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Fisher restores order, calm

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Phil from Jacksonville:
Has there ever been the thought of a pro team playing in a college stadium, like the Jags in "The Swamp?"

Vic: That was common practice years ago, but those days are gone. The Eagles played at Penn's Franklin Field, the Saints played at Tulane Stadium, the Steelers played at Pitt Stadium and the Giants even played at the Yale Bowl while Giants Stadium was being built. The Cardinals played at Arizona State for several years, the Titans played at Vanderbilt for a year as the Titans' stadium was being built, and the Seahawks did the same at Husky Stadium when the Kingdome fell into disrepair and new stadium construction was in progress. College stadiums just aren't NFL-caliber. The real shame is that they built that beautiful, new stadium in Minneapolis for the University of Minnesota, but didn't find a way to make it work for the Vikings, too. That's a terrible waste of money, in my opinion. In the big cities that have college and pro teams, one stadium should be made to work for both teams.

Sean from St. Johns, FL:
Do you think the reason there have been so few Jaguars injuries is because the team is so young?

Vic: Yes.

Nate from Macclenny, FL:
There's a small debate on the "Message Board" concerning the "Pride of the Jaguars" and I was wondering if you could put your two cents in. The question is: Who gets in next, Fred Taylor, or Mark Brunell?

Vic: I shouldn't answer that question because I'm on the selection committee, I think.

Gabe from Jacksonville:
Doesn't the scheduling rotation result in a temporary boost in ticket sales? Scheduling the NFC East or Pittsburgh or Green Bay tends to result in higher ticket sales than having the NFC West or the NFC South in the rotation. Wouldn't a ticket-sale spike based on the schedule result in a false sense of recovery?

Vic: Yes, it would, and that's exactly what happened in 2006 when the Jaguars had the Cowboys, Steelers, Jets, Giants and Patriots on the home schedule. Those games produced a sold-out season and a small waiting list, but both quickly evaporated the following season. We can't count on fans of other teams to fill our stadium, just as we can't count on winning to do the same because neither is a constant. Tom Coughlin used to say it all the time: "Why do our fans want to come to see the other team? They should come to see our team play." I absolutely agree.

Alex from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I recently heard on the radio that the mayor estimates the Jaguars account for roughly $200 million worth to the local economy, annually. This supposedly includes the income the team generates for local businesses, such as restaurants, bars and hotels, and large corporations that have set up shop here in town. The funny part is the economy seems to be such a popular excuse for lack of ticket sales right now. The Jaguars hold the local economy together, but the local economy is the reason people won't buy tickets to see the Jaguars. If this is true, Jacksonville literally cannot afford to lose the Jaguars. The irony is almost too much to take. I really don't think people understand how much the team means to this city.

Vic: Yeah, but buying tickets to a Jaguars game is not a civic obligation. You do it because you want to do it. The Jaguars need to find 67,000 people who want to do it for every game.

Jamison from Jacksonville:
Seeing as how in this day and age the NFL seems to be more of a chess game than anything else, why would Jeff Fisher announce that Vince Young is going to start three days before the game? Smells fishy to me.

Vic: He did it because not doing it wouldn't fool anyone and it was more important to restore order and calm within his own team, which the announcement should've accomplished.

Tom from Jacksonville:
You think it takes courage to cross a picket line?

Vic: I absolutely think it does. I grew up in a union town. Nobody crossed the picket line. If you did, something bad was likely to happen to you. As it pertains to football, I covered the 1974, '82 and '87 strikes/pickets and I can tell you that a lot of players that crossed picket lines created a lot of ill feelings toward them, among players on other teams and on their own teams, too. Football is a physical game. Do you think it takes courage to do something that makes everyone want to hit you a little harder? What would your emotions be if you came to the line of scrimmage and guys on the other team started yelling, "Get the scab?"

Kenneth from Atlantic Beach, FL:
It appears every college now has the QB stand and look to the sideline for a new play. Does this hinder their development by not having to read the defenses themselves?

Vic: I don't know if it hinders their development, but it sure hinders my enjoyment of the game. It's really difficult to watch and there have been several occasions when I have said "screw this" and I've turned to another game. I don't like to be fooled into thinking the play is going to start. The national title game last season between Florida and Oklahoma was painful to watch. Oklahoma is especially maddening.

Nick from New York, NY:
Well it's semi-official, Vic. The recession is finally over after GDP expanded last quarter, and that means 65,000 people at JMS next week and uncovered seats next season.

Vic: There goes the "it's the economy, stupid" excuse.

A.J. from Montreal, PQ:
A quick look at the standings would seem to reveal that almost all the top teams have a pass-heavy offense. Considering the way the league has steadily promoted and encouraged the passing game through rules changes, do you think there will be a time when the running game will go the way of the dodo?

Vic: It may, but I think there's certainly room in today's game for the run, in fact, I think the Vikings lost a game last Sunday because they didn't run the ball enough, but the fans want wide-open football and the league has done everything in its power to promote the wide-open game by making it easier than ever before to throw the football. That trend is likely to continue because pro football is about the money.

Morrie from Tybee Island, GA:
Ticket sales will accompany winning by the Jags. It's entertainment dollars, not alimony payment due. When the Jaguars continue to do good, so will ticket sales and stadium sellouts.

Vic: Yeah, but if that's what it's going to take to fill the place, then it won't work because winning isn't guaranteed. In fact, the only guarantee in the NFL is that all teams go through losing cycles. The strong franchises are the ones that sell out in losing seasons. Ticket sales in down cycles define the fan base.

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