How can anyone question Jacksonville as an NFL market?


The folks in Jacksonville are returning to the Jaguars in impressive numbers. Season Ticket sales are good. There may be no mini-packages this year. There may not even be any single game tickets.  In short, the Jaguars are approaching a fan support exceeding the last three years.

Let’s review some things.  In 2006, the Jaguars had a perfect schedule.  Three home games were with teams whose fans travelled well. Dalls, Pittsburgh and the Giants all visited and so did thousands of their fans.  The stadium was so easy to fill that people were encouraged not to sell their tickets to visitors.

In 2007, the schedule wasn’t as promising, but the team was. After stumbling out of the gate, the Jaguars slowly gained momentum and people responded with excitement.

In 2008, the team expected to build off of the previous season and ticket sales were very strong early. That season, the 2008 season, looked more like a Jerry Springirth show than a football team. You couldn’t watch it. On top of it, the seeds of the economic decline were sown and the crash was close and people knew it.

In 2009, with an unemployment rate over 12%, a huge failure in the housing market and uncertainty everywhere, Jacksonville people had choices to make. If the team hadn’t stunk up the field so bad in 2008, the choice of where to conserve would have been tougher, but it wasn’t.  People had to choose and unless they saw something different than 2008, the choice was not the Jaguars.  I don’t blame them. 2008 was as embarrassing an NFL product as you could deliver. Add in the unceremonious release of Fred Taylor and it was over in 2009.

In 2010, unemployment is still at 12%, maybe a smidge below. Housing is still eroding. Uncertainty is still in the air, but people are coming back. They are finding a way to get tickets. The Jaguars reached out and the peole responded. Over 12,000 new season tickets have been sold.

Jacksonville is not a big NFL city. They need twice the percentage of population to buy tickets here than in many other towns. They must overachieve and they do. For the National media to kick a town when it was down, unforgivable.

I never understood the chip this town carried around concerning NFL football. I do now. I embrace the chip. I want players with a chip. I want a unison of the fans and the team to carry this message to the National media… Shut the Hell up, we are here and ready to play some football.  Let’s get this season started.

– Terry O’Brien