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The breaking point

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

Sean from Jacksonville:
It seems the majority of the conversation about the Jaguars staying in Jacksonville relies on this electronic signage. Can you go over that and put it into simple terms for us?

Vic: The Jaguars' lease includes the rights to Alltel Stadium's electronic signage for all events. The City wants the Jaguars to surrender the rights to four non-Jaguars events: Florida-Georgia, ACC title game, Gator Bowl and Monster Truck Show. The Jaguars have said they will surrender the signage rights to those games in exchange for rent-credit compensation, and the Jaguars asked the City to assign a signage value to those events. The City came back to the Jaguars with a $9.6 million figure, which means the City values the signage for each of those events to be $100,000 per year for the 24 years remaining on the lease. The Jaguars accepted that figure in a phone call between Wayne Weaver and Mayor Peyton on Sept. 9. Peyton said the City would fax the Jaguars a proposal that would include the $9.6 million figure on the following day, the day before the Jaguars' season opener. When the Jaguars got the proposal, it also included several other amendments the Jaguars had already rejected, including stadium naming rights guarantees that would've committed the Jaguars to more than $48 million in payments to the City over the course of the lease, should the Jaguars be unable to find a naming rights sponsor. Weaver, of course, declined to accept the proposal, a reaction the City had to expect. That's where we are.

Shawn from Three Rivers, MI:
Emmitt Smith better than Barry Sanders? That's just crazy. What is your reasoning for saying Emmitt is better than Barry, and don't say all-time yardage?

Vic: Barry Sanders was a great back. I prefer Emmitt Smith, however, because he was a much better goal-line and short-yardage runner. When I'm on the goal-line, I want the ball in the hands of my star and I want it going forward; no sideways stuff or lost yardage. Sanders had too many negative-yardage plays to suit my tastes. Smith was a pounder who made long runs and played hurt. He was everything I want in a running back.

Olly from London, England:
Just a comment about your answer to the Emmitt Smith/Barry Sanders question. Over here the perception of American football is that the game is just one massive bundle of hype and adverts, each broadcast just another opportunity to hawk a networks' range of programming or beer or insurance or erectile dysfunction pills. Thank God for you, Vic. I am eternally grateful that your column and website were my first point of contact with the NFL. It's answers like Smith over Sanders, substance over style, that have made me realize that at the heart of this fuzzy commercial candyfloss is a great, hard-nosed bulldog of a game. Without your answers, had I perhaps turned to Chris Berman instead of you, I might never have realized this. I might never have discovered a passion. Even worse, I might have become a Colts fan.

Vic: I've always wondered what Chuck Bednarik's response would've been if they had asked him to endorse an erectile dysfunction remedy.

Matt from Jacksonville:
Just read your piece on how we should be scared to lose the Jags. OK, I'm scared. I'm a first-time season ticket holder and I desperately want this team to stay here. Please tell all of us what we can do to help? Who do we write to, call, etc.? Give us the direction and we'll hit the hole.

Vic: From this link, you can find out who your city council rep is and how to contact him or her.

Bill from Jacksonville:
Your editorial about the role of Dean Bonham has bothered me for some time. Who is he and why is he here? How much is he paid and who pays him? It seems to me these are serious questions that respected and experienced journalists like you, Vito Stellino and Mike Freeman could explore. Fans like us who have supported the Jags since before they were a team by purchasing season tickets need your help before it's too late. At some point Wayne Weaver is going to do the very human thing and say enough already. Then we will be left with Rick Catlett!

Vic: Dean Bonham is a professional sports salesman. He negotiates sports sponsorship deals, stadium naming rights, etc. He is from Denver, CO, and he was hired by the City of Jacksonville to be the lead negotiator in the City's negotiations with the Jaguars. Bonham's salary is paid by the City and it should be a matter of public record. I am having that information researched and, hopefully, I can provide his salary to our readers soon.

Steve from Neptune Beach, FL:
I am only 10 years old. I have gone to the Jags games every home game with my dad for the last three years. Before, we didn't do anything together. All he did was sleep on Sundays. Mr. Vic, is there anything I can do to keep the Jaguars from moving? I don't want things to go back to the way they were. It is one of the only things I do with my dad because he works all the time. I would be very sad for more than one reason if the Jags moved.

Vic: Steve, no e-mail has touched me as yours has. Your words have brought back all of the memories of my youth, when my father took me to Forbes Field and Pitt Stadium to see the Steelers play. I can't imagine not having the vivid pictures of those fall afternoons in my memory bank. They are the reason I have spent the last 34 years of my life attempting to re-live them. I hope that you and your father will have the opportunity to enjoy Jaguars football together for a long, long time.

Dwayne from Jacksonville:
Vic, you're an idiot. Television wasn't invented until the 1950's, so any sports before then would have been on radio. Any idiot should know this. And it was incredibly shortsighted of rugby to have lost the national audience over replays. The radio audience had no way of knowing unless the announcers told them. Duh!

Vic: Dwayne, I think your timeline is a little off. "I Love Lucy" moved from radio to TV in 1851 and instantly became the highest Nielsen-rated show of the century.

Ben from Rolla, MO:
After reading your "You should be scared" editorial, I got worried. How big of a distraction do you think LA would be on the players of the Jaguars, if it came to them having to move?

Vic: The Cleveland Browns were 4-4 in 1995 when it was announced the team was moving to Baltimore. They lost seven of their final eight games.

Vince from Jacksonville:
I am a loyal Jags fan since the birth of the Jaguars and it sure would break a lot of hearts to see our team, which we worked so hard to have awarded by the NFL, leave Jacksonville. I want to know what is going on and why, and I want to know what has to happen for the Jags to stay in Jacksonville?

Vic: Wayne Weaver told me in an interview a couple of weeks ago that four things need to happen to stabilize the future of the team in Jacksonville: 1.) A settlement of the stadium electronic signage issue that would apply the agreed compensation to the Jaguars' rent in the form of rent credit. 2.) Bring the team's ticket sales up to the NFL median. The Jaguars are currently 31st in the league in ticket revenue and will fall to 32nd, dead last, in the league next year. 3.) Sell the team's premium seats. 4.) Win games. Those are the four things that have to happen for the Jaguars to have a bright future. Do they seem unreasonable to you?

Chris from Ormond Beach, FL:
Just read your latest article. I am a season ticket holder. If Jacksonville loses the team because of city politics, I will never spend one more dollar in that town. I hope everyone else that lives out of town takes the same stance.

Vic: Your e-mail is symbolic of the frustration that dominated all of the e-mails I've received in the last two days. And I can tell you that my e-mail bin is filling faster than I can empty it.

Eric from St. Augustine, FL:
Fantastic editorial. Plain and simple, Wayne Weaver can sell this team for double what he paid for it, but he won't. What do you think his breaking point is?

Vic: It would seem that the electronic signage issue is the breaking point.

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