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O-Zone: A big disconnect

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL

John: The two-year-and-play-away option sounds good to some since it is cheaper. However, if the Jaguars play away, the team gets ticket revenue, but doesn't the city lose out on revenue from food, drink, team gear sales, loss of parking revenue and inability to use the stadium for other events (concerts, soccer, Florida-Georgia, etc.)? Not to mention those who will be out of work for two years plus. I'm one fer playing during renovation.

This indeed is an option for the Jaguars' proposed Stadium of the Future, which was introduced by the team last week – and which not unexpectedly remains a major O-Zone topic. Playing at the stadium while the proposed upgrades happen would mean a four-year project, with games being played during the seasons and construction taking place in the offseasons. The positive to the project is obvious: Home games would be played in Jacksonville. The negative is that it would add at least $190 million to the project's cost. At least $190 million is not nothing. This is particularly true when you're the one spending it.


Would the NFL contribute to the cost of the upgrade? If so, how much could that be?

No. Doing so would create an impossible, unworkable situation. NFL money essentially is the collective money of NFL owners. If the league gave money to one NFL team for its stadium, it would have to do so for all NFL stadiums.

Cliff from Everywhere with helicopter

I worked with a roofer in July 1974 while attending FJC (look it up, youngsters). I lasted one day.

You were a better man than I. Don't gloat. It's not a big win.

Gibran from Aledo, TX

John. Being a long-distance Jag fan, I was hoping to get some insight from you. I want to try and make it to a home game this year. I was looking to get some guidance from you on which one you would recommend.

I confess I'm not good at questions such as these. When I was a fan of the NFL team in Washington growing up, I was a long-distance fan. When I saw that team play in old RFK Stadium in 1983 for the time first, the opponent was the Philadelphia Eagles. I didn't care who Washington was playing; I just wanted to see my team play at home. If the Jaguars are competitive again this season, I suspect any home game will be memorable. When the Jaguars are playing well, TIAA Bank Field is a great place for any Jaguars fan.

Geoffrey from Virginia Beach, VA (working in Kuwait)

With the Dead Zone rapidly approaching, I wanted to ask what your favorite pastimes are for that period? What does the KOAF like to do during the Dead Zone, aside from answering questions for the O-Zone, of course? We all know you LOVE answering our questions.

We don't know each other like that.

Steve from Wallingford, CT

What do you think the chances of Greg Jones getting into the Pride? I just feel like he was the last of the great fullbacks and we won't be seeing another player like him any time soon, but no one ever talks about him because … well, he was a fullback.

Former Jaguars fullback Greg Jones is a great guy, was a very good player and remaining something of a cult figure among many Jaguars fans. Many Jaguars fans still remember and speak of him fondly. I don't think he will be in the Pride of the Jaguars.

Jason from Jacksonville

I'm not trying to pile things on Greg from 122 but when he says the Jaguars should prioritize the focus on the traffic and parking of game day I just don't agree. Jacksonville does a fantastic job of getting traffic in out of the area. I've been to NFL games in other cities and sat for hours. Also I park in a gated lot for $10 a game with only a ten minute walk to the stadium.

One fer the parking.

Chris from Roseville, CA

With running backs devalued, do you see a day when this happens to other positions while the salaries of quarterbacks continue to skyrocket? And if yes, will these other positions start calling out quarterback contracts?

Quarterbacks haven't caused the devaluation of running backs in the NFL. It's more a product of the nature of the game, the nature of the position and the salary cap. The running back position has been devalued because most NFL people consider most backs relatively interchangeable, and there's a perception that there's little more value to a first-round running back than a third-round running back. The position's value in free agency is hurt because the physical nature of the NFL takes a physical toll – and therefore reduces the player's effectiveness – more quickly at that position than any other. While skyrocketing quarterback salaries may hurt salaries at other positions somewhat, I doubt you'll see significant "calling out." If you do, it won't matter much. It's far and away the sport's most important position. The difference-makers at the position define franchises. They will – and should – be by far the highest-paid players.

Michael from Columbus, Ohio

Hey O.Z., up here proposed stadium renovations to First Energy Stadium would have the Cleveland Browns playing home game at Ohio State University in Columbus during the project. This would be similar to the situation in Jacksonville if the Jaguars play home games at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Would you say that mMNCAA would have to work T

Damn. So close …

Daniel from Johnston, IA

You recently said something to the effect that the NFL prefers that the bottom quarter of the league cost split between ownership and local government. I was intrigued by this, why is that? Can you expound on why that's a preference? Are there any exceptions currently? Why not for the bigger markets?

I'll explain this as well as I can based on my understanding. Teams in large markets such as Dallas, Los Angeles, etc., can finance their own stadiums because their market size makes the potential revenue enough to pay for – and eventually make a profit from – the stadium. Experience and knowledge of the financial realities has told NFL owners that that's not true in smaller markets. It's therefore not realistic to expect small-market owners to pay for their stadiums. Also: Stadium deals of this size typically rely on precedent to determine funding breakdown, so NFL owners are unlikely to approve smaller-market funding proposals that veer away from a model in which public funding outweighs team funding. That's why the City of Jacksonville likely will pay more than the Jaguars toward funding the stadium itself. The Jaguars likely will pay for more for the proposed surrounding parts of the project, thereby resulting in a 50-50 split. That's the best my limited ability to explain financials can do right now. Godspeed.

JR from The Squatchlands

Sorry in advance for being not nice, but are you actually receiving questions from Jaguar fans regarding Derrick Henry in the Hall of Fame?! I don't care what statistics the dude puts up, he is a member of the Evil Empire! I'm sure he is a good guy off the field or whatever, but come on Jags fans, this just feels sacrilegious!

Ozone readers indeed have asked lately about Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry's Pro Football Hall of Fame chances. It's at least a semi-interesting discussion as we enter the Dead Zone. I'm not sure that many care if he gets in or not.

Josh from Green Bay, WI

If former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor isn't in the HOF as the 17th leading rusher in NFL history, Henry certainly isn't a lock at 42nd!!!


Al from Orange Park, FL

I believe that I already know your answer, but please allow me to ask anyway because I need to vent. The Jags beat the Los Angeles Chargers last season, both regular season and playoffs. Why do the national media types insist on ranking them way ahead of us? Do they think Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is prettier than Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence or something?

Rankings mean nothing in the NFL – preseason or midseason or otherwise. I expect "national media types" were told by their producers or editors to compile NFL rankings because a publication or show needed content for given day. I expect the national-media type put in the amount of time such an assignment merited and sent the rankings back to the producer/editor within a few minutes of receiving the assignment. That's how rankings get done. It's not scientific. It's not important. It's someone making a list so people can have something to discuss. That's it.

Sue from Omaha, NE

In one of your answers, you stated that: "Nothing ever happens to make me happy." Don't you know that being happy (or not) is a decision you make every day?

I don't think we'd be very good friends, Sue.