There’s too much money at stake for NFL owners to concede. There’s too little money for NBA owners to concede. Expect both lockouts to delay their season starts, leaving us with a chasm that will affect our sports consumption and, in the NFL’s case, our ‘Merican way of life. Here are five sports that can fill the void, besides baseball. Even people who like baseball need something to entertain themselves while watching it.
College Football: The college game has all the charms of the NFL. Plus, it has more scoring, more possessions, more varied styles of offense and a legitimate atmosphere. You can go 12 hours straight on a Saturday without having to worry about work the next day. The best part? No New Yorkers. ESPN will have more than 50 percent of its programming to fill. If the NFL remains locked out, prepare to have Kirk Herbstreit and Co. crammed up your wazoo and every other euphemistic orifice.
Soccer: Consider it an aesthetically pleasant, free-flowing form of football. You’re in and out in under two hours with one commercial break. It makes going to a bar in the morning socially acceptable. It has professional wrestling-level soap opera. Genuine fan sentiment does not result in this. Crucially for NFL fans, there’s fantasy and you can gamble on multiple leagues. If you’re thirsting for violence, this happens occasionally.
Hockey: Need your fill of athletic men in helmets and pads senselessly colliding at brain-rattling speed? The NHL has you covered. Doc Emrick may be the best play-by-play announcer in any sport. Players interact and identify with their home fans. It’s hard not to love a sport where Detroit is considered a glamour destination.
Rugby Sevens: It’s football, before Americans decided to slow it down to an excruciating pace with increasingly complex set plays. It’s a man’s game where wearing tights and pads is still considered effeminate. It’s a faster, more skillful, less esoteric version of rugby. Matches finish in under 20 minutes. Also, Australians.
Competitive Barbecue: This exists. It should be televised. Men follow sports because most of us no longer go to war and discussing anything more personal is just awkward. Truly replacing the NFL requires something moderately entertaining, manly and universal that can be dissected and debated ad nauseam by amateur experts. Meat is the answer, whatever the inquiry.
[Photo via Getty]