There is now a gray area when it comes to NFL games that are blacked out in local markets.

With at least 12 NFL teams projecting blackouts this season, the league has announced that fans in those local markets will be able to watch delayed replays of their home teams for free but not until after midnight of the game.

The league announced the games will be available on NFL.com for 72 hours except during Monday Night Football.

The NFL's blackout rule states that a game that does not sell out 72 hours in advance of the kickoff will not be shown in the home market.

The rule was put in place to encourage fans in local markets to go to games rather than staying home to watch it on TV. Although with the economy adversely affecting ticket sales and season ticket renewals like never before this year, many in the affected markets, such as Detroit, which had five games blacked out last season, have been calling for the league to ease its restrictions.

"We understand that the economy is limiting some families and corporations from buying as many game tickets as they had previously," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a release.

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