It's official: The NFL has locked out its players after the union moved to decertify on Friday afternoon. This has huge ramifications for the league, and the 2011 season is officially in jeopardy.
The lockout basically means that teams and players cannot communicate. No personnel moves can be made by teams, either. The NFL Draft will continue as planned, but the teams can only trade draft picks and may not trade players for picks -- just picks for picks.
From a fan perspective, the greed exhibited by both sides makes it difficult to understand the rationale. Football is a violent sport, and the players are generally well-compensated for their battle scars. While it's true that young, highly drafted players earn far too much before proving anything in the league, it's difficult to argue with the current pay structure outside of that flaw.
Should the NFL lockout continue into the season, America as a nation will come to a crossroads. What do people do on Sunday afternoons in the fall? Watching football was a great excuse to avoid doing lawn work or to bring people together that otherwise have nothing in common. The NFL is our great icebreaker; the college game doesn't offer that level of ubiquity.
Regardless, today is a sad day for our nation. Buy your season tickets now for the local college, as it just might be the only game in town come September.