The NFL Isn't Recession-Proof: Two Playoff Games Could Be Blacked Out

Sean CroweSenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2009

If you’re one of the few Americans who are still working, and you happen to be in the state of Arizona or Minnesota this weekend, you may be able to get yourself some NFL playoff tickets on the cheap.

The recession has officially struck the NFL playoffs.

Both the Cardinals and Vikings are in danger of being blacked out in their local markets when they host the Falcons and Eagles respectively this weekend.

Both teams will probably eventually sell enough tickets to avoid a blackout (especially if the NFL keeps extending the deadline), but the fact that they're having issues selling out two playoffs games tells you everything you need to know.

The NFL was thought by some to be recession proof, but when you have underdog home teams in the playoffs, fans apparently don’t feel like it’s worth spending whatever money it is they have left on watching the game in person.

Especially when you can watch the game for free on TV.

Or maybe not.

The NFL’s blackout rules are ridiculous. They’re forcing fans to pay their hard-earned money—in a time when nobody has any hard-earned money—to watch the game in person.

If not enough people pay that money, then nobody can watch the game.

That’ll teach them.

Of course, they could just drive to a bar in the next state over.

While the NFL was wasting its time trying to stop the evil players from throwing snowballs and making snow angels, they should have been trying to find ways for the average fan to afford to go to an NFL game.

I have a wife and two kids. Just for tickets, I’m looking at $500 (roughly $125 per ticket). It costs $45 to park. Want to eat and drink? How’s $8.00 per McDonalds meal, $8.00 per beer, and $3.00 for a bottle of water?

For me to take my family to a Patriots’ game, it’ll run me about $700. That’s $233.33 per hour of actual football.

Who can afford that?

Of course, it could be worse.

I could be a Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, or New York Giants fan. You need to be a season-ticket holder just to get in the door. To get season tickets? How about writing a check for anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to the cost of my house.

Per ticket.

And that’s just to have the privilege of buying the tickets. You still need to write a check for another $2000-ish (depending on how good your seats are).

Per ticket.

The NFL needs to start thinking about the average fan. We’ve already reached the point where middle-class families have been priced out of going to the game.

Now, with the recession, they’re starting to price out everyone else as well. And if nobody can afford to go to the game, then nobody is allowed to watch the game on TV.

Those are the rules. Live with it.

The middle-class family can’t afford to buy tickets to the game. Now they might not be able to watch the game on TV. If this happens, the NFL is going to start losing fans.

In droves.

To me, this issue is far more important than fining the next player who dares have fun with snow after scoring a touchdown.

But maybe my priorities are a little screwed up.

I don’t know.

Sean Crowe covers the New England Patriots for and writes a bi-weekly column for

He is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at His archive can be found here.