JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Howard from Homestead, FL
Dead zone questions: Would the Jags even exist without the Bulls? Who was your favorite Bulls player?
The momentum and passion that eventually led to Jacksonville earning an NFL expansion franchise in 1993 were built first on the Sharks (1974) and Express (1975) of the World Football League, then on the Bulls (1984-1985) of the original United States Football League. The passion for professional football grew despite well-publicized stop-and-starts, and despite frustrating flirtations with multiple NFL franchises. The Bulls were a particularly notable success, leading the USFL in attendance and considered one of the most stable franchises in that league. That interest certainly drew the attention of NFL owners, and I doubt Jacksonville's expansion effort would have been successful without that momentum. As for the Bulls, they're a bit of a blind spot for me. I was in college during their two seasons. The only Bulls game I attended was in March 1984 against the New Jersey Generals, the highest-attended game in league history. Beyond that, I followed them from afar – or from a-Gainesville, anyway. Which was kind of "a-close," but afar enough that I didn't attend any more Bulls games.
Nathan from Utah, US
Dead Zone, take your time on this one. Let's talk NFL realignment. Imagine the NFC: New York Jets/New York Giants twice a year with Philadelphia/Buffalo in the East, Dallas/Houston twice a year with Atlanta/Carolina in the South, Los Angeles Rams/Los Angeles Chargers twice a year with Seattle/Arizona in the West. The North? Well, that would be like remaking "Cool Hand Luke;" you don't touch it. The AFC: Imagine San Francisco/Las Vegas twice a year with Kansas City/Denver in the West, Baltimore/Indianapolis twice a year with New England/Miami in the East, Washington/Pittsburgh/Cleveland/Cincinnati in the North, Jacksonville/Tampa Bay with Tennessee/New Orleans in the South. Economically that's a lot for the league to like. Rivalry there is a lot for the fans to like. With potential Super Bowl matchups of Dallas versus Washington, San Francisco versus Dallas, New York Jets versus Indianapolis, Jacksonville versus Houston – forget about it! What is, Professional Sports Columnist, Journalist and Senior Writer for the Jacksonville Jaguars John Oehser's objective and subjective opinion on my proposal for the NFL of The Future?
I get emails along these lines on occasion, with that occasion usually being the dead zone. My answer hasn't changed in a while, and that's that I haven't sensed much sentiment at all within league circles for even a small realignment – much less one that realigns the entire league. One reason this is unlikely is the league has spent 21 seasons using the current alignment. To restructure it now means another decade or so building new rivalries until they have some sense of tradition. Remember, too: Such matters are determined by the votes of NFL owners. Owners in many divisions – particularly the NFC East and North and the AFC East, North and West – are historically reluctant to lose decades-old rivalries. They didn't let them go when the league realigned in 2002 and I get no sense they would be more willing to do so two decades later.
Gabe from Washington, DC
For the record, how tall is the Jags logo on the side of the performance center? Can't wait to see it in person!
You're referencing the Jaguars logo on the Miller Electric Center. It's visible if you're driving out of downtown Jacksonville toward the Matthews Bridge. It pretty much takes up an entire end of the building. It's a big building, so the logo is very tall.
David from The Island
What's the greatest day in Jaguars history off the field? I submit December 27, 2020, when the J E T S win a meaningless game for win number 2. Trevor ends up in Jax and the future looks bright.
"Off the field" is a little vague in this question, because the New York Jets won a game against the Cleveland Browns that day and the Jaguars also lost a game to the Chicago Bears while the Jets were winning. But you can't overestimate the importance of that day, or the rest of that season. The results secured the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft that became quarterback Trevor Lawrence. I would put November 30, 1993, the day the City of Jacksonville was awarded the Jaguars, high on the list, too. Anyone who was around here that day never will forget it.
Jimsure from DBS
KOAM, I also got married July 11 and it lasted 358 days. This is at 47 years, so I am very happy for you making 36 years. Congratulations to your beautiful wife for putting up with you this long.
She knows how lucky she is. Like exactly.
Lawrence from Blair, NE
Oh my god, I hope that your wife doesn't see that you'd rather have the dog as the luxury item than her. Does she read your posts? lol
Mrs. O-Zone is not a "luxury item." She also doesn't read the O-Zone. She gets more than enough of this offline.
Ryan from Apopka, FL
So, I heard some talking heads talking about the fact that New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick arguably has coached the greatest offensive player of all time in quarterback Tom Brady, the greatest defensive player of all time in New York Giants outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor and the greatest special teams player all time in kicker Adam Vinatieri. Having a few more years on me, is there any other coach that comes to mind that would have a similar claim to having coached some of the greatest players in each phase of the game?
As much as I like kicker Adam Viniatieri, and as much as I believe he will be in the Hall of Fame, I don't know that he's hands-down the greatest special teams player of all time. And I would take wide receiver Jerry Rice as the greatest offensive player of all time, but maybe I'm being argumentative. Is there another coach who has coached three players as much in the conversation? Probably not. Bill Walsh coached Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana and Rice. Tom Landry coached Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Huff as defensive coordinator of the New York Giants and Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, though that's reaching a bit. George Halas coached linebacker Dick Butkus and running back Gale Sayers as the head coach of the Chicago Bears, and selected them in the same draft. That's reaching, too, so yeah … we'll go with Belichick in this conversation. Why not?
Nathan from Utah, US
Dead Zone, I am curious to know why you would put yourself on that island and not bring Jack Johnson with? Or Dave? Or Ian Anderson? Or Credence? Or the island's theme song, Jurassic Park Motion Picture Soundtrack? Why, Zone? Why?
You're asking why I didn't name those artists and someone named Dave when listing albums I would want if stranded on a desert island. I don't like those artists as much as the ones I named. I also don't like those artists as much as I like about 50 other artists. At least.
Joey from Jacksonville
I, along with legions of Jaguars fans, am glad to see you recovered from Covid. Nothing like a John performing at 110 percent. Question. I understand why the NFL doesn't want its players gambling, especially on NFL games. It could be seen as compromising the game in itself, so they can't allow it. Nine players have been served some kind of suspension for this season to varying lengths of up to a minimum of a year. It's problematic. I was listening to Pat McAfee the other day, and he stressed how the Colts had "No Gambling" signs posted everywhere, certainly embellishing but I get his point. How heavily do the Jaguars and other teams emphasize the repercussions of sports betting? And do you think the punishment fits the crime, especially when compared to lesser sentences for far more nefarious behavior? I'm concerned because I'm certain there are others other than the nine that were suspended.
NFL teams tirelessly educate players, coaches and all team personnel on its gambling policy. As much or more time is spent in this area as any such league-initiated education. It has become – and continues to become – increasingly necessary as gambling becomes increasingly accessible and accepted in our country and society. It's unsurprising given the "normalcy" of gambling that more and more players are violating the policy. I imagine most of the violators of the policy are not bad people and are probably making a relatively innocent mistake. Is the punishment harsh? Yes, and I expect that over time the league's policy may be viewed as somewhat antiquated. But the policy is the policy and it will take a while to change. If it changes at all.
Don from Marshall, NC
Nashville was a big-market team until that hit that Shaquille Quarterman put on Derrick Henry. Go Jaguars!
Don remains "all in" on that hit.