I can’t help but think how much has changed in the Jacksonville Jaguars over the last two months. The Jaguars have been very active and it is hard to take it all in unless you step back and consider it all.
There are two things working against him. The first is attendance. Wayne can’t make money with attendance at 45,000. This is a money losing proposition. We know this. There will be a series of cost cutting measures to attempt to operate as low as possible, but not below a feasible amount.
The second is the end of the collective bargaining agreement. This works against Wayne, not from a player salary perspective but from a revenue sharing arrangement. The subsidies from the rich teams to the poor teams will end in the near future. Wayne will have to depend entirely on television revenue and us. No help from Dallas and Washington is coming. We are it and where he is placing his bets.
So how did Wayne respond to this? With more vigor and energy and boldness than I imagined. I know why he is successful, he is decisive. First he announces that Jacksonville is not an “average” team or town. We will not stay at the bottom. He used the word accountability a lot and called himself out for not leading.
Second, he conducted a complete review of the organization top to bottom. Soon after his review we had three new coaches. The coaches leaving were not coaches Jack Del Rio wanted to see go. New guys are here and understand winning is an accountability. I think Wayne has every member of his organizations attention now. Do you think anyone isn’t alert to 2010?
Then he challenged Jack and Gene to define this team. We will be a one-gap attacking defense with a dedication to the run. We are going back to Jaguar football. Everyone get on board. In the Gospel, Paul wrote the best management sentence I ever heard, ”For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Cor. 14:8.) I think the trumpet is giving a clear sound now.
New ticket prices are announced. If you want a Jaguar ticket, they are as close to free as you can get. Come and watch the Jaguars.
Finally, he put everyone on notice he is on the watch and expects results. He expects us to fill the stadium and he expects Gene to bring the players and he expects Jack and his new team to win. All of these must come together next year. When we fill the stadium, the team must respond and put on a good show.
All of this was done with LA waiting in the wings waving big dollars.
In short, Wayne could have taken the easy way out. He didn’t. He is placing a huge bet on his management team and us. The odds are not in his favor. My guess is he has been here before and knows what he is doing. The odds don’t matter, the feeling of success and doing something well inspires him. The feeling that he helped make things right for others is powerful. Wayne is betting on us because he believes in people and believes in the people of this city. That is how I read it.
A lot has changed already. This will be a different team in 2010. I just hope Torry Holt returns one more time! (Sorry, I had to add that)
- Terry O’Brien