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June

Fans and the 2011 Season: Time for drastic measures?

Before you blow my head off in the comments section, hear me out here.

It’s becoming clearer every single day that the NFL and the former NFLPA would rather have a lengthy court battle than to sit down like adults and work out their differences in this lockout.

The owners figure that regardless of how long it takes to get a new collective bargaining agreement done that the fans are sheep and they will come back and continue to spend their money and all will be well again in the NFL world.

Sadly, this is one time the owners are dead right.

A majority of NFL fans are indeed sheep. I would consider myself one of them. We love this sport so much that we are willing to endure a lockout that involves losing everything and gaining nothing. If that isn’t the definition of blind loyalty then I don’t know what is.

Then I got to thinking: we may be approaching this lockout totally backwards and may have to resort to a rather difficult course of action

Instead of sitting biting our nails over whether or not the NFL will have football in 2011, we may just have to stop paying attention to it. As painful and as difficult as that will be, it is something that may be needed if we want this lockout to end before the season falls into serious jeopardy.

How could this possible have any effect? Here’s an example: for those of you who have kids, what’s the best way to stop a temper tantrum? Ignore child that is seeking attention and that child usually falls back into line sooner or later. Same applies to the children currently handling the negotiations for both the NFL and the former NFLPA.

If we ignore them long enough, eventually they will get the message. We will hit them in a place far more painful than their Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and email inboxes. We will hit them in the area most dear to them—their wallets.

Once the owners see their precious revenue begin to dry up, they will finally snap out their lunacy and sit down with the players in good faith.

The same holds true for the players. Many NFL players (not on the Packers) thrive on attention and enjoy being in the spotlight. Once that light goes out, reality settles in that they aren’t as important as they thought they were. Note I am not grouping in all NFL players in this argument. Unfortunately, the ones that have the biggest say are those more concerned with their own well being than that of other players.

Doing this would be a difficult task and would involve fans finding other things to do on Sundays. Personally, thanks to the recent success of the Brewers, the lockout has become more tolerable for me. I have re-fallen in love with the game of baseball. For those without baseball teams in the area or those that don’t enjoy the game, there are other things you can do. Get involved with your community or a political cause. Get some of those long overdue projects done. There is plenty more out there in the world than just the NFL as crazy as it sounds.

I know you may be thinking I am asking you to behave almost like a jilted lover. In a way, I am. I usually am not a fan of boycotts and I think they end up just making a statement rather than having an actual impact. In this case, however, we have no choice. We have but one weapon in this battle and it is our money.

So consider this a “yellow alert” NFL fans. The time is approaching where we may need to strike back. The NFL owners and players may need the wakeup call that the entire world does NOT revolve around them and that we can find other things to do on Sundays. While we would rather watch football, it’s not the end of the world if the NFL goes away.

This may be painful to do but unfortunately it very well could become a necessity. That said, it should never, NEVER, have come to this.

NFL and former NFLPA, you are perilously close to to forcing the fans’ hand. If you do so, then be prepared to deal with the consequences of your actions (or lack thereof).

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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41 Responses to “Fans and the 2011 Season: Time for drastic measures?”

  1. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    Somehow I do not think the owners will fall the ploy of fans running amok in any fashion yelling”the sky is falling,the end is near,we won’t be fooled again or we won’t be back”.
    Unless there is a “Rollerbowl” type hero somewhere,this is what we get and how we will have to take it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

      I’m not saying pitchforks and torches. But if enough fans stop buying merchandise or stop supporting the team in other ways financially, then we can have an impact. It may be slow going at first, but it would make owners sweat.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    Sorry,Rollerball.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. ZeroTolerance says:

    It’s not just game day Sunday’s which may be taken from the fans. I, for one, enjoy the off-season, from the draft, to how the roster shapes out. This has already been taken from us, and personally, I have noticed that I miss it.

    What to do? Well, for the last 5 years I have flown to spend a weekend at an away game. This will now end. I’ll watch the games on TV, but will no longer buy a ticket, hotdog, or program. And, no more mail order jerseys, hats, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

      Agree 100%. I found myself not paying as much attention to the draft this year, almost like “What’s the point?” It was tough watch knowing full well what was going on behind the scenes.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Reid says:

    Something to do with your time would be to support your local school teams instead of the NFL. You may find you get more out of it than rooting for a bunch of overpaid players and spending $$ on overpriced tickets, concessions, clothing, etc that goes to the already rich owners. Take that $500 and give it to your local high school sports program, I guarantee they will actually thank you….many times.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

      Excellent point! In fact, I have a post in progress about some “lockout busters” and attending some high school football is on the list. It’s the game in it’s purest form: no money at stake, just great competition.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. ZeroTolerance says:

    One more thing – regarding the teams and players, and the league, saying that they would just need a few weeks to get things up to a ‘high level’. Why need an off-season at all? Obviously camp means nothing. Expect the highest caliber from the get-go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

      Brett Favre proved camp isn’t a necessity. I kid, I kid.

      Losing training camp would lead to an explosion of injuries. What the Packers went through in 2010 would be small potatoes. Part of camp is conditioning as well as learning the system and developing chemistry. Sure, there were supposed to be offseason workouts, but this is when the true competition for roster spots begin.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. FireMMNow says:

    I do not feel jilted by the lockout. I want them to get it settled, I want football, I think they are all childish for how they are handling the negotiations. But this is part of professional football. To think that there will never be a rift between ownership and the players in professional sports is like planning a part every day without expecting it to get rained on every once in a while. The NFL does 95% of things exactly how a fan should want. This type of thing is unavoidable in a lot of ways.

    The pot of money is getting bigger and bigger. Therefore it becomes even more important how that pot is divided. The more money that is out there the more people will fight over it. It is natural. If you won a 100 bucks on a scratch off you are probably not going to get a call from your second cousin. If you win 200 million you will get a call from your second cousins mother in law. My advice is do not feel jilted and just expect this to be part of the offseason every 5 or 6 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

      Three friends have removed their name from the Packers’ list. A symbolic gesture given how deep in line they were, but they felt like they needed to send a message.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

        Ack, wrong comment for this one. What I meant to say was that it would be horrible for the long term health of the game if this came up every 5 or so years.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  7. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor 12 says:

    Supporting other things as High School Sports etc, is a great and worthy “to do” at any time and everywhere.
    IMO,the only serious action that would awaken the owners and the players would be people taking their names OFF the waiting lists for season tickets.Unless those numbers begin to drop drastically,there will always be those who support your fan-picketing of games while sitting in your seat in any venue(stadium,bar stool)during the game.
    We fans of football are in the same situation as the majority are in the working world,take one askew step and another is in your place without any regard for why you took that step to begin with.
    I wonder how many if this season is affected will strike their names off the waiting list as opposed to how fast new names appear on it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Ron LC says:

    I hate watching millionaires fight with each other. The agrevied party in this case is we, the bills paying fans. We pay directly through tickets and merchandise. We pay indirectly through advetising revenue.

    No one has asked for our opinion as far as I know. The only weapon in our arsenal is the boycot. That ain’t going to happen. The NFL is our entertainment, no more than that. It is a part of our life. In the long run the palyers and the owners will win. We, the fans, will lose again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

      A rather gloomy outlook there, Ron and sadly probably the most likely outcome. The greedy usually win in the end.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  9. John Rehor John Rehor says:

    I’ve been saying for months that if the NFL loses any games due to the lockout, it will suffer the same fate as baseball, basketball, and most notably hockey-they will lose fans

    Not sure if boycotting will do any good. Owners and DSmith are too bull headed to take notice from the fans. They should though

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • FireMMNow says:

      Baseball was losing fans before the strike. The game is too slow paced for young people. Not a good TV sport which is what matters. Football is almost better on TV than in person, baseball is much better in person than on TV. TV is where the real money is.

      Basketball lost fans because marquis players were gone. Basketball is getting a rebirth now due to the younger superstars that are winning. After MJ there was not a single player that could enter the debate of “is this guy one of the best of all time?” Now they have those players and they are coming back.

      Hockey is hockey…maybe the strike killed that sport. But that was like putting a bullet in a horse with four broken legs.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Ron LC says:

        MM, does anyone think that the NBA labor problem will be solved ammicably? They will soon be in the tank too. In the mean time the economy is racing rapidly into a double-dip.

        Got go and see if I can find all the pieces to my Scrabble set.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • John Rehor John Rehor says:

        FireMMNow : thanks for the history lesson. I guess football is immune from backlash from fans and could never lose any interest, unlike the other major sports did after a work stoppage.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • FireMMNow says:

          My point was the other sports were in decline long before they had work stoppages. Put your money where your mouth is John. I challenge you to not watch just the first packer game of the season. I guarantee you will watch as soon as football is on again, no matter what happens during this lockout.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

      I’m with John here. Fans eventually will get up and say “Screw it.” Patience will wear thin and already is.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • FireMMNow says:

        The NFL could offer most fans a $1000 a year to NOT watch football and most fans would not accept it. I know I wouldn’t and I highly doubt anyone posting on this website would either.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

          First off, that’s bribery and illegal.

          But I get your point. My thought in the post was that most fans are blind sheep and don’t realize they’re being led astray by two groups who couldn’t care less about the fans

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. FireMMNow says:

    No one is ever going to stop watching football. If they lost the entire season, kickoff to the 2013 season would be the highest rated regular season game ever. People that are fans of the game simply cannot resist watching it. They will work it out. Maybe we will miss a game or two. Big deal. In the long run it does not really matter. There will be football again, everyone knows that. Football will be king until something comes along to knock it off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

      Maybe, but maybe most fans don’t realize they’re being played by two groups men that don’t have the fans’ interest at heart. PIGGY PIGGY PIGGY is the motto of the owners and players.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • FireMMNow says:

        And fans do not care about the best interests of the players either. When a guy blows his knee out and gets cut the next season fans do not care. If a guy gets a concussion we hope with all of our hearts that he plays the next week. We do not care if thirty years from now he cannot tie his shoes or has to eat through a straw. Fans want to win now and be entertained. We feel like it is their duty to make any sacrfice because we pay a 100 bucks for a ticket and 50 bucks for a jersey. If the fans have to make a sacrifice so that a good labor deal can get done and there will be five or six years of uninterrupted entertainment at an incredibly bargain price so be it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

          No. Most fans I know when a talented guy goes down, they think it’s too bad wish him luck in the future. They don’t blow him off like a piece of dust.

          Also the players are sacrificial lambs to our dollars? No way. They’re human beings, not wild animals.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • FireMMNow says:

            Most fans I know think about the impact of wins and losses for the team long before they are concerned about the career or future of the athlete. When Aaron Rodgers got his second concussion did you think, “Wow, I hope his long term mental health is not jeopardized.”

            Or did you think, “How many games is he going to be out.”

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. BinKee says:

    You apparently have not paid attention. The players walked away from the negotiating table
    and got the courts involved. The owners have
    to fight the rulings of the idiot Minn judges.
    The owners never wanted for the courts to get
    involved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

      I couldn’t care less how we got to this point. Let’s get this thing done.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • peter kliman says:

      Bottem line,the players are willing to keep the same contract going ,where everyone is making millions. The rest is just mindless maneuvering.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

    Three friends have removed their name from the Packers’ list. A symbolic gesture given how deep in line they were, but they felt like they needed to send a message.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  13. Mojo says:

    FireMMNow is correct in most of his comments above. The fact is, owner-player rifts have and will occur in all professional sports – so get used to the idea. Nearly all posters here will be back watching NFL football when the lockout is resolved. So quit the bluster and take your medicine like a good little fan. Besides, if the worst happens and the season is canceled at least the Packers remain the reigning Super Bowl champs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • FireMMNow says:

      Thank you Mojo. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

      If they can get this resolved without losing games, I will. If games are lost, I don’t know how I will react

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • peter kliman says:

      And the foolish American consumers speak,or you guys must work for big business.Come on get rid of your cynicism and make a sacrifice . Web sites like this where fans communicate can make a difference.This league has been making fools of the fans.

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  14. [...] Kris at AllGreenBayPackers.com wants to know if it’s time for drastic measures? [...]

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  15. [...] response to the NFL lockout appears at [...]

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  16. peter kliman says:

    Kris, excellent job! I for one will not spend any money on the NFL this year. I’m giving them a deadline of Aug.19. This is a great opportunity to show the NFL that we will not be made fools of . Sacrificing this season is a small price to pay for getting a much better and fairer product for the long term.

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  17. Oppy says:

    Kris,
    while I agree with the general premise (Change via Consumerism, and it’s actually the only way for citizens to incite change in politics, as well- FOLLOW THE MONEY, VOTE WITH YOUR (closed) WALLET) there’s a serious conflict of interest for us Packers fans.

    The problem is, the Packers are publicly owned and rely so heavily on the NFL’s success as a whole, that by not buying tickets, not buying concessions, Merchandise, or watching games on TV, we could theoretically drive the Packers out of business.

    The Billionaires in the NFL can theoretically sustain losses on their teams, because they have other businesses or revenue streams they can use to prop up a financially lost season or two from their NFL franchise. The Packers do not have the same luxury, for the most part.

    Also, the Packers’ interest in this situation is clearly not the same as the rest of the NFL franchises. The Packers don’t exist to make a profit, they exist to win championships. But they still must be profitable enough to be sustained.

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