This time last year, things were probably the bleakest they had ever been for the Jaguars. Coming off a disastrous 2008 season, disgruntled season ticket holders exited en mass and it was thought every game in 2009 would be blacked out. The national publications drummed up the "LA Jags" rhetoric, the stands were half full, and it seemed the dream of Pro Football in Northeast Florida was dead.
However, there seemed to be a light of hope for the team. Fans and pundits came out of the woodwork to proclaim then UF QB Tim Tebow as the savior of the franchise. All year people said that if the Jaguars drafted Tebow, he would bring ticket holders with him. They said to forget all of the issues regarding a transition to the NFL, just because he was on the roster, he would sell out the stadium.
Others were quick to call their bluff. Would they buy a Jags hat or a Tebow jersey? Sure. But would there be a mass influx of Gators who were willing to invest in season tickets? No.
Fast forward to April. Team Teal was in the middle of the greatest ticket sales push in NFL history, but because tickets remained, many still felt Tebow was the obvious pick. Instead, the Jaguars came out of left field by taking Tyson Alualu, while the Denver Broncos traded back into the first round to take Tebow.
The next morning, every local radio pundit was saying it was the deathblow to the franchise and stories of fans throwing away their Jags attire were rampant.
Over the following months, it has become clear the Jaguars were better off without Tebow. Team Teal has brought the team back from the brink and has them on the path to keep the team in Jacksonville. Meanwhile, it's become obvious Tebow will be Kyle Orton's backup in Denver.
All of those Gator fans in the stand wouldn't appreciate seeing Tebow on the bench while the Jaguars started David Garrard. It would only have created more of the internal strife that racked the fanbase during the Leftwich/Garrard debates.
In addition, it's become clear all of those Gator fans were bluffing. The Jags have made it quite clear that if you want a ticket to the Denver game, you'll only get it as a season ticket or half pack. If Gator fans were truly so enamored with Tim, they should be flying off the shelves. That has not been the case. The "Teal" pack that includes the Denver game has been selling far less than it's "Gold" counterpart.
The excuse makers have said that it's not fair to expect them to have to pay for 5 games when they only want to see 1. However, was it fair to attempt to hold a struggling franchise hostage and then throwing a temper tantrum when you didn't get your way?
Despite ESPN's infatuation with him, it's become clear that Tebow isn't that big of a draw in the NFL. Maybe one day he'll be a big time NFL QB. However, he was never cut out to be a franchise savior in Jacksonville. He wouldn't have had the time to develop. He would've been given an insane level of expectations. Most importantly, it appears he really wouldn't have brought all of those Gator fans with him to Jacksonville.