This is going to be hard to say, but I really am convinced that as a fan of the NFL, the only course of action, sadly, would be to simply stop watching football.
The back-and-fourth conversations by both sides laced with the now-cliched “it’s all about the fans” routine is old, tired and downright insulting at this point.
Unfortunately, we are stuck between millionaires and billionaires. Both sides have exhausted the “we are doing this for the fans” arguments, and now what looms on the horizon is a gloomy federal court-filled offseason.
I’ve lost interest in watching players — draped in more jewelry than most supermodels — complain about the greed of owners who rarely, if ever, make themselves available to the public. Money, the most important of all the issues, is squarely the cause for no football, as a billion dollars sits between a fall filled with bickering pigskin fans, or a fall filled with depressed, gloomy supporters in search of their missing escape.
Imagine if fans and, more importantly — at least to the players and owners, paying fans, did not show up for the NFL’s opening day of games.
Yes, as a diehard Rams fan, it would be painful. Heck, it would be downright unbearable. The thought of not being able to enjoy the sights and sounds of an opening day contest against the Eagles hurts, but it’s also effective bargaining.
There are plenty examples of fans taking charge, whether it’s of the statement-making variety or the fanatical version.
After the ’94 strike-shortened season of baseball, fans (well, most fans) opted to take part in a small but effective protest that sent shock waves down the backs of both players and owners. The protest simply involved not showing up for the first game of the season.
Despite being only one of 162 games that season, the message was sent loud and clear to the owners and players: the fans weren’t going to sit by while people living lives they could only dream about fight over who gets more money. At the end of the day, the fans needed to show that just like the players and owners, they are united.
Examples of the more fanatical approach are littered throughout the 1994-95 baseball strike, like two fans charging onto the field and dousing multiple players with more than $150 worth of one dollar bills. Other examples included signs displaying fans’ disgruntled emotions towards both players and owners, as well as one example of a pilot being hired to fly-by a park with sign in tow.
The strike could also be credited with taking down the Expos. In the 1994 season, prior to the walk-off, the Expos sported the best record in baseball with a trip to the postseason all but a reality. It would have been the first time since the 1981 season the Expos were apparently going to make the postseason, but unfortunately for the Canadian franchise, the strike axed any chances of a trip to MLB’s second season.
Not that football is in danger of losing any franchises, but the potential impact of a missed season still makes you wonder what could possibly happen to teams in the lower end of the financial landscape.
A strange situation transpired prior to the coin toss of last season’s Thursday Night contest against the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings signifying the start of the troubles over the past few months. A collection of players from each team walked out to take the coin toss and all raised their hands with index fingers pointed towards the sky. The act, the players claimed, was done to signify the unity of the players. The owners then countered with a lockout after the season.
And here we are.
The endless banter between the two sides, filled with plenty of “it’s all about the fans” jargon, have been filled with shows of unity, and now it’s time for the fans to do the same thing.
This isn’t about starting riots and raising up against the NFL, it’s simply about showing that both sides are going to lose in the long run.
One long week of wondering how my dear Rams are performing. It’s all the NFL needs to start finding resolutions and start playing football. If the fans find a way to unite and hold a walkout of our own, I can guarantee there will never be another work stoppage, because together we would hit both sides in the only place that matters to them.
— Brett Crossley a.k.a. the Great White Ninja
How do you plan to react when football is re-instated? Do you plan to do a Week 1 “Walkout”? Or show your frustrations in another way? Or simply forget about it all and jump back into football?