What pro football was left with was a parody of a season—nine games, topped by 16 (instead of the usual 10) of the 28 teams going at each other for three playoff weeks, with the two survivors playing the fourth week in Super Bowl XVII at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Jan. 30. "A Mickey Mouse playoff setup and an asterisk season," Lions owner William Clay Ford calls it.
And the fans, what did they think of it all? A lot of them stayed home Sunday. In 13 stadiums the average attendance was down 8,390 from last year and the no-shows—people who bought tickets but didn't use them—totaled 115,586. In all, the 13 games played to 77% capacity, off 12% from 1981. Before anyone predicts the demise of the NFL, however, remember that baseball fans showed the same sort of disaffection after the major leagues' 50-day 1981 strike but turned out to watch games this season in record numbers.
Pro football will go on.