Debt ceiling? Who cares? We've got Steelers-Ravens!
The republic is safe. America has been saved from collapse. We have staved off Armageddon.
No, no, not a debt-ceiling deal. We're talking something really important: It looks like there will be a pro football season.
NFL owners and negotiators for players have agreed to terms on a 10-year labor deal, averting a meltdown that would have sidetracked the nation's most successful sports league.
Republicans and Democrats in Washington may not be able to agree on a plan to raise the debt ceiling, but at least come September, these same folks will likely be able to go see the sure-to-be-terrible-once-again Washington Redskins.
Which is nice. After all, the debt-ceiling debate isn't nearly as crucial an issue as who will be quarterbacking the sorry 'Skins this year.
I mean, here's how The Times described all that's at stake in the debt talks:
Both the House and Senate are heading toward Wednesday votes on competing frameworks for reducing deficits, as Congress struggles to coalesce around a plan to raise the nation’s debt limit by next week. The nation now risks not only catastrophic default if the Treasury runs out of money Aug. 2, but a serious downgrading of the nation’s credit worthiness, a move that ratings agencies have warned could come sooner if Congress fails to act.
Catastrophic? You want a catastrophe? That's what you'll have if those NFL stadiums are dark in September.
No "Monday Night Football"? No Vegas lines? No tailgating? Are you kidding me? You ever tried living in Cleveland in the winter without pro football?
I tell ya, what our lawmakers need is a little NFL-like spirit:
"I'm fired up because I can see the light," Darnell Dockett of the Arizona Cardinals said in an interview Monday morning on NFL Network. "I'm excited to get our team back together. I'm excited to go to training camp. ...
"We're ready. Where do we need to be? What time to we need to be there?"
That's what our Washington types should be -- linebacker tough. Instead, we get this:
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said, "We're running out of runway. I never thought they would take it this close to the edge."
Runway? Edge? That's not fired up. Son, you gotta want that football, er, debt-ceiling vote! You gotta play through the pain! You gotta protect your quarterback from those blitzing Republicans! Haven't you ever heard, "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing"?
In the end, the country may default on its debts. The "tea party" gang in the House may get its wish to run the U.S. off a cliff, throwing financial markets into the abyss just for good measure.
But come September, we'll be ready for some football.
-- Paul Whitefield
Photos: Top row, from left: Philadelphia's Kevin Kolb; Cincinnati's Cedric Benson; Pittsburgh's Lamar Woodley; New England's Matt Light. Bottom row, from left: Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha; Washington's Donovan McNabb; Minnesota's Ray Edwards; New York Jets' Santonio Holmes. Credits: Nell Redmond / Associated Press; Al Behrman / AP; Matthew Emmons / US Presswire; Mike Segar / Reuters; Cary Edmondson / US Presswire; Carolyn Kaster / AP; Matthew Emmons / US Presswire; Winslow Townson / AP