Usually around this time of year I get excited for the NFL Draft. It is a time where fans of teams who had bad seasons the year prior get a glimmer of hope in the form of a talanted prospect joining the team. This year,however, the excitement isn’t there, I haven’t talked about it a lot, and the buzz for it has been non-existent even though ESPN is trying to get you to believe otherwise.
My team, the New England Patriots, have eight picks in the first four rounds, which should have me excited about the team’s upcoming year (if there is one) and their chances to contend for a trip to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis (if it takes place). I’ll admit, I’m intrigued a little bit, but because the draft is lacking the buzz if usually gets every year, I’m not amped for it, and I think I know why.
It’s the lockout. The NFL lockout has taken the fun out of what is a great weekdend for fans, teams,and even the new players themselves as they begin a new journey in their own lives and careers. I am still very appalled that this lockout has continued this long,I really am. As a fan who loves football and lives for it season after season, I want the two sides, mainly the players, to come together and get a deal done. How two sides can’t agree on how to share $9 billion over an extended period of time baffles me. I’m probably in the minority of people who think DeMaurice Smith is the cause of this lockout,but he is. He’s the one who decertified the union,he’s the one who walked away from the bargaining table, he’s the one who,in my view, is unwilling to want to reach any sort of deal, at least anytime soon.
If Gene Upshaw were still alive, this year’s draft would most certainly have all the buzz and all the talk it usually does, I really believe that. The lockout has done quite a bit to not only turn off fans as far as draft talk,but for me personally, football in general because of much uncertainty there is about the upcoming season that may or may not arrive pending a new collective bargaining agreement that is light years away from getting done. It’s really hard for me to talk about something that I think has a very good chance of not happening. I very much hope the 2011 NFL season happens,I really do, and I hope the rookies of 2011 actually get to be just that, the rookies of 2011, but right now, it is looking pretty bleak.