Fans need NFL

Story by Kyle Davis

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Super Bowl Sunday brought thousands of Facebook statuses and tweets, loads of media coverage and 111 million people in front of the television at the same time.

It might as well be a holiday; we treat it as one.

I made sure I soaked up the day, and the game, appreciating the spectacle because Super Bowl XLVI might have to wait a year.

If the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association cannot come to an agreement by the time the current collective bargaining agreement ends March 4, a lockout could occur, meaning no football would be played next season.

Several main topics exist that are at the heart of the disagreement, including health care and benefits for players once they retire. But what it amounts to is many more losses, than just those for retired players, if an agreement can’t be made.

Not only did commissioner Roger Goodell vow to reduce his salary to $1 if an agreement isn’t reached by March 4, but ESPN.com reported the NFL would lose $120 million in revenue if the deadline passes without an agreement. The NFL would then lose $1 billion by September and $400 million a week if no games are played.

It is easy to look at the money aspect of the issue. After all, money is at the root of the problem (cue The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” which should probably be played during coverage of the negotiations). 

While owners and players will lose money, it is the fans that will lose the most. Football is the most popular sport in America, but what does the league show its fans by having greed get in the way of the fans’ passion?

Can you imagine fall Sunday afternoons and Monday nights without football? Something about that seems very un-American. Or perhaps having Super Bowl Sunday turn into any other February day, where someone might be looked down upon for inviting 20 people over to stare at his television and deep fat frying everything in the house? Good luck getting 111 million people to watch “60 Minutes,” even if new commercials were shown in between segments.

What the lockout would really hurt are the season-ticket-holding, never-miss-a-game, buy-a-can-of-paint-for-the-only-purpose-being-to-paint-your-team’s-letters-on-your-chest, die-hard fans who make the NFL what it is.

So, while the talks continue, someone should think about the fans that fill the seats, watch the games and buy the apparel, because they are the ones making the NFL the most popular sport in the country, and they will miss it most when it’s gone.