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The Oakland Raiders lost horribly to the Denver Broncos 23 to 3 in a game where one had to ask "Where was everyone?" The game didn't sell out but I've never seen a Broncos - Raiders Coliseum contest where most of the third deck was empty.
I'm serious. It was that bad.
The official attendance count was 45,602 people in a stadium that can hold up to 65,000 people. That's 20,000 folks short of the madhouse level of fandamonium that normally goes with this contest and its all due to the economy.
It pretty much goes without saying or writing but the San Francisco Bay Area economy is in bad shape, along with the American economy. While the unemployment rate is officially over 12 percent statewide and about 10 percent nationwide, it's got to be worse than that in reality.
I've never seen a time where most of the people I talk to are looking for work, and its people who I'm used to seeing with money in their pockets. Does the NFL adjust to this?
The Blackout Rule was designed for a different time when America was rich. Not today. The idea of The Blackout Rule was to get people to go to the football games by causing sellouts, then televising them.
That's not happening today.
The Blackout Rule needs to be lifted otherwise the NFL will find itself with a whole bunch of pissed off television execs and NFL sponsors. Jay Mariotti of ESPN and AOL is right: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should lift the rule for now and the future because its not clear when this economy's going to get better.