Sunday's game between the Jaguars and the Titans at Alltel Stadium will be blacked out to the Jacksonville TV market. That announcement was made today at one p.m., at which time the game needed to be "sold out" for it to have avoided the blackout.
The Jaguars fell about 6,700 tickets shy of the blackout number. Sunday's game will mark the fourth time in Jaguars history a regular-season game has not been televised to the Jacksonville market. The Cleveland, Buffalo and Kansas City games were blacked out last season. The blackout extends to secondary markets; Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Orlando and Savannah, Ga. will not see the game.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars celebrated the selection of punter Chris Hanson to the AFC Pro Bowl team. He was the only Jaguars player selected, though safety Donovin Darius could make it to Hawaii as a first alternate. Kyle Brady was named third alternate at tight end.
"The coverage team got me there. I'm excited and honored to be able to go there and represent the Jaguars," said Hanson, who leads the AFC in gross and net punting averages.
Hanson presented each of his punt-team members with luggage that was embroidered with "Fourth Down Squad." And Hanson's snapper, Joe Zelenka, will use that piece of luggage when Zelenka and his wife accompany Hanson and his wife, Kasey, to Hawaii for the game, compliments of the Hansons.
For wide receiver Jimmy Smith, it marked the end of a five-year Pro-Bowl streak. "I don't have the numbers to go this year. Playing receiver, you have to have the numbers. You have to keep up with the pack," Smith said.
Meanwhile, coach Tom Coughlin's focus was on the Titans and remaining hope of avoiding the team's third consecutive losing season.
"It would be very important for us to keep that hope alive to be a .500 team," Coughlin said of the Jaguars' quest to finish 8-8.
"Yesterday was a very good practice. The intensity level was good. I spoke to that this morning and I said we need to do that again today," Coughlin said.
Sunday's blackout was the topic of interest at today's press conference. The Jaguars' declining attendance figures have left the media wondering what needs to happen for fans to re-discover their interest in the Jaguars.
"I know the players and I are very much aware of the size of the crowd and the enthusiasm and effort put forth by the crowd," Coughlin said. When asked if he believes declining attendance would be a consideration in his future as Jaguars coach, Coughlin added: "I don't think that will be part of the decision."
It's important to note that declining attendance and blackouts are not restricted to Jacksonville. Indianapolis' game against the visiting Giants this Sunday had approximately 1,500 tickets for sale this morning, for a 56,000-seat stadium, despite the Colts' 9-5 record and the fact they are playing for the AFC South title and the number one position for the AFC playoffs.
"I don't know what to make of that," Coughlin said of the Indianapolis situation.
In an attempt to reach out to Jacksonville fans last winter and spring, Coughlin, owner Wayne Weaver and Coughlin's assistant coaches spoke at community gatherings, "talking to people about our (salary) cap, our intentions," Coughlin said.