Sports Prophecy by Eric

by Eric Nelson

Talk among the country’s millionaires and billionaires has put the 2011 NFL season up in the air. Whether you care one whit about a lockout, collective bargaining disagreements or the NFL’s profitability, you may notice the ripple effects.

The Sports Prophet’s advice is to get ahead of the game now.

Giving up professional football could save the average fan 3 to 18 hours per week, depending on the health of your addiction. So the pews may have a few more congregants on fall Sundays, lawns may be mowed and well-raked through autumn, and you may notice another game —which some people also call “fütbol” – on the tube more often.

Perhaps fütbol is worth a look; the helmetless version we call soccer is no longer all that foreign.

Soccer players suffer similar head injuries to the ones behemoth linemen put up with now, with all of those headers and midair collisions. Enjoy the antics of Oakland Raiders season-ticket holders? Why, that’s just a soccer hooligan with a black shirt.

And those goofy cheeseheads in Green Bay or neon green Seattle Seahawks jerseys? Friends, every Major League Soccer fan for some reason believes a scarf can be worn through the summer.

The most fanatic place for soccer this side of Liverpool may be the Pacific Northwest, where new MLS teams in Portland and Vancouver, B.C. have started a tri-city rivalry with Seattle’s club — a rivalry which rabid supporters can follow by way of one Amtrak line.

So let the NFL babies have their bottles. The popularity of soccer is on the rise and soon enough will have a gimmick to pry away your productive Sundays. Whether that’s top American talent, up and coming international players, or World Cup stars fading towards retirement, you’ll find someone who makes you shout, “Olé!”

And if watching grown men kick a ball around isn’t a suitable replacement for football — soon enough the first frost will come and you’ll get to see a hockey fist fight.