansing, MI a couple years back during the NCAA football season. It was cult-like. No matter what part of the city I was in, EVERYONE was sporting Michigan State Spartan gear. Everything from hoodies, sweatpants, t-shirts, jerseys, face paint, tailgating, and headbands were all adorned in MSU's green and white. I asked one guy down there if it's like this all the time. Between bites of his quadruple cheeseburger from Sonic, he said yes.
The obsessive-type fervor freaked me out a little. It was something I definitely wasn't accustomed to. Hell, the Manitoba Bisons football team barely manages to attract 1000 people to their games (if they're lucky.) The Spartans routinely average 65,000 plus for their games. They've sold out every game in their history for crying out loud. Their in state rivals, the Wolverines, play in a stadium that houses well over 100,000.
I asked the same guy if college football was more popular than the NFL. He just shook his head. He said that while most people love college sports, most people are OBSESSED with the NFL. And this guy is a Lions fan for pete's sake. (for those who don't know, because there's only like four people in CreComm who follow sports, the Lions are one of the worst professional sports franchises of all time.)
This nameless man from Michigan, whose name I can never remember because I kept getting distracted by this thick Mid-West accent (think of how someone from Minnesota speaks. Now, amplify and exaggerate that by 100. That's how people from Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois all sound) will still have college ball to look forward to on Saturdays. But his Sundays will now revolve around church and falling asleep in church.
With the fervor Americans have for sports, one would think it would be illegal for leagues like the NFL to close its operations like this. With all the jobs, passion, and money at stake, you'd think Barack would force the two sides to come to some State decreed agreement. But at the end of the day, it is a free market society (to an extent) and we as fans have to ride this one out.