With the NBA finals wrapping up last night, those football fans who have kept their sports appetite fed with getting lost into what was a great series will no doubt be turning their focus to the NFL lockout. June 13, the 93rd day of the lockout, we would usually be getting daily analysis of OTA’s and brief write ups about new players or what new workout the TE is doing in the off season which will make him that much better of a receiving threat. Instead we are left with uncomfortably warm temperatures and nothing to talk about at the water cooler except baseball. Not so bad when you’re an avid baseball fan like me, but when everyone else you banter with about football all year doesn’t care to watch baseball there isn’t much to talk about.
While this lack of quality analysis is just one of the small concessions us fans have adjusted to throughout this lockout, I wish I could say that would be the worst of it. Before the lockout actually took place I didn’t think much of it and rationalized it by telling myself there isn’t any way you leave 9 billion dollars of revenue out on the table, is there? The answer nobody wants to hear is yes. The owners do not stand to lose much off the bottom line with player salaries not having to be paid, so I think it comes down to the players having to concede. Current professional athletes have adopted a certain lifestyle that isn’t conducive to not receiving large sums of cash. It feels like they should be at their breaking point before too long. Don’t get me wrong if it sounds like I’m on the owner’s side, because I fully see the argument the players bring and support their demands. They hold a product everyone in the country wants to watch that nobody else is capable of delivering the same level of quality and if they demand certain royalties and more revenue sharing, then the billionaire bosses that they have need to listen.
We don’t get much insight into these lengthy negotiations, because who wants to hear about what lawyer A and lawyer B can’t get past? We want to know which lineman dropped 20 lbs in the off-season and has potential to be a breakout player. We want to read about how a LB bench pressed a Kia Spectra and how that feat means he is going to the Pro Bowl this year. Most fans do not care about whatever legal jargon comes out of Ed Werder or Sal Palintonio. They would much rather read useless articles about overachieving or underachieving, who is getting old and can’t cut it anymore and who is going to surprise us with a breakout year that will propel his team into the playoffs. Fans live for that information that they can repeat down the road at a tailgate and sound like they know what they are talking about.
These seem like very petty and useless things that we are missing out on with the lockout, but soon they will turn into the actual loss of events, practices and so on that actually affect the team. In June there isn’t much tangible evidence of how the lockout is effecting day to day operations unless you are one of the unfortunate few that have been hurt financially by the lockout already. July is a different story. Training Camp is scheduled to begin in just over a month and a half.
Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs opened up a beautiful new facility at Missouri Western University in St. Joseph, MO, about an hour drive from Arrowhead. It was a huge success with people attending the practices and getting some face time with players that made it a point to get friendly with the die-hards that make the journey decked out in apparel ready to watch some drills. It was enough for me to bust out the cut off Chief Zumba shorts that no doubt scream, “Hey, I’m here to party and watch some pigskin.” Chiefs Rookie Eric Berry was the last one off the field at one of the sessions I attended and showed the fan base just how humble and what a hard worker he is. If the lockout continues, all the moments like that one where Chiefs fans were able to connect with their beloved franchise will not take place. More revenue lost and not just for the team, for the city of St. Joseph, MO.
Cities like St. Joseph and 31 other teams will experience a void if the lockout continues into training camp. Everyone involved in these negotiations need to start taking the people who are affected by the lockout into consideration as they continue the millionaire vs. billionaire fight. What about all the great employees that bust their ass all week to make sure the players have everything they could think of, struggling to make mortgage or car payments? The answer is they don’t and they won’t. Both sides of these negotiations have taken being egotistical to a new level. I mean, don’t you see companies all over the globe fighting to figure out what to do with 9 billion dollars? Oh wait, that’s right, you don’t, because it’s a ridiculous thing to have to be locked out about.
They need to come to an agreement soon before mass chaos breaks out on the economy. Think of how much less beer, chicken wings, chips and salsa, portable chairs, coolers and thousands of other items will be sold because of no football on Sunday. Those companies who aren’t fighting over 9 billion will be hurt and will ultimately cost others their jobs. Not a great thing to be dealing with when you take our current financial state and unemployment rate as a country into perspective.
Hopefully I will jinx myself and make what I just wrote completely irrelevant and the lock out will end as soon as this hits the internet. Being a realist though, I don’t see it happening anytime soon and I am starting to get very concerned that my Sundays are about to get a lot less entertaining. What will I do when I don’t have a noon game to wake up at 7 for and start food prep and proper game day hydration practices? I don’t even want to think about life without football on Sunday. If we do have to face that reality, I want to get on a waiting list for anti-depressants. So I hope that this is the last article where I’m not more concerned about 40 times or reps of 225 than whether or not football will cease to exist on Sunday. I am not a religious person, but I am definitely praying this does not become a reality.