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South good place for Jags

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

William from Jacksonville:
Jerome Bettis looks many jelly doughnuts beyond his listed weight of 255 pounds. Watching him actually run and cut against San Diego has to put him into contention for "Eighth Wonder of the World." Setting that aside, has he accomplished enough to be a sure shot for the Hall of Fame?

Vic: Are you kidding? There are only four men – Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith -- in NFL history who've rushed for more yards than Bettis. I think he's in.

Cole from Tallahassee, FL:
What are your top six most memorable Jaguars games?

Vic: 1.) at Denver, 1996 playoffs. 2.) (tie) Pittsburgh, 1997; at Pittsburgh, 1997; Pittsburgh, 2004. 3.) at Baltimore, 1996. 4.) Tennessee, 1999. 5.) at Indianapolis, 2004. 6.) at Baltimore, 2000.

Clay from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
It's hard to believe this but John Henderson has more tackles for loss than Ray Lewis. What is your take on Big John's great performance so far?

Vic: All indications are he's a special player and I would've never guessed that when he was a rookie. I underrated him. I didn't think he was athletic enough to be as dominant as he is. I was wrong.

Steve from Jacksonville:
I'm heading to Pittsburgh this weekend for the game. Any suggestions?

Vic: If you like hockey, you might try to buy a ticket at a reasonable price from a scalper outside the Igloo on Saturday night, but wait until just before they drop the puck. If you like seeing the sights, I'd take the subway over to Station Square and spend the afternoon there (make sure you spend some time at the bar in the Grand Concourse), then take the Mon Incline up to Mt. Washington and walk the length of Grandview Ave. down to the Duquesne Incline. By then you should've worked up a big appetite, so catch a cab to Tambellini's – early is good because it gets real crowded – and treat yourself to a true red-sauce, red-wine feast. The best advice I can give you is bring your walking shoes and wear them out. Pittsburgh is a true walking town loaded with little bars and restaurants. Go to Primanti Bros. in Market Square. Go to Carson St. on the Southside. Pittsburgh is an old-world town. It's very different. I hope you enjoy your visit.

Roland from Jacksonville:
The most important ranking is turnover differential. How do the Jags stack up this year compared to teams of the past?

Vic: The Jaguars are currently plus-two, which ranks 12th in the NFL. They finished plus-six last year, which was also 12th in the league, and minus-four in 2003, which was 23rd in the league.

LeRoi from Cleveland, OH:
I noticed during "Reporters' Corner" that you became very passionate while discussing the immense history between the Jaguars and the Steelers. Do you believe the NFL may have made an error in judgment when they broke up the old AFC Central and re-aligned in 2002, or can the Jaguars create a similar rivalry with the teams in our AFC South?

Vic: There was almost no way to keep the Jaguars with the old AFC Central teams, given the format of four-team divisions. Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh were natural partners for all of the right reasons: geography, history and market size. No division in the NFL makes more sense than the AFC North. It was a holy alliance nobody was going to disturb, just as the four AFC East team's have a blood pact to stay together. I would've loved to see the Jaguars stay with Baltimore and Pittsburgh. I thought the Jaguars really developed something special with those two teams. It couldn't happen, however, and the fact that Jacksonville and Nashville had something special going made their placement together in the AFC South acceptable. Since then, Indianapolis has become an attractive counterpart and Houston gives the AFC South a big-market team. It's a good division. I miss the AFC Central but I see a solid tradition taking shape in the AFC South.

Ed from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Do you think USC, Virginia Tech, Texas or my 'Noles could beat any NFL team? I'm not talking about on a weekly basis but, say, one out of five or 10 times?

Vic: No times.

MicSon from Calgary, Alberta:
Do you think because the Jags had early expansion success it caused Jags fans to be spoiled?

Vic: That's a possibility, but I don't think that's the reason the team hit a soft spot in attendance. Sports is an emotional sell and it takes time to work your way into people's hearts. I see evidence of it happening now. I really think the Jaguars have turned the corner in this town and are on their way to becoming as important to the fabric of Jacksonville life as some of the strong teams in the league are in their communities. In my opinion, a very telling thing happened last week: The Jaguars sold 1,500-plus tickets for a game on the heels of a very unpopular loss. That's when you know it's going your way; when you can sell tickets after a loss. Everybody says you have to win to sell tickets, but the strong franchises are the ones that sell tickets even when they lose. You know what I think this town needed? I think this town needed to be told the truth for a change. I think it needed to know it could lose its team. I think it needed to know that a lot of people were saying the Jaguars covered 10,000 seats and still can't sell out their stadium. I think we were living a lie for a long time and then, when the truth got out, Jacksonville had to decide whether it wanted this team or not. I think it's made its decision.

Andrew from Jacksonville:
With Scobee's performance on Sunday, he has been compared to Mike Hollis. Do you believe Scobee is better than Hollis, about the same or still needs a bit of work?

Vic: Josh has a stronger leg than Mike, but Mike was a more accurate kicker. At one point, Mike was the most accurate kicker in NFL history. If and when Josh reaches that level of performance, you'll probably be able to say he's the best kicker in the league.

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