Al Yellon, SBNation:
When the Bears won the NFL title in 1963, on December 29 at Wrigley Field 14-10 over the New York Giants, no one in Chicago could watch it on television. No one got to watch NFL home games in the 1960's -- they were blacked out within a 75-mile radius of the stadium to "protect" home attendance, even though baseball had long ago proven that televising games was the best way to create fans. Even the first seven Super Bowls weren't televised in the city where the game was being played, even though no team that played in any of those host cities was involved in the game.

The NFL rules prohibit other NFL games from being shown on local television stations while a local team is playing a sold out, locally televised home game. The rules are designed to encourage ticket-holders to show up at the stadium instead of watching another game on television.

When Baltimore Colts RB Alan Ameche plunged one yard for a TD in the 1958 NFL Title Game against the New York Giants, the only New Yorkers who saw the play were those fans at Yankee Stadium. The game is rated the number one NFL contest of all-time with the Colts winning the crown in overtime, 23-17.

In 2014, the Green Bay Packers wild card playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers was almost blacked out because of the NFL's blackout policy. This game was the tipping point, according to Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Tom Wheeler.

"Enough is enough," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Today, we are blowing the whistle on this anti-fan practice. The NFL should no longer be able to hide behind government rules that punish loyal fans, which is why I am sending to my fellow commissioners a proposal to get rid of the FCC's blackout rules once and for all.

USA Today:
The most egregious case was in Green Bay, where the weather forecast called for a low of minus-15 degrees with a wind chill of minus-30. Despite decades of unbelievable fan support and loyalty – Green Bay had sold out every regular season game since 1959 – local Packer fans were effectively told that if more people didn't buy tickets to go freeze, the rest of the community wouldn't be able to watch the game on TV.

“You can get frostbite within 30 to 40 minutes in these temperatures if you’re not covered up,” said Roy Eckberg, a meteorologist with the weather service in Green Bay.

NFL fans can say thank you to the diehard Green Bay Packers' fans who opened the eyes of Congress and the Federal Communications Commission.

The New York Giants failed to sell out their new stadium's opening game in 2010, leading to a local TV blackout.

For 2015, let the games begin. Check your local listings for the game in your area. Is it on FOX or CBS?

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.

Paul Murphy 3/26/2015 03:44:00 PM Edit

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