We sincerely hope everyone enjoyed the Super Bowl, because there’s an excellent chance it’s the last NFL game we’ll be seeing for quite sometime. So far, the collective bargaining agreement negotiations are moving at a snail’s pace. If the owners and players can’t come to some sort of compromise soon, you can say so long to any hopes of an NFL season in 2011.
A year without the NFL is a special kind of hell that we’d rather not think about. But the fact is, it’s a very real possibility. You might as well start preparing for it now.
Here are five essential purchases to help you get through a year without the NFL…
NFL Films Super Bowl I-XL Collector’s Set DVD
If our latest demographics report is to be believed, a good number of you weren’t even alive when the Chicago Bears demolished the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. If any of you were around to see Green Bay win Super Bowl I, we’d be absolutely shocked. That means at least a decade or more of Super Bowl action unfolded before you were even alive. A lockout in 2011 would be a great time to catch up on everything you missed.
Thankfully, the timeless sports institution known as NFL Films can help. It might take a bit of internet search engine magic to find them all, but NFL Films has compiled key highlights and stories from every Super Bowl on DVD. They’re available in sets that include five years worth of action each or a massive 20-disc boxed set that covers Super Bowl I – XL. But act fast, they’re becoming rather scarce.
Buy It: Amazon.com
ESPN College GamePlan
On the bright side of things, no matter what happens with the NFL, we won’t be completely football free in 2011. There’s always the college game. Sure, the skill level isn’t the same, but the lack of huge contracts means fewer overpaid players phoning it in once it’s a foregone conclusion that their team won’t be reaching the post season.
ESPN’s College GamePlan offers tons of out of market games that you won’t be able to see just by relying on your local programming. And it’s usually half the price of DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package.
Buy It: ESPN.Go.com
Does anyone on the planet still not have a Netflix subscription? We doubt it. But just in case you’re one of the last remaining holdouts, we figured we’d mention it. To get the most bang for your buck and a whole lot of instant gratification, sign up for the instant-viewing-only option for a mere $7.99 per month.
When the no football blues really start to get you down, use your Netflix subscription check out every season of Friday Night Lights, which is available to watch instantly. As far as television shows go, it was and still is criminally underrated. And it gave us a valid reason for including a picture of Minka Kelly in a cheerleader outfit just now, so we’re eternally grateful for that.
Buy It: Netflix.com
UFL Season Tickets
Ugh. We know this is a stretch, but if you happen to live in one of the five cities that currently hosts a UFL team, maybe you could pick up season tickets? The league may have been a laughing stock last year, but it an NFL lockout happens, expect attendance to soar. It’s not nearly as fulfilling as watching actual NFL players, but a handful of veterans and undrafted free agents have made their way to the league, so at least it’s something. And, hey, if you live in Omaha, you’ll get to experience the special kind of strange that comes from seeing Jeff Garcia and Maurice Clarett suiting up in the same backfield!
Buy It: UFL-Football.com
Brian’s Song on DVD
People might sing the praises of Rudy more often these days, but true football fans know that, when it comes to tearjerker sports films, nothing even comes close to Brian’s Song. It tells the story of Chicago Bears teammates Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo who overcome racial differences and competing for the same job to become close friends. We won’t give away too much of the story in case for some inexplicable reason you’ve never seen it. Instead, we’ll just say this… good luck not sobbing like a tween at a Justin Bieber concert by the time it’s all over. If there really is a lockout in 2011, you’ll probably spend every Sunday crying anyway, at least watching Brian’s Song will give you a less ridiculous reason to do it.
Buy It: Amazon.com