Government shutdown: NFL playoffs won't be televised for military personnel overseas

It's not going to be easy for any military members overseas to watch the NFL playoffs on TV on Sunday. One alternative: watching the AFC Championship Game between the Patriots and Jaguars right here on CBSSports.com.  

Due to the government shutdown, the Pentagon has announced that the American Forces Network (AFN) won't be active until things are back up and running again in Washington DC. The AFN is the easiest way for soldiers to stay on top of American entertainment when they're deployed outside the country, but it's funded by the government, which is why it's down right now.

AFN regularly shows NFL playoff games; however, with the network currently offline, Eagles, Vikings, Patriots and Jaguars fans deployed overseas won't be able to watch the the AFC Championship or NFC Championship on the network on Sunday, and that's likely not going to change unless the shutdown somehow ends over the next 24 hours. 

The NFL announced Saturday afternoon that the game will be available at USO Centers overseas via NFL Game Pass:

According to the USO's website, there are more than 200 centers worldwide, including in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy, Japan, Iraq and South Korea. However, a majority of the centers are located in the United States. You can find your nearest USO Center here.

According to Pro Football Talk, the league is working on ways to allow military personnel who don't have access to USO Centers the ability to watch Sunday's games. 

As you can imagine, many members of the armed forces aren't happy with the fact that they won't be able to watch the games. Several military members even took to the AFN Europe's Facebook page to complain about the situation. 

"No NFL divisional championship games ... perfect timing .... I bet members of Congress are gonna watch it," one person wrote. 

According to Stars and Stripes, the AFN has been playing classical music since the shutdown started, and that's likely what's going to be playing on Sunday unless the NFL and the government are able to figure something out that would allow the military to watch the games on the channel.

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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