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Habit must be broken

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

Josie from Jacksonville:
Have you asked Quentin Groves personally whether he went down on purpose? As a respectable journalist, I think you should do that, really, to clear it up for the fans and all.

Vic: Boy, am I stupid.

Sean from St. Johns, FL:
In your opinion, is it time to stop replay reviews?

Vic: You can't do that now; it's too late. I was against replay from the beginning because I thought it would drive us nuts, which is exactly what it's doing, but you can't junk the system now because we've completely lost our ability to accept that a mistake was made and live with it. I give baseball a lot of credit. They're doing it the right way.

Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
While every indication would be that the "Ask Vic" demographic runs young and old, far and wide, I believe the majority of your readers would agree the most popular Michael Anthony was the bass-guitar player for Van Halen.

Vic: Who?

Jason from Jacksonville:
And why is the carpet all wet, Todd?

Vic: I don't know, Margo.

Phyllis from Jacksonville:
Listening to the "Jaguars This Week" radio show, it sounded as though you don't think the economy is the reason for the empty seats. So what is the reason?

Vic: I will agree the economy has hurt sales, as it has in a lot of places, but that's not the major problem in Jacksonville because I have no doubt that in a 1.3-million market there are enough gainfully-employed people to fill a football stadium. In my opinion, and I've stated this several times, the big problem in Jacksonville is that a habit exists for watching football on TV at home. Allow me to explain: When I was a kid, we never saw a home game on television, ever, because all home games were blacked out, period. If you wanted to see your team play a home game, you had to buy a ticket and go to the game. Thus, the habit of attending games at home was created, long before the 1973 Act of Congress was passed that required games that were sold out 72 hours in advance of kickoff to be shown on local television. Jacksonville didn't acquire an NFL team until long after the '73 Act of Congress had been passed, therefore, Jaguars fans were never forced to attend home games to see them, provided other fans bought the tickets. What was lost was the concept of a "hot" ticket. The idea of having to fight to get a ticket to a game has never existed in Jacksonville because it has never been a case of buy a ticket or else, until now. Now the habit is being broken.

Cedrick from Jacksonville:
Why is it teams can't make adjustments until halftime? Last weekend, the Jets didn't move Revis to cover Sims-Walker exclusively until halftime, but common sense would say it doesn't take much to tell one guy to follow the receiver wherever he goes.

Vic: I don't think that decision was made until Mike Sims-Walker torched Dwight Lowery for a 26-yard touchdown with 2:44 to play in the first half. It was the last true offensive play of the first half for the Jaguars. The Jets could've made that switch on the fly, so to speak; they wouldn't have had to wait until halftime. Other scheme changes, ones that involve a coordination of coverage, require a halftime to address.

Eric from Jacksonville:
What's the "around the world" rule?

Vic: It was a rule that, in theory, extended the goal line around the world. The wording of the rule provided that a player could, in fact, score a touchdown by breaking the plane of the goal outside the pylons. I don't know to what degree the wording of the rule has been changed, but the rule has been changed so that the ball must pass over or inside the pylons.

Jim from Medford, NJ:
How should I respond when my Eagles fan roommate and Redskins fan roommate complain because their team's website doesn't have a column as great as yours?

Vic: Tell them to come to "Ask Vic" because this is a non-denominational football column that accepts fans of all teams.

Collin from Tampa, FL:
I thought Chad Henne looked much better when he was allowed to get comfortable and wasn't brought out every other play to run the "Wildcat." Could the injury to Ronnie Brown be the best thing to happen for Henne's development?

Vic: You don't want to say that. Brown is a very talented player Henne needs behind him. Look, the "Wildcat" is dead league-wide. I just read an article about how the "Wildcat" is failing everywhere in the NFL except in Miami. Maybe the Dolphins should call it the "Brown" instead of the "Wildcat," because it would seem that it's Brown who makes it go. Yes, Henne needs to be developed as a full-time quarterback. He needs to take ownership of the Dolphins offense and the "Wildcat" threatens that proprietorship. The sooner Henne becomes "The Man," the sooner the Dolphins will become a legitimate postseason threat.

Keith from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The Jags go on the road and get a win to keep the season alive. They have over-achieved in the estimation of many. They play entertaining football. The fans are outraged because the games get blacked out and despite the fact the Jags are a good product, they can't sell out. Does the fact the Gators have been so dominant place unrealistic expectations for season after season of undefeated football on the Jags? Do you think the Jags might gain ticket-buying fans if the Gators were just another football team?

Vic: I think pro football has existed long enough in Jacksonville for the fans to understand that it's a different game from college football and should not be held to the same standards. Hey, any idiot should be able to look at Florida's opponent this week and understand the difference between college and pro football. I would agree that if the Gators started losing and the Jaguars started winning the tables would turn a little bit, but not much. The Gators are no more a threat to the Jaguars than Ohio State is to the Browns or Bengals, or Penn State is to the Eagles or Steelers, or Notre Dame is to the Bears, etc. In fact, most people believe college football breeds pro football fans because those kids leave college some day and move to the city. All forms of football are good for all levels of the game because they cross-promote. I acknowledge that the entertainment dollar can get stretched and people have to make decisions based on money, but that shouldn't be a factor in Jacksonville because there just aren't that many Gator season-ticket holders from Jacksonville. It's the state's team. Trust me, if you took all of the Gator season-ticket holders from Jacksonville and put them in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, they wouldn't fill much more than the club seats.

Thomas from Cambridge, MA:
No "Jaguars this Week" on the site? I'm disappointed; you guys put on a great show. Oh, well, I should probably be studying for my physics test anyway.

Vic: Yes, you should. You see, this is what happened to me. I, too, was a physics major, but I became distracted early in my pursuit and had to switch my major to sportswriting.

Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Wouldn't removing helmets and/or facemasks be good for offensive productivity, too? Receivers crossing the middle of the field will stand a better chance of hanging onto the ball and staying on their feet.

Vic: It worked for Tommy McDonald.

Sean from Jacksonville:
I saw on TV a Browns fan at the Browns-Ravens game holding a sign that read, "Rebuilding since 1964." It made me laugh. Was he bitter or joking? Who knows, maybe both, but what I do know is that he was a fan at the game.

Vic: They've had some good years since they last won a championship in 1964; it hasn't all been rebuilding. They were "The Drive" and "The Fumble" away from the Super Bowl in the late-'80's.

David from Jacksonville:
I have a question about tickets sales demographics. What category of customer stopped buying tickets to Jaguars games? 1.) working class; 2.) upper class/rich; 3.) corporate. I 'd really like to know.

Vic: I'm a Democrat who likes to blame everything on the rich, but I can't hang this one on them. The blame belongs to us on this one because it's the general bowl seats, the cheap seats, so to speak, that are causing the blackouts.

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