When you turn on your TV Monday night and "Chuckie" and "Jaws" magically appear, please take a moment to thank Tony Boselli and the "Team Teal" crowd. Had it not been for them, you wouldn't be seeing this game, nor is it likely you'd be seeing many of the Jaguars' home games this season.
Boselli, the greatest player in Jaguars history, as so designated by the team's ring of honor, awakened at 5:30 this morning to head out into that community and spend another day looking for places he could sell what's left of the team's general-bowl tickets for Monday's critically-important game against the Titans.
How many you got left, Tony?
"I don't know. I haven't called in to get a total, yet," he said.
So, you gonna make it?
"I think we'll get there and I hope we'll get there by the end of the day so we don't have to get an extension. I think it could be a great crowd. I know we've gone later into the week, but I really think it'll be a great crowd on Monday night," Boselli answered.
If you haven't figured it out by now, Boselli is more than just bullish on Jacksonville. He's also the town's best apologist. The place can do no wrong, in Boselli's eyes.
A more objective analysis of the situation would point to the fact the Jaguars are on a two-game winning streak, the Gators are on a two-game losing streak, the Jaguars have scored 31 or more points in each of their last two games, their quarterback is hot, they're being led on defense by a true star pass-rusher, and they could be playing for the outright division lead. Despite all of that, the team is still struggling to sell tickets and, even though Boselli expects to sell enough tickets to lift the blackout, the game almost certainly won't be sold out, again.
To all of that, Boselli says: "We're up 44 percent and the rest of the league is down five percent."
Hey, Tony, this is deadline day. Should it really be taking this long? What's the problem?
"I don't think it's a problem," he said. "I think it's still tough out there for people. The more this team wins, the more confidence there'll be in the fans. I think people love the Jaguars but it's still tough for families."
Boselli is the counter to the anti-Jacksonville sentiments coursing through the national media. It angers Boselli that the national media is "banging" on Jacksonville, to use his word.
Why are they bangin' on Jax, Tony?
"Small market, easy target and last year, when we led the league in blackouts, it was combined with Ed Roski trying to bring a team to Los Angeles," he said.
All right, so after you sell the rest of the tickets you need to sell to get this one on TV, what has to be done to further root the Jaguars in Jacksonville? I mean, it's gotta get easier than this, right? You can't keep going down to the wire for every game.
Boselli said the Jaguars need three things.
- "We need to continue down the path we started this past offseason; how we reconnected the franchise and the fan base. We're reminding everyone that we're all in this together."
- "Build a team that every year has a chance to win. You have to build a championship organization. You do that by having a good front office and picking good players more often than not: the Colts, the Steelers, the Giants. You're not in the playoffs every year but you're in the conversation."
- "We need time. We've been here for one generation. We probably need another generation.
"You do those three things, I think you secure this franchise," Boselli said.
Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Titans.
1. Win the physical confrontation—Before you can do anything else, you have to do this.
2. Then run the ball—It's what the Titans respect and fear.
3. Stop the run—They can't win if they can't run. They know it.
4. Make him be a passer—Vince Young won't beat you with his arm, but he will beat you with his legs.
5. Win at quarterback—David Garrard must claim victory over his counterpart.
6. Tackle—Missed tackles won't work in many games and they absolutely won't work in this one.
7. Deny big plays—The Titans make them. They've got a kickoff return for a touchdown, a 56-yard catch for a touchdown and a 76-yard run for a touchdown. They also have catches and runs of 52 and 54 yards respectively.
8. Make big plays—The Jaguars' longest pass play is 27 yards and their longest run, 33 yards, was made by a wide receiver.
9. Feed off the crowd—There'll be plenty of energy in EverBank Field on Monday.
10. Seize the moment—This is this team's chance to be a division title contender. This is why you lift all those weights.