There is much rejoicing in Jacksonville today. Somehow, against all odds, the local NFL team has managed (with the ongoing assistance of 10,000 seats worth of tarp) to sell enough non-premium tickets to permit Thursday night’s regular-season home finale against the Colts to be televised locally.
The lifting of the blackout was announced by Mayor John Peyton and Carl Cannon, leader of the “Touchdown Jacksonville” movement.
“We’ve been labeled as having too many blackouts,” Cannon said, “but I believe we’re now headed in the right direction and soon there won’t be any.”
Still, it’s one thing for a playoff contender being visited by a 13-0 team quarterbacked by one of the greatest players in NFL history to sell enough tickets to avoid a perfect ten-for-ten blackout record. It’s another thing to sustain it into 2010, especially if the team continues its recent trend of a good year followed by a bad year.
The proof ultimately will be in the week-in and week-out pudding. This isn’t about energizing a political party’s base for a one-day trip to the polls. This is about getting enough people sufficient interested in the team to devote ten days of the year to coming to the stadium and supporting the effort.
Whether it happens remains to be seen. But we’ll leave you with this innocently ominous quote from the article appearing on the team’s official web site, from editor Vic Ketchman: “What will follow this offseason will be most important and will go a long way toward determining the franchise’s future.”
So fear not, citizens of London. The Shaguars might still be headed your way.