O-Zone: Read carefully

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jim from Folkston, GA

Thanks for the 25 greatest Jaguars of all time, one of the best Dead Zone topics ever! As we all ponder who your Top 5 and Top 10 players are, I will throw out my list as a fan since Day One who has watched every game. I feel confident in my Top 5 matching yours: Tony, Jimmy, Fred, Mark and Keenan. Now, No. 6 through 10 is where I think we will find differing opinions. I select Jones-Drew, John Henderson, Marcedes Lewis, Greg Jones and Marcus Stroud. I think it will be very interesting what the other readers will select in this No. 6-10 group leading up to the day No. 10 is revealed and the rest of the greatest Jaguars.

My Top 10 won’t necessarily match the “official Top 10.” While my opinion undoubtedly should be the end all on all things Jaguars – and on most things in general, for that matter – the Jaguars All-25 currently being announced was regrettably decided by a vote of multiple media members. I will offer my personal Top 10: left tackle Tony Boselli, running back Fred Taylor, wide receiver Jimmy Smith, running back Maurice Jones-Drew, quarterback Mark Brunell, wide receiver Keenan McCardell, defensive end Tony Brackens, defensive tackle Marcus Stroud and defensive tackle John Henderson. That’s a strong Top 9, and I went with cornerback Rashean Mathis at No 10. Lewis didn’t make it because the list was limited to players no longer in the NFL. Lewis still a member of the Green Bay Packers.

Bill from Jacksonville

John, in tennis they can determine whether a shot was in or out in a matter of seconds by using a computer system, and everyone loves it. And yet in the most profitable and popular sport in America,
“the NFL is using 60-year-old men with a giant metal chain to measure down and distance” – as Will Brinson of CBS Sports puts it. What’s up with that?

The issue isn’t quite so simple as that. The Hawk-Eye system used in tennis has dramatically reduced controversy over line calls, doing so quickly and accurately enough that it doesn’t significantly interrupt the flow of the match. Tennis line calls are straightforward; a ball is either in or out – and it’s usually indisputable once reviewed. It has worked well enough that you hardly ever see tennis players dispute Hawk-Eye. I suppose the same technology could be used to track a football, though I don’t know that it would solve all problems of where a ball should be placed. There would still be issues of where a player’s knee was down, etc. Still, it does seem implementing some version of Hawk-Eye would benefit officiating in some capacity. I imagine the NFL eventually will use it in some way. And when that happens, it probably will feel overdue.

Chris from Nashville, TN

Bahahaha, tennis ... what a silly game. Gentlemen's singles indeed. Good day, Sir.

OK.

Marcus from Jacksonville

My issue with the question of whether players should take less money to play for a contender is the fact that NFL salaries are so ridiculously inflated. I get that is the way it is, and that players have every right to try and get as much as they can because careers can be and often are short. But the reality is an NFL player can get paid the rookie minimum ($480,000) for 10 years and make nearly twice as much as the average American ($60,000) makes in 45 years. So yeah, they have every right to want to get paid, but is it really financially irresponsible not to demand what they demand? Maybe it should be considered financially irresponsible to need millions of dollars every year to survive.

Yes, NFL salaries are ridiculous. And there is no question most people could live their entire lives on what some NFL players make in a few seasons. But this falls in the category of Life Isn’t Fair. NFL players to varying degrees possess a high-demand skill in an activity that produces mind-boggling money. The realities of the human body mean that they will only possess that high-demand skill for a short time, so they absolutely must do whatever possible to maximize their earning potential within those parameters. Many of these players have long lives to live following retirement. Is it financially irresponsible to not do everything they can to prepare themselves for that? A strong argument can be made.

Jason from North Pole, AK

My brother-in-law and I came down for the Jaguars-Vikings game a few years ago right after we attended a game in Minneapolis at a brand-new US Bank Stadium. He is a Vikings fan and felt the game-day experience in Jacksonville was far superior. We got to take a water taxi across the St. Johns River from our hotel at sunrise that dropped us right in front of the stadium. Not to mention it was 80 degrees in December! Jaxson de Ville bungee-jumping off the lights (I knew it was coming) was the highlight of his day. Jacksonville fans should appreciate that Owner Shad Khan is renovating and updating the stadium with his own money instead of holding taxpayers hostage for a new building. It’s a much better use of resources. In Minnesota, we have people living five hours away in small fishing towns paying taxes on a building they will likely never go to.

It’s not accurate to say Khan is solely responsible for the renovations, upgrades and updates to TIAA Bank Field; most of the major improvements have been a public-private partnership between Khan and the city of Jacksonville. Khan does deserve credit for his vision and continued commitment to the stadium and the city. Without that, none of the upgrades happen.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

The proposal to extend the regular season to 18 games wasn’t ever likely to get much support from the NFL Players Association. But now, with the added wrinkle of limiting players to 16 games, how could anyone support it? Don’t we want to see our starters in every game? And how could you have a kicker and punter sit out two games when most teams only have one of each?

I imagine any proposal involving players sitting out two games would exclude long-snappers, quarterbacks, punters and kickers. I just can’t imagine teams would ever force quarterbacks to sit out. As for your main point, that this concept has little chance of coming to fruition … I agree. The idea of 18 games with players playing just 16 sounded good in theory, but in practice I can’t imagine the league having a rule that purposely forces teams to not play their best players.

David from Orlando, FL

O-Zone: Since the Houston Texans passed on signing Jadeveon Clowney to a long-term deal, I think, his next best option is to sit out the year. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone around town, and they will tell you the same.

Sounds good.

Brad from Orange Park, FL

So, as far as I can tell, the only former professional running backs with more yards than former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor that are not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame are Frank Gore and Edgerrin James. It surprised me that James was not in, when I had assumed he was. When you outrush O.J. Simpson, John Riggins, Joe Perry & Earl Campbell - wouldn't it be fun to listen to someone explain how they don't deserve to be in? I foresee James getting in before Taylor, him being linked to the great, former Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning. You can call it “fanning” - but I think Taylor and former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli are among all-time Pro Football Hall of Fame snubs, and it’s a bunch of disrespectful crap. Would you not be ashamed to pose a roundabout defensive answer of the Hall of Fames voting directly to Boselli and Taylor on the topic? There's no way you could feel good about telling them you side with a system that minimizes their accomplishments the way the Pro Football Hall of Fame's has.

I’ve talked with both Boselli and Taylor about this, and I’ve talked to Boselli a lot about it. I’ve told Boselli often the same thing I’ve written here, and I found not at all to my surprise that I feel absolutely fine about saying it. My answer’s in no way defensive; rather, it reflects my having known many Hall voters for many years and respecting the effort they put into what is a difficult, emotional process. The current system isn’t perfect, but when you’re trying to choose five candidates from 15 worthy ones every year there’s not going to be a perfect system.

DreamWeaver from Section 214

As far as polite ways of telling someone off, I'm a big fan of "per my previous email." Which implies, "Hey, I answered that already. Read the email, you twit."

Per my previous answer …

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