Common sense tells you that you should be mad. You should find something else on which to spend your valuable time and money. You shouldn't care THIS much.
Yet you do. We all do.
Thankfully, football is coming back and not too much of the coming season will be disrupted. Sure, there wasn't a free agent period during March. Teams with young players and new coaches – sigh, like the Cleveland Browns – might be playing catch-up. The early-August Hall of Fame Game has been canceled.
Regardless, there will be a 16-game regular season schedule.
Football will be played.
Some wanted to put on a good face and rejoice that Sundays this fall potentially would be spent doing something other than watching football. Yet whether it's is for the love of the orange and brown, the smack-talking advantage of beating your buddy in fantasy football or the $20 parlay you have riding on the 4 p.m. Chargers-Raiders game, there would have been a vast, empty feeling in the pit of your stomach with no pro football to watch.
Personally, my "No NFL Football Contingency Plan" would have been executed on a golf course. I can't remember the last time I knocked it around in the fall and I'm obsessed with golf. Typically, once August arrives, it is football season full tilt and the sticks go in storage.
If there had been no NFL football, I would have enjoyed playing golf on Sundays, but when I returned home, sat on the couch and flipped on the TV, it would have been an exercise in futility. I love football, but not that much to watch a Mid-American Conference Sunday afternoon special between Akron and Ohio. (Although, some may say we'll still get to watch a MAC team play every Sunday in the Browns. Cue rim shot here.)
Now that a deal is done, do the details matter to anyone outside that negotiation room? Do both sides think the deal was fair? Are they happy? Great. Whatever. Football will be back. In the end, owners and players are splitting $9 billion in revenue. Most of us will never be able to comprehend that type of money.
And that works for the NFL. The NFL wouldn't work if fans truly realized the amount of money the players, key front office personnel and owners make in this game. Heck, even the players making the league minimum are making more than a quarter of a million dollars, which is a level most of us will never see.
That is why this lockout will not have a long-term effect. Fans are able to remove from their collective minds exactly on how much money key figures involved with the NFL make. We focus on on-the-field occurrences. Since no games were disrupted from this lockout, fans' routines will remain the same and my golf clubs will remain in storage this October. All is well.
Cleveland is not the exception, but the rule. Across this country, we are fascinated with pro football. On Sept. 11, 2011, while we will remember what happened a decade ago in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pa., our favorite diversion from real-life problems — NFL football — will be on display.
We won't be mad. We won't find something else on which to spend our money or our time.
We care THIS much.