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Monday, November 12, 2012
Yearbook, Nov. 12: NFL blackouts approved

By Patrick Dorsey

Nov. 12, 1953: In the fledgling days of the NFL, commissioner Bert Bell designed a strategy to try to keep local fans from all staying home and watching games on TV. His solution: Blacking them out for all households within a 75-mile radius, a ruling challenged as a possible antitrust violation until this day 59 years ago, when U.S. District Court judge Allan K. Grim ruled on the league's side.

Blackouts remain today. And although they're down in general, the issue remains contentious -- especially in occasionally blacked-out cities such as Tampa Bay, San Diego and Cincinnati (for the first time in 2012 this past Sunday).

Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A lack of fans in Tampa Bay has led to multiple 2012 blackouts.
San Diego Chargers and the Atlanta Falcons at Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego had a blacked-out game this year -- against the Super Bowl-contending Atlanta Falcons.
AJ Green of the Cincinnati Bengals against the New York Giants
Nearby TV viewers couldn't watch A.J. Green and the Cincinnati Bengals thrash the New York Giants.