I've spent the last four years, or so, taking shots at Jaguars apologist Vic Ketchman. I've done this despite the fact that folks like John Oehser vouch that he is a super nice guy whose only fault is that he loves his Jaguars. Since he is a paid employee of the team, I guess it makes sense that he should cheer-lead a bit. However, some of his articles discussing the Colts, and their dominance of the Jaguars over the past 15 or so years, often read as if the man is delusional.
I understand loving your team, but losing all measure of objectivity when writing about your team is never acceptable for me no matter who is cutting the checks.
Setting aside my dislike for Vic Ketchman as an objective, knowledgeable writer about the NFL and the Jaguars, last Friday Vic made a very impassioned, heart-felt plea to the Jaguars fanbase when he answered a question from "Joey in Jacksonville."
"Joey" asked the following question:
It was reported that the intra-squad scrimmage will only be for season-ticket holders this year. As a season-ticket holder, this is stupid. People bring their kids to the scrimmage that don't have tickets and it’s a great way to grow the fan base. I hope the Jaguars find some other way to reward the season-ticket holders.
A good question. Shutting out fans from a practice and only allowing season ticket holders (aka, "rich people") in is a dumb way to reach out to your fanbase and encourage them to attend games, especially when this country is in the middle of one of its worst economic recessions in living memory.
However, despite the stupidity of Jaguars management closing off an event that would encourage more fans to take an interest in a Jaguars football, Vic totes the company line by making a strong plea to fans that, at it's core, signals that the days of the Jaguars remaining in Jacksonville are very much numbered.
Vic's response after the jump [emphasis mine].
At this time, I would like to speak to everyone from my heart. I ask that you, please, read my words carefully and embrace them. Here goes: Folks, this is it. This is save the whale. Forget, for the moment, about kids and growing the fan base for the future. We’ve been doing that since 1995. Back then, it was about the future. In 2010, it’s about the present. The decision to limit the scrimmage to season-ticket holders was made for the purpose of adding value to a season ticket. It was carefully considered and the decision was made, not for the purpose of punishing those who don’t have tickets, but to reward those who do have tickets because adding value to a season ticket might help sell more of them. That’s all it is. The focus has become that sharp because ticket sales, not the futures of David Garrard and Jack Del Rio, is the number one issue confronting this team, and it’s not about next year’s ticket sales or growing the fan base for 2020, it’s about selling tickets for this year. This is it. This is save the whale and, from my perch on the beach, the whale is struggling to live. I think everyone would do well to understand that the radical nature of this decision underscores the team’s desperation to sell tickets. The team knew this decision would be harshly criticized, yet, it went forward with it. Why do you think it did? If your answer is that we have reached the tipping point, then you are a logical person
A few things here:
- I admire Vic for being so passionate about a team he clearly loves, however...
- Adding friggin scrimmages to a season ticket package does not "add value" to season tickets. The only thing that will truly add value to a season ticket is if the team is good, and right now the Jaguars inspire very little excitement.
Without turning this into a "bash the Glitter Kitties" post, I will take the side of the thousands of Jaguars fans who likely feel somewhat insulted by the team's moronic decision to close off a family-friendly event like the intra-squad scrimmage and have it available to the "rich people" who can afford it.
Wayne Weaver is a multi-millionaire. He'll remain one long after this season, regardless of whether or not the Jaguars fanbase purchases every single season ticket in 2010, or not. As an owner in the NFL, it should be his #1 priority to put the absolute best product possible on the field in Jacksonville. This means hiring good coaches, investing in quality players, and winning friggin football games.
However, if you notice, Weaver hasn't done a whole helluva lot to make Jacksonville fans rush to the ticket booths. The same tired, inept management team still runs the football operations. Their 2010 NFL Draft was universally panned. Jack Del Rio has been an awful head coach during his entire tenure, yet still manages to remain employed despite candidates like Bill Cowher, Leslie Frazier, and Jon Gruden still sitting out there in the market.
I mean seriously, why should fans dump thousands of dollars on season tickets for a team that is clearly being cheap?
It is the responsibility of the owner to put a quality product on the field that is worthy of a fan's precious time and hard-earned money. If they fail to do so, why should the residents of Jacksonville bother? And if the follow-up to that is a threat that the team will leave Jacksonville, well that tells you all you need to know about how Wayne Weaver views his customers.
Buy my product NOW! If you don't, I'll sell it elsewhere!
Would you buy anything from someone who said that to you? I wouldn't, and neither are Jaguars fans. I may bash their team, their coach, and their owner, but I applaud Jaguars fans for not buying into Weaver (and, by extension, Ketchman's) threats about the team leaving. They see teams like the Colts offering free access to practices and family-friendly events during the off-season. Yet, with their team, only season ticket holders can enjoy those kinds of festivities.
If you take Vic at his word ("we have reached the tipping point..."), then it seems that, perhaps next year, we might have a new team in Los Angeles, a town known for its flaky fanbase who have no problem throwing away money on mediocre franchises run by cheap owners (See Los Angeles Clippers).
Weaver and the Jags will fit in just fine in LA.
For Jacksonville residents, I sincerely mean this: You deserve better. NFL football can work in Jacksonville. All it takes is a competent owner willing to do whatever it takes to win. A great way to have drummed up fan interest this off-season would have been to:
- Fire Jack Del Rio and all the football operations staff.
- Hire Florida resident and all-around football genius Tony Dungy as President of the Jaguars (as the Seahawks tried to do).
- After taking the job, Dungy would have immediately hired outstanding assistant coach Leslie Frazier as the new head man in Jacksonville.
I guarantee you if moves like these had been made, you would have seen in increase in season tickets in Jaguars country. Sadly, the schmuck owner decided to be cheap and simply retain the same, tired group of losers who have done nothing with this franchise since 2003. Jacksonville fans deserve better.