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O-Zone: Strongest bond

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Rob from Jacksonville

Ozone. This stadium gripe and complain session is frustrating. Being frustrated is frustrating. The same people complaining about the city sharing the burden with the Jags are the same people who complain about pretty much everything, but never want to lift a finger to help with anything. These same people will stand around when the Jags pack up and roll out wondering what could have been done to keep them here. We are one of thirty NFL cities in the United States and the benefits far outweigh anything negative. If everyone in this city bought one less whatever it is we all waste money on daily, we could fully fund a stadium WITH a private suite for the KOAF.

I hesitate to criticize those who don't want public money going to NFL stadiums. People are allowed to want what they want, and I understand the instinct for people to say, "Wealthy owners should pay for their own stadium." Without context, that's a logical statement. And many people don't want to dig deep enough to understand that pretty much all NFL markets – particularly smaller ones – need public funding to keep up in the NFL's stadium race. We're very early in the process. I expect the city and the Jaguars to find a solution to this. I don't expect the solution to be easy or without stress and disagreement. These processes are usually public, which means many people voicing many opinions. Tell you what: If it will help, I'll give up my private suite. I don't like my odds on that one anyway.

Jim from Jax

The NFL and their owners' greed is holding fans and cities hostage with this incessant demand for new fancy stadiums. I've been a season-ticket holder since the get go and see nothing wrong with the stadium as is. It's football. I don't need to sit in a five-star hotel to watch it. And now, having to go to an away stadium for two or more years just when the Jags are getting good is incredibly annoying. I know it is what it is, but I'll bet a majority of fans agree with me. At some point, there has to be an end to all this stadium madness doesn't there?

Your feeling is understandable. And I don't completely disagree. When I was a fan of the NFL team in Washington, I dreamed of going to a home game at RFK Stadium. When I did see a game there in 1983, it was one of the highlights of my fandom – and one of the highlights of my youth. I didn't care that the stadium was antiquated. But the current state of the NFL is such that teams can't play in antiquated stadiums and expect to compete financially. And you must compete financially to remain in the NFL. It's a stadium arms race. Whether fans like it or not, teams must keep up – or at least stay somewhat close to the pack.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty 'O' / King of all Funk, I knew it! "It Was Written " confirms what we knew all along. You make up these questions to the O Zone. Just like this one.

I am the king of all funk.

Greg from Uster, Switzerland

John, in response to Robert from City of the Hills: I have been to few Jaguars games, but I disagree. First: In my observation about a quarter of the fans have consumed sufficient alcohol before entering the stadium that walking a straight line is difficult. To a number of fans, getting on the Jumbrotron is as important as the game. Finally, at the last game I attended the "fans" in my section spent more time texting than watching the game. Yes, amenities rule.

I sense your assessment might be extreme. Either way, the Jaguars need an upgraded stadium because their current facility is lagging behind most of a league that for the most part has upgraded facilities dramatically in the last three decades. All roads in this discussion lead back to that.

Jerry from Jacksonville

I'm unclear. Is being the king of all funk good or bad?

Why must we compartmentalize everything?

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Can you expand on what "end of useful life" means for TIAA Bank Field? Besides sunshade for ticket-paying fans, what other renovations are needed to extend the stadium's life?

End of useful life essentially means outdated antiquatedness. What it means in NFL terms is it's old enough and outdated enough to be lagging behind the rest of the NFL in terms of amenities, premium seating and attributes that make it appealing to fans. Such attributes might be expanded walkways. Or shade. Remember, too: When we say "renovations" when discussing this project, they're on a different scale from what has been done over the past decade or so. The makeover of the club suites, club seats, locker room, training rooms and scoreboards all could be done in one offseason. All were needed steps and all were cool. But those improvements never were done with the idea that they would prevent a major upgrade being needed. You can only "baby step" a project such as this for so long. At some point, a renovation must be done on a scale to keep up with state-of-the-art stadiums across the NFL. Many such projects have been done around the NFL in recent years and many will be done in the upcoming decades. This is that time for this stadium.

Robert from Jacksonville Beach, FL

You said your measure for greatness is dominance in one era. I disagree, but who's the greatest NFL players you've ever seen using your standard?

Jerry Rice.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Is it wrong to believe that stadiums do not make money and that is why only three NFL owners actually own the stadium they play in? That it is arguable that using public money on a stadium is good for a city financially but absolutely benefits the city in many non-monetary ways? That it is probably fair for a city to pay at least 65% of the cost of a new stadium? That if a city doesn't "pony up" an owner will find one that will? That if you do it then go ahead and build a palace likely to be around for 60 years instead of cheaper 30-year fix?

I'm of the belief that a stadium does benefit a city in non-monetary ways, though I understand that there are people who don't consider such things important. I also remember Jacksonville before the NFL, and strongly believe the Jaguars' presence is good for the city. I believe I would feel that way with or without my association with the team, though I understand why people would consider that a biased feeling. I don't know the ideal percentage breakdown between public and private funding. If I had that answer I would have a more impressive job title – and probably a bigger house and newer car. One thought on the life span of the stadium. The typical length for most stadiums has been about thirty years. That's essentially the lifespan of this version of TIAA Bank Field. I don't have a real feel for what the future holds in this area. May I be around long enough to learn the answer.

Sean from Jacksonville

RIP for Jim Brown. A winner on and off the field for generations.


Bruce from Saint Simons Island

O, Jim Brown was born and raised on St. Simons Island. He was a tremendous football player and an all-around super athlete (All American lacrosse player), and successful actor and civil rights activist. I used to watch him as a child tear through the Redskins defense! Herschel Walker and Derrick Henry remind me of Jim Brown and they also were raised locally in Wrightsville, GA and Yulee, GA. Jim Brown was the best running back I ever saw.

Many people feel this way. There's little question that no NFL running back has put together nine seasons of greater sustained greatness than Brown's nine-year career from 1956 until his 1965 retirement. Barry Sanders is in that conversation, but a touch below. Many people also once believed that Brown – who died Friday at age 87 – was not only the greatest running back/football player of all-time, but the greatest lacrosse player, too. He was an unforgettable icon who transcended his era.

Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld

Along the lines of sports bringing different people together, I once found myself in a foreign country. After walking around, I found an opera performance starting soon. The non-English opera was in a different language than the country I was in. During the show, I noticed that I and the rest of the audience were looking around wondering what was happening on stage. Even though we didn't speak the same languages, I could tell we formed a bond that day.

Was there no lobby bar?