Surprise? No 2011 blackouts in NFC West

News that the St. Louis Rams plan to purchase unsold tickets for their Week 17 game against San Francisco means NFC West teams will make it through the 2011 season without a local television blackout.

This comes as a mild surprise, in my view, given the Rams' poor record and the Arizona Cardinals' 6-17 record over a 23-game period ending in Week 9 this season. Both teams had relatively unattractive opponents in the second half of the season: St. Louis and Cleveland for the Cardinals, and Cincinnati for the Rams.

The Rams have bought out tickets to avoid blackouts. Both teams have required fans buying tickets for marquee matchups to also buy them for less attractive games, a common practice in the NFL.