Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Paul from St. Augustine, FL:
If the NFL goes to an 18-game regular season, teams lose two practice games and evaluation time. Will we see a longer training camp?
Vic: It would be my expectation that an 18-game regular season would require a re-make of the whole offseason training philosophy. I think we would see a change in the spring practice schedule and the training camp regimen would likely be revisited, too. With a new CBA, I would expect a lot of changes.
Chris from Jacksonville:
You finished your answer to Andy from Jacksonville with "the record book will become increasingly meaningless." Do you think that will mean Hall of Fame induction will become as meaningless, since it seems that holding a record tends to favor one's election into the Hall?
Vic: The Hall of Fame will never lose its meaning or value. It's the place where we honor the legends of the game and that will never change. Statistics are to be used responsibly in judging player accomplishments, and that's exactly what the Hall of Fame selection committee does. The members of that committee fight for their favorites. It's not just a matter of here's the stats, now vote. Great discourse precedes the vote. What's most important in selecting a player for Hall of Fame induction is that he be worthy of the distinction of being a famous football player. Was he dominant at his position during the era in which he played? That's question number one. The statistical comparisons that are used to answer that question are made within the player's era. Trying to compare one generation's stats to another generation's stats is idiotic because the standards aren't the same. Lynn Swann is the classic example. Kyle Brady caught more passes than Swann, but anybody who watched football during Swann's playing career knows of his impact on the game, especially as it pertains to the Super Bowl.
Greg from Jacksonville:
How much of our lack of ticket sales has to do with local businesses not buying tickets, compared to other markets?
Vic: Please, Greg, if you have to point the finger at somebody, point it at anybody but the local business community. You've hit my hot button on this one. What this business community has done since it singlehandedly took last year's Indianapolis game out of the blackout category is extraordinary. Have you seen the "Teal Deals?" My "Teal Deals" booklets were delivered to me yesterday and I am in awe of the support the Jacksonville business community has shown in adding value to Jaguars season tickets via the "Teal Deals." It's extraordinary that one business would donate a portion of its value to another business. You just don't see that every day. Why have they done that? Because they know the value of the Jaguars to the Jacksonville community and they want to protect that value by helping to sell tickets. The Jacksonville business community has risen to the occasion and the fullness of their effort is unquestioned.
Tiffany from Jacksonville:
Are the "Teal Deals" going to be an every-year marketing item?
Vic: I asked that question to the "Teal Deals" creators when the plan was announced and they told me they expect "Teal Deals" will continue in future seasons.
Jim from Port St. Lucie, FL:
Regarding the 2002 season and the Winn-Dixie ticket giveaway, you said "price was not the issue." Does that mean, in your opinion, it was team performance?
Vic: Obviously, when something is free, price is not the issue. So why didn't people want the tickets? Yeah, I suppose the team's performance that season was a negative, but I'd hate to think we won't go to see an NFL game for free unless we expect the Jaguars to win. The Jaguars suffered consecutive home losses by a total of three points in the first two weeks of December that year. They lost to the Steelers, 25-23, when a two-point conversion attempt failed, and a one-point loss to the Browns the following week on a "Hail Mary" touchdown pass that was incorrectly ruled a touchdown. They were fabulous games and the Jaguars played error-free football, yet, attendance sagged to 46,267 for the Cleveland game, despite the Winn-Dixie promotion. Why didn't fans go to the games? I'll tell you why: Because the Winn-Dixie promotion allowed the Jaguars to avoid being blacked out. The fans stayed home and watched those games on TV. That's the problem and it's been the biggest problem, in my opinion, because it's created a habit for watching football on TV.
Jodi from Fleming Island, FL:
Your readers need a history lesson on why this area was awarded a franchise, and how those assumptions made in 1993 on the viability of NFL football in Jacksonville are no longer valid and why the citizens of Jacksonville have reneged on the deal.
Vic: Jacksonville was awarded a franchise for a lot of reasons, including the attractive presentation Wayne Weaver and "Touchdown Jacksonville!" made to the NFL. The area's growth potential was also a factor. The number one reason the area was awarded a franchise, however, was because it was believed the passion for football in Jacksonville would allow the town to over-achieve until its growth created an NFL-like market. No longer valid? Reneged on the deal? I'm not ready to agree with those statements. This is a big season for this franchise and the future of professional football in Jacksonville. The town and the team, from the mayor to the area's business community, have embarked on a ticket-sales campaign that is unprecedented in its aggressiveness and scope. If the Jaguars can avoid blackouts this season, it will be a signal to the league that the campaign worked and I would expect the campaign to continue in 2011.
Greg from Jacksonville:
I have to say your "save the whale" talk is becoming a little old. Do you realize the majority of people who visit jaguars.com and read your column are already season-ticket holders or would be so if they could afford it? The only thing your negativity is accomplishing is that it is scaring the people who have already poured their hearts into this team to death. Your words make it out to other websites, which in turn draws even more negativity toward the Jaguars from people all over the country. May I ask what exactly you are trying to accomplish?
Vic: Awareness. I get the feeling a lot of fans still don't understand the urgency that exists. The overreaction to my comments in "Ask Vic" last Friday is proof that a lot of people still don't get it. There's only one way to avoid negative press: Buy the tickets.
Roger from Jacksonville:
I think I mentioned to you once or twice that the "Ice Bowl" was the very first NFL game I watched from beginning to end. My dad watched NFL games on TV every Sunday afternoon, and I didn't have much interest in them, but the 1967 NFL championship game was the first game I remember watching all the way through. I was captivated and, of course, I became a Packers fan, and Bart Starr was my hero. So I begged my parents to buy me his book, "Quarterbacking," and I wrote him a letter. I suspect that back in 1967 NFL players didn't have agents or publicists, so I've always thought the response I got (autographed picture and note) were from the great quarterback himself. Maybe his wife answered his mail for him; I don't know. But that signed picture was what hooked me on professional football.
Vic: I assure you, Starr did not have an agent do that for him. He was a hands-on guy. Here's a little story I have from my only encounter with him. He was the coach of the Packers and I was a young reporter. On Tuesdays back then, we'd do a conference call with the head coach of the next opponent. Every other conference call in which I have participated has been conducted anonymously by reporters. We know who the coach is but, unless it's a coach we know personally, he doesn't know who we are and, frankly, most coaches don't care. That was not the case with Starr. When you asked a question of him, he asked that you identify yourself and the newspaper for which you worked. He would then follow with, "Hi, Vic," or "It's good to talk to you." It wasn't a big deal except I'll never forget it. Clearly, Starr made the same impression on me that he made on you.
Wade from Jacksonville:
When a player enters the supplemental draft and is not picked, can he sign with any team as a free agent?
Ellen from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Hey, Vic, my fiancé loves your column and we are season-ticket holders for the next three years. We are getting married this Saturday and I was wondering if you had any advice for us? Have a great day.
Vic: Use all your "Teal Deals" and you'll have a happy marriage.