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Bengals hope to avoid first NFL playoff TV blackout since 2002

CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- The Cincinnati Bengals are still around 9,000 tickets away from selling out Sunday's playoff game against the San Diego Chargers. But, they are working the New Year's holiday to avoid the embarrassment of a TV blackout.

The entire Bengals sales and marketing staff are on the job at Paul Brown Stadium.  A half dozen guys are working the phones until 7 p.m. Wednesday, taking orders for Sunday's game. A steady flow of fans went to the ticket windows at the stadium, that are open until 5 p.m.

The Bengals aren't the only team struggling to sellout a wild card weekend playoff game. The Packers still have more than 10,000 tickets to sell. The Colts have already been given an extension from the league to sell out their game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Sunday's game at Paul Brown is the first postseason game with the Chargers since the frigid 1982 AFC championship game known as the "Freezer Bowl." Because of that, ticket buyers will get a special treat before the game. "We've invited the local alumni of the Freezer Bowl game to come down on the field before game and be acknowledged by our fans for their AFC championship season in 1981, the Freezer Bowl victory over the Chargers just before kickoff", says Jeff Berding, director of Bengals' Sales and Public Affairs.

That Bengals team included hall-of-famer Anthony Munoz,  Max Montoya, Ken Anderson, Pete Johnson and Bengals great James Brooks who played for the Chargers in that game.

The Bengals are still hopeful the game will sellout in time to avoid a TV blackout. If not, it would be the first playoff game blacked out since 2002. If it's on TV, you can see it right here on Local 12, Sunday at 1 p.m.

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