Waiting for the lockout to end (astropix.com)
The NFL lockout reached a milestone of sorts this week, when it passed the 100-day mark. So the lockout has now been about as long as a 17-week NFL regular season. Luckily, we haven't missed any games… yet.
But the fun of the NFL offseason has already been lost. The time when the NFL sells its fans hope for next season has been replaced with breathless updates on labor negotiations. Fun times! Fans missed out on the time when your NFL franchise reshuffles its cards and nearly finalizes the roster they will take into battle the next season. This is also the time when fans usually get to be armchair GMs.
I'm as big a football fan as there is, and I can't even tell you the names of the Eagles' top draft picks. They took the Canadian fireman/hockey player, who is kind of old and will likely start on the O-line, and um, er, I forget after that. That's what a lockout does to fan interest.
People have said they'd be fine without football, but what would your Sundays be like this fall without the NFL? Hmmm. No gambling. No fantasy football. Weekly Honey-Do lists to complete. No built-in excuse to have a few (or ten) beverages on a Sunday. No, thanks. Face it, the NFL is your excuse to get away with doing nothing on Sundays and enjoying it. Without it, you have nowhere else to go.
There have been reports that they are getting closer to a "framework" for a deal. There is much more optimism, but the rumored sticking point is a handful of hard-line owners who say they are willing to cancel the entire season if need be, in order to get the proper amount of concessions from the players. These owners are believed to be some or all of Jerry Jones (pictured below), Ralph Wilson, Dan Snyder, Jerry Richardson, Robert Kraft, Mike Brown, and our own Jeffrey Lurie.
So, anyway, if you're like most football fans, you're probably a still little concerned at this point. Training camp is fast approaching and in order to have a semblance of a free agency period, a deal would need to get done by the first or second week of July.
For the first time in the decade since the Eagles became Super Bowl contenders (with the exception of 2004), we had an offseason where Eagles fans weren't agonizing over every move the team didn't make. Thanks to the labor impasse, we've only heard crickets since the Eagles tapped their offensive line coach to run the defense. You may have forgotten about that. Now get outraged all over again!
Depending on how the negotiations proceed, we may have to pack an entire offseason of complaints into just a few weeks of free agency. So hopefully we'll all be well-rested and ready for a July bitch session.