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Buccaneers preseason game blacked out; Chargers file extension

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The fourth NFL preseason game is important when it comes to shaping the bottom of a roster. But most fans are not interested in watching undrafted players compete for special teams jobs.

Once the third preseason game is over, fans have a pretty good idea who won the most important position battles, and how starters on their favorite teams look. If a team is still undecided at quarterback entering this week, it is going to be a long season. Sorry, Jets fans.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers fan bases are definitely not interested in Thursday’s preseason finale. Tampa Bay announced a blackout this week, while San Diego filed for an extension in hopes of selling enough tickets so local fans can watch.

Everyone loves football, but who wants to pay full price for a fourth preseason game?

If you are a family member, friend, or significant other of a player participating in Thursday’s game, you are excused. Cheer for him and hope if he does not make the 53-man roster, maybe the team will sign him to the practice squad. This group has every right to bring cowbells into the stadium and show their support.

But once you get past personal attachments, what die-hard fan drops money on tickets, paints his face, and tailgates before watching Dan Orlovsky complete passes for the Buccaneers against Washington on Thursday night? Obviously, NFL owners will not give away these tickets, yet, there is nothing wrong with half-priced tickets for a half product.

Unfortunately, for Bucs and Chargers fans, the blackout issue will not go away anytime soon.

Since the start of the 2010 season, 19 of 23 regular-season games at Raymond James Stadium have been blacked out, as well as all seven home preseason games, according to The Tampa Tribune’s Roy Cummings. San Diego has also struggled to sell out home games over the past few seasons, and filed for an extension this week. In order to avoid a blackout, teams are required to sell the requisite 85 percent of non-premium seats 72 hours before kickoff. Tampa Bay and San Diego will likely face the blackout issues during the regular season.

It is hard to blame any fan for staying home on Thursday night.
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