The fall will have football.
Autumn will bring hurricanes, certainly, and perhaps more floods and more fires in the parts of the country and the parts of the world suffering from drought.
But it will also bring football.
Perhaps you regard the dispute that led the owners to lock out the players as a legitimate argument between two parties, each convinced that it was best representing the interests of the game and the people who enjoy it. Perhaps you regard the whole business as a Punch and Judy show manufactured to demonstrate to a gullible public how important this particular $9 billion enterprise is to their lives by threatening to turn the lights off.
It doesn’t matter what you thought. Football will be back, and it will be back more or less on schedule, as if all the posturing and all the meetings spread around the country and all the half-informed speculation about who was about to say what had never happened at all.
It would be easy to conclude that in this dispute there were no winners but the lawyers who were billing by the hour, but that would be inaccurate. Everybody who sighed with relief at the news that there will be football in the fall provides evidence that the NFL won.
When the United States and its allies were at war with the Axis powers a little over half a century ago, there were those who said Major League Baseball — the only big deal team pro sport at the time — should be suspended. President Roosevelt thought otherwise and the Cubs and Red Sox and Yankees and Cardinals played on. They and their opponents did so in diminished fashion. The Cincinnati Reds hired Joe Nuxhall, a 15-year-old pitcher. The St. Louis Browns employed a one-armed outfielder named Pete Gray. But the game went on, in part because the president felt it would be good for everybody.
Despite a couple of wars that have been going on more than twice as long as World War II, the only threat to interrupt the rhythm and rumble of the National Football League has come from the men who own it. For a few months, they maintained that they could not continue to do business without concessions from the players to make up for the bad deals to which the owners themselves had previously agreed.
Apparently they got what they required.
There will be football.