Shutdown Corner - NFL

A recent poll commissioned by Sports Illustrated found that nearly half of NFL fans say they'll be less interested in the sport if games are canceled and over 60 percent would watch games with replacement players.

Among the other findings in the survey, which appears in this week's issue of SI:

• Half οf NFL fans (47.5%) ѕау thеу would watch more non-sports TV аnԁ 61.2 percent would watch more οf οthеr televised sports without thе NFL season. Fans would also spend more time surfing thе internet (56.1%), wіth significant others (45.1%), doing yard work/chores (43.6%), playing video games (33.5%) and аt church (13%).

• What would fans miss most if the season is disrupted? 41.8% said watching with friends and family and 40.7% said following a team. Only 5.2% said fantasy football is what they would most miss and only 1.3% said betting on games.

Nothing too earth shattering in those numbers, other than the fact that mowing the lawn and going for a picnic with your girlfriend generated the same interest. If the poll shows anything, it's that fans understand that they may not have football to watch this fall and are planning accordingly. I get the impression that the NFL thinks people will curl in the fetal position without football this fall, but these numbers suggest folks will be just fine without it.

Of course they will. They're going to have no other choice. That's why I've found all the talk about what television networks will use to fill their Sunday programming overestimates the dependence people have on football. I sit inside and watch the NFL on Sunday because that's when it's on TV. If it's not on, I don't plan on sitting on the couch for nine straight hours and filling the time with other shows. A Pac-12 football game isn't the NFL. I don't watch it on Saturday, so why am I going to watch it on Sunday? What do you do in August when football isn't on? What do you do in February? We adapt. It won't be fun but we'll manage.

All that being said, I don't want to overstate these numbers, either. I believe the poll. I'm sure 44 percent of people think they won't care as much about the NFL if there's a lockout. But when it comes down to it and football returns, are they really going to stay away? People answer poll questions the way they think they should, even though deep down they know that all they're doing is issuing a minor protest through a pollster. It's like asking a liberal if they'll be less likely to vote for Obama because he went back on his Guantanamo Bay promise. Sure, it sounds good to say "yes," but what are they going to do in November 2012? Vote for Newt Gingrich?

I doubt 44 percent of people are going to do more chores on Sunday. If those 13 percent of folks wanted to go to church, they'd already be going to church.

It's easy to take a stand when it's all theoretical.

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