In a normal year, this juncture in the offseason is usually associated with boredom and the constant, mind-numbing musings that slightly change the order of draft projections on millions of speculative mock drafts across the country. However, this year is far, far from the norm. While draft boards are still shuffling to the sound of Mel Kiper’s smug droning, there is a palpable anxiety in the air surrounding the NFL.
Will there be a season in 2011? If so will it be complete? Will new (and in my opinion, ridiculous and reactionary) rules forever alter America’s game? Will a new Collective Bargaining Agreement see the end of preposterous salaries for unproven rookies, and possibly a better penchant and health care plan for veterans and alumni of the NFL?
The coming weeks and months are filled with uncertainty, and all we can do as fans is wait and hope. Extraordinary wealth and overly large egos are clouding a sport that sprouted from such humble beginnings, and an incomplete season could have far reaching effects of the entire NFL. However, I remain optimistic that an agreement will be reached before the preseason begins. After all, there is far too much fortune to be lost; especially for a league so infected with greed.
But even with an opinion of mankind as jaded as my own, I must acknowledge the extraordinary efforts that the Jaguar organization are putting into keep the fans informed, involved, and in love with their team. Team Teal events, An Evening with the Coaches, and the Draft Day Party at the St. John’s Town Center are all events put on not only to entertain the fans, but also to build an unbreakable bond between the town and our team. Wayne Weaver has remained steadfast in his dedication to keeping his team in the city he so adamantly loves.
I, along with about 550 other people, was fortunate enough to attend the Jaguars’ Evening with the Coaches event last night, and I must say that I truly enjoyed the opportunity to watch film as the coaches broke down and explained the nuances of the game to the fans. Terry McDonough was the first to speak, and highlighted the successes of the first two drafts of the Gene Smith Era. All fifteen players selected in 2009 and 2010 are still involved with the team (100% ain’t too shabby in my book). Of those fifteen, seven of those players have been starters. And even more interesting is the fact that just under half of the draftees came from schools that were not Division I, which speaks to the thorough job our college scouts have been doing.