With the lockout getting uglier and optimism over a new collective bargaining agreement precipitously falling, I've continued to explore the possibility of a fall without professional football. You know what? It's not that bad.
Yeah. I'm daring the NFL to disappear.
Soxtimism is high. I'm picking the White Sox to win the AL Central. I doubt they're good enough to run away and hide, so September should be a hoot as the Sox try to stave off Minnesota and Detroit.
We haven't spent a nickel on playoff tickets since 2008, so I'd be happy to take my fantasy football league entry fee and move it over to meaningful Sunday dates at the Cell. There will be baseball on the South Side in October.
College football is underrated. Frankly, I've shortchanged the college game for about a decade, likely because of all the time I spend with the NFL.
An NFL-free world would afford us a chance to watch more college games. Can't invest your time on a given Saturday? Program the DVR and plop in the recliner Sunday morning to partake. I'd call breakfast with Brent Musburger instead of Chris Berman a win.
And for those of us who are football "investors," they do take action on college games. All of them. Just don't play Hawaii on the island late on a Saturday night. That means you are chasing.
Indian summer golf — I'm told — is delightful. Crisp, fresh air. Those who play in the fall report the changing colors of a wooded, meticulously manicured golf course to be visually intoxicating.
I've never whined about spending every Sunday sequestered in the basement with buddies and an ample supply of fine meats and cheeses. However, I often have wondered what it would be like not having to slave away in front of a hot wall of high-definition televisions for 12 hours.
Instead of watching Lovie Smith blow two challenges, I can blow two birdie putts on the final warm Sunday of the year.
This coming fall, there will be optimism over the United Center's winter tenants we haven't experienced since the early '90s. Regardless of what happens to the Bulls and Blackhawks in the postseason, the bar has been raised and both clubs possess cores good enough to make them championship contenders for the next several years.
It's conceivable the Hawks will report to training camp to prepare for a three-peat. Remember those? Fun.
If there's no professional football and I really need a fix, I still have one of those televisions with a built-in VCR. Somewhere, there's a box of at least a half-dozen NFL Films productions, which often are more entertaining than the games themselves.
John Facenda vs. Phil Simms? I'll take the velvet-throated Facenda over the over-blow-dried rube every time.
An NFL-free life also would give us a break from the Ron Jaworksi-Jon Gruden slurpfest every Monday night.
It would give us a Thanksgiving on which we didn't have to stress over synching the turkey carving with halftime of the Lions game.
It would buy us a few more free days to throw big baits for toothy critters or take down a deer.
Imagine a year without being annoyed by Jay Cutler's body language. A year devoid of fractional math offered by the Bears' smug head coach.
We could spend more time actually talking to family and friends, instead of being shouted at by blowhard former players.
We could grill more. Watch more movies. Go to more concerts.
Yes, I love the NFL. But I refuse to let the quality of my life be predicated on its existence. I'll find something to do and be just fine.
Dan McNeil hosts "The Danny Mac Show" weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on WSCR-AM 670.