Make no mistake about it. The NFL is a drug and the only prescription is....no...not that Mr. Walken, it's more NFL. Millions of fans across the country are going to get an overdose of their vice over the next couple of weeks. A tidal wave of news will be coming out with free agency, rookie signings and training camp news as soon as this new deal is in place. Not to mention the constant winners/losers back-and-forth between analysts on every television station, radio station and website breaking down this new deal.
For the first time in what would seem like 41 years, if Brett Favre is seen throwing a few passes to some adolescents at a local high school it won't be headline worthy. At least not with all of the other news that
should will be taking precedent. That's a victory in and of itself, although that sounds just too good to be true.
The only real losers in this whole debacle that will be over soon are the wives/girlfriends who are non-football fans that had hope that a few more chores might get done around the house during the weekends this fall, not so fast my friend. That same routine you witnessed last fall will be on-schedule and uninterrupted as this new deal comes at the 11th hour in making sure that nobody has to reimburse a ticket already sold, or deal with the chance at losing some advertising dollars.
The NFL is an addiction and for any football fan that jumped on the "I'm protesting this lockout and they'll lose my business" wagon, we'll never really know how serious you were, but a betting man would have called your bluff. Every team has its' story-lines from day one of training camp all the way through the last play of the year. A fan that believes he can turn his or her cheek to these story-lines in every newspaper article, website post, TV story and even the water-cooler discussions at work, they didn't think it entirely through. The NFL can't be ignored and one way or another you were coming back.
It's nothing to be ashamed of because for the same reason that you feel as if you were stuck between a rock and a hard place in wanting your voice as a fan to be heard, and knowing you couldn't kick this addiction minus them throwing away a good portion of the season. That's the same reason that has made football the most popular sport in the country. It's the passion of the fans that make you want to know what's going on with the team so you can join that water-cooler discussion at work. So you read the newspaper articles, website posts and you watch the TV stories. You do these things to feel connected to a team and sport that you were outwardly angry was threatened to be taken away from you. Have no fear.
You didn't have to threaten them by boycotting spending money on the NFL. The two sides postured for as long as they possibly could. But when they realized the money they had been arguing about for so long was about to really be lost they took a couple of deep breaths, sat down together and knocked this thing out. There was just too much to lose on both sides and thankfully they realized this before
they had to repay fans for games missed the season began.
Fans can sleep soundly knowing that their voice wasn't lost in this whole mess. Their voices were heard everyday and in every meeting, 9 billion strong.
Over the next few weeks when you experience football nirvana with the plethora of news you should step back and ask yourself whether or not it would have been better spread out over months, or whether or not you like it all at once. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or maybe it's you don't know what you got till it's gone, wait, that's not it either. If you really love something then let it go and see if it comes back, if it does then you know it's real. None of these cliches really work because it was never absent, it wasn't ever really gone, and you wouldn't have truly let it go. The reason is because it's an addiction. The hope was always in the back of your mind while you carried on your discussions about the team as if there was still going to be a season.
Now we know there will be a season and we can all celebrate together the return of our addiction. And celebrate we will each and every Sunday this fall.