The Off season, where the National Football League never stops

In 2011, the National Football League endured an extensive lockout, due to the cancellation of the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement. This lockout resulted in the NFL basically being on hiatus. There was no transactions between players and teams. Players were not allowed to show up for work. free agents couldn’t find work and players had to train and rehabilitate away from team facilities and on their own. This brought a lot of stress and anger to fans as there was speculation that the NFL would be pushed back and then more speculation that it would be cancelled if there wasn’t a deal reached by a deadline.

Coming up in big situations is what the NFL tends to do and with the integrity, popularity and expansion of the league on the line, the owners and players were able to come to a new CBA which allowed players to show up at team facilities. This allowed teams to hand out playbooks to rookies and newly signed players, players to get looked at by team trainers and for new coaches to finally communicate with players.

A full NFL season has come and gone since the labour dispute, with the New York Giants being crowned Super Bowl champions, and we’ve reached my favorite part of the NFL, the Off season. This is where players find new teams, free agents travel the country in search of a team that is willing to pay their worth, veterans are released after long stints with teams, and soon-to-be rookies train and tryout in the interviews of their lives. The NFL season brings physical action that people love dearly, getting to see your favorite teams and players strive to reach the top of the mountain, the pinnacle of the sport, the Super Bowl.

The off season brings the action “behind the scenes”.  You get to see draft eligible players compete in all-star games. You get those same draft eligible players attending and participating in the Scouting Combine, which puts players through tests in an attempt for “draft experts” and scouts to be able to decide which players are greater than others and which ones belong with their respective team. You get, for a time slotted hour everyday, detailed coverage on these combine participants, all leading up to the NFL draft. This is where teams pick there future, which could begin as soon as the next season. Teams draft players they project to “save” their franchise, and turn them from pretenders, cellar dwellers, into contenders.

My love, appreciation, obsession with the off season is at an all-time high. I found myself glued to the computer/television/phone waiting for every bit of NFL news. I love knowing which player is going to which team first, and being able to form opinions quickly. The number of heated arguments I have had with other fans of the NFL about things that have and might happen in the off season is undeniably at an all-time high.

With free agency starting in less than 24 hours, the off season has barely began and I’m already stuck, waist deep, in the NFL so far. So here is to the NFL “off” season, where the NFL never stops.

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~ by gunshow52 on March 13, 2012.

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