There was some talk that the NFL was making plans for an 8-game season. I think that was probably a bit overblown. They have probably made contingency plans for a season of any length, down to 8 games. But it did get me thinking, at what point should they just cancel the season and start fresh next year?
We'll start with the 'all is forgiven' total. At what point would you write off the off-season bickering and consider this a full season? Obviously there are some that will say that if the NFL plays fewer than 16 games they will never watch football again, but if we end up with 14 or 15 games I think most would be pretty forgiving. For me, the drop dead number for a 'real' season would be 12 games. Why? I don't know. Completely arbitrary.
Next we have the 'we'll take it, but not happily' total. At what point would you tell the NFL not to bother? I would say 8 games. An 8 game season would be an aberration, but at least it would keep the NFL from having a lost year and would create some sense of normalcy heading into 2012.
So what happens if an agreement is reached in December? Too late to play, too early to go home. How would you react to a March Madness style, 5-week single elimination tournament? The NFL is set up perfectly for such a thing. The first 2 weeks would be division games, then 2 weeks of conference games, then a Super Bowl. Would it be too late, or is a little football better than none?