The question I am presenting to you all this afternoon is one that I hate to ask, but I am afraid that it must be asked. As things stand, there will be no football in 2011 and that could result in the NFL calling in replacement players for the first time since there was a work stoppage in 1987.
Howard Bryant over at ESPN raises a valid point about how fans tend to get frustrated with the players because they (the fans) can't just ask for a raise and demand the owners open their books to prove they don't deserve a raise. That would, get them fired, among other things. However, he also raises a valid point about how fans would be hesitant to watch replacement players because they only want to watch the world-class athletes play against each other.
So, if it came down to replacement players, would you watch the "NFL"?
Personally, I would not watch the replacement players. To me, replacement players seems like a bunch of guys the owners picked up off the streets just so they would have some kind of product, however terrible, to put on the field so they could earn their money. I feel like that just showcases the owners' greed and suggests that they're the ones holding a deal back instead of the players.
However, the opposite could also be said. The players are being exceptionally stubborn, so the owners could pick up some replacements to show that football could still be had even without their top class athletes. However, the wild card in that situation is the fan. Would the fan come out and support a team of nobodies they'd never heard of, if only because they considered themselves to be a Falcon (or their respective team)?
In that case, I'm not sure I'd be able to pay money to watch players I had no real emotional investment in, unless I just wanted to see the coaching staff up close.
What would you do if there were replacement players in the NFL? Would you still watch?
If that happens, I'm switching over to the UFL. There are a lot of former NFL players there who believe they can still play and believe they have something to prove. It may not be quite to the level of the NFL, but at least we would be supporting smaller markets as well as teams who actually need the money instead of billionaire owners who are afraid to open their books to show that they probably don't need the money they claim to need.