The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Dec. 6-10, 2000.
Wednesday, December 6, 2000
Having two days off like we have had for the past few weeks makes you feel fresh. Two days off is like a little vacation. Although you're at home, you're away from football. I get a chance to spend some time with my family and, with it being the holiday season, I can do a little Christmas shopping. We came into the week knowing Arizona had some problems. They have talent, but we didn't want to give them any firepower. We stressed to jump on these guys fast and maybe they'll fold their tent.
Thursday, December 7, 2000
On film I saw a very talented team, especially on offense. David Boston and Frank Sanders are on that side of the ball and, defensively, they have Simeon Rice and Aeneas Williams. We knew we had to prepare a little harder, because we had never seen this team before. Extra game film helped us out and on Thursday everybody wanted to do some extra studying. Thursday night I went and got my hair braided for Christmas pictures to be taken on Friday. I did a little Christmas shopping and came home.
Friday, December 8, 2000
Friday was a day that was about paying attention to detail. We realized that when we get into the red area we had to make something happen. We went out and had a real good practice on Friday. Guys were flying around, feeling good and I think that when we left the field on Friday we were ready. We always have fun in the locker room and I think we put too much pressure on ourselves early in the year. I'm not saying it's bad to put pressure on yourself, because you need that, but we may have put too much pressure on ourselves early in the season. Now everybody is, like, let's go out and have fun.
Saturday, December 9, 2000
It was back to normal at the McCardell house for the weekend, as everybody came into town for the game. My parents, neighbors and some people from the neighborhood came to the house. It was a crowded house. We had a good time as my mom cooked on Saturday. I left early to go to the hotel, so, I couldn't get any food, but I was waiting on Sunday after the game so I could get some of that home-cooked meal. I also went to my daughter's Christmas program and it was great just to be around family. We also just sat around the house watching college football and talking about what we were getting people for Christmas.
Sunday, December 10, 2000
Getting ready for Sunday's game, I did think about how this was our last home game of the season. I feel bad because we had so many expectations for this team. We felt like we wanted to have homefield advantage for the playoffs and the fans would see us again during the playoffs. Reality had set in that we were not going to be in the playoffs and that this was our last game. We knew we had to come out and give the fans something to think about over the offseason. Let's give them something to go home with, like, that's our Jaguars. Everything we did on Sunday was clicking. On days like that it's fun. It's, like, whoa! We went out, laughing, joking, and just having fun on the field. We would sit on the sidelines and just say this is unbelievable. Every play that was called was working and if it wasn't working we made it work. We were having fun and I think a lot of teams know that and know that we are a real good team. It was also fun to get back there and return punts. I did it in the 1995 season in Cleveland. I got back there and just did my thing. When you are thrust into action, you have to do your thing. I feel, like, every time I touch the ball, I have to make something happen. Reggie Barlow got hurt so I got to get in there, but I hope he's healthy next week. It's a shame we won't be in the playoffs because we are probably playing some of the best football in the league right now. We realize that we have to play good football in December. If you are not playing good football in December, you are at home for the playoffs. It's just unfortunate that we started a little slow and if that would not have happened, a lot of teams would be saying we hope we don't have to match-up with the Jaguars in the playoffs.