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A member of Cleveland's Dawg Pound makes good on his vow to spend more time with his family during the lockout when he and five of his fellow Browns fans attend his 12-year-old daughter's piano recital. After tailgating in the parking lot, they arrive shirtless, with their torsos painted, wearing dog masks. When his daughter finishes her performance, dad and friends chest-bump, then begin woofing, pounding on their chairs and making the choke sign when the other children sit down to play. The next day, the daughter starts a Facebook campaign joined by thousands of other kids, desperately urging players and owners to settle the labor dispute so their fathers will go back to neglecting them.
Faced with a projected $500 million loss in NFL betting industry-wide and also hoping to slake a public thirst for more football wagering, a Las Vegas sports book establishes the Palo Alto (Calif.) Vikings as 7-to-5 favorites to win the Pop Warner championship, Junior Pee-Wee division. Within an hour the casino receives more than $20 million in wagers before authorities shut the betting down. Meanwhile, fans in Buffalo and Carolina discover that the tykes play far more entertaining football than the Bills or the Panthers.
ESPN tries to get some use out of the 597 former players and coaches on its payroll as NFL analysts by airing its usual pregame and postgame shows, even though there are no games. Each week Mike Ditka tells America that the Steelers "are a good football team with a fine football coach and they know how to play their best football when the time comes to win football games." Ron Jaworski breaks down the way Tom Brady takes a five-step drop and gets the ball out on time. Matt Millen, Cris Carter and Herm Edwards inform everyone that the team committing the fewest turnovers is likely to win. The ratings are identical to those of 2010.
The owners and players finally come to an agreement, with the players giving the owners a slightly larger share of the $9 billion in profits, and the owners dropping their request to extend the season to 18 games. It is a resolution that could have been reached months earlier, causing some disillusioned fans to vow never to give the NFL another dollar. Both sides regain the public's affection, however, by donating a percentage of the season's profits to the stadium workers, waiters and waitresses, bartenders and team office staff who missed much-needed paychecks during the lockout. No, scratch that last part. It's just too much of a fantasy.
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