Morning Links: Goodbye to blackout rule?

SAN DIEGO – Good morning. ESPN Bills beat reporter Mike Rodak reports that for the second time in two months the Federal Communications Commission is proposing the elimination of their sports television blackout rule. Buffalo’s game Sunday against the Miami Dolphins will not be shown on local television because 16,000 tickets to the contest remain unsold.

The San Diego Chargers had the NFL’s first local television blackout of 2013 on Dec. 1 in the team’s game at Qualcomm Stadium against Cincinnati. However, the Chargers do not take advantage of league options to reduce the chance of blackouts by lowering the capacity by covering sections of seats with tarps for all home games like Jacksonville or Oakland.

The Chargers also could set 85 percent of a sellout as the trigger to lift the blackout for all home games, but choose to keep it at 100 percent. Four of the Chargers eight home games last season were blacked out on television locally.

According to Rodak’s report, the FCC released a statement on Wednesday, saying that the sports landscape has changed in the 40 years since the rule has been in effect.

“Changes in the sports industry in the last four decades have called into question whether the sports blackout rules remain necessary to ensure the overall availability of sports programming to the general public,” the FCC said in its proposal. “In this proceeding, we will determine whether the sports blackout rules have become outdated due to marketplace changes since their adoption, and whether modification or elimination of those rules is appropriate.”

Rodak writes the FCC released a similar report on Nov. 1.

ESPN Packers beat reporter Rob Demovsky makes a case for Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy to win offensive rookie of the year award. San Diego receiver Keenan Allen and Cincinnati’s Giovani Bernard are other players in the conversation.

Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus has Allen at No. 2 in his race for the rookie of year behind New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson.

ESPN Giants beat reporter Dan Graziano places Philip Rivers back in his MVP Watch at No. 5. Graziano: “Rivers is having as good a season as any quarterback who's not named Manning (and a far better one than at least one who is!). The only thing that's kept him from being on this list every week is the MVP Watch rule that makes players on teams with losing records ineligible. Beating both Mannings in a five-day stretch got Rivers and the Chargers back to .500, and if they can beat the Raiders on Sunday, that will ensure Rivers' spot through season's end. And since the Watch really wants Rivers, his 28:9 touchdown to interception ratio and his 69.9 completion percentage on the list, here's a hot tip: Psst! Phil! Throw it to the running backs! The Raiders can't see them! The Watch is here to help.”

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego takes a closer look at the Oakland Raiders.

Greg Gabriel of the National Football Post evaluates another college cornerback prospect -- TCU’s Jason Verrett.