The NFL lockout is officially underway. While it's far from costing the league a season at this point, that is a very real possibility.
The NFL is the most popular league in North America in terms of revenue, fan support and money wagered, so what are NFL fans going to do if the season does get canceled?
Sure, they could spend more time with their families, or take up some kind of hobby like stamp collecting but let's be realistic.
NFL fans need their sports fix, and if the billionaire owners can't figure out a way to fairly share with the millionaire players in time for an NFL season, here are some other options.
Upsides: Major League Soccer has been growing in popularity for several years now and has teams in 16 American cities including Dallas, Chicago, New York and DC.
They play a 34 game season, on a similar one game per team per week schedule to the NFL.
Downsides: The MLS season runs from March to November, so most of the season doesn't coincide with the NFL season. Basically, if NFL fans want to watch MLS, they will anyway.
Also, soccer is a non-contact sport and might not have enough hitting to satisfy NFL fans.
Upsides: There's golf to watch all year round and there are many more people to cheer for than there are teams in the NFL.
Golf has four major championships, which are like having title games every couple of months throughout the season.
Downsides: Golf is far from an exciting sport to watch for most people. There aren't any teams to cheer for and become extremely loyal too.
Also, the playoffs in golf are less important than the major championships that are scattered throughout the season.
Upsides: From March through October, there's baseball to watch almost every day. Baseball is extremely popular in the USA and it's not too hard to go out to see a game live.
Downsides: It's almost impossible to watch each of the 162 regular season games of an MLB team, and many people ask themselves, "Why would you want to?"
Baseball is widely considered one of the less exciting sports to watch.
Upsides: It's still football, kind of. Arena Football gets played indoors on a much smaller field which results in a faster, higher scoring game.
The AFL plays an 18 game season on a similar one game per team per week schedule to the NFL.
Downsides: The AFL season runs from March to August, so it doesn't overlap with the NFL season at all and isn't really a suitable replacement for the NFL.
Upsides: The Canadian Football League is the closest professional league to the NFL in terms of the game itself.
The CFL plays an 18 game schedule, from July to November, and it coincides reasonably well with the NFL.
In the event of a lockout, some NFL players may end up playing in the CFL.
Downsides: The quality of players in the CFL isn't as good as the NFL.
NFL fans will have a hard time attending CFL games because all of the teams are based in Canada.
The CFL is often looked down on by NFL purists because of the three down rule. The three down rule and a bigger field, make for a much more wide open, less technical game than the NFL.
Upsides: The NBA operates in many of the same cities as the NFL.
The NBA season runs from October to June, so it overlaps most of the NFL season.
Downsides: The NBA also has an expiring collective bargaining agreement, and there are some serious issues to resolve, including the owners wanting a reduction in player salaries.
The NBA is a non-contact sport that isn't as physical as football.
There's so much scoring in the NBA that it gets boring for a lot of football fans.
Upsides: The NHL already operates in a lot of the same cities as the NFL, so it's not hard to get to a game live.
The NHL offers a fast, exciting and physical sport that can give any football fan his fill of hitting.
A goal in the NHL happens about as often as a touchdown in the NFL.
The NHL season runs from October to June, so it makes for a pretty good NFL replacement time wise.
Downsides: The NHL plays an 82 game season, which is a lot to keep up with.
The NHL doesn't have a lot of major network coverage in the US.