Here's something I wrote to Peter King after yet another back-handed shot at Jacksonville as it relates to the Jaguars and the new owner's commitment to it. Crap is getting old from these hacks.
I doubt you'll answer or even read this and that's fine. Simple question. Why do you and other members of the national media take every opportunity to bash the Jaguars, specifically Jacksonville? Do you get some sort of satisfaction by trashing Jacksonville and hoping you all are right? Bitter about your experience here during Super Bowl 39 and can’t let it go? (Can't wait to see how they enjoy Indianapolis and the weather there. Big difference between Final 4s and the Super Bowl. It's like camping out at the Daytona 500 vs. attending the Monaco Grand Prix)
Are blackouts solely a Jacksonville problem? Not since 2009. Meanwhile, a fact many of you and your fellow scribes conveniently overlook is that Oakland has had over 65% of their home games blacked out since 1995, fittingly, Jacksonville's first season in the NFL. Tampa has had most of their home games blacked out since 2010. Stephen Ross in Miami purchases a healthy number of seats for $.32 on the dollar, even resorting to Tim Tebow Day when Miami played the Broncos earlier this year. The Vikings nearly had their first blackout in 14 years this week (against the Denver Tebows of all teams) and other teams have had them over the past few years, such as San Diego, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Detroit, Arizona, and Kansas City. The attendance numbers are out there for everyone to see, and it turns out Jacksonville is not that bad. But it takes research and who needs research when you have low hanging fruit and an easy story? How come Cincinnati can get away with the excuse of “Mike Brown has ruined this franchise for so long that we've earned the right to be skeptical and not show up” or Tampa can ride the high unemployment excuse when Jacksonville has a similar unemployment number? We’re not allowed to use the excuses, but the fact of the matter is, this team has been mediocre since 2000 when we lost the AFC Championship to Tennessee. Perhaps we were spoiled by success too early, and everything from the owner down grew stale. Can you name another team that has a ticket gauge on its official website? Perhaps we’re victims of our transparency in this regard. Surely you remember the early 1980s when Jacksonville was the flavor of the day for relocation. I recall a handful of teams that flirted with Jacksonville in order to get better stadiums or concession splits. (Of coruse most Jacksonville residents here since the 80s recall Irsay and the helicopter at the Gator Bowl)
I also noticed your 33% of seats tarped comment. Surely you realize that even with the tarps, Everbank Field has more seats than Chicago, Indy, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Cincy, Minnesota and a few others. We rank 21st of 32 teams, Peter. Expanded to college capacity, the stadium seats 84K. Pretty big stadium for a small market, huh? Once again, research. 9,703 seats are tarped by the way.
Am I naïve to not get that everything has a price? No. No matter who Weaver sold the team to, even if it was a relative, you all would still be on the Jaguars to LA or London or whatever city loses their team first train. It’s tiring. If we stick up for our team, we’re labeled thin-skinned rednecks. If we do not reply, then our apathy matches the perceived low attendance numbers. Apparently you and others forgot the 90s here when this was a tough ticket. And of course in the wake of Khan purchasing the team, does the national media report the groundswell of support by way of t shirts, fans giving away fake moustaches, and a very active Twitter following? No. Of course not. They focus on the ignorant racist calling into local radio and on the message boards with abhorrent comments about Mr. Khan’s nationality and perceived religion. Sickening by the way. Of course these folks don’t realize that without Mr. Khan, the bumpers on their pickup trucks would have rusted away long ago.
Bottom line, I’m part of the 2nd generation of Jaguars fans. Our numbers are growing. In the span of 1 year, Jacksonville has elected its first African American mayor, has its first African American interim head coach, and now has a Pakistani American owner. Please take a minute to appreciate the magnitude of this paradigm shift going on in Northeast Florida. And yet, members of the national media want to throw cold water on it all.
I’ve always respected your viewpoints and am a fan of your work, but you’re resorting to lazy journalism as if you work for ESPN. What do you all have to gain? If LA wanted football they’d have built better stadia to keep it there instead of playing in a baseball park as the Rams did when they moved from the Coliseum to Anaheim.