Locked Back In: I was actually kind of looking forward to a season without the NFL | Outside Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Locked Back In: I was actually kind of looking forward to a season without the NFL 

The NFL will once again be taking over Sunday afternoons for those fans who can't stand to miss a game.

There was a buzz of relieved excitement in my office on Monday morning when news came across the wire that the NFL and the players union were about to approve a new collective bargaining agreement that would effectively end the great lockout of 2011. In short: there will be NFL football this year.

But I didn't really rejoice. This surprised me. I'm a card-carrying NFL fan (that was a metaphor, there is no actual card required to watch football on Sundays) and have been since the days when I dressed as Steve Largent (the football player, not the slightly racist politician) for Halloween. I then realized that I had given up on the millionaire owners and the millionaire players coming to any sort of sensible plan as to how they could all remain millionaires while also holding a 2011 NFL season for the non-millionaires to enjoy.

I was looking forward to Sundays during which I wouldn't have to hear my wife say, "But you watched football yesterday" or listen to the self-congratulatory dickwads who pass themselves off as pregame (and halftime and postgame) commentators despite the fact that if they hadn't played a few seasons in the NFL, their intellect would likely preclude them not merely from appearing on television but also from greeter duties at Wal-Mart (see: Bradshaw, Terry).

I was looking forward to Sundays when hangovers could be cured by some sort of outdoor activity rather than tomato juice-laden beers at my local pub. In turn, I would finally start hitting more Monday morning deadlines.

It was also nice not to have to spend any portion of my summer wondering what sort of jive-ass un-retirement stunt Brett Favre had up his sleeve (or in his trousers... zing!) and I enjoyed the dearth of "join my fantasy football league" emails in my inbox, although I suspect they'll be arriving soon. And how could I not be excited to experience an August without being exposed to a single pre-season football game? Such contests serve only to remind us that summer is almost over and that this sport is boring as hell when no one is trying to win.

I'd become nearly giddy knowing that weekends would be reserved almost exclusively for the faster, higher-scoring, generally more entertaining and less a-hole-heavy college game. Part of me was thinking about adopting a college team - probably a lackluster one to fit in with my other chosen sports affiliations - and, who knows, maybe even purchasing a sweatshirt adorned with its colors.

But now it looks like none of these things will happen. My Sundays won't be full of hikes and productivity, but rather of accusations of laziness as I watch the millionaires dance in the end zone, only to have that touchdown reviewed for 27 minutes as some former defensive back-turned commentator dissects the play until he's used up his limited vocabulary.

I know, I don't have to watch the NFL, but now that the cold turkey option is off the table, this addiction will rope me back in... as sad as that may be.

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