I'm in complete agreement with Johnny_S in that I don't much like the Bye week. I realize that it is beneficial to the team, but as a fan I don't really want or need a break. Part of the appeal of the NFL is that it does not over stay its welcome. It is one of the year's sweet spots, like the period from Thanksgiving to New Years. You might eat or drink too much, overdose on relatives and spend too much money, but soon enough its over. You take down the lights, throw away the tree, and eleven months later you're ready to do it all over again. It is especially irritating during a year that even the most cautious among us are beginning to believe may be very special. Any time a team can be considered a legitimate contender for a championship run is special, even if in the end we fall short. Its rare for an organization as blessed as the Steelers. For some teams it is a generational event. I don't need a break, don't want one. But we are facing something far worse than a Bye week.
How about a Bye year. If you've been paying attention over the past several weeks the players and owners have been behaving like animals preparing for a huge weather event. They are gathering in a time of plenty in order to endure a coming period of want. This is not the time to go into any sort of detailed analysis of the coming negotiations over the CBA and related items. But after just a taste of what a fall weekend is like without Steelers football, it might be worth a moment to consider what fall weekends might be like all of next year if the only football being played is by the NCAA. Now I don't take any pleasure in introducing such negative subject matter into the community. Like all of you I'd much rather talk about the Browns (and I will eventually). But it is precisely because there is a storm coming and everybody is gathering nuts, except for the fans, that the prudent thing to do is to begin to sound the alarm now.
In their most recent labor disputes, Major League Baseball and the NHL lost more than half a season and the World Series and an entire season respectively. The estimates are similar for the NFL. A majority of owners seem prepared to write off an entire season in order to prevail over the players union. At first glance this seems to be crazy. Name an entity more successful than the NFL. The teams make billions on television alone. In fact, a few of the franchises are close to being worth a billion dollars. Owners rarely have to pay for their stadiums, contracts aren't guaranteed even though the rate of injury is 100 percent. Careers average less that four years. Would they risk killing the goose that laid the golden egg? Absolutely. Greedy bastards are capable of acts of monumental stupidity. All one has to do is to imagine the mindset of a Daniel Snyder or Jerry Jones. Snyder's Redskins and Jones' Cowboys are tremendous financial successes. As for the quality of play...
Consider what life would be like at BTSC six months into a lockout or this time next year. Not a happy thought. As fans we might not have much in the way of influence, but our voices should be heard in the discussion. Remember, the billions of dollars that change hands come first from our pockets. Today we have the capacity to have our voices heard in an organized fashion that transcends team loyalties. But it would be best if these voices were heard earlier than later. Just something to consider.
Let me conclude on a more fun note. Jason Whitlock wrote a piece today that I think you'll enjoy. Go Steelers!