By CLARE FARNSWORTH
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

KIRKLAND -- The Seahawks were granted a 24-hour extension today on the NFL's blackout deadline because 5,000 tickets remain for Saturday's playoff game against the St. Louis Rams at Qwest Field.

The league specifies that games must be sold out 72 hours in advance to avoid being blacked out on local television. The Seahawks were granted the extension because of the short turnaround from Sunday's game, when the Seahawks beat the Atlanta Falcons to clinch the NFC West championship and home game in the first round of the playoffs -- the first in Seattle since 1999.

The team has sold 61,000 tickets since Sunday, but must either sell the remaining tickets or have a sellout guaranteed by a sponsor by 1:30 p.m. Thursday for the game to be televised in the greater Seattle area.

The tickets are available at Ticketmaster outlets and the Qwest Field box office, by calling 206-622-4294 or online at www.seahawks.com