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Super Bowl can drive stadium improvements


VK: Where does getting the 2005 Super Bowl stand in your list of accomplishments?

WW: I can't take credit for the Super Bowl. There were a lot of people who did a lot of hard work. I feel I've made a contribution to the effort. It's very high, in terms of what it means to us and what it means to our city, and that's the way I look at it. I've said this, that the Super Bowl is as big for Jacksonville as the Olympics were for Atlanta. This is an event that will change our city forever.

VK: You've mentioned that getting the Super Bowl can be a great marketing tool for your franchise. In what ways?

WW: I think what you heard me say was that it's a great marketing tool for our city, that we can promote ourselves as a Super Bowl city, but having said that, I also believe it's an opportunity for us to get some things done, in terms of upgrading our stadium over the next few years. The Super Bowl is a huge economic engine, and in order for us to stay competitive with our facilities here, we constantly have to look at new facilities that are going up across the country, and make sure we're staying competitive. The last one to open is in Cincinnati, and Cincinnati has state-of-the-art electronic signage throughout their building, and that's huge. Our signage is two or three evolutions behind the current buildings out there, so we have to constantly work at those types of things. That's a small example, but that's one example of the kind of things that you have to constantly look at, if you're going to continue to remain competitive and enhance the fan experience, because those are the things the fans are looking for. The fans want these facilities with the latest amenities, to make the experience more enjoyable.

VK: Selling these things to the taxpayer are difficult, are they not?

WW: Absolutely, and the way we have to go about doing it is we have to use the Super Bowl, and it gives us the leverage that it is a huge economic driver that will generate revenues that we wouldn't have without the Super Bowl. Those revenues can go toward doing some of these things.

VK: What will it take from your football team the rest of this season to satisfy you?

WW: I guess the thing I'm looking for is the type of effort and intensity I know this football team is capable of producing. Given that, I'm not so sure you can count it in wins and losses. You and I both know that the way the ball bounces sometimes, you can get some breaks and lose football games you should win, and it's hard to pin a fault on anyone; it's just unfortunate the breaks you get sometimes.

VK: As the season nears its end, your fans are wondering what's going to happen personnel-wise during the offseason. What can you say along those lines?

WW: I spent a good bit of time during the bye week, took a couple of days off, but some of the things I was trying to resolve in my own mind is how we deal with the salary cap, and I spent a great deal of time on it yesterday. Over the next few weeks, we're going to have to make some very difficult decisions, in terms of how we're going to deal with our salary cap, and hopefully we'll make good decisions and the right decisions that are in the best interest of our franchise long-term.

VK: Talk a little bit about what your involvement will be in salary-cap, contract and personnel decisions this coming offseason?

WW: Well, obviously, I'll be much more involved than I have been in the past, because we are in such a difficult position. It's got to be thoughtful; it's got to be made with the thought of what's in the best interest of this franchise long-term.

VK: What is your fondest wish?

WW: To get to the Super Bowl.

VK: Can it still happen this season?

WW: Nothing is impossible, but it's highly unlikely this year.

VK: Your greatest concern?

WW: That we don't make the right decisions, in terms of how we build this franchise over the next 3-4 years.

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