Some hypothetical scenarios cause nightmares and cold sweats. Others should never be spoken of, let alone imagined. If you’re petrified of entirely losing football this fall, stop reading. (I don’t mean that. Please keep reading.)

It’s the first Sunday in September, and already that crisp fall breeze is blowing briskly. You made a poor decision last night, and decided it was a good idea to dip into that stash of boxed wine that’s collected a few inches of dust down in the basement. No alarm clock was needed for a wake-up call; the throbbing head was sufficient.

Usually on a Sunday you’d roll out of bed, throw on your over-sized snuggie, and begin watching Terry Bradshaw laugh far more than the average human being. You surf the channels but find nothing, and then it hits you. There is no NFL season, at least not yet as the Labour strife continues. The minor details are always the first to go after a night of chugging the boxed stuff.

It’s alright, don’t panic. You can get your own virtual football fix and throw in that recently purchased copy of Madden 2012. The haze is still lingering, so it takes a moment for another far more startling realization to sink in. There’s no Madden 2012 either. NOOO!!!!

Take it easy, it’s only a dream. Even if we don’t have football when the leaves start to turn in September, we’ll still have pretend football. The game will still be released, but Wednesday a restructured licensing deal was worked out between the NFL and Electronic Arts for 2011 because of the possible work stoppage , according to the Sports Business Journal.

Specific figures for the deal were not disclosed, but the original contract agreed to in 2008 is believed to be nine digits long, while the Wall Street Journal reported that EA asked for a $30 million reduction last year. The restructured deal also extends the contract to 2013.

On the NFLPA side, many of the major companies that hold licensing agreements with the players’ association will have their contracts voided in the event of a work stoppage, adding another overlooked side-effect to the lockout for fans who right now are only concerned with seeing football in its normal fall time slot. Electronic Arts skirted potential disaster and the possibility of having Madden hit the cutting room floor for one year with their special NFLPA contract that lasts until 2012.

My Madden obsession died long ago when life took over, but the video game has still grown to become larger than the NFL itself in some circles. Even though sales dipped at first for the 2011 version, the game rebounded to become the second-highest selling game in 2010, selling 5.5 million copies worldwide.

Given its juggernaut status, it’s difficult to envision Madden faltering and taking a major stumble in sales. But if its main sales driver is closed for business, John Madden’s big mug might not be flying off the shelves quite as quickly.

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