I don’t know whether or not to laugh or cry at this juncture. But suffice to say that the NFL lived up to its appeal of ‘anything can happen on any given Sunday’. Oh my God, that’s an Oliver Stone ‘movie’. No conspiracy theorists here however. Alas, the New England Patriots are finally showing signs of life but I sincerely doubt that it’ll be enough to sustain them throughout the playoffs. As a divisional winner they’re guaranteed a wild card berth. And as good as this team was perceived to be, they are nowhere near as good as the teams of old.
Simply put ,Bill Belichick is trying to plug holes into ill fitting pieces of a jig saw puzzle that in effect is still missing several much needed pieces. That has definitely got to be the case concerning the defense and how inexplicably inconsistent they’ve been this season. The Patriots had the pleasure of having their way with the Jacksonville Jaguars. And here’s a team that one now has to wonder how long their owner, Wayne Weaver , can continue to put up with Jack Del Rio as the team’s coach ? It’s safe to say that the cries …..’we want Timmy , we want Tim Tebow‘ won’t be enough to save Del Rio from the impending fall of the axe across his neck. Let the bloodletting begin. At this juncture it’ll be left to Weaver and the rest of the Jaguars’ hierarchy as to the final decision that will be made.
The Patriots for their part are beginning to show ever growing cracks in that once invincible armor and it certainly hasn’t helped that Tom Brady hasn’t been playing up to his own lofty standards. But then again when watching Brady at his best , you realize how good he really is and why it is that the organization has been so successful. And much of that had a great deal to do with the insight of former GM, Scott Pioli , who now ply his trade as the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. And one would hope that the relationship between Pioli and Chiefs’ coach, Todd Haley won’t be as testy and icy ,as it was rumored to be between Belichick and Pioli towards the end of the general manager’s tenure with the New England Patriots.
Foxboro-Mass,. — Bill Belichick has a philosophy on whether to rest some of his key players for this Sunday’s regular-season finale, and it’s a rather familiar one:
“I do what’s best for our football team. That’s my philosophy,” he said Monday.
That was pretty much all Belichick would say in his late-morning news conference about how he’ll approach personnel decisions for the game against the Texans.
He added that he had not yet made any decisions, as he and his coaching staff had just wrapped up their review of New England’s win over Jacksonville.
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Sunday’s game between these two AFC representatives show why the teams are heading in opposite directions. New England sits atop of the AFC East with a 10-5 record and are assured of winning their seventh AFC East crown in the last nine years. The Kansas City Chiefs for their part are in the San Diego Chargers’ dominated AFC West. Where if you get two competitive games between the contestants within the division you’re bound to be crying ‘foul’ . So god-damn awful is that division , that I continually ask myself why are there games scheduled between the occupants to begin with ? Because I know for damn sure that no one from the NFL’s hierarchy will be willing to give me or the fans a legitimate straight forward answer as to how bad the division really is.
And it’s now pretty much safe to say that the Chiefs (3-12) will be fighting it out amongst themselves with the lowly Detroit Lions (2-13) and St Louis Rams (1-14) for the privilege of obtaining the number one draft pick in the NFL Draft of 2010. Oh to be a fly on the wall in the war rooms of those particular organizations. Suffice to say, things cannot get any worse than they are now. Absolutely not, well at least I’d like to think so !
New England had their way the Jaguars, rolling them over on their way to an emphatic 35-7 win at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Sunday afternoon. For the Patriots’ this was a welcome win on a cold and blustery day.
At best the Patriots can end up with an 11-5 record at the end of the season ,garnering them the number four seed in the AFC. As an avid Patriots’ fan I’m hoping that it’ll be enough whereby they can use their playoff experience to acquit themselves well this postseason. If they can hit a rich vein of form over the ensuing weeks however, there’s no reason to believe that they can’t upset the apple cart and throw a ‘monkey wrench’ into the ambitions of the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals who are ahead of them in the NFL’s AFC seedings.
I know the limitations of the Patriots but I’m also fully aware as to what they’re capable of doing when they actually set their minds to it. The problem being is that will the team collectively be in unison when they’re needed to be at their very best ? If not then this postseason could end as swiftly for them as a sudden cold Nor’easter has been known to suddenly envelope the New England area. And that as we know is never a pleasant thing to begin with. In other words it can be odious but yet it can also be simply bloody marvelous. It just matters whether or not you’re on the receiving end of it all ?
NB: All pictures herein, appears courtesy of either AP/Photos or Getty Images
And Sunday’s 31-17 debilitating loss , sustained at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals did nothing to dispel the growing disquiet amongst the Jaguars’ fans and around the city of Jacksonville. Clearly this isn’t just a growing concern amongst the fans but also the franchise’s hierarchy. They have to be now placing the club’s coach , Jack Del Rio under close scrutiny. In all probability Del Rio could very well become the first managerial casualty of this, still young , NFL season.
If the fact that the team hasn’t at all performed well during their first two games of the season. Well also consider this , there is a guaranteed certainty that the franchise will not sell out all of its eight scheduled home game this season. That is indeed a terrifying obstacle for the franchise to face. With the dire economic climate across the nation and the high unemployment(9.7%) across the state. The present fate of the franchise not only rests in the hands of its players but also , the fortunes of the state and in particular within the city of Jacksonville, itself. And for Del Rio and his coaching staff . Now isn’t the time to be making any excuses whatsoever ,as to how his team is underachieving. They’ve got to batten down the hatches and get this team back on the right track.
It was a fine afternoon for football Sunday in Jacksonville and 46,520 fans (actually, probably less) showed up to rattle around the city’s Municipal Stadium for the Jaguars’ home opener. The stadium, which hasn’t had a name-rights deal in two years, can seat over 76,000. The Jags long ago gave up on that number, and in an effort to avoid television blackouts they covered up sections to cut capacity to 66,066.
They still didn’t come close to selling out.
They’ve publicly stated there is no hope for filling the joint for a single game the entire season. They aren’t even blaming the fact they’re coming off a 5-11 campaign.
“Even if we made the playoffs last year, we’d still be in this situation,” Bill Prescott, the team’s CFO, told the Florida Times-Union. He went on to claim that based on playoff appearances in two of the last four years, the postseason is worth only a 5 percent bump in sales.
This is all the economy’s fault, Prescott maintained.
If that’s true, then the NFL’s grand small-market experiment hatched in 1995 is all but over. Jacksonville as a viable professional sports market isn’t going to end well. Eventually everyone will have to admit it.
No one is blaming fans for staying home. Even with discounted tickets and generous package rates, attending a pro sports event is an expensive and time-consuming proposition. You can be the most loyal fan in the world and never go to a game. Jaguar fans shouldn’t apologize for saving money for something more important than football.
Still, a market that can truly support professional sports has enough people who either can afford it or simply won’t live without it. Every town will support a new team or a big winner. The truth comes not in good times but, like now, bad.
Jacksonville is struggling. The unemployment rate is 10.5 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and like much of Florida foreclosures are high.
In order to read Dan Wetzel’s article in its entirety just click on the text link shown.
Certainly there seems to be something askew with regard to franchise’s thinking as to their present problems. Chief Financial Officer of the franchise, Bill Prescott thinks that the franchise’s inherent problems lies in the fact .’…. the country is in the midst of a bad economy and that is in large part to blame’ for the the franchise’s woes. Either Prescott isn’t prepared to acknowledge the fact that the Jaguars can also be apportioned much of the blame for its own self inflicted malaise. Wherein, it hasn’t performed up to standard by way of being a competitive NFL franchise on the field of play. At best, the franchise’s form over the past few year can be described as being lackluster . One has to wonder if Prescott’s sentiments are shared by team owner , Wayne Weaver ?
Coming off a 5-11 season in 2008 . It was felt that there was room for improvement for the Jaguars. Within the AFC South, they were always considered to be a better than average team. And within that division they may well have been viewed as the second or third best team behind the Indianapolis Colts . With the Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans , as well as the Jags at one time or not being closely bunched together. The difference between the trio was a matter, as to their levels of consistency. Make of it what you will.
Del Rio for his part saw fit to rid the team of players, whom he felt could no longer contribute to the Jaguars. And though on the face of it – it might well have been done in order for the franchise to be financially prudent. Those players seem to now be making somewhat solid contributions for their new found teams. Draft wise, Del Rio sought young talent but at the same he brought in veteran wide receiver, Torry Holt, to add to the team’s receiving corps and provide some much needed veteran leadership. As to whether or not Holt can provide that theme, remains to be seen. And no doubt the jury is still out on that ? And the team’s roster doesn’t make you sit up and take note as to its presence. You’d be hard pressed to state that there’s someone on the roster that would seriously pose a threat on either side of the ball.
We can regale that one of the problems also facing the Jaguars is that of the NFL’s blackout policy with regard to televised broadcast games. NFL Commissioner , Roger Goodell has taken note as to the inherent problems that this no doubt brings for many of the NFL’s franchises. In particular for those within the small markets. But he’s done little to address the issue, merely pointing out that the NFL has taken note. It’s plain to see that for Goodell and the hierarchy of the game ……the gravy train has to continue flowing without there being seemingly any disruptions in whatever form it might well take.
Reduced season-ticket sales for some N.F.L. teams could result in a greater than usual number of local television blackouts.
“It’s all part of the challenges that we’re seeing in the economy and what our clubs are going through,” Roger Goodell told reporters Tuesday at the Washington Redskins’ training camp in Ashburn, Va. “Our clubs have been working hard in the off-season to create other ways to try to get people in the stadiums and to have policies that are a little more flexible, and hopefully, they’re going to pay dividends for us.”
He said that the Jacksonville Jaguars, whose season tickets have fallen to 25,000 this season from 42,000 last season, were one of the teams whose games could be blacked out if their home games are not sold out.
N.F.L. rules require that games be blacked out in local markets if they are not sold out 72 hours before kickoff.
A USA Today survey found that the fans of a dozen teams might face some blackouts this season.
CBS and Fox said they did not expect the blackouts to significantly affect ratings or cause them to provide givebacks to advertisers.
In order to read Richard Sandomir’s article in its entirety just click on the text link shown . Article first published 09/01/09
The scene now facing the Jacksonville Jaguars now takes on an acute scenario. They have to turn things around with an immediacy not often associated with the team. And with the franchise’s fixtures now getting into full swing. Attaining wins will be of the utmost urgency for the franchise. Jack Del Rio , no doubt understands that he’s now on the clock. With that , each moment of indecision may well play a part as to his immediate future. The chances are he may well not see out the remainder of the season , should there not be signs of a significant turnaround. Meanwhile, Wayne Weaver and GM Gene Smith will be watching Del Rio with an intense scrutiny, for the first time since he took the helm of the franchise in January of 2003. Six years and but two playoff appearances under Del Rio’s tenure. It’s a meager dividend by most NFL standards . Certainly not something befitting Weaver’s lofty standards.
Though much has been made of the fact that there has been dwindling attendance at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. And the rumblings that the ownership might well choose to relocate the franchise. Certainly for the fans of the Jaguars they may well feel that they’re being betrayed by not only the ownership but also the NFL . It could very well be that this present situation could be cause for the Jaguars to take leave of the city of Jacksonville , altogether. Because the fan-base there, seems to be dwindling in ever growing proportions. The dwindling loyal band of supporters appear to be no longer interested Jaguars’ football. And it’s not just because of the present economic climate. But seemingly , from a competitive standpoint as well with regard to lack its lack of success on the field of play. And you can’t but blame the economy for one’s own self inflicted woes. Bill Prescott, his fellow executives and the Jags’ management seem to be forgetting that at this juncture.
Week 3 Sep 27 JAC @ Hou Reliant Stadium
Week 4 Oct 4 TEN @ JAC Jacksonville Mun Stad
Week 5 Oct 11 JAC @ SEA QWest Field
Week 6 Oct 18 STL @ JAC Jacksonville Mun Stad
Week 7 Bye —————————————-
Week 8 Nov 1 JAC @ TENN LP Field
Week 9 Nov 8 KC @ JAC Jacksonville Mun Stad
Week 10 Nov 15 JAC @ NYJ Giants Stadium
Week 11 Nov 22 BUF @ JAC Jacksonville Mun Stad
Week 12 Nov 29 JAC @ SF Candlestick Park
Week 13 Dec 06 HOU @ JAC Jacksonville Mun Stad
Week 14 Dec 13 MIA @ JAC Jacksonville Mun Stad
Week 15 Dec 17 IND @ JAC Jacksonville Mun Stad
Week 16 Dec 27 JAC @ NE Gillette Stadium
Week 17 Jan 03 JAC @ CLE Cleveland Browns Stadium