The Cincinnati Bengals will be fighting for a Wild Card berth in the AFC's side of the 2011 NFL playoffs in Week 17, and will be playing the Baltimore Ravens for that berth. And it wasn't until Wednesday that the Bengals declared their Week 17 game a sellout, ensuring that the game would not be blacked out locally.
The NFL has had its share of problems with local blackouts for teams with less fevered fan bases, but those teams have often been moribund ones — the Jacksonville Jaguars, or the pre-renaissance Detroit Lions. Having a prospective playoff team — the Bengals are at 9-6, and can clinch their first playoff berth since 2009 with a win — face the prospect of a blackout is a slightly bigger black eye for the league.
But Bengals fans ponied up to pack Paul Brown Stadium, and so the Bengals won't be blacked out. The Ravens could still leave them black and blue, but at least fans will be able to see that locally.
For more on the Bengals, head to Cincy Jungle.