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The NFL now has 2 months to get a deal done

The last National Football League work stoppage was in 1987. I was still in diapers.

Thursday will be the first time without football since I can remember.

While the work stoppage technically gets started Thursday night at 9:59 p.m. Arizona time, we as fans will still get our football fix because the draft is still going to happen. The combine just finished up and college players will still be holding workouts leading up to the draft the weekend of April 28-30.

Of course they have until early August to come to an agreement before we really miss football.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really take the threat of a lockout seriously throughout this past season. It was more than a week after the season when I was reading a piece by Peter King on SI.com that said, “I think if I were doing an over-under for when a deal gets done, I’d set it at Sept. 13. And I personally would bet the over.”

What?

The two sides won’t give in by then and creep towards an agreement until they are actually at an agreement?

I sent a tweet with that quote and the hash tag #Dontrealizewhatwereinfor. Or, at least, I didn’t realize what we are in for.

I’m an optimist. I saw the affects work stoppages had on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League and thought the NFL was smarter than that.

I just continued to figure the two sides with large egos would eventually realize that even though they are king of the hill, they will get knocked off the pedestal if this gets nasty and goes on for months.

Football has morphed into a year-round sport. The Super Bowl wraps up in early February and then it’s straight to the NFL Combine, free agency, the draft, OTAs (Organized Team Activities) and then teams reporting for training camp and back to the season. From mid-June to mid-July there is a break with football not dominating the landscape. That’s about it.

With the lockout starting and no free agency, all we have is the draft. After the draft that’s it.

The draft is really the deadline to get a deal done. If the draft goes on and the following week we have no rookie camps, people will be going about their days with no football. Free agents won’t be getting work in with their new teams, draftees will be hindered in learning the way of the NFL, new coaches will be behind in installing their systems. The quality of football will start to slowly take a hit.

If the quality of the product starts to take a hit — any hit — the popularity will also take a hit. The NFL is at an all-time high right now. There is room to grow — there always is — but when you are up so high there is also more room to fall, and fall fast.

So in my mind the true date for a deal to be agreed upon is May 1.

The actual date has always been March 4. Well, that has come and is about to pass with no agreement. I’ll give the NFL a two month grace period and see where we’re at on May 1. If the two sides are still far apart the NFL will start to take a hit and will no longer be the king it currently is.

They will still have time before they miss any games but the product won’t be at the high level it was throughout the 2010 season.

If Peter King’s instincts are right and there is no agreement by the end of what would be Week 1 in mid-September, the NFL is going to be in for a serious reality check. Even the best things eventually come to an end.

People’s lives will not stop because there is no football on Sunday’s. People’s lives may not be as fun or have as much entertainment in them but they will go on.

The only thing the NFL will do by not being around and missing games is prove to us that life will go on without it.

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TY’s Outtakes

What I learned this week…

This morning I learned the new iPads will be available in stores on March 11. I was expecting early April. I’ve been thinking that’s my next technology purchase. … Winning a March Madness pool would be really convenient this year.

Tweet of the week…

From @nickpiecoro: Is this a bad sign? The opposing pitcher is tagging up and going second to third on a fly ball to Xavier Nady in left.

Umm, yes, that’s a bad sign, a very bad sign.

Suggestion of the week…

I’m going to suggest you watch this video and then suggest that you don’t try this on your own.