Burden lifted along with blackout

JACKSONVILLE FL - NOVEMBER 21: David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is congratulated by fans after winning a game agaisnt the Cleveland Browns at EverBank Field on November 21 2010 in Jacksonville Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

I'll admit it. I was really nervous this week that the Jaguars wouldn't be able to avoid the blackout this week against the Raiders. Very nervous. As Vic Ketchman stated this year over on Jaguars.com, this is the "save the whale" season for the Jaguarsl, and if we hadn't sold out this game, what would it say about the state of the team? I'm sure every Jaguars fan knows what the commentary would've been had the game still been blacked out. "Jacksonville is a sad and sorry place for an NFL team and I feel bad for this franchise." "The team doesn't even have enough fans when they're playing playoff football to get their games on TV."  and so on and so forth. I couldn't be happier that this game will be on TV. It really takes a load off of my mind.

Think about it: if we didn't sell out this week, the "LA is waiting" jabs would've kept coming. After the way Jaguars fans have responded so far this year, selling out every game, the talk has turned to other teams as the frontrunner in the Los Angeles sweepstakes. The last article I read on it listed Minnesota and San Diego as the teams most likely to move to LA and only mentioned the Jaguars to say they have sold out every game this season. Now we've established ourselves as a legitimate threat to win the AFC South, make the playoffs, and be a rising young team in the years to come. The team has done a great deal of outreach and have created price incentives for season tickets, basically given fans the shirt off their back. Now that we're in the spotlight on the field, people will be watching us that much closer off it. If, even with all of the team's success the Jaguars didn't sell out a late season game, everything the Jaguars organization had worked for would be ruined.

 

Beating the blackout is a huge burden lifted off the Jaguars' collective backs, and I want to thank all the fans because when it mattered the most, people stepped up and bought tickets. What easily could have been a meaningless game against the Raiders on Sunday now has a lot of meaning. It's Jacksonville's chance to show the world that not only does this team deserve to be in the playoffs, but they deserve to be respected as a staple of the city of Jacksonville and a franchise worthy of respect.

 

What happens on the field will be important on Sunday, but what happens in the stands will be every bit as important. Now, let's see if we can sell this game out in the next few days. What's it gonna be, Jacksonville? Will you be there, or will you be on your couch?

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