WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 03: National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell testifies on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on doping in professional sports.(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
We’re just a month away from real, live NFL games being played once again. YEEHAW! WOOHOO! Thank goodness. I can’t take another day. I really can’t. But this upcoming 2010 NFL season already has a pall cast upon it, thanks to the looming threat of an NFL lockout in March of 2011.
There’s been no indication, as of yet, that NFL players and owners will be able to reach a middle ground in time to prevent a work stoppage from happening.
Work stoppages in sports are agonizing because you, the fan, can’t do anything about it. That’s why fans get annoyed about strikes and lockouts. It’s not simply because players and owners are rich scumbags who can’t bring themselves to compromise. It’s because of the overwhelming sense of powerlessness we fans feel as a result. We invest so much time and thought into these games, yet we have no influence on the outcome of these matters.
But fear not, NFL fans. I’m here to tell you there are things you can do to prevent NFLpocalypse ’11 from happening. Join with me, and together we can put the owners and players in their proper place.
WRITE TO YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR. I don’t know much, but I do know that when you have a problem, it’s always a good idea to go whining about it to a Congressman. They’re scared to death of being voted out of office and forced to go back to work in their actual home states, so use that fear to your advantage.
Write them. A lot. Trust me, Congressmen love nothing more than to make sports a big issue on the Hill at the expense of important things like war and finding clean energy. They can’t wait to be preoccupied with the idea of making grand threats to Roger Goodell and company.
KEEP WATCHING. Ratings for the Hall of Fame Game last Sunday were huge. One of the refrains from people who are optimistic on the NFL labor front is that owners and players aren’t dumb enough to hurt their sport at the height of its powers. To that I say, never underestimate how dumb players and owners can be.
However, it certainly wouldn’t hurt you to, in a counterintuitive move, support the NFL more than ever this year. Buy more stuff. Watch it more often at the expense of time with loved ones. If ratings go up and the league is making even more money in a rotten economy, perhaps a rookie salary cap can be pushed off the table.
SEND THE LEAGUE YOUR OWN SOLUTIONS. This is the digital age. Information is meant to be shared now. Get a lawyer friend and figure out some of the sticking points between players and owners. Propose your own solutions and send them onto the league. It’s a long shot, but you never know where a good idea will come from.