NFL Nation: television blackout

'The streak' is over for Buccaneers

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
6:05
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -– One of the more unflattering streaks in the NFL is officially over. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced their “Monday Night Football’’ game against the Indianapolis Colts at Raymond James Stadium has sold out.

That ends a streak of 10 regular-season games (and four preseason games) of not having games televised live on local television will end. The stadium holds about 65,000 and the Bucs had until 8:30 p.m. Friday in order to lift the television blackout.

The Bucs had drawn around 50,000 for each of their first two home games this season. The last regular-season home game that aired on local television was in 2009. Tampa Bay was the only NFL team not to sell out a single home game in 2010.

Final Word: NFC South

September, 24, 2010
9/24/10
4:02
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of wisdom about Week 3.

[+] EnlargeSteve Smith
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonHow well will Steve Smith mesh with rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen?
Three-ring circus. Think about this: Steve Smith, Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens all will be in Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, which means the game between the Panthers and Bengals has the potential to be highly entertaining. I never thought I’d say this, but if you put those three receivers on the prima donna or volatility scale, Smith would probably come in third in both categories. Then again, with the Panthers 0-2 and turning to rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen, Smith’s engine might be running a little hotter than usual.

Trial balloon. I’m more than a little surprised the game between the undefeated Steelers and the undefeated Buccaneers didn’t sell out in time to lift the local television blackout for Tampa Bay. From what I’ve been able to gather, the Bucs weren’t all that far from a sellout. Last year, the Bucs would have bought up those tickets and made sure the game got on television. It probably would have cost in the neighborhood of $500,000 to $750,000 to make this game was a sellout and the Bucs were really in a no-win situation. If they sold out, people would have said it was because Pittsburgh fans bought up the tickets. If the Bucs win this one and start 3-0, they show they’re for real. From there on out, their fans will be the ones on the hot seat. If there’s a good product on the field, it’s time to show up at the stadium and the Bucs might be testing their fans for the future.

Give the kid a chance. Advice to Carolina fans: Do not expect Clausen to step right in and save the world. He’s a rookie quarterback and he’s only got one legitimate wide receiver. But I think you’ve got a right to expect Clausen to be at least a little better than Matt Moore was in the first two weeks.

Trap game? A lot of people talked about the Monday night game in San Francisco being a trap game for the Saints. They made it through that and I don’t think you can say Atlanta really is a trap game because the Saints never take the Falcons lightly. If the Saints really are going to have a chance to win back-to-back Super Bowls, this game will be a huge test. It comes against a good team and it comes after the Saints have played two grueling games.

Dunta’s game. Let’s break this down to the simplest of terms. The Falcons signed cornerback Dunta Robinson to play two games a year against the New Orleans Saints. Sure, there’s a little more to it than that. But the Falcons know the road to the NFC South title runs through New Orleans and is dotted by Drew Brees and all his wide receivers. The Falcons went out and signed Robinson to counter that. A lot of people say the Falcons overpaid to get Robinson. If he helps get them a victory against New Orleans, I say Robinson will have earned his salary.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

A look at the coverage from this morning's local newspapers.

BUCCANEERS

Quarterback Brian Griese reflects on his undistinguished time with the Bears, the team he'll start against Sunday.

Receiver Michael Clayton, whose weight was part of the reason he hasn't been a factor since his rookie year, says he's hungry for an opportunity to prove he can still play. He'll likely get it Sunday because Joey Galloway is expected to sit out.

PANTHERS

Coach John Fox said DeAngelo Williams will remain the starter at running back, ahead of rookie Jonathan Stewart who had two touchdowns against Chicago. That's not out of character for Fox, who usually favors veterans. But Stewart will continue to get plenty of carries.

SAINTS

Cornerback Mike McKenzie, who is coming off major knee surgery, could make his regular-season debut Sunday against the Broncos. The Saints have been cautious with McKenzie, but an injury to Aaron Glenn could speed up his return. There's also the fact the Broncos are averaging 40 points a game.

FALCONS

The people in the Atlanta ticket office deserves a bonus. It looks like they're going to sell out Sunday's epic matchup with Kansas City in time to avoid the television blackout.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

FALCONS

  • Not sure I'm sold on the idea of having running back Jerious Norwood on the kick coverage unit. Sure, he's probably the fastest guy on the team and he made two tackles on Sunday. But, with Norwood and Michael Turner, the Falcons might have one of the NFL's top backfields (in terms of a 1-2 punch). Is it worth exposing Norwood to possible injury on special teams?

PANTHERS

  • Although a statement about Chicago's offense that Muhsin Muhammad claims was taken out of context caused a stir earlier this week, the veteran receiver had plenty of praise for the Chicago defense.
  • Tight end Dante Rosario, suddenly the most famous man in Charlotte, returned to practice today. The bad news is that guard Travelle Wharton, one of Carolina's most underrated players, still isn't practicing because of a knee injury.

SAINTS

  • Defensive tackle Hollis Thomas was given an injury settlement. That means the Saints, or any other team, can sign him if he recovers from his triceps injury before the season ends.
  • Looks like the Saints could have two new starters in the secondary on Sunday. Safety Josh Bullocks and cornerback Aaron Glenn are next in line if Roman Harper and Randall Gay can't go because of injuries.

BUCCANEERS

  • The Bucs announced their home opener won't be blacked out on local television, even though some "scattered" seats remain. Think there would be any "scattered" seats if the Bucs had been able to land Brett Favre?

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