In typical years, the release of the new season's NFL schedule is nearly a sports holiday -- part of the programming foundation that the league created that has turned it into a year-round sport.
Of course, this year's schedule release -- tonight at 7 -- comes with built-in snark: What schedule? With the league locking out the players and no end in sight (until late-summer at least, I suspect), analyzing the schedule is an even more theoretical exercise than in normal years.
Here is what the NFL knows, though: Fans will take tonight's schedule release as seriously as ever -- the same way we'll do it with the draft.
No one wants to think about the lockout or the byzantine labor negotiation. What we want to think about is football, and analyzing the schedule -- even one with not even as much basis in reality as a fantasy team -- is as close as we get to normalcy.
And so the jokes will come easily, but they are one-note and depressing. The easier (and more fun) thing to do is pretend this lockout isn't happening and approach the schedule release with as much enthusiasm as any year. It will make us feel just slightly (but only slightly) better.
Then back to the harsh reality that, as of now, there IS no schedule.
NBA Playoffs: The Heat are playing great. Who cares? Was getting out of the first round even a question? Let's talk about the Heat playing great after they win 4 of 7 from the Celtics three weeks from now. (And the Bulls are playing sloppy -- they still will likely close this out in 5 games.) Tonight: We see the extent to which the psychologically fragile Knicks were broken by Sunday night's late-game collapse.
MLB: Did Aroldis Chapman really hit 106 on the radar gun last night? Better question: Did teammate Mike Leake really shoplift $60 worth of T-shirts from a Macy's?
More later -- and all morning/all day/all evening at Quickish. Please pop by -- great recommendations all day long, then instant reactions to the NFL schedule release at 7.