NFL AM: NFL Suspends TV Blackout Rule for 2015


NFL finally lifts TV blackout rule

One of the most archaic rules in sports is finally being updated for the modern era – though in this case the 1980s probably could have been considered modern.

The NFL will suspend its policy of blacking out home games on local television if a team does not sell out its stadium within 72 hours of kickoff, eliminating a rule that has been in effect since 1973. That rule was an update of one that dated back to the ‘50s, when team owners were concerned that the newfangled technology provided by a television box would detract paying customers from showing up to games.

It should be noted that the no blackout policy is a temporary, one-year experiment. Still, it is a sign that the league is giving in to political pressure.

“This decision to suspend the blackout policy for the upcoming NFL season is a victory for the millions of sports fans and consumers across the country, and it brings us one step closer to eliminating this anti-fan measure once and for all,” said Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “This antiquated, anti-consumer rule has for too long served only to protect the NFL’s bottom line at the expense of sports fans.

“I urge the FCC to take action to permanently remove the rule so that sports fans have the opportunity to cheer on their favorite teams, regardless of where they are watching.”

On the same day it temporarily divorced itself of this ancient bit of history, the NFL also announced a surprisingly forward-thinking way of distributing games to the public. The Oct. 25 Bills-Jaguars game in London will be streamed on the NFL’s website. The game kicks off at 9:30 a.m. EST, so it does not conflict with the regularly televised Sunday slate.

Darren Sharper pleads no-contest to sexual assault

Former All-Pro safety Darren Sharper will be spending most of the next decade behind bars – if not more.

The ex-Packers and Saints standout will spend nine years in federal prison after pleading no contest to charges that he drugged and raped two women in Los Angeles. As part of a plea deal, Sharper will also serve time for similar offenses he committed in Arizona. However, he is also awaiting sentencing for charges in Nevada and Louisiana that can end up adding even more time to his prison stay.

In the end, it’s possible that Sharper’s time in prison could meet or extend beyond the 14 years he spent in the NFL. Sharper was a five-time Pro Bowler who was named to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team. He spent two years as an NFL Network analyst until rape charges were first brought against him in 2012.

Adrian Peterson’s agent stumping to get him out of Minnesota

It’s clear that Adrian Peterson never intends to play another down for the Minnesota Vikings. However, that decision is not entirely in his hands.

Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, told reporters on Monday that he “does not believe it’s in Adrian’s best interest to play in Minnesota” next season.

The Vikings do not see things the same way.

Team president Mark Wilf told Minnesota media members “The bottom line is Adrian is an important part of the Minnesota Vikings. He’s represented us on and off the field. We’re getting ready for the 2015 season and we fully expect him to join his teammates and be a part of what we feel is going to be a great season ahead.”

Wilf went on to say that he is more excited about the Vikings’ chances in 2015 than any year since his family purchased the team in 2005 – a statement made with the expectation Peterson will be part of the picture.

The Cowboys seemed like Peterson’s most likely destination/best potential Vikings trade partner, particularly when DeMarco Murray bolted for Philadelphia, but that avenue realistically closed when Dallas put a franchise tag on receiver Dez Bryant and then added free agent defensive end Greg Hardy.

Peterson has little leverage at this point. He’s not likely to hold out after sitting 15 games last year due to suspension. And while Minnesota would surely be glad to deal him for the right price, it will be hard to find a team willing to pay an exorbitant amount for a 30-year-old running back.

About Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey can vividly recall most significant NFL events going back to Walter Payton's final game in 1987, including the ones that didn't make him cry. Since 2008, his full-time job has been covering college football, specifically McNeese State, for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. Free time is spent informing, amusing or annoying you for Football Insiders.