1. Archive

Help wanted: Miami, Dallas need more fans

The Dolphins and Cowboys were granted an extra day Thursday to sell their remaining tickets for their playoff games this weekend, potentially avoiding the NFL's first local playoff blackouts in nearly five years.

In consideration of the New Year's holiday, league officials gave the clubs until 6 p.m. today to clear out some 6,000 and 4,000 unsold seats for Saturday's game.

Pro Player Stadium seats 75,192 for football. If the remaining seats are not sold, the game will not be televised in South Florida.

Dolphins president Eddie Jones said one problem was that out of some 55,000 season-ticket holders, only about 40,000 bought playoff seats when forms were sent out in late November.

The Dolphins have sold out eight consecutive home playoff games since the 1983 season. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

The NFL has not enforced a local playoff blackout since the Packers played at Detroit in 1994.


BILLS AT DOLPHINS: Dolphins tackle Richmond Webb (triceps), guard Kevin Donnalley (knee) and running back Karim Abdul-Jabbar (concussion) are expected to play, and the Dolphins will need to take advantage of their presence if they are to advance. In the 14 playoff games Dan Marino has played, the Dolphins are 1-7 when he has had to throw 38 or more passes. When Marino has passed fewer than 38 times, the Dolphins are 5-1, and the only loss came against Seattle in Marino's rookie season. "I think our running game has to be a part of the picture in the playoffs," coach Jimmy Johnson said.

PATRIOTS AT JAGUARS: Quarterback Mark Brunell suffered no significant setback to his injured ankle after his first big practice, so it seems sure he'll start Sunday for Jacksonville. "I'm not allowed to pronounce myself a starter," Brunell said before practice. "I know some of you were a little upset, feeling like it was a smokescreen. But honestly, going into yesterday, I didn't know how it would feel." QB Todd Philcox, who has been with Cleveland, San Diego, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville, was signed by New England as insurance for Scott Zolak and Tom Tupa. Patriots injuries: cornerback Chris Canty (bruised ribs) has been listed as probable; linebacker Todd Collins (chest muscle bruise) remains questionable; defensive lineman Chris Sullivan (knee) remains questionable.

BRONCOS: RB Terrell Davis, still savoring his 2,000-yard feat, took Wednesday off to rest his tender ribs as Denver held its first practice of the bye week. Davis entered the season finale with bruised ribs on his right side. In the second quarter he strained muscles near his left ribs.

JETS: Capping a splurge of individual honors he has not known since his Heisman Trophy season of 1986, Vinny Testaverde got the one that means the most to him as a pro: His teammates voted him team most valuable player. The quarterback with the 12-1 record as a starter never had been named his team's most valuable player in a career that stretched to Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Baltimore. "It feels pretty good to have your teammates vote for you," Testaverde said. "It probably means more to me than any other award because it comes from your teammates." Testaverde is the first Jets quarterback since Ken O'Brien in 1985 to be voted the most valuable player. The Jets began their serious playoff preparation and coach Bill Parcells marked the day by wearing a Super Bowl ring to camp for the first time. "It's the first time I've ever seen it," All-Pro LB Mo Lewis said, his eyes widening. "It might not be a big deal to him, but it's a big deal to me. If he took it off, I'd put it on my hand. I'd have taken it home, too. But I'd have brought it back."


CARDINALS AT COWBOYS: Arizona WR Frank Sanders (knee) and tight end Johnny McWilliams (hamstring) are listed as questionable. Coach Vince Tobin said he believes Sanders' knee is getting better, but that the hamstring injuries bother him because "they can go at any time." Arizona's early inactives: defensive lineman Jomo Cousins, offensive linemen Jerome Daniels and Allen DeGraffenreid and defensive back Ty Howard. Three more will be declared on game day.

PACKERS AT 49ERS: RB Garrison Hearst probably will be available to play Sunday, 49ers coach Steve Mariucci said. Hearst is listed as questionable with a pulled right hamstring suffered in Sunday's season-ending 38-19 victory over the Rams.

VIKINGS: WR Jake Reed, recovering from Nov. 24 back surgery, went full speed at practice and is expected to play Jan. 10. WR Chris Walsh (staph infection left knee) returned to practice. Reserve LB Kailee Wong (high ankle sprain) missed practice. Coach Dennis Green said the team might add a linebacker before its first playoff game. LB Dixon Edwards (back spasms) returned to practice. RT Korey Stringer (groin), who missed the Tennessee game, practiced.