Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Hall of Fame Game has been officially canceled

Well, well, well, son of a bitch in hell. We have the first [and hopefully the last] casualty of this long-hot summer lockout. My Rams will not play the Bears in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton Ohio. The 2011 Hall of Fame Game has been officially canceled. That link comes straight off the official NFL Website.

I suspected that this was going to happen when they failed to come up with the document Wednesday. This was also complicated by the continuing schism inside the player's camp regarding whether anti-trust litigation should go forward or be put to sleep. We heard enough reports regarding Wednesday being the drop-dead date for the HOF Game that I expected this announcement today.

I can't tell you I'm not disappointed. This sucks for Marhall Faulk, and for all the fans who view the HOF Game as the unofficial start of the bacchanalia we know as football season. If memory serves, this is the first time the HOF game has ever been canceled. In the prior two work-stoppages(1982 and 1987), play wasn't halted until the regular season was already in progress.

On the other hand, I am glad that my poorly conditioned, non-warm and un-stretched Rams won't suffer a slew of injuries in a bad scrimmage that won't mean anything on the official books. Believe me, I get it. I totally get it. This is probably for the best in the long run.

Throughout the course of this summer, we have heard a constant mantra from both the NFL Network and ESPN: as long as we settle this thing before any cancellations happen, no one will even remember that there was a lockout 3 years from now. Conversely, if games are canceled, there will be a collective memory, and there will be a backlash.

We'll have to wait and see. This isn't a good thing, but it is only the first preseason game. We shouldn't hit the panic button just yet.

Rich Eisen was close to flipping out yesterday when the baby wasn't born just yet. I think his (very inside) sources warned him that the HOF Game was at death's door. I think he was very concerned about the collective memory of this affair. Rightly so.

The good news is that the owners have approved the new deal. Now we just need the players to do the same thing. Let's hope that the more fractious members will stand down, and the anti-trust lawsuits can be put to sleep for the duration.

As much as I would like to see Vincent Jackson a free agent (the Rams' very last shot at getting a franchise receiver this season), I would like to see some actual football games this year even more. A free agent Vincent Jackson isn't going to do the 2011 Rams much good if the 2011 season is held hostage by anti-trust litigation.