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Jacksonville Jaguars: Save the Whale

I'm sure most of you have read Mike Freeman's story on by now about how grim the Jacksonville Jaguars situation looks. It seems to have a lot of people in an uproar; even local radio host, former Jacksonville Jaguar, and current Team Teal General Tony Boselli.

Jag nation once again another article without the facts of how we have responded as fans with tix. We will prevail.

That was Tony Boselli's twitter response to Mike Freeman's article. Boselli apparently also went off on his morning radio show on 1010XL, but I didn't hear it. I can't say I necessarily blame him. Boselli is manning a valiant effort by the Jacksonville community and Team Teal, which I am a member of (Go team Jag Nation). They've helped push thousands of tickets and led the team to sell the most season tickets in a single off-season in franchise history. So, Tony Boselli has a right to be upset and frustrated, as I'm sure he feels the effort is going unnoticed.

Now, that sounds great... but you have to also remember that they were able to sell that many because there were so many available, even with the Jaguars hitting a close to 90% renewal rate. I'm not trying to paint a negative light on it, but I think some people forget the reality of the situation. It still looks dire. Things like Team Teal and people like Tony Boselli however, are making a push to keep the team here. I ultimately think they will be successful.

Mike Freeman, who I do consider a friend (Hey, he even gave us a shout out!), does make valid points, however. The situation looks dire and closing off the scrimmage looks like a mistake. I don't think it is one, mainly because it's been open to the public for the past 5-6 years, and ticket sales have continued to decline. " It would create a crowd, a buzz, and fans would then sign up for tickets in droves," Freeman writes. It would create a crowd and a buzz. I believe the Jaguars had a little over 14,000 people at the scrimmage last season, but drew only an average of 49,651 fans per game. That's 3rd worst in the NFL, barely better than Detroit (who's games are sold out, but not attended) and Oakland. So, I disagree that the people would have signed up for tickets in droves, in all likelihood the vast majority of those people at the scrimmage already have season tickets.

"Jaguars fans are among the most underrated in the NFL for their passion and football knowledge but cash strapped is cash strapped. The money and populace just aren't there," says Freeman. Again, I agree and disagree. I do think the die-hard Jacksonville Jaguars fans are very underrated because of the ticket problems.  I do not think however, that money is the problem anymore. It's been said time and time again the Jaguars have some of the cheapest tickets in the NFL, and I think the push this season for tickets have helped drive that fact home. I don't think people realized just how cheap the tickets were. You could get a season ticket, albeit in the upperdeck (which is where I sit, I love it), for only $300... for the entire season. I used to mention this to people and the reaction I got was "Really?!"

I think the Jacksonville Jaguars remain in the city of Jacksonville until at the very least the duration for the 2012 season. I say this because of the 30/30 plan the team recently pushed, which allows you to pay for 30 games (3 seasons worth) over the course of 30 months, interest free. After that however... looks dim. Unless the team can continue the momentum of their current push, which I think they will, and carry it into the next season the cries of Los Angeles will continue and get louder.

As it stands at the time of me writing this, there are roughly 11,000  tickets that need to be moved in order to have none of the games in 2010 blacked out. I am also told that the number is actually close to half of that, based on expected group ticket sales. One thing fans need to remember though, this is the blackout number, not the sell-out number. Hitting that mark is an accomplishment, but the team and fans should not be satisfied by hitting it. That is one thing I'm afraid of.

I'm scared the city of Jacksonville is going to be complacent with just hitting the blackout mark, and that's not good enough. As I said, meeting that goal is a huge step, but it's still a baby step in the big picture. Hitting the blackout number this season isn't going to save the franchise, and I fear that's how it will be viewed by a lot of people. Team Teal and Touchdown Jacksonville cannot stop once that number is hit. They have to continue beyond that number. That number is simply "passing", it's not a success. It's a success when getting a season ticket to a game isn't possible. It's a success when you can't get a ticket from the ticket window on Sunday at 12:58 P.M.

Some people think Freeman was piling on, but I think fans are being too sensitive. Yeah, it's annoying to hear it over and over... but there is a reason we hear it over and over. As much as I hate to admit it, the situation is that dire.

The outlook is that grim.

When Vic Ketchman is speaking from the heart about how dire the situation is, it's bad.

Jacksonville Jaguars fans can change that though, and I think they will.

So get angry Jaguars fans. It's not Mike Freeman's fault. It's not Michael Florio's fault. It's our fault. We need to correct that fault. Don't get upset at the people who are pointing out and harping on our fault's, correct the fault. Stop crying about it and fix it. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but turn that anger into helping the team.

The Jaguars need to save the whale, not just rescue it from the beach.