Sports Medley: NFL
Blackouts in Los Angeles & Super Bowl 50 1 Feb 16
by Tony Medley
After ignoring Los Angeles for more than two decades the avaricious NFL
now is definitely coming back with one team, the Rams, and maybe two.
All of this is being done with a lot of self-congratulatory backslapping
by craven Los Angeles politicians without putting it to a vote. Oh,
sure, the first day the Rams opened up to take season-ticket sales they
got 48,000 applications. But there are more than 18,500,000 people who
live in the greater Los Angeles area, which means that less than 3/10 of
one percent of the population was interested in buying tickets. If the
politicians would put it to a vote Iím confident that the return of the
NFL to Los Angeles would lose in a landslide.
Lost in all the
hullabaloo is the fact that now the 99.7% of the population who doesnít
care about the NFL in Los Angeles is going to be subjected to the NFLís
brutal blackout policy.
The basic blackout
policy is that if a home game is not sold out within 72 hours prior to
the game, the game will not be televised in the home market.
Up until now
those who subscribe to NFL Sunday ticket have been able to see every
game except the occasionally blacked out San Diego Chargers games. Even
there the NFL took a punitive action against residents of Los Angeles.
In a particularly egregious action, the NFL extended the normal 75 mile
blackout radius from the stadium where the game is played to 116 miles
so that Los Angeles would be sure to be blacked out. That rule applied
only to Los Angeles!
Another policy to
encourage sellouts is that no other NFL game can air opposite the local
franchise's broadcast on the primary market's affiliate due to NFL rules
or due to a blackout.
For what itís worth,
the NFL allegedly suspended its blackout rule in 2015 after the FCC
repealed its blackout rules, but the NFL still controls what games are
shown, by whom televised, and when, and if. So it still has the power to
This isnít the first
time that the NFL has conspired against Angelenos. Many people arenít
aware of this, but when the first Super Bowl was held in Los Angeles in
1966 it was televised nationally by both CBS and NBC. But it was blacked
out in Los Angeles! Even though the cost of a ticket was only $12, I was
so incensed by the blackout that I didnít attend. I was joined by the
vast majority of Angelenos and the attendance that day at the L. A.
Coliseum was only 61,946 which meant that a third of the seats were
If Eric Garcetti
really wants to represent the people of Los Angeles and not just kowtow
to the NFL billionaires, he should insist that a condition of allowing
the Rams or any other NFL team into Los Angeles is that no games will
ever be blacked out in the Los Angeles market.
Two years ago Denver was an overwhelming favorite to beat Seattle. I was
one of the very few prognosticators who picked Seattle to win, but I was
the only person who said it wouldnít be close, and it wasnít.
Next Sundayís Super
Bowl lines up to be one of the biggest mismatches in history. Denver is
a weak team from a weak conference, no running game, a weak-armed
quarterback who has lost his accuracy, and a plethora of butter-fingered
receivers. Their ballyhooed defense racked up impressive numbers but it
was against feeble AFC opposition. And the game is being played near sea
level, so Denver wonít be able to count on the mile high altitude of the
Rockies to wear down its opponentís defense. Unlike New England,
Carolina has a fine offensive line to protect quarterback Cam Newton.
Carolina, on the
other hand, has a real football team, well-rounded and powerful, with a
quarterback who is a better than average passer and a superlative
runner. It has a better defense than Denver who built its reputation
against much better NFC competition. Its front seven is the best in
Denverís only hopes
are 1) that decaying, 39 year old quarterback Peyton Manning
miraculously turns into 30 year old Peyton Manning and that he can make
quick reads against Carolinaís rush and defensive secondary, and 2) that
Denver can exploit the only weakness in Carolinaís defense, the
Panthersí two safeties. Alas, Peyton can no longer throw long. Absent
those, this looks like a blowout for Carolina.