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Goodell stumps for Jags


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was one of the supervisors of expansion when Jacksonville was awarded its franchise in 1993, challenged Jaguars fans during a press conference on Monday to prove that last year's TV blackouts were a fluke.

"If it's a one-year blip due to a perfect storm, then this is a great opportunity to demonstrate that," Goodell said in response to a reporter's claim that a bad economy and a team in rebuilding conspired to create a one-year problem that has been exaggerated by the national media.

"We want the team to be successful and we want it to be here. We just want it to play in front of sold-out audiences," Goodell added.

The commissioner was in Jacksonville Monday morning to speak to a gathering of more than 200 local business leaders. The intent of the address was clearly to assist Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver in his attempt to sell tickets.

"We're now in the red zone with our ticket drive," Weaver said. "We need to sell another 4,500-5,000 to get there. I'm optimistic we're going to get there and erase the word blackout in our community."

Jacksonville's seven blackouts topped the league in that category last year. It took a civic-minded ticket drive spearheaded by Mayor John Peyton to avoid an eighth blackout for a nationally-televised game against the Indianapolis Colts in what was the final home game of the season for the Jaguars.

"I know how important this franchise is to this community. We still have a ways to go and we have to get there," Goodell said.

Asked if sellouts would guarantee the team will remain in Jacksonville, Goodell added: "I think this team is going to continue to be successful here.

"I believe they will support the team. The team wants to see a full stadium, the players want to see a full stadium, the league wants to see a full stadium and I think the community wants to see a full stadium," he said.

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