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5 NFL Grinches For The 2012 Holiday Season

Cincinnati
Blackouts this season: Two

Those two blackouts this season are still far better than the six the team posted last year and the 10 games they've taken off of TV in the last two.

In fairness, fans have had a lot to complain about for some time. The team threatened to move in 1995 if they didn't get a new stadium, which ended up costing Hamilton County, Ohio, $540 million. That debt climbed as the recession deepened and expanded to a $30 million budget deficit this year alone. Add annual stadium costs to taxpayers that rose from $29.9 million in 2008 to $34.6 million in 2010 and sales tax revenue that's declined steadily since 2000 and you get crushing debt that eliminates funding for programs such as a juvenile court and rolls back the property tax cut promised as part of the stadium deal.

The good news is that quarterback Andy Dalton and the Bengals have at least given fans something to watch this year. While we're still not exactly sure how the team didn't sell out its Nov. 11 matchup with the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, they were good enough to win that game and reel off three more wins in a row to salvage the season. The Bengals didn't take the blackout deal this year, but the team's performance may have management reconsidering that stance in 2013.