JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it...
Michael from Jacksonville:
Time and time again, Mr. Khan has proven his commitment to Jacksonville, the Jaguars and the fans. The new stadium upgrades look amazing. What kind of timeframe has been laid out for completion?
John: Construction on the proposed upgrades is scheduled to begin following the 2013 season and the upgrades are expected to be in place in time for the 2014 preseason.
Dave from Section 410 and Jacksonville:
You don't have to explain why the Jags don't want Russell and Young. The amount of time they have been on the market validates your analysis. In fact, that explanation should be used for all other ridiculous discards that people say we should get. Keep it that short.
Tim from Jacksonville:
Exciting news, but short on details about the north end zone. Is this going to be an exclusive area like the Terrace Suite, or more of a general area like the Bud Zone? Also, I don't get the idea behind the pools. Are people going to swim laps instead of watch the game? Or are these more like little splash pools that you just walk through, kinda like the ones the kids love at Disney World?
John: The city and the team agreed to the enhancements, and such agreements take time and planning. In this case, they also took pretty intense negotiations. That’s a lot to be decided, and the Jaguars and the city announced what was decided pretty quickly after the decisions were made. What I’m getting at – and I will get to it – is that they only now have determined to do this. The next step for the Jaguars will be to determine a lot of the things about which you’re asking in terms of access, the exactness of the fan viewing sections, etc. The full details of all of these things will come soon. But will there be swimming? Oh yes, there will be swimming. And will there be Speedos? Well, we can dream, can’t we?
Kevin from Richland, WA:
The people of Jacksonville need only read about the total dismantling of the Sonics franchise by the raiders from Oklahoma to truly understand how a person goes about fleecing another town out of its franchise. Mr. Khan is doing amazing things for the city of Jacksonville and the Jaguar faithful need to get behind him. His commitment to the city and Jaguars fans is very evident, even 3,000 miles away. My advice is for people to get on the bandwagon now and ride it all the way to the Super Bowl!
John: Well put.
James from Orange Park, FL:
With everything Mr. Khan brings to our city, it cannot be overstated how fortunate we are to have this man be the owner of the Jaguars, and not the Rams. Thank you, Mr. Khan. Sincerely, thank you.
John: I have nothing to add to this...
Dustin from Jacksonville:
"People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do." -- Lewis Cass. There have been many, many people choosing to believe Shad has plans to abandon Jacksonville and move the team to London. I'm not so sure the city would invest $43 million into the stadium if they had reservations about the Jags sticking around. And I seriously doubt Shad would be coughing up $20 million of his own cash, plus the likelihood of more when the upgrades run over budget, if he was looking to abandon ship. Shad Khan is as committed to Jacksonville as Wayne and Dolores Weaver were. He's done his part, now it's on the fans to do theirs.
John: ...or to this.
Shannon from Brunswick, GA:
This is more a statement than a question. It amazes me after watching the press conference and reading the articles on the website about the GREAT news of the stadium enhancements that there are still people who call themselves fans saying that all of this is a smokescreen and that Mr. Khan is going to move the team to London! Here is my question. What will it take for these people to believe that he is not moving the team, John?
John: The best way to answer this may be to say it doesn’t really matter if they believe it or not. That’s not to be snide, snarky or cynical, but all Shad Khan has done since buying the team is invest in the team, EverBank Field and state clearly that he is committed to Jacksonville. He is not going to say that London is unimportant because London is indeed important for this franchise, but that doesn’t mean Jacksonville isn’t important. There are always going to be cynics, non-believers and worriers. If they don’t believe Khan by now, they may not ever, but as he said Thursday, “Actions speak louder than words.” Khan has acted, and there are no signs that he won’t continue to act. That’s really all that matters.
Brooks from West Palm Beach, FL:
Given the recent disputes between NFL teams and cities regarding funding for stadium renovations (e.g., Miami Dolphins), I find it refreshing the Jaguars franchise and Jacksonville were able to come to terms regarding cost-sharing for the new video boards and other renovations in such a short time frame. What do you attribute such a quick agreement to? The city’s commitment to Khan and the Jaguars franchise? The expectation that the downtown area will benefit economically from hosting bigger and better events? Or Khan’s legendary moustache? I am betting on the moustache.
John: I like your theory, but it probably has more to do with two sides seeing something that was difficult, but necessary and beneficial to each side at the same time. Khan and the Jaguars are trying to revitalize the franchise and take it in a new direction. Part of that direction is the London initiative and the other part is the in-stadium experience at EverBank Field. Khan clearly believed the video boards and the other enhancements critical to that, and the city clearly believes the direction of Khan and the Jaguars is critical to the city. The Jaguars are important to Jacksonville and Khan has made it clear that making it work in Jacksonville is important to him. When things are important to two parties, it’s possible to get difficult things done.
Mike from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Hi, John. Just wondering if you've purchased your Jaguar spotted thong yet for the new stadium swimming pool.
John: I just don’t understand people’s questions sometimes. Why would you “purchase” something you already have a drawer full of?
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
Shad is committed to Jacksonville on some level, but the $15 million per year in upgrades you cite as evidence of that commitment represents about 1.5 percent of the additional money the franchise would be worth in Los Angeles or London. Even if he spends $100 million on upgrades over the next five or six years and ultimately enjoys an additional 900 percent profit, that’s still good business. Maybe he already has enough money he doesn’t care about future gains, but most would agree that we really won’t know for sure until either of those market-size ready for a franchise, and that everything in the interim is speculation.
John: Sure, Scott. Everything is speculation. By that logic, very little in life that deals with the future isn’t speculation. There are few guarantees. By that logic, too, there are very few teams that wouldn’t want to move to Los Angeles or London. For all of the teams and fans in those markets, everything in the interim will be speculation. None of those markets has a big video board or a pool, at least not in the stadium.
Dane from Jacksonville:
If you wrote for a quilting forum you could call it the Sew-Zone!
John: Ah, sew I could.
Mikey from Tallahassee, FL:
Regarding Gratz wearing 27, I thought the same thing when Joeckel started wearing 76. I immediately remembered Big Rich. I hope I wasn't the only one.
I feel you. Imagine my surprise when they let Cameron Bradfield
wear No. 78. What in the name of Greg Huntington were they thinking? You can’t do that to The Mangler.
Brian from Staten Island, NY:
John, how do you manage to stay in such excellent shape?
John: I’ll be honest. It’s not easy.
Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL:
And if you were the lead stooge, you could call it the Moe-zone.
John: And if I was Moses Malone, I could call it the Fo-fo-fo-zone.
Gator Section, My Couch from Gainesville:
Best game day experience at the Stadium? I don't think so, I can sit in my air conditioned trailer and watch the back up ride the bench in NE (should be starting of course) from the comfort of my couch. World largest scoreboard? Could have had the Worlds best QB too! The City wouldn't have had to pay, if He was our QB we would have sold every seat and paid for it ourselves. What is Khan thinking?
John: Not that this even needs to be said, but “Gator Section, My Couch from Gainesville” is my favorite emailer.
Tym from the Southside:
When you ask your wife to read your column, does she just say, "No-Zone?" Or after begrudgingly reading the first question/answer pair, does she say, "John, you've hit an all-time Low-Zone?"
John: I spend a lot of time in the “No-Zone,” and it has nothing to with my column.
James from Orange Park, FL:
If you were bobsled racer Lolo Jones, you could call it the Lo-Zone. If you were a teenager, you could call it the YOLO-Zone. If you were single, you could call it the SOLO-Zone. But you are John Oehser, so it's called the O-Zone.
John from St. Augustine, FL:
If your name was John Oehser, you could call it the O-Zone. Wait...
John: ...that’s a wrap.