The most exciting news we’ve come across so far this offseason is that NFL Cheerleaders across the league have been working out. In large part, the past few months the life of the NFL fan has simply been one of mass boredom.
The average fan climbs out of bed every morning, gets ready for work, and then draws up the courage to pick up the newspaper, check social media, or turn on SportsCenter for the slight chance that locks have been removed from doors in 32 cities. After that flicker of hope is dashed out, they drag themselves through another monotonous workday. When the shift is over and they sit behind the wheel of their cars, they once again dial up strength from within to press the power button on their radio. The station is already on their favorite sports station, but there’s never talk of a new CBA being done.
Last week though, fans across this nation sprung out of bed with their NFL 6th going off like sirens. They sprinted to their TVs, radios, social media, etc. because they had a feeling that progress was being made. Then they heard magical words, something like, “the NFL and NFLPA are making progress in secret meetings.” Inebriated with joy, they went to work and didn’t mind their overbearing boss, didn’t flick off the texting while driving guy, and even listened to their spouses boring stories about home maintenance or bills. Life was sweet. But that still hasn’t prepared you for what you’ll see next. The NFL is about to go from 0 to 60 overnight. Most people are thinking little picture and just can’t wait to see the locks come off the doors, but what comes next is going to be overwhelming.
Most years, there are 4 off season activities that excite me as much as opening day. 1) Free Agency 2) NFL Draft 3) Undrafted Players Free Agency 4) Training Camp. I’m unbelievably excited on the eve of these events. Pictures a kid on the night before Christmas…on crack! That basically sums how I act the last 24 hours before these 4 events start. I’m not what you would call a people person but in those 24 hours, I’ll shake hands, kiss babies, change tires and put money in tip jars at gas stations even though they aren’t doing anything to warrant a tip other than taking my money. I’m the nicest person in the world during those 24 hours. Now, I want you to imagine what type of overload my emotions and the emotions of millions of diehard NFL fans will be in, when 3 of those 4 events happen basically all at the same time, within days or maybe hours of the lockout being lifted. To be honest, the amount of news and flow of information might cause me to audition for the drummer of Spinal Tap as processing it all might cause me to spontaneously combust.
It seems as if most people believe that a deal is still far off, but actually as the two sides discussed months ago, the NFL could simply take the locks off the doors and go as business as usual under the 2009 or 2010 rules, until a new CBA agreement is reached. It’s important to note that this option hasn’t been taken out of play. In my mind, I’m still holding out hope that they release a statement this week that states, “We are engaged in positive talks and fell that a deal is imminent. The NFL and NFLPA are now at a stage where we believe removing the locks and starting the off season is in the best interest of both parties. We’ll engage in front office activities as usual and it’ll be mandated under the 2009 CBA agreement, until such time, that a new CBA is agreed upon.” At this point I imagine Joe Clark or Morgan Freeman acting as Joe Clark coming out on the stage with a bat and screaming, “they once called me crazy Joe, well now they can call me Bat man”. Then he’ll lead the audience in “Lean On Me”.
Whether that happens or not, the facts of the situation are that we could go from no football activity, to activity like never seen before, overnight. Literally. When the lockout ends and OTA’s / training camps begin, you could see a complete face lift of teams right before your eyes. Agents will be fielding calls on undrafted players and veteran free agents at the same time. Players will be going through their usual training camp holdouts for a new contract and trades will be made in huge quantities. It’s going to be a virtual madhouse and I for one am going to be ecstatic! Where’s T.O when you need him…because it’s time to “get your Popcorn ready”.
Looking at the first week post-lockout, NFL Headlines will break into your TV and radio programming and NFL news will dominate social media outlets. The headlines will read something like this.
- Teams rushing to get their players into camp and start making up for lost time.
- New Coaches / New Players meet for first time.
- Nnamdi Asomugha receiving calls from 32 NFL teams and a couple of NBA teams as well
- Where is Carson Palmer?
- Multiple teams trying to deal for Kevin Kolb
- The Broncos have a deal in place to move Kyle Orton
- Terrelle Pryor is taken in the Supplemental draft
- Chad Johnson proclaims that he wants out of Cincinnati
- Aqib Talib and Kenny Britt show up in camps only to be turned away
- Brandon Marshall shows us his stab wounds
- Donovan McNabb & Albert Haynesworth challenge the tag team known as the Shanahans to a Steel Cage Match
- Every NFL team signs 10-20 Undrafted rookies including Mark Herzlich
- Jay Cutler sits out OTA’s because of a hang nail
- Vince Young will signs with …
I could go on for hours with all the things that will happen simultaneously. It’s going to be crazy and I’m going to be in paradise. So, if you have any favors to ask, the best time to ask me is in the middle of me singing “Lean on Me” with Joe Clark and tears coming down both cheeks in jubilation.
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Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock