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O-Zone: All that matters

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brad from Orange Park, FL

You keep saying that, paraphrasing here, the Jaguars "can't remain in the league" without upgrading their existing stadium or building a new stadium. Meaning what? If they don't reach an agreement the owner will relocate somewhere that will help foot the bill for what wasn't getting done in the current location?

Your question suggests a threat of relocation that isn't remotely appropriate. But no NFL team can remain in the league without producing at least adequate local revenue over a sustained period. No NFL team can remain in the league with outdated facilities. It's why all NFL markets since the 1995 building of TIAA Bank Field have majorly renovated stadiums, built new stadiums or are currently in the process of doing so. The lone exception to this is Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., and discussions about whether to renovate Arrowhead or build a new stadium are starting there. New stadiums and renovations are the norm, not the exception. This is not a Jaguars-centric issue. This is about being an NFL team and NFL market.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - I don't buy the general idea that a new stadium is a "must have." I also see no need to rush into this. The only explanation that I would accept is if there was good reason to believe the existing one would collapse anytime now and it could not be repaired. If all of my neighbors had newer cars and mine was 20 years old, I would not be eliminated from the neighborhood unless I got a new car. It's stupid thinking. It's all about appearances. There might be five percent of fans wanting a nicer stadium. I guess the wealthy elite are never satisfied. I don't even care if it's partially paid by taxpayers. Just be honest and say the real reason it is wanted.

Within the context of the NFL, which is the context of this conversation, a stadium upgrade is a must-have. It's not about not collapsing. It's about it being an NFL-caliber, revenue-producing facility that will merit playing in the nation's highest-profile professional sports league for the next three decades.

Ralph from Fleming Isle

St Louis and San Diego refused to fund a portion of a new stadium. Look where that got them!


Jason from Suffolk, VA

I still don't understand people who are up in arms over public funding for the stadium renovations. If you are renting a house, do you help the owner of the house pay for renovations because you are living there? Sure, this is an oversimplified version of a more complex situation, but at its base it's the same. Why would Jaguars Owner Shad Khan pay full costs to renovate a stadium that he doesn't own? The city owns the stadium and it's ridiculous to think that they shouldn't assume some financial responsibility for a stadium the city owns.

This concept somewhat applies, though you're correct that the complexities make the comparison tricky. The most basic concept, though, isn't as much about who eventually owns the stadium as much as the reality that public funds must be a part of the equation in a small market. I don't expect this to be difficult for either side to understand in the eventual discussion. It's pretty basic considering the market size – and the accompanying realities of potential revenue and cost.

Rich from Dacula, GA

Dear, John. All this talk of a new or renovated stadium had me thinking of when I lived in Los Angeles and was a season-ticket holder for the Rams. The Coliseum was a big stadium and not what teams want now. It wasn't intimate enough for good crowd noise to help the home team. So, the Rams moved to Anaheim in a ballpark stadium. Reduced attendance size doesn't mean a good thing for attendees. My seats went from the 30-yard line to the endzone. The Raiders moved to Los Angeles and they gained a new fan. Good bye, Rams. Of course, the Raiders moved, too – and now I'm a Jag fan, thanks to NFL Sunday ticket. The moral here is: Be careful about what organizations do. You can lose fans and support, but nothing ever says the same anymore, it's all about greed and the little guy loses.

A changed stadium indeed changes dynamics for fans and the team. I suppose anything to do with the NFL can be classified as greed because of the insane dollars involved with the sport. But the Jaguars' situation in that context might be seen as less about greed and more about trying to keep up financially in a league with constantly skyrocketing revenues and costs.

Jason from North Pole, AK

Doug Pederson said recently that he blocked coaches on his staff from taking interviews with other teams during his time as head coach in Philadelphia. I understand the importance of continuity but that seems like you are taking opportunities away from guys to advance their careers even though the moves are often lateral. What are your thoughts on the interpersonal dynamics of doing that as a head coach?

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson indeed said this recently. But he didn't say he blocked assistants during his entire tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, just that he blocked them between the 2016 and 2017 seasons. His point was that he wanted continuity on staff, particularly between the first two seasons of a tenure. That's when a staff is still new and players – particularly a young quarterback – are still learning an offensive system and the accompanying language. Remember, too: A head coach can't block an assistants' move to a head-coaching position and it wasn't as if Pederson blocked the entire Jaguars staff this offseason. While he reportedly blocked the Baltimore Ravens' request to interview Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor for their offensive coordinator position, passing-game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter joined the staff of the Indianapolis Colts as offensive coordinator. Pederson's sensitive to allowing coaches to advance. He just has to balance that with doing what's best in the short-term for he and the Jaguars.

Sam from Orlando, FL

I was surprised they moved on from Riley Patterson. Cements how ruthless the NFL is. But, that kick to beat the Chargers was an eyelash from missing and it was an absolute chip shot. I understand the attempt at upgrading.


Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

Riley Patterson's game-winning kick against the Chargers was hardly "awesome." It was a chip shot that barely made it inside the right upright. Give him credit for not blowing the game but that's about all. Unless McManus is over the hill, he will be a definite upgrade.

I have no interest in criticizing Patterson on his way out of Jacksonville, nor is that necessary. He did a nice job last season and has a chance to develop into a long-term, stable NFL kicker. But he hadn't yet established himself as that in Jacksonville. The Jaguars believe there will be greater trust and reliability with Brandon McManus, a 10-year veteran. So they signed him. Maybe they're right. Maybe they're not. But it's not as if they're making an insane, risky move. It actually makes a lot of sense given the experience/performance of the players.

DMob from Speed bump in SC

Not really a question but a historical fact. The Carolina Panthers used the Clemson Memorial Stadium before they even re-did the west end zone, creating more seats (even tho they have never drafted a Clemson player) and it was a few hours down I-85 from Charlotte and it worked out great. The Carolina Panthers had just started and weren't established like the Jags team and fan base is, but it worked out well. Rebuilding is a mess and costly no matter if they do it on already established property or all new property. My point is Gainesville is not that far away and more season-ticket holders would be able to attend than at the North Florida State field.

I expect many options will continue to be discussed as the Jaguars and city discuss upgrading TIAA Bank Field. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville as an option if the Jaguars can't play in Jacksonville makes sense. One major issue there likely will be renovations to that stadium. As with any issue of this size, moving parts make it difficult. It's why discussions and long-term planning are necessary before conclusions are drawn and panic reigns.

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

I'm glad we got a new kicker. In Madden, I tried a 52-yard game winning kick with Riley Patterson, I hit it perfectly and still clunked it off the crossbar. Logan Cooke has to do the kickoff duties as well. I like Riley Patterson and he made some memorable kicks last year, but I need a kicker I can trust from over 50 yards in Madden. So I welcome Bryan McManus with open arms wide open.

I'm glad you enjoyed your game.