So this is how we are to begin training camp, with the bitter taste of acrimony between the team and the town the team calls home.
How unfortunate. You don't deserve that.
One of the most critical seasons in Jaguars history will begin tomorrow morning and the bleachers will be full of fans who wanna believe, cling to the belief that this will be the season the Jaguars make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Clouding that optimism, however, is the nagging thought that the state of professional football in Jacksonville is not secure.
How very sad. It's only been 10 years.
At times, all of this seems to be some kind of nightmare from which we will awaken unharmed. Yeah, well, don't be so sure. Did you read what the mayor's mouthpiece had to say in The Times-Union today?
"I think we're at the point that the negotiations are over," he said. "There's not a better deal available. If you want to write that as an ultimatum, that's your choice."
Do I think it's an ultimatum? Yeah, I'd say it's an ultimatum. In fact, I think it's a little more than an ultimatum. I think it's stronger than that. I think it sounds like a vendetta.
New York City asked Gerald Ford for help in the 1970's. Do you remember the headline in the New York Daily News? "FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD"
Maybe that's a little strong, huh? Maybe it isn't.
All right, the mayor of Jacksonville sent the Jaguars a message. MAYOR TO JAGUARS: DROP DEAD. That's the way I see it.
Now it's time for Wayne Weaver and Jaguars fans to send the mayor a message, but not with words. That's become a meaningless form of communication. It's time for Weaver and his team's fans to send a message of action.
Winning will send the message. That's your responsibility, Wayne. Get your team to win.
And ticket sales will send the message. That's your responsibility, folks. Buy tickets. Nothing speaks louder than ticket sales.
Winning and ticket sales are an unbeatable combination. Together they can overcome anything the mayor and his mouthpiece can throw at the future of professional football in Jacksonville. Together they can make the Jaguars' arrangement with the city a secondary consideration.
Success will get it done. Success will secure the future of professional football in Jacksonville and success is in the hands of Weaver and his team's fans.
No more talk. Win games. Fill the building. That's what will get it done.