It appears that the on-going talks between NFL owners and players are going fairly well. The two sides agreed to extend the current CBA while they hammer out a new one and the league might avoid the work-stoppage that everyone is fearing.
But it is March and work-stoppage or not, there will not be football to watch until training camp starts in July so it's always fun to speculate.
What if the negotiations take a turn for the worse and we do have a lockout and things don't really get resolved until late into Fall, say October? There will still be time for a 2011 season, but it would obviously have to be a condensed version like the 1982 season following that year's player strike.
Let's just say the NFL decides on an 8-game season and a 16-team postseason tournament (8 from each conference) similar to the 1982 model.
Since I'm a diehard Steelers fan, I obviously have my team rolling through the 8-game schedule pretty impressively. In the playoffs, Big Ben, James Harrison, Troy, and the rest of the gang repeat as AFC Champions and go onto Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI and defeat the NFC Champion and bring a 7th Lombardi trophy to Steeler Nation.
I wonder how that Super Bowl victory would be treated.
I know the Redskins won two Super Bowls in the 80's following strike-compromised seasons, but I don't really remember the franchise facing much criticism for those Super Bowls. I didn't hear too many people calling their titles tainted or anything like that. However, that was a different time and place.
In today's day and age of the Internet and sports talk radio, I have no doubt that a Super Bowl victory following an abbreviated season would be the subject of much scrutiny and ridicule.
Whatever respect that existed between fans of rival teams went the way of blogs and message boards.
In-fact, I'll bet right now on some Redskins blog there is probably a Cowboys troll making fun of the Redskins and saying that the two Super Bowls that they won in the 80's didn't really count because they were accomplished with the help of abbreviated schedules and replacement players.
Fans are like that, you know. They aren't shy about belittling an opposing team even if that team accomplished more than their franchise did. Back when the Bills were losing 4-straight Super Bowls, they were the butt of jokes in places like New Orleans and Tampa.
If I went on a Browns' blog right now and announced that I was a Steeler fan, I would probably get made fun of immediately for my team losing the Super Bowl.
That's just how fans are and they would probably make light of any team that won a Super Bowl after a condensed season.
I can just imagine watching a telecast of a Steelers road game in Cincinnati and one of their fans holding up a sign that reads: "Pittsburgh Steelers: Part time Champions." Not very creative, but that's Bungals fans for you. Still, though, it would be a sign of disrespect to our Super Steelers.
I don't know what the sports talk scene was like in 1983 after the Redskins won Super Bowl XVII following a 9-game season, but I know sports pundits would have a field-day if a championship was won under the same circumstances today.
There would be much debate as to whether or not the Steelers were worthy Super Bowl champions and deserved the same recognition as past champions. The guys on PTI would probably argue about it and maybe interview players from the '82 Redskins, some of whom may even be too ashamed to wear their Super Bowl XVII rings to this very day.
Terry Bradshaw would probably pop-off and say something controversial like maybe if his 70's Steelers had won a Super Bowl following an 8-game season, they wouldn't even have accepted the trophy. They would have given it back.
Some people might even suggest putting an asterisk next to Pittsburgh's 7th Lombardi or even displaying the trophy away from the other 6 in a darkened corner.
I know how I would feel about a championship following a shortened season. I would cherish it like all the others. Super Bowls don't come along every day, condensed season or not. I would go to a game and hold up a sign up that reads: "Pittsburgh Steelers achieve more in half a season than some teams do in half a century."
So how would you feel about a championship following an abbreviated season? Would it be a source of pride or would you feel a little weird celebrating such a title?