EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - MARCH 03: A locked general admission gate is seen at New Meadowlands Stadium, home of the NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants, March 3, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Last minute negotiations between the NFL owners and its players union are being held as the two sides face a midnight deadline to avoid a possible lockout next season. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Are you ready for some football? Pfffffffffffft.
Sure, I'm ready... But then, I don't get a say.
We have officially reached the portion of the lockout where optimism is turning into a steaming pile of frustration. It was just a few weeks ago that the draft teased us all into thinking that the good times were on their way again, but the ensuing lack of free agency reminded us that football, as we know it, is still a good long way off.
With so much positive talk early in the process designed to make us think that this situation wouldn't be a long term thing, we were all hopeful that an agreement could be reached quickly. "Missing games is highly unlikely". I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's almost June and according to a tweet from Adam Schefter yesterday morning, don't expect any sort of free agency until after July 4th. That's if we're lucky.
What's a football fan to do? Jump with me, won't you?
On twitter there have been some pretty ridiculous suggestions about how to "send a message" to the players and owners. The ideas all seem to be centered around hitting the NFL in the pocketbook - boycotting this and canceling that. The fans demand action! Right? Well, let's take a look at some of the suggestions that are floating around the internets and see just how effective they could be:
Cancel Your Season Tickets
What better a way to send your message right to the team than to cancel your season tickets? Right? As of right now the Broncos Season Ticket waiting list has over 32,000 people on it. I waited on the list for nine years to get my seats. For me to rear up on my hind legs and demand that the NFL come to a resolution or face the fiery wrath of my not renewing my nosebleed seats, well, that has got to be just about the dumbest move anyone could make. With 32,000 people dying to get my less than fantastic seats, that message would never be received by anyone. Besides, I would feel like a complete idiot if I gave up my seats over something so stupid. Winner: The NFL. Loser: The Fans.
I should mention here that the Broncos have been very accommodating to season ticket holders in communicating the situation via letters and conference calls with EFX and Roger Goddell. The check is soon to be in the mail fellas.... Sigh.
Don't Buy Anything
What better way to send a message to both the players and the owners by not buying any of their stuff? Let's be honest, $80 for a jersey is a bit steep as it is. $25 bucks for a hat made in Bangladesh? Merchandise sales could suffer the longer this goes on. Although, I suppose there are enough people out there who will continue to buy NFL branded stuff regardless of the labor situation. There could also be a surge of merchandise sales once an agreement is reached. I think that the results of this strategy will, over the long haul, be largely negligible. Although... that orange Tebow jersey looks so enchanting.
While we're on the subject... Something tells me that the profit margin on NFL Merchandise is a little higher than we'd like to acknowledge. I'm not going to go all bleeding heart over this, but seriously... This is America's game. Can't we, you know, make this stuff in America? For what it costs you'd think Bill Parcells himself was spinning the cotton and stitching up a storm. Winner: Bangladesh/NFL Loser: The Fans.
Don't Watch NFL Network
I don't know if you all have noticed, but the NFL Network is running out of show ideas. How many more times can we all bear to watch them interview the Harbaugh brothers? We get it. They're brothers. Awesome. From the same mother. Without the NFL, the NFL Network is nothing more than a network of reruns and recently it's become pretty unwatchable. Granted, they are running that Top 100 Players of 2011... However, when your team only wins four games, there's not much hope that you've got anyone in the top 10. Oh, and spoiler alert, Aaron Rodgers is #1. I don't have to watch all ten parts to figure that out. Winner: The Harbaughs and Aaron Rodgers. Loser: The Fans and NFL
So there you have it. Three theories that have been floated about on how to send a message to the NFL. I'd love to hear about how one of these has worked for you. Think about it, you could be a hero for canceling your tickets or forgoing the Miller jersey... You might even get an interview on NFL Network (hosted by the Harbaughs!), they need the programming!
I hate how defeatist this sounds, but it's the sad truth. As fans, there is nothing we can do but sit back and let things take their course. We are are along for the ride and as awful as it is, we're going to be helpless within it until the very end. The best we could possibly do is to make the most of the time we're going to have away from football. This is the perfect opportunity to take your kids camping, work in the yard, perhaps read up on working conditions in the Bangledeshi textile industry... Take advantage of this time away and try not to get too worked up. Football will be back one day... just not as soon as we'd like.