Do They Really Want It in Jacksonville?

Walking into Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Sunday had somewhat of an ominous feeling. All the signs for a let down game for the Jaguars were evident. As we all know, the Jaguars took care of business and won the football game over the Houston Texans, 23-18, and are now 5-1 at home on the season.

Upon the arrival to my seat in the press box, I realized what the ominous feeling I was having was: no one was at the game to see it. The picture shown here is one I took with my cell phone from my seat in the box literally right before kick off. The reported ticket distributed count was 42,079, which is a franchise low.

Think about that for a second.

The Jaguars entered Sunday in the thick of the playoff hunt against another team who is in the playoff mix and a division rival... and the Jacksonville Jaguars pull in a record low in ticket sales. Many will list the 42,079 as the "attendance", but the talk is the turnstil count was just at or below 36,000 which is frankly embarrassing.

As a Jaguars fan, I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed as a Jacksonville resident. I'm embarrassed as a Jacksonville native, and I'm embarrassed to even cover the team. Quite frankly, all of Jacksonville should be embarrassed. I'm not going to rattle off the list of why people should go to the game or how cheap the tickets are, that dead horse has been beaten over and over again.

I understand some people cannot afford it, and that's a legitimate excuse. Excuse yourself from this rant, please. Also if you were one of the few and proud in attendance, you're certainly excused. However, too often in Jacksonville you hear a plethora of excuses as to why people won't go to the game or what will convince them to buy a ticket, which is frankly bogus. If a National Football League team in your city has to run a gimmick or convince you to come to the game and support the team, you don't deserve it. That's minor league baseball stuff. I understand the economy is tough. I understand the Jaguars are not the only team with black out issues, believe you me, I tell national media that until I am blue in the face. As mentioned previously on JagNation.com, with the progress being made on a stadium in Los Angeles and the NFL commissioner hinting at wanting to expand the NFL internationally, it's becoming terrifying, and I fear the people of Jacksonville don't know what they're missing.

How does the song go? "You don't know what you've got, 'till it's gone." All apologies to the band Cinderella.

It's looking more and more apparent that Jacksonville is going to screw this up. Mark my words: If the NFL leaves Jacksonville, Florida, it is never coming back. Sure, it looks like the Thursday night game on NFL Network against the Indianapolis Colts will not be blacked out, but how satisfying is that if you know that it's only not blacked out because corporations bought blocks upon blocks of tickets to give away? Jacksonville is the butt of national jokes and labeled as a town that can't or doesn't want to support the NFL. As of right now, the people of Jacksonville are making those jokes a reality.

Like I said, it's embarrassing right now to be a Jacksonville Jaguars fan, and quite frankly it's sad and pathetic. It's a young football team with emerging young stars in the thick of the playoff hunt during a "rebuilding" season. What more could you possibly ask for?

I'm not telling you, or even asking you to buy tickets. I'm telling you that if you don't, the closest thing you'll have to NFL football will be the new Arena League football team... if that even lasts.


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