I’ve noticed various complaints and lamentations on Twitter today regarding the fact that, for the first Sunday since Labor Day weekend, there will be no NFL action.
I even resisted responding to a tweet from the official Steelers account that a “Sunday without football” is “[n]ot quite the same” by pointing out that the Steelers have had since December 30 to get used to it, because I (possibly) am better than that.
But here’s one thing to keep in mind, if you don’t like the fact that football is gone for the year. If you’re among those who don’t want the regular season to expand, you’re sort of wanting to have it both ways.
Indeed, if the regular season had grown by two weeks, the Pro Bowl would have been played today. And the Super Bowl would be happening next week, on President’s Day weekend. Even with a two-game preseason, the NFL’s interest in expanding the season by two weeks would still entail starting the 256-game grind (actually, 288) on the Thursday after Labor Day. Several years ago, the NFL realized that Labor Day weekend should be avoided, since TV viewership on the last unofficial weekend of summer is ridiculously low.
Thus, with an 18-game season, the real games would start when they currently do, and the postseason would stretch two weeks deeper into February. It’s one of the reasons NASCAR made plans two years ago to move the Daytona 500 away from the day on which the Super Bowl would fall.
It still could happen, given that executive V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson recently said that the 18-game season remains on the table. But the players are strongly opposed to the possibility, regardless of the potential financial gains.
Until it happens, if it ever does, we’ll have to find a way to get through the Sundays without football. But apart from watching other sports (like my distant second favorite, hockey), there’s still plenty of football to consume. Our traffic grows dramatically in the offseason, as fans search for any and all information about free agents and contracts and salary-cap compliance and the draft and offseason workouts and the inevitable arrests and everything else that happens before training camp opens.
We’ll be here, every step of the way, every day of the offseason. So even though there will be no games, there will still be plenty of football until the Ravens host whichever team they’ll be playing on Thursday, September 5.