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Owners will draw the line

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Kyle from Jacksonville:
Would it be more economical for Wayne Weaver to offer low prices for seats that were covered up in the upper decks? Wouldn't this solve the blackout problem and allow more people to see the games in person?

Vic: Where have you been? Where were you in 2002 when the Jaguars did the Winn-Dixie promotion? All you had to do was go down to the supermarket and ask for tickets and they gave them to you. Don't you remember the empty seats? That's not what you wanna do. You don't want to devalue your product. You don't want to have so many seats that you've lost control of the critical balance between supply and demand and you can't even give them away. You want your tickets to be in demand. The Jaguars took a step in that direction last season when they covered seats and brought Alltel Stadium's seating capacity in line with the region's population. As a result, there were no blackouts and the stadium was either full or near full every Sunday.

Josh from Jacksonville:
Under the CBA agreement, you said the players receive a percentage of designated gross revenues from the league. Is this in addition to the players' salaries and, if so, what determines the percentage given to each player?

Vic: It is not in addition to the players' salaries. The percentage of the designated gross revenue is what determines that season's salary cap, which is the amount team's may spend in compensating their players.

Clyde from Jacksonville:
What can the Jaguars do to persuade a play-making free agent wide receiver to come to Jacksonville and play in this offense?

Vic: Pay him a lot of money. What else? This is professional football. It's about the money.

Chris from Jacksonville:
Your mention of the owners waging an all-out war scares me. How likely do you think a lock-out or strike is?

Vic: That's up to the players. I think they know the owners will be reasonable in negotiations. I think the players know the owners are willing to share the wealth, but they should also know the owners will draw a line when it comes to the future of the game. The players should know that because history tells us that. All you have to do is look at 1987. The owners were more than fair in allowing the players to recover from the traumatic defeat the players suffered in the '87 strike. In fact, I think it's fair to say the owners allowed the players to recover a little too quickly. If the players continue to push this TFR (Total Football Revenue) model, I'm inclined to believe the owners will draw the line again. The 2008 season could be in jeopardy. In my opinion, it's time for the players to give a little.

Marty from Evansville, IN:
During the AFC championship game, Pittsburgh ran a play and they were penalized because the tight end was covered? Correct me if I'm wrong but you can have as many people as you'd like on the line of scrimmage as long as they run the ball or if it's a pass the ineligible receivers don't go downfield? That penalty didn't make sense to me.

Vic: The rule reads: "The offensive team must have: (a) seven or more players on its line." The officials' ruling was that the Steelers were guilty of an illegal formation because Hines Ward had covered the tight end, which he had. My immediate reaction was, so what? It was a running play. Had it been a pass and the tight end had released into the passing lanes, then the tight end would've been guilty of having been an ineligible receiver. I was stunned that Bill Cowher's hair didn't catch fire when Jerome Bettis' touchdown run was nullified by the penalty. The fact that Cowher didn't protest would suggest that you and I are missing something here. Maybe the "something" involves a failure to report by somebody in the Steelers offense. I don't know. I thought TV did a poor job of explaining the infraction. I've put a call into the league office for an explanation of this call. I'll update with the information when I get it.

Joe from Fremont, OH:
Based on what I do and don't know, I'm assuming the Jaguars will get the 28th pick in this year's draft.

Vic: That's correct. Pittsburgh's win over Denver moved the Jaguars one spot higher in the draft order because being a Super Bowl participant means the Steelers will either draft 31st or 32nd. The Steelers, of course, had been higher than the Jaguars in the draft order until beating Denver on Sunday.

Alan from Buford, GA:
So much for any questions about Seattle's weak schedule; good blocking up front, smart quarterback play, good defense, excellent special teams. The Steelers will have their hands full.

Vic: You're right. I was really impressed by Seattle against Carolina. When I saw the Seahawks in the season-opener in Jacksonville, I wasn't impressed. I took into account, of course, that when they hit the air-conditioning at halftime they probably shut it down. Their schedule was so weak that I tended to grade down the Seahawks, and their win over the Colts was against a team that was tanking it. When the Seahawks played the Redskins, I intended to give the Seahawks a thorough inspection, but then they lost Shaun Alexander early in the game and I didn't get the good look at them that I had wanted. I got that look on Sunday. Wow! The Seahawks were awesome. They ran it, they threw it, they stopped the run, intercepted the pass and thoroughly dominated the game. They have those two great players on the left side of their offensive line, they have the game's best running back and they have a quarterback who appears to be a poor man's Brett Favre. Frankly, I think they should be the Super Bowl favorite.

Sam from Jacksonville:
What five teams have the most salary cap room heading into the offseason? If the Jaguars are not in the top five, where exactly do they fall?

Vic: Arizona, Minnesota, Green Bay, Cleveland and San Diego are the five teams that currently have the most salary cap room for 2006. The Jaguars are ninth with $12.9 million. These numbers are not necessarily meaningful, however, because they don't include tenders, obvious cuts or the number of players currently under contract.

Holger from Bad Vilbel, Germany:
I can tell you what the Steelers and Seahawks have in common: they both lost to the Jaguars in the regular season. I guess the Jaguars are the only team to beat both Super Bowl teams during the regular season, right?

Vic: Right off the top of my head, I can tell you the Jaguars are not the only team to hold the distinction. I don't know all of the teams who have done it but I know from having covered the Steelers that in 1978 the Los Angeles Rams beat both the Steelers and the Cowboys. Over the last 10 seasons, five teams have done it. The 1996 Cowboys, the 2000 Redskins and Titans, the 2004 Steelers and the 2005 Jaguars.

Sean from Jacksonville:
So reading the information you posted on Arrington last Friday, if the Redskins knew this CBA problem was coming, why did they put themselves into this hole with Arrington?

Vic: I don't know. Why do people re-marry?

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