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O-Zone: Time for a raise

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Ryan from Duuuuval

Congrats to the whole team that got the Stadium deal done! Glad it happened. But it looks like once again, the mixed use "Entertainment District" got left out again. Why is the city seemingly so against helping to fund this? It was a part of the original Shipyards proposal, but all we got was the Flex Field. Then there was a standalone Lot J proposal that got shot down. Then there was Shipyards 2.0, but they only approved the hotel and office building. Now we get the Stadium of the Future, but again nothing but a big empty asphalt ocean in the middle of what could be a really lively sports district if we were willing to invest in it. What gives??

Such broad questions require specifics to be accurate, and I can't speak specifically for every member – past or present – of Jacksonville City Council. When Jaguars President Mark Lamping, Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan discussed many matters around the approval at the Miller Electric Center Wednesday, the overall vibe was the Jaguars and Deegan very much agree that development around the stadium is key. Lamping has said often that approving a stadium without developing the surrounding area is a missed opportunity, and Deegan appears to agree. The best explanation for why it didn't happen with this vote was it was difficult enough to get 19 Council members to agree on a $1.4 billion stadium deal – and that it just wasn't the time to try to get $600 million more of surrounding infrastructure, too. The good news on this front is Deegan appears determined to get the development moving sooner rather than later. It also sounds as if there's confidence City Council also will agree at some point. Here's hoping.

Alex from Jacksonville

You think the stadium will look like the renderings we're seeing? Or will it look like we ordered it off Temu? I remember Daily's Place was going to look completely different than what we ended up getting.

I think the finished Stadium of the Future will look as close to the renderings as possible. I don't think for $1.4 billion it will look ordered off Temu. I think Daily's Place is a cool venue that has provided a lot of memorable moments that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. I think I don't see why the Stadium of the Future won't do the same many times over. I also think you can't go broke betting on people's ability to take a positive situation and urinate on it. It's a remarkable thing. Congratulations on taking this to a notable level. This took work. That work shouldn't be overlooked.

Billy from Murphy, NC

Hey, John. Congratulations to you and the rest of the people who live in Jacksonville. Even though I have never been to a Jaguars game, or even been to your city, I am a fan of the team. Thankfully you and the rest of the city will get to enjoy the team there for years to come. All the years of the team moving to London, or somewhere else now can be put to rest, poor old Florio. So I hope someday I will be able to visit Jacksonville and attend a game, hopefully I will be able to come see the old stadium before it is gone. So again congratulations to all in Duval!

One fer the new stadium and fer Duval.

Fred from Naples, FL

Really happy to hear that our renovation plan has been approved by the City of Jacksonville. The only question I have regarding the renovation plan is if the visiting owner's box will have a plexiglass in front of it in case an owner's beer "accidentally" gets knocked over and hits a Jags fan?

We have talked here in the O-Zone about the importance of being "nice." As memory serves, this talk of being "nice" began a few years ago. Being "nice" is no less important when you have a stadium approved that solidifies the future of the franchise. So, please … let's be "nice." Or don't. It's the same to me either way.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

I'm not from the Jacksonville area so forgive me if this is an ignorant question, but will the new stadium deal affect the Jags' chances of hosting a Super Bowl again? I remember reading that there was no chance it would happen again after the last time.

A Super Bowl in Jacksonville in the foreseeable future is doubtful if not impossible. The proposed Stadium of the Future could host it. But there isn't yet the infrastructure downtown and there in particularly aren't enough high-end hotels. Hosting the draft seems possible. Hosting the Super Bowl seems decades off.

Crash from Glen Saint Mary

OZ! Will there be a Waffle House in the new stadium?

Here's hoping.

Limo Bob from Neptune Beach

With the fantastic stadium deal done, with the city council doing its due diligence to properly spend the withheld $90 million withheld community commitments, would Shad Khan and other local investors have a desire to bring am NBA franchise to Jacksonville and become part of a growing trend of ownership owning multiple sports franchises? That would be huge!

It indeed would be huge. But the Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville just this week got a deal done that should solidify the franchise's future after a decade of rumors to the contrary. This is a project that figures to cost the franchise and the city at least $1.4 million. As Owner Shad Khan said Wednesday when addressing another issue, "Let's just do a downward yoga pose and relax."

Gator from Gainesville, FL

My pridiction is they will play as manygames in Londun as possible cause when peeple see a game in the swamp they wont want to go back to jax roof or not. Greatest place in the wurld.

Here we go.

Don from Marshall NC

Denzel Mims comes to the Jaguars at the same age that Jimmy Smith came to us, 26. He should have experience and he should be in his prime. I think people will be pleasantly surprised at how good this guy will be. He doesn't have to be that first rounder anymore. Let's hope it works out for him and the Jaguars! Go Jaguars!

When it comes to Mims – and when being eternally optimistic and otherwise making the "haters" among us feel a little guilty and even dirty for our jaded ways – Don remains "all in."

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

You indicated this week that you believe the Jaguars' offense will be "improved" this year. With the loss of Calvin Ridley, Zay Jones and Jamal Agnew and their 2023 1,550 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns can you expand on why you believe this?

I think the offensive line will be better and I think quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be healthier. I think if those two things are true that will counteract any offseason losses.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

I predict that even in the new stadium you will still suck.

Here we go, Jaguars.

Steve from Nashville, TN

You seemed to be disparaging the three City Council members who did not vote yes to the Stadium agreement. (1 No and 2 Abstaining). This means you know these three members contributed nothing to the discussion around the agreement did not raise any good points and failed to represent their constituents in a responsible manner?

I wrote in Wednesday's O-Zone that the 14 City Council members who voted yes on the proposal deserved credit for the historical moment. I wrote nothing about the one no and two abstaining. I also wrote about R.E.M on Wednesday. I wrote nothing about the Smiths. I suppose I was disparaging Morrisey and Johnny Marr, too?

Ray from Newport News, VA

Johnny O, we are all happy that the Stadium of the Future is moving forward with just one hurdle remaining. We, or at least I, know you don't cover the Panthers; however, the two franchises are still somewhat connected. Charlotte is a much larger city, so the fans (me included) will always draw comparisons. To see the Jacksonville Stadium (EverBank Stadium) is getting more of an upgrade (based on total price) with our owner footing more of the bill speaks very well of Mr. Khan and his family. Mr. Khan has invested a lot of his money in Jacksonville. He is a man of his word, and he yet again proves that he believes in the City of Jacksonville. The fans should be more than happy with this deal, but I know some will still complain. It's what fans do. I vote let's all raise a pint (my IPA is ready) to Mr. Khan, the city and all involved for getting this deal done.

One fer the fans, even the ones complaining. And another fer raising an IPA, particularly if the IPA is a Bullet Bob.