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Bills rank 29th in full houses

The Buffalo Bills finished 23rd in the NFL in average attendance at home games and were fourth from the bottom in the 32-team league in terms of filling their stadium to capacity.

The Bills' average attendance for their seven games at Ralph Wilson Stadium was 63,195, which was 86.5 percent of capacity. A full house at The Ralph, if all seats and standing-room spots are sold, is 73,079.

The teams that played to a lower percentage capacity were Oakland (73.7), Tampa Bay (75.1) and St. Louis (81.0). Those three teams also ranked in the bottom three in average attendance, at 46,431 for Oakland, 49,314 for Tampa and 52,922 for St. Louis.

The NFL leader in attendance was Dallas, which was playing its second season in $1.5 billion Cowboys Stadium. Dallas averaged 87,047 fans a game, which was 108 percent of capacity. The rest of the top five in attendance were Washington (83,172), the New York Giants (79,019), the New York Jets (78,596) and Denver (74,908).

The Bills have missed the playoffs for 11 straight seasons, tying the Lions for the longest active streak in the league.

There are nine teams that have facilities with larger capacities than Buffalo's, although most teams are close to 70,000.

The NFL saw a record number of games blacked out from local television this season -- 23.

The Bills had three blackouts, for their games against Jacksonville, Detroit and Cleveland. Buffalo had sold out 26 straight games (all with no TV blackout) through the second game of this season.

Tampa led the NFL with eight blackouts -- all of their regular-season games -- despite the fact the Bucs improved from 3-13 to 10-6 this year. The other teams with blackouts: Oakland (five), San Diego (three), Cincinnati (three) and Detroit (one). There were 22 blackouts last season and nine in 2008. Overall 19 teams played to 95 percent capacity or better.

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com