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April 7 is the day

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Jennifer from Jacksonville:
I received a postcard from the Jaguars ticket office stating that I had until April 7 to renew my season tickets, but your article states that I have until April 19. Has the deadline been extended or is the date still April 7?

Vic: Yeah, April 7 is, in fact, the deadline for renewing season tickets. The April 19 reference in the story, "Jags defend ticket turf," is the day seat relocation will begin. On that date, the Jaguars will release all non-renewed seats. The released seats will be made available at the season ticket holder relocation event, April 21-23, at which season ticket holders will have the opportunity to improve the location of their seats or add seats to their account.

Mark from Loveland, OH:
Your comments about free agency are dead on. When will the talking heads in the media get it? Which franchises have been the models for emulation over the last five years? Patriots, Steelers, Eagles. Of those teams, name one big-name free agent they signed that worked out. T.O.? Looking further back into league history, I think you will find that except for possibly Reggie White, there are very few big-name free agents that lived up to their contracts. Remember Bryce Paup? Hugh Douglas? Hardy Nickerson? Yet, every year we hear about the winners in free agency. Seems to me the only winners are the players and their agents.

Vic: There are big-money free agents who've performed up to expectations. Reggie Hayward did that last season. I agree with you, however, when you say that big-money free agents return far more regret than satisfaction. I've always believed the deck is stacked against you when you spend top dollar in free agency. If the guy plays lights out you'll get your money's worth, but there are no bargains in expensive free agency; you'll never get more than your money's worth. Free agency is a prime system for player acquisition. There's no avoiding it; all teams have to participate in it to a certain extent. If I was a personnel guy, however, I would definitely be a bargain shopper. I believe firmly in draft and develop. Given the choice between signing a free agent or getting a compensatory draft pick, I'll usually take the draft pick. I think you have a keen mind on this subject. I enjoyed how you represented your opinion.

Rob from Jacksonville:
I did some research and found that the Jaguars receive $620,000 from Alltel a year, making them one of only two teams in the NFL to make less than $1 million a year from stadium naming rights; the other being the Chargers at $900,000 a year from Qualcomm. I also learned Alltel's rights expire next year. Do you believe the Jaguars stand to receive a more lucrative contract from either Alltel or another company?

Vic: The Patriots get more money for the naming rights to the parking lot at Gillette Stadium than the Jaguars get for the naming rights to Alltel Stadium. That's not a joke, that's the truth. That's also the difference between the Boston market and the Jacksonville market. The Alltel deal was cut in 1997. At that time, the Jaguars were a two-year-old franchise that hadn't played a home playoff game, a Monday night game at home or much in the way of anything that provided national exposure. As the Jaguars work on a new naming rights deal, Alltel Stadium is a far more recognized sports venue. It's hosted a Super Bowl. It's hosted NFL playoff games, Monday night games, Sunday night games, an ACC title game and Florida-Georgia games. The Jaguars appear to be in a good cycle and expectations are that the team will remain a playoff contender for the next several years, which is likely to bring more national exposure to Alltel Stadium. Yes, I would expect a new stadium deal to be richer.

John from Jacksonville, FL:
You mentioned Jacksonville has some of the highest TV ratings in the NFL. Why does this city always get mentioned with relocating when you have places such as Miami, Arizona, Atlanta and Carolina whose games never sell out and who have less overall attendance than Jacksonville? Is it the corporate sponsors and/or market size of these other cities that make them untouchable?

Vic: TV ratings are relative to a market's population. New York doesn't get higher TV ratings than Jacksonville because it has more people watching TV. I guarantee you New York has more people watching TV than Jacksonville does. A hundred people watching TV in Jacksonville will probably produce a higher TV rating than a thousand people watching TV in New York because TV ratings are based on a percentage of TV households in that market that are tuned to a particular show. Arizona is a franchise that had been rumored time and again as a relocation candidate, but now they have a new stadium that'll open next season and that takes the Cardinals out of the relocation derby. The Dolphins and Falcons aren't going to move because Miami and Atlanta are big, rich markets. They dwarf Jacksonville in revenue potential. Carolina is a smaller market and hasn't always sold out its games, but the Panthers are grounded by PSL's (permanent seat licenses), which keep the team at the high end of the revenue spectrum. There are two major components that determine a market's viability: population and corporate representation. Jacksonville is at the low end of each and we'll have to wait for each to grow. Jacksonville shouldn't get all worked up because it's not one of the big boys. Just play like one of the big boys; over-achieve. That was always the expectation for Jacksonville. Right from the beginning, it was understood that Jacksonville would have to over-achieve to play in the NFL.

Nathan from Mesa, AZ:
I've been a SoCal guy for most of my 26 years. I even ponder moving to Jacksonville just to see them play at Alltel at least eight times a year, but I would rather watch the Jaguars all season long at "The Beer Hunter" in La Quinta than for them to relocate to LA.

Vic: "The Beer Hunter?" I love it.

Derek from Lehigh, FL:
What is your take on no forcible hitting below the quarterbacks' knees (the Carson Palmer rule)?

Vic: As I said, all they did was lengthen the quarterback's skirt. You know what's going to happen. We all know what's going to happen. In some game next season, on the dramatic final play of the game the quarterback is going to throw incomplete or be intercepted in the end zone and everyone's going to think the game is over, but then we'll see this little yellow flag lying on the ground next to where the quarterback is standing. The official will invoke the "Carson Palmer rule," then TV will show us the replay of a defensive lineman reaching out and tapping the quarterback's big toe. Everyone will cry outrage and accuse the officials of cheating. Will it be the officials' fault? No way. The league adopted another sissy rule this week that will make the game more difficult to be officiated and will, no doubt, cause fans to be more frustrated, and the crazy part is that the "Carson Palmer rule" wouldn't even have been used on the Carson Palmer play.

Zach from Denver, CO:
I don't understand why the Jaguars don't sell tickets to brokers. Selling the tickets means the Jaguars get money whether the tickets get used or not.

Vic: This franchise belongs to Jacksonville. So do the tickets to Jaguars games. I would have a very bad taste in my mouth if the Jaguars started dumping tickets on out-of-town brokers, knowing those tickets wouldn't even be used for 50 percent of the Jaguars' home games next season. It's up to Jaguars fans to buy those tickets.

Charlie from New Smyrna Beach, FL:
I currently have seven season tickets in the 100 level on the 10-yard line. I could probably afford to convert them to, maybe, four club seats. Which way helps the team more? Keeping my seven regular seats and bringing people to each game or purchasing fewer, more expensive club seats?

Vic: What's best for you, Charlie? What gives you more enjoyment? There's something about seven people piling into a van and heading to a game that I like. I get this picture of seven guys, all smoking cigars, riding to the game in a snowstorm. I'm a hopeless romantic.

Tamas from Jacksonville:
Why don't the people of Jacksonville or sportswriters get it? Quarterback is a premium position. It is the representation of your team. It's obvious that if we had a Tom Brady, Mike Vick or even a new hot shot in this year's draft, season ticket sales would be booming. If you would ever sit in the stands, you would hear people screaming put Matt Jones in at quarterback. Of course, that would be an unwise move but Leftwich and Garrard, two mediocre quarterbacks, do not sell tickets. Tell Mr. Weaver to find a stud at QB and watch us flock to the stadium. What else could it be? Pretty boy Mark Brunell filled the stands. Leftwich will never be able to do that.

Vic: When I read a letter such as this, I worry.

Rajesh from Jacksonville:
In your opinion, who is more important in a game of football, players or plays?

Vic: Players, always players.

Nate from Tampa, FL:
I've always liked Bill Cowher as a coach and as a man. I know you worked with him personally, so I was wondering if you have any especially fond memories or good stories to tell?

Vic: I think it was 1994. It was in training camp. In a press conference, Bill Cowher was commenting on the Raiders' use of a kicking tee that was thought to be a violation of the height rule. Cowher said he thought the Raiders may be trying to "circumcise the rule." We giggled and right away Cowher knew something was up. A Jewish reporter spoke up. "Bill, is that a Jewish rule?"

Chris from Crestview, FL:
I assume your QB rankings have Brady at the top, but who do you think are the top five guys in the league?

Vic: 1. Tom Brady, 6. Peyton Manning, 7. Carson Palmer, 8. Trent Green, 9. (tie) Ben Roethlisberger and Jake Delhomme.

Chris from North Branford, CT:
I think the Jaguars' 2006 schedule is hard. How hard do you think it is?

Vic: Barring injuries to key players, it's the most difficult schedule the Jaguars will have ever played. It's the kind of schedule that can define an elite team.

Adam from Jacksonville:
Every year I go to the games with my sister's boyfriend. They recently got married and now she'll be going to the games with him. His seats are in the north end zone which, in my opinion, is definitely the best crowd in the stadium. I am interested in purchasing my own tickets but I noticed on the website that there are no seats available in either end zone. Will seats open after the renewal deadline has passed?

Vic: Your situation has a kind of "my wife ran off with my best friend and I miss him" quality to it. Hang in there. End zone seats may be available after the April 7 deadline.

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