The Cincinnati Bengals announced this week that over 10,000 tickets remain for Cincinnati's first home game. Whether it's the wild card game against whomever, or the divisional round after a bye week, it's the most important game of the entire season.
Cincinnati is playing well enough within a conference that isn't that strong. Denver isn't as invincible as they were earlier this year -- and they lost their best defensive player for the year. Cincinnati has already beaten the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts and who among us thinks that any wild card team, currently in contention, can compare to the Bengals when that game will be played in Cincinnati?
Even the Super Bowl is a possibility and that's not just a talking point... it's a confident belief that nurtures a 25-year old grudge with the hope of seeing the San Francisco 49ers again.
Don't get me wrong. The reasons that people have for not buying tickets are legit. I know that many of you that could, would. No problem.
Many are still dealing with financial issues -- the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote a story a few days ago about more and more people having second jobs to make ends meet. The rest of this posting really isn't for you, because anyone that demands that you spend money from a tight wallet to watch a recreational sports game has lost every right to be taken seriously. I personally have two jobs, including this one, so making ends meet is something I'm too familiar with.
Others simply haven't gotten around to purchasing tickets -- with family, or hosting family, during Christmas. A lot is going on this time of year. And by "a lot", I mean "lord help me survive until Aunt Mildred leaves on her boat born from the loins of demon spawn."
As I said earlier on Friday, I'm confident that Bengals fans will make it happen. Sure. We're a bunch that procrastinates... a lot! If finals are on a Wednesday, then we'll start studying on Tuesday. Despite knowing the date for 2,000 years, most of us wait until the last minute to shop for Christmas. Did you see the story about UPS and FedEx? However, once Sunday's game is over, there will be a significant run. It has to happen. A bye week will ensure it.
How do I purchase ticket?
I'm glad you asked.
Playoff tickets may be purchased on-line at Bengals.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. During working hours or at the Ravens game this Sunday, fans can call the Bengals ticket hotline at 513-621-8383 or stop in person at the ticket office. Tickets are available on all 3 levels of the stadium.
The threat of a black out is very real.
When the Houston Oilers took a 35-3 lead over the Buffalo Bills early in the third quarter, it seemed all but certain that Houston would win the first round and move on. Instead Buffalo recorded a historic 32-point comeback to tie the game at 38, eventually winning it on a Steve Christie 32-yard field goal in overtime. It's known as the Greatest Comeback in NFL playoff history.
And no one in Buffalo, outside of those inside the stadium, watched it. The game failed to sell out and was thus, blacked out. The last playoff black out came in 2002 when Miami failed to sell out against the Baltimore Ravens -- a game that the Ravens easily won.
You can complain about the league's blackout policy all that you want. And lord knows we've stood on our soapbox over the years. That won't change anything next weekend.
There are well over 10,000 unsold tickets right now in Cincinnati and the city, along with Dayton and Lexington, could face a real possibility of having the game blacked out if the team is unable to push their allotment by this Thursday, Jan 2 (Jan 9 if the Bengals are given a bye week). So when the Bengals kick off against whomever and whenever, there won't be a full capacity crowd to audibly rough up Baltimore and those within Cincinnati's market won't get to see it. Can you imagine if the Bengals won a postseason game for the first time in 23 years and you didn't get a chance to watch? Talk about regret.
There is historical evidence when first-round tickets do struggle. A couple of years ago, the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals received extensions. In 2000, the New Orleans Saints had over 11,000 unsold tickets and whittled it down to 4,500 in just two days and eventually 1,700 before the league granted an extension. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in 2009 that games played in the first round of the playoffs are always "the most challenging" due to the late scheduling, writes the New York Times.
Traditionally, Aiello said, if they are close enough to a sellout, the teams work with their sponsors to buy the remaining tickets.
I'm just waiting to see when the Bengals play and their opponent.
Reasonable, and one that makes sense if you ask why are there so many tickets remaining (despite other NFL teams not having that many remaining). But, really. What difference would that make at this point? Whether it's a night game on Saturday or a mid-afternoon game on Sunday, against the Ravens, Steelers, Dolphins, Chargers, you'll cancel existing plans and go to the game.
Sure, you might be forced into giving your family an "IOU". My "IOU" is so big right now that if I applied it every day for the next 30 years, I might cut those in half.
But the Bengals aren't playing a preseason game. Their opponent won't be the Vikings, Jets, or Browns. THIS is why you obsess with the NFL draft, free agency and take a day off from work to attend training camp. THIS is why we do what we do.
So let's go ahead and scratch that excuse from the list. You'll deal with the family fallout. And if anything, just severely pout for a couple of days until she gets tired of you being all childish. It'll work. And if not, there is always divorce...
I won't give Mike Brown my money!
If disillusionment is your thing, then wow. This is the one excuse that I can't stomach.
The Bengals have qualified for the postseason in three straight years, four of the last five years, have some of the best players in the league, have reduced ticket prices in the past two years; save for not winning a postseason game, what exactly is holding you back in your Stone Temple Pilots tee-shirt? What else could you ask for? A playoff victory? Sure. That could happen in two weeks.
If you can't get off your boycott-loving posterior because of Mike Brown, it's probably best you stay away. We don't want you anyway.
If misinformation is your thing, then you nailed it.
The Bengals do not receive the revenue from playoff ticket sales, so you won't be giving the Bengals any money. Concessions are a different story, but no one is demanding that you purchase a beer, chips, or a jersey at the stadium. Grab yourself a clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag that doesn't exceed 12"x6"x12" and add some necessities in the compressed space. Or grab some change from the car that you never use and purchase a bottled water if you're thirsty.
You can make it work if you really want.