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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Lockout Effects Already Felt

John Hugar

With the NFL Draft less than two weeks away, I should be getting really pumped. After all, my beloved Patriots have six picks in the first three rounds, while there's a legitimate chance the Bills will take Cam Newton, who would likely become the most polarizing athlete Buffalo has seen in my lifetime.

Unfortunately, it's difficult for any of this to carry a great deal of intrigue when every football fan must face a hash reality: this season might not happen. The players union was unable to work out a deal with the owners in time, and the lockout has already started.

Even though we haven't missed any games yet, the effects of it are already being felt. Any conversation about who the best teams will be next year or what personnel decisions should be made are always tempered by the fact that this season might not happen. With that in mind, it's hard to get excited about any of this.

Admittedly, the odds of an entire season being cancelled are pretty slim. After all, the NFL isn't the NHL, and Roger Goodell, while far from perfect, is a much more competent commissioner than Gary Bettman.

Still, there's no concrete date for when the season will begin, so there's nothing to look forward to. Normally, we can all spend months eagerly anticipating the second Sunday in September when our teams take to the gridiron again. Now, everything's been frozen.

Additionally, the lack of trades and free agent signings has taken all the fun out of the offseason. Remember how fun it was arguing about the McNabb trade last year, or the Cutler trade two years ago? There's been no big-name trade or signing to spark debate this offseason. Every roster looks the same.

What really kills me about all of this is that the owners and players both need each other, and they know it. With that in mind, I wish they would just get this out of the way and come to an agreement now. Why leave fans twisting in the wind?

Both sides are holding out for as long as they can, and the fans are the ones who are hurt by it. I understand the importance of gaining leverage in negotiations, but it bothers me that I have to wonder if football season will happen just because the players and owners are both trying to make each other squirm for as long as possible.

So, what happens in the meantime? Well, the draft will happen, I'll get mildly excited about it, there'll be a few interesting picks, and we'll spend a few days talking about it. Then, we'll be in the same place we started.

Granted, we can distract ourselves with basketball and hockey for a few more months, but by the time July rolls around (when training camp is supposed to start), the situation will become all too real.

Both sides of this issue seem hell bent on ignoring it for as long as they can, but for the sake of the fans, and the league, I wish they'd reconsider. The NFL is by far America's most popular league. By getting engaged in a prolonged lockout, the players and owners would be denying themselves tons of money and depriving America of the game it loves dearly.

The sooner they can get this matter settled and we can start getting excited for football, the better off everyone will be.




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