One of many outraged fans
Some threaten to boycott games, some insist they will move on to the numerous other sporting opportunities life affords them, others recommit to their families, and still others have declared all-out war on the NFL (whatever that entails). So many offended people and so little time. While the majority of our nation focuses its energy on the devastation in Japan or getting an iPad 2, fans of America’s Game have fallen via a massive (and legal) hit from James Harrison and can’t seem to get up. I am here to tell you that it is time to get up, brush yourself off, don’t look for a penalty flag, and just be patient while the important business of the NFL gets hammered out.

The low blow to the fans was delivered on Friday, 2 P.M. west-coast time as the players followed through with their threat to decertify the union. The owners quickly followed up with their threat to “lock-out” the players. The result of these actions is essentially a work stoppage. Before anyone goes ignorantly “off” about not worrying because there have not been any games lost yet, think about it… No player should do anything more active than channel surf or read on-line (can’t have paper-cuts get infected). Injuries end a lucrative careers. Just staying in shape is a significant risk. In a world where NFL contracts are written on moist cocktail napkins which can be disposed of at the slightest hint of a tare, it would be foolish for a player to put his body at risk.

Fast-forward to a preferred future where labor strife ends and players are allowed to return to work. It will take months for players to get into game shape? While players re-sculpt their bodies, first year head coaches, coordinators, and assistants busily install their new offensive or defensive schemes? This is the best case scenario. Same arguments could be made for the young men coming out of college entering the league via next months draft in New York City. The risks are enormous. So enormous, that it is best for players to chill-out on a beach somewhere and wait for the business of the League to sort itself out, get the all clear signal and then return to work – however long it takes.

Back to the people who matter most, the fans. It is us after all who make it possible for the group of owners and players to be at each other’s collective throats. If we were not so loyal and passionate in brining this great game to heights of popularity never before imagined, they would not have over $9 billion to argue over. We pay the $75 dollars to park at a Cowboys pre-season game. We tune-in in record numbers to watch those hoping to be drafted run, jump, and throw at the NFL Combine. It is us who have turned the draft from something held in a hotel ball-room to the multiday red-carpet spectacle it is today. Our NFL appetite is insatiable.

We, the fans, are the dross feeding Jaba the Hut. Will we stop? Hell no. Will we cut back on our NFL spending? Perhaps a little. Will we be able to play fantasy football this season? Not like we have been accustomed to. Instead we will sit idly by and complain on blogs and talk radio about how greedy and inconsiderate the (insert your side here) _________ are. We rant about how thoughtless and mean are the people holding hostage our collective happiness. Some of us lucky ones try to play our own economic card and pointing out that any kind of labor dispute puts our own financial lives in jeopardy.

Bottom line in the whose right and whose wrong saga of economic tug-of-war? To that question the only mature answer is that everyone shares culpability and simultaneously no one is completely to blame. The situation is what it is and IT sucks. The owners and players are going to have to go through these emotional economic gyrations. It is impossible not to. With so much money is involved it becomes idiotic to not fight tooth and nail for the infrastructure which supports the happy Buddha. The infrastructure must be solid gridiron so we fans can continue to make it a significant part of our lives again.