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Checking The Pulse: NFL Lockout - How Long Is Too Long?

Normally at this time of year, there would be tons of scrutiny and overanalysis of men in shorts and helmets. We would be brimming with excitement over the new Houston Texans and wondering why they still haven't invested in a second starting safety and a defensive tackle who isn't 12 or weighs under 310 know, the usual.

The NFL Lockout drags on. Despite these not-so-secret meetings, no collective bargaining agreement exists, and tumbleweeds fill the news section of NFL websites between the inane articles that grasp for even the tiniest of rumors or contingency plans (like the shortened season Tim mentioned a few days ago).

This isn't the first labor dispute for the NFL, nor is this the first in recent sports history. Both Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association saw their popularity suffer in the post-1994 and 1999 seasons, respectively. The NHL has seen its own popularity increase since its lockout, but that's not saying much (and it won't matter to many people here except me and a small contingent of hockey fans).

There's a fine line between resolving the issue with no losses and losing fan support. If the lockout ended tomorrow, everyone would probably be fine. However, each day that passes takes the NFL and NFLPA closer and closer to crossing that fine line from the fan's perspective. Vote in the poll and let everyone know. There's also an explanation of why my line is drawn for early August....after the jump, of course.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame induction is traditionally a highlight for the game of football. The game's elite players go in, as we remember the indelible moments they created on the field of play. It's a fantastic reminder of where the game came from and, for a fair portion of fans, it takes them back to their youth when they marveled at these unbelieveable athletes. Also, it is the stage for the first game of the new NFL season.

If the lockout drags on, there will be a gray cloud hanging over such a great weekend. Hall of Famers will be asked about the lockout, and the stadium in Canton, Ohio will be empty due to the preseason being cancelled. My line is drawn if the greed of both sides mars what is supposed to be such a great weekend. It's where my annoyance with the lockout will reachthe point where my interest will begin to dwindle away...just as it did with MLB when they cancelled the rest of the 1994 season and the NBA when they shortened their 1999 season.

In my mind, there is nothing worse than missing a game, especially one that is supposed to be a hallowed stage for the game that both the owners and players love. How about you? When does the NFL cross your line?