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Rivalries are about big games


Everybody wanted the Dolphins, but it wasn't going to happen, and not because the NFL is a league of owners who fear change. It wasn't going to happen because neither the Dolphins nor their fans want the Jaguars. It's that simple.

If you don't like the Jaguars' place in realignment, don't blame the NFL and all of the old-guard owners who were merely protecting their own interests. Blame the Miami Dolphins for turning up their noses at the Jaguars and continuing to cast their lot with teams a thousand miles away.

Right from the beginning, we should've gotten this Dolphins thing out of our heads. It wasn't realistic. It was pie in the sky. It was unrequited love.

Instead, the Jaguars have been put into a division with a team that has become their most intense rival, Tennessee. No complaints, right?

The Jaguars will also play the expansion Houston Texans twice a year, and early on that should help the Jaguars as they go through their rebuilding process. Any complaints about Houston? Why?

And what about Indianapolis? That's the team nobody wanted in their division. Why? Will you enjoy seeing Peyton Manning play in Jacksonville each of the next 10 years?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the NFL's realignment, and that comes from a reporter who has often criticized the league in recent years for having lacked direction. On this one, the direction was perfect.

Old rivalries were maintained and the opportunity for the development of new rivalries has been created. Geographically, the new alignment is better than what we have and as logically executed as possible. Jacksonville and Miami would've been great, but how can you blame Wayne Huizenga for supporting the wishes of his fans?

Everybody, please, stop obsessing about the Dolphins. They're in the AFC. The Jaguars will play the Dolphins plenty of times.

Rivalries are not always a matter of geography. What is Dallas' geographic tie to Washington? There has never been a more bitter rivalry than Pittsburgh and Oakland. What about Miami and Buffalo?

Big games make for great rivalries. The Bears-Packers rivalry has tradition and geography on its side, but in a year in which they both stink, nobody cares.

It would've been more appealing if the Jaguars had been joined in the AFC South by another Central team, such as Baltimore. But where was all of the passion for Baltimore before last season? The Ravens were the team Jaguars fans laughed at; beat 'em 10 in a row.

Why all of a sudden is there this great mania for Baltimore? Because the Ravens won two games last year the Jaguars thought they should've won? All of a sudden you hate the Ravens, a team that has never been much of a drawing card at Alltel Stadium? Would you still want the Ravens if they were 6-10 last season?

It's all cyclical. The teams that are up will be down, and vice versa. The AFC South looks like a killer division, but that could change very quickly. The Jaguars are facing massive salary cap problems and the Titans' cap woes are just beginning.

Maybe the Colts will replace the Titans as the Jaguars' most bitter rival. It can happen and, at some point, almost certainly will happen.

Be patient. Wait for the big games.

Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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