For the first time since 1998, Miami Dolphins games might not be shown on the local markets. That's 101 straight games. The Dolphins have sold out every home game since that October game against the St. Louis Rams.
The blackouts start this week, with the Dallas Cowboys visiting Miami to play a game that won't be televised live in Miami. With a 7:30pm game time, the earliest fans in the South Beach area will be able to see the game will be 11:30pm that night on CBS-4.
And, there's a real possibility that, when the regular season begins, the streak will end - at 102 straight sellouts.
Miami's Week 1 opener, a Monday Night Football game against division rival New England Patriots, is expected to sell out in time to save local television coverage. However, Weeks Two (Houston Texans), Seven (Denver), and Eleven (Buffalo Bills), are clearly marked as possible blackouts.
Interestingly, the Week Ten game against the Washington Redskins is thought to be on track to sell out.
NFL blackout rules state that a team must sellout a home game 72 hours prior to kickoff for the game to be televised live within a 75 mile radius of that team's home.
After two consecutive 7&9 seasons, a series of embarrassing/confusing incidents (General Manager Jeff Ireland and Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Dez Bryant, Owner Stephen Ross and then Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, the almost trade for Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton, the poor play of coach Tony Sparano's stength - the offensive line, the "We Want Orton Chants, etc., etc.), and an effort to turn Sun Life Stadium into an entertainment spot instead of the Joe Robbie Stadium/Home of the Dolphins it used to be, fans have decided to stay away from the stadium.
Now they are doing it in such droves, they may not get to see the game at all.