The ticket manager stopped the reporter in the hallway this morning. "Are you ready for this? There's just one ticket left," the ticket manager said.
That's right, folks, this one truly is a sellout. No fudging on the blackout number for this one. This is the game you're sorry you have to watch on television. It'll probably be the largest crowd in Alltel Stadium history. Who doesn't want a ticket for Sunday night's game against the Steelers?
This is the kind of game this town has needed for a long time. It has needed a true sellout. It has needed a truly hot ticket. Wayne Weaver won't have to buy tickets and give them to hurricane workers to get this one on TV. The fact of the matter is Weaver couldn't find a ticket to give to a hurricane worker.
Jacksonville needed to know it could get real excited about a professional football game and fill its stadium to the brim. This is how it's supposed to be every week. Maybe, one day it will be.
Yeah, Steelers fans bear a large part of the responsibility for selling this one out, but there's also no denying the excitement for the Jaguars in Jacksonville this week. Sunday night, as the Jaguars celebrate their 10th anniversary, this franchise will experience a re-birth. That's what a full house is going to do for this team and this town.
Thank you, Pittsburgh, for arousing our senses to professional football again.
Now, here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Steelers.
1. Stop the run—It doesn't get any easier than that in figuring out how to beat the Steelers. They live and die with the run.
2. Get turnovers—That's the second part of the equation.
3. Rattle the rookie—Ben Roethlisberger has had a phenomenal rookie season but he's still a rookie and he's vulnerable to mistakes that are to be expected of a rookie.
4. Run the ball—The Jaguars keep talking about more carries for Fred Taylor. Well?
5. Protect Byron—Leftwich is going to get a major dose of "Blitzburgh." If the Jaguars don't pick it up, they may find themselves picking up Leftwich.
6. Run like El—He's Antwaan Randle El and he may be the best return guy in the game. Catch him.
7. Be patient—The Steelers won't run away from you. They play it close to the vest.
8. Make kicks—Josh Scobee was out of this world in Minnesota. In a low-scoring game as this one should be, kicking is at a premium.
9. Feel the wall at your back—This is it. The Jaguars' season is on the line. Win or get out of the way.
10. Look at the calendar—It's December. It's time.