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Your seat's just fine


I checked your seat today. It's fine; opens and closes perfectly. I checked the cupholder, too; no problem there, either.

So, you're all set to go, and I trust you'll be in your seat this season. The Jaguars sure do need you. In fact, they could use about 7,000 more fans like you.

Under a scorching July sun, Jaguars employees conducted a "Check Your Seat" exercise intended to ready Alltel Stadium for the arrival of another Jaguars season. As sprinklers cooled a playing field that's a little more than half re-sodded, 67,000 seats were inspected for damage. Hey, I found two in need of repair and I even found a dollar bill that had been strategically placed for discovery and reward.

All right, today's event was a promotion. So what's wrong with that? Wayne Weaver treated us to hot dogs and soft drinks afterward. Byron Leftwich even showed up for a photo op. Gee, Byron, how many seats did you actually inspect?

You know, the place looked pretty good. The covers haven't been put on, yet, so I'll be anxious to see what the joint looks like with 10,000 seats hidden from view, but for some reason ol' Alltel looked pretty good today. Maybe all of that Los Angeles talk turned me soft.

Weaver and his front office boys are getting real serious about this season … and beyond. The ice cream truck – "The Cool Catmobile" – was there today. If you play your cards right, the owner might even stop and pick you up on the way to the game this fall.

It's all part of a message the Jaguars are sending to you. They want you to understand how important you are to them. They want you to know they'll do whatever they can to sell you a ticket. They want you to like them.

Not all NFL teams pander to their fans as the Jaguars do to theirs. Call the Packers, Steelers, Giants, Jets and Redskins and tell them you wanna buy a ticket. Maybe, if they're in a good mood after they get done laughing, they'll let you put your name on their waiting list. A guy in Pittsburgh put his name on the Steelers' waiting list after they won their first Super Bowl in 1974. A letter arrived recently congratulating him on his opportunity to buy two season tickets. Unfortunately, the guy died 10 years ago.

It's not that way in Jacksonville, which is good news and bad news. It's bad because it threatens the future of this franchise. It's good because you have a chance to own something you couldn't own in other places. Hey, in Pittsburgh a permanent seat license – that's right, you buy the seat first, then the ticket – for Heinz Field is the equivalent of beachfront property.

"We need to be reminded that we only have 10 days in this business and we need to be perfect. Fans spend 30 hours in those seats. They own that seat. I don't want them to spend that time in a broken seat. How hard is 10 days a year? We're not open 24-7. We're open for business 10 days a year," senior vice president Tim Connolly said.

The "Check Your Seat" event turned up 338 damaged seats. Those damn Philly fans.

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