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Blacked out in St. Louis: Rams' sellout streak ends

ST. LOUIS -- The Rams' string of 95 consecutive
regular-season sellouts may be about to end, and even if the
remaining 3,000 seats for the home finale against the Washington
Redskins sell, the game will be blacked out on local television.

A blackout hasn't happened since the Rams moved to Missouri in
1995. The game was less than a stellar draw; it comes at the end of
another disappointing season, against a weak opponent, on Christmas
Eve.

The Rams (6-8) are extreme longshots to make the playoffs and
the Redskins (5-9) are out of the running.

"We think the St. Louis fans are great fans, and they've been
very supportive of us up until now," team vice president Bob
Wallace said. "We're hoping we can start a new streak next year."

The deadline to sell all the tickets was noon (EST). The Rams
have kept the run going a handful of times in the past by buying up
remaining tickets, but this time decided against it.

Running back Steven Jackson was highly critical two weeks ago of
season-ticket holders who sold their seats to visiting fans. The
Rams had to go to a silent count on offense against the Bears and
Chiefs after fans of their closest rivals scooped up prime
locations and made themselves heard.

On Friday, his criticism was more muted.

"It's kind of disappointing to hear that," Jackson said. "You
want your fans to be in tune, and if they can't make the game to
watch it on television.

"With that being said and it being blacked, hopefully our fans
can make their way down on Sunday to watch us live."

Coach Scott Linehan said he understands the decrease in fan
interest is a byproduct of the team's record.

"Maybe people could still rally and show up for the game and
cheer us on, but that's out of our control at this point," Linehan
said. "We're just focused on the players and coaches and fans that
are there."

Season ticket holders with personal seat licenses occupy all but
about 5,000 of the 60,000 seats at the Edward Jones Dome _ most of
them in the upper regions. Wallace said the season-ticket base
renewal base has been "spectacular," at over 95 percent.

The Rams were 6-10 last year and Wallace said the team knew
before the year began, even with the hiring of a new coach and
other changes, that some games would be tough to sell. The Redskins
game was at the top of the list.

"There wasn't a lot of movement on this game," Wallace said.
"We could have told you at the beginning of the season that the
Bears game was going to be sold out and that the Chiefs game was
going to be sold out, like we could have told you that this one at
the beginning of the year was going to be a struggle."