Luke Graham: An NFL hoax? |

Luke Graham: An NFL hoax?

Luke Graham

Luke Graham

— The NFL lockout coming to an end is a good thing.

America's favorite sport will again be played Sundays in the fall and the big kingpin known as professional football will be all you hear about for the next several months.

But how will that be any different?

Has a work-related dispute ever been covered as much as the recent NFL lockout? It's hard to believe one has.

The NFL lockout seemed to be one of the top stories for much of the past six months. Sports television shows would inevitably lead off its telecasts with the NBA or NHL finals and then mosey into the status of the NFL lockout.

Both sides had key players in the media talking, issuing statements, leaking information and, most important, keeping the story out there.

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it all serves to fuel the fire for those folks who like to believe sports conspiracy theories. For all you moon-landing hoax, second shooter on the grassy knoll and green beings in Roswell people, didn't the lockout seem a bit fishy?

Fans heard about the lockout for months, were told it would more than likely last into the regular season and that there was a real chance that at least half the season would be lost.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith both issued statement after statement to that end.

And the media ate it up. Football remained at the forefront. Every day brought more NFL stories, even if the information from Monday was simply washed, batted around and regurgitated to the public Tuesday.

The NFL — with no player movement or anything related to on-field maters — was really the dominant story through the spring and summer. Sorry, baseball. It even seemed to get more play than Dallas winning an NBA title and Boston winning the NHL title.

With the announcement last week that teams would get back to business and the two sides had agreed on a new 10-year labor deal, we finally learned that no football — outside of the Hall of Fame game — would be missed.

It seems like impeccable timing, or something more.

Is it out of the realm of possibilities that the NFL — both owners and players — made sure the lockout extended through the summer and kept the sport at the edge of each person's mind?

It makes sense in some capacity. The NFL is the biggest sport in the country. Instead of limiting its exposure to the season, why not try to drag it out through the summer and make it a year-round business? That's essentially what just happened.

Whether there really was a conspiracy to keep the NFL in the limelight will never be proven. But it makes some sense. It seemed like it was scare tactics to fans until the last possible week where it was then guaranteed no football would be lost.

And now football is back, even though it never really left.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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