In 2008, the Minnesota Vikings won the NFC North Division title on the final day of the regular season. With uncertainty looming about their playoff fate, there were a lot of tickets unsold, and the team had trouble getting them sold before the final deadline for preventing a "blackout" of the game on television in the local area. After receiving a couple of extensions from the National Football League, the Vikings did sell all the necessary tickets to avoid a blackout. To this day, this is cited by a lot of people, many of them possessing very little intelligence, to back up the "fact" that fans of the Minnesota Vikings are terrible, horrible, awful football fans.
Well. . .it's not just Vikings fans any more.
As we approach the deadline for playoff games to get sold out and not be blacked out for this weekend, three of the four playoff games have not yet sold out, as there are apparently still plenty of tickets available for sale in Green Bay, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. The only playoff game this weekend, as of now, that is not in danger of being blacked out will happen on Saturday in the City of Brotherly Love, when the Philadelphia Eagles. . .who also made the playoffs on the final
day night of the regular season. . .play host to the New Orleans Saints.
The three home teams can ask for extensions. . .like the Vikings did in 2008. . .to avoid the blackout of the television broadcast in their local viewing areas.
Unlike what we've gotten to hear over the past few years, I'm not going to sit here and suggest that fans in Indianapolis, Cincinnati or, yes, even Green Bay are bad football fans. For the most part, they're not. I'm sure there are many good reasons for why playoff tickets haven't been getting snapped up very quickly, whether it's uncertainty about the team's fate in the latter stages of the season, a slow economy, bad weather, or any litany of other things.
But I will say that absolutely, positively none of those things were acceptable excuses at the end of the 2008 season when fans of the Vikings were uncertain about their team's fate, the economy was still awful, and it was still January in Minnesota, meaning that the weather was probably awful then, too.
It would be pretty embarrassing for the National Football League if any of the games on Wild Card weekend wound up getting blacked out, never mind three of them. But it would help to erase a stigma on fans of the Vikings that, in all honesty, shouldn't be there anyway. Frankly, in light of this recent news, whatever stigma might be there because of the 2008 playoffs should already be long gone.