Wayne Weaver didn't get the Monday night game he wanted and the schedule the NFL presented to the Jaguars on Wednesday includes only one prime-time, nationally-televised game, against visiting Cincinnati on Sunday, Oct. 9.
"I am extremely disappointed in our schedule. As a small-market team struggling to fill our stadium, and as a team on the rise, we felt we deserved consideration for a Monday night game," Weaver said in a statement released by the team on Wednesday afternoon.
It's not the kind of schedule the Jaguars had hoped to get from the league. Even the Jaguars' game in Pittsburgh was passed over for prime-time. Most thought that game would be a Monday-nighter. Instead, it'll be played at one o'clock on Oct. 16.
The Jaguars will open the season at home on Sept. 11 against Seattle, a team coming from a cool climate and into steamy north Florida for a one o'clock start. That's where the Jaguars' advantage would seem to end.
Games in Indianapolis on Sept. 18 and at the Jets on Sept. 25 follow the season-opener. Home games against Denver and Cincinnati are next up, followed by a trip to Pittsburgh, a bye in week seven of the season and a trip to St. Louis in week eight.
"The first thing that caught my eye is we got a home-opener. The next thing that jumped out at me is we finish the season with games against all three of our division opponents in the last month of the year, and we play three of our final four games at home," coach Jack Del Rio said.
"Yeah, it looks like we're going to get a heavy dose of last year's playoff teams in the early part of the schedule. It's going to be real important that we come out of the gate ready to play," Del Rio added.
That seven-game opening stretch of schedule includes six playoff teams from last season. The prime-time game against Cincinnati will feature a head-to-head battle between quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Byron Leftwich, the first and seventh overall picks of the 2003 draft.
November will begin with home games against Houston and Baltimore, then the Jaguars will begin a three-game road stretch that could ultimately decide the team's quest to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999. The Jaguars will play at Tennessee on Nov. 20 and at Arizona and at Cleveland the following two Sundays.
The final four games of the season see the Jaguars hosting Indianapolis and San Francisco, and traveling to Houston before closing the regular season at home against Tennessee on New Year's Day.
That game and the one in Arizona are set for 4:05 p.m. starts. All other games, except for the Cincinnati Sunday-nighter, are scheduled for one o'clock kicks.
"The first half of our schedule is challenging but exciting with six playoff teams. Finishing with three division games and three home games in the last four weeks is a positive. This gives us an opportunity to push for the playoffs in January, when all of the games have national exposure," Weaver added. "Now that we have our schedule, we need our fans to get their tickets and fill up Alltel Stadium to create a true homefield advantage."
"We need another strong draft and then this team needs to get to work and become a team," Del Rio said. "Every year you have to re-commit yourself to the good of the team and to the cause. We got a good start in our offseason conditioning program. To me, it's exciting. Once the schedule comes out, you start talking about the season. My juices get flowing once the schedule comes out."