There will be football. The NFLPA executive board and 32 team reps voted unanimously to approve a new collective bargaining agreement, which means, finally, the NFL lockout is over. The end of the discord also means that we can look back at the past few months of tension and nonsense and tally up everything that's gone down, from the meaningful to the inconsequential. Here goes:
22--Players arrested, as of July 17
There was a lot of mayhem in the absence of structured time, just as Ray Lewis predicted: "Do this research if we don't have a season -- watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game." Cedric Benson, arrested for misdemeanor assault, is pictured; what would a series of arrests be without a Bengal?
132--Days from the beginning to end of the lockout
And what a long, strange trip it's been. Hey, fantasy football nerds: Time to step back from that ledge. Gratuitous Falcons cheerleader shot because you deserve it.
10--Named plaintiffs in the players' antitrust suit against the NFL
They were: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Logan Mankins, Osi Umenyiora, Vincent Jackson, Ben Leber, Von Miller, Brian Robison and Mike Vrabel. Time for someone else to tally up all the Tom Brady memes.
138,721--Estimated frequent flyer miles accumulated by Commissioner Goodell and NLFPA head DeMaurice Smith, each
Also: 3,922, estimated number of delicious airplane peanuts consumed, contained in 1,000 bags.
50-plus (estimate)--Twitter and online battles and random musings by players wanting to sound off
A lot of players took to Twitter and blogs to voice legitimate gripes and thoughts about the contentious negotiations. Some players used the platform to mess around, report about financial woes, pick fights or just shout about nothing. Some highlights:
1) Darnell Dockett: Dockett plus Twitter is a dangerous combination. The dude streamed video of himself showering last off-season. This time around, Dockett live-tweeted a police stop: "Police sitting here waiting on back up cuz I told them YOU NOT SEARCHING MY CAR! PERIOD! & now I'm sitting here! Owell I aint got s*** 2 do!"
2) Chris Kluwe: Kluwe, a veteran punter who was critical of the league and its leadership during the lockout, fired back venomously at former NFL tight-end Nate Jackson who discounted Kluwe's remarks in a column on Deadspin. Kluwe's response letter is a well-written, hysterical must-read (also on Deadspin).
3) Rashard Mendenhall: Remember all that 9/11 denial nonsense? Now Mendenhall is suing a sponsor that dropped him after the fiasco.
4) James Harrison: Harrison mouthed off in Men's Journal, criticizing teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall as well as Commissioner Goodell whom he called "the devil," among other things. Harrison later apologized for some of the remarks.
5) Matt Hasselbeck: This one happened early. Hasselbeck insulted Jets defensive back and prolific father Antonio Cromartie's intelligence, then deleted the tweet as he backpedaled from the comment. Cromartie responded by threatening to smash the QB's face in.
1--Number of receivers injured during the taping of their own reality show
1--Broken engagements between a quarterback and his reality-star fiancee on the eve of labor peace
Here's an open letter to Jay Cutler's downtrodden bride-to-be, Kristin Cavallari, to cheer her up.
1--Quarterbacks previously accused of rape who actually got married during the lockout
That's right--Ben Roethlisberger got married. The honeymoon is in his pants.
0--Episodes of "Hard Knocks" to air on HBO this year
This is probably the biggest casualty of the lockout.
But there's really only one good way to end this post...