The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos each lost just one game at home this year, and now that both teams are getting set to host their conference championships, both are looking to establish as much of a home-field advantage as possible.
Soon after the Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints in Saturday's divisional round, the team released this:
The Seattle Seahawks have announced that tickets for the NFC Championship Game to be played on Sunday, January 19 at CenturyLink Field will go on sale Monday, January 13 at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available to fans with a billing address in WA, OR, MT, ID, AK, HI and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.
In other words, fans of the San Francisco 49ers, specifically those who live near the team, are out of luck. Predictably, those fans were not amused -- and insinuated that the diversion was an admission of fear.
“What kind of nonsense is that? Are they that afraid of the Niners Nation?” posited Fred Santillan to KTVU.com.
“It's pretty sad," added David Fucillo, who runs SB Nation's excellent Niners Nation website. "There was no need to do this. It adds another distraction."
Still, if you're looking to beat the Seahawks up as the only team to do this ... well, don't. The Denver Broncos similarly announced after their Sunday win over the San Diego Chargers that tickets on sale Monday morning for the conference championship game against the New England Patriots "will be available only to those with a valid billing address in the Rocky Mountain region, including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota and Western Kansas."
In other words, if you reside anywhere near Foxboro, you'll have to find other ways to attend.
Fans can still purchase tickets through resellers and through Ticketmaster, though the prices are already exorbitant -- from $464 for a nosebleed seat all the way up to $122,000 (!) for a seat near the end zone at CenturyLink.
It's not the first time that NFL teams have taken such measures. In January 2007, the San Diego Chargers tried to limit access to tickets for their playoff game against the Patriots to Southern California residents.
"Our goal has always been to fill our stadium with Charger fans and supporters of the team," said team spokesman Bill Johnston. "This also helps give our team the best home-field advantage possible,"
In that same timeframe, the Chicago Bears set measures in motion to block Seattle Seahawks fans from buying tickets for the divisional playoff between the two teams. At that time, league spokesman Greg Aiello said that there was no rule that would prohibit such limitations.