OPENING HIT: So this is how I get myself into trouble. The site Profootballtalk.com ran a semi-mocking post about the mayor of Jacksonville pushing for fans to buy season tickets. The Jaguars again face blackouts, the site reported, if 5,000 season tickets aren't sold.
On Twitter, I wrote several sentences, agreeing with PFT, saying it's amateurish for a mayor of a major American city to play the role of StubHub. I think mayors have better things to do like, oh, fight crime and worry about Jacksonville's troubled real estate market.
Well, the reaction from the Jagnuts was swift. A mob formed. Some of the Twitter responses were passionate but reasonable. Others were vitriolic and belligerent. A super duper Jaguars fan/cheerleader named Alfie, a guy I normally like, sent more than a few boorish tweets, three of which included profanity (he argued two contained profanity since he used the same curse twice--interesting math there). He also kept calling me "boss." I wondered if he was confusing me with Kevin Boss.
I was called anti-Jacksonville even though I wrote this when I worked there. And this. Oh, and this.
Not to mention I once bought Jaguars season tickets.
I love the city. Nice people, beautiful beaches and the best radio talk-show host in the business.
Yet Jaguars fans are increasingly insecure about their team's ticket sale situation often deflecting the Jaguars' problems by blasting the city of Tampa and the Buccaneers for their ticket issues. So Jaguars fans hate it when people criticize their team's lack of ticket sales but then attack another team.
But back to the issue. Should a mayor spend even a second trying to boost ticket sales for an NFL team?
Foul-mouthed Alfie de Ville said I defended President Obama when he was ripped for filing out an NCAA bracket. Not an unfair counterpoint. Though I would argue Obama spending a half-hour once a year going on ESPN to talk about a stupid bracket is far less time consuming than a mayor commiting to selling tickets. I don't believe this is something the mayor will spend 10 minutes doing or pushing off to subordinates. He will spend more time on this than my Twitter critics want to admit.
Also, while there are exceptions, in general, politicians screw up sports.
There is an argument made that by helping to sell tickets and keep the Jaguars viable (and in the city) the mayor is protecting jobs. Not unfair yet consider this. There are economists -- and not a few -- that have long expressed serious doubts that an NFL team has a truly beneficial financial impact on a city.
My biggest problem with mayoral intervention is that it takes away from the responsibility of the Jaguars. It's the team's job to sell tickets. Not the mayor's. The team and NFL should combine to invest massive resources into ticket drives. I mean, big bucks. Cash money.
I always go back to this. Jaguars fans get saucy when anyone discusses their ticket situation (WHAT ABOUT TAMPA!!!!) and they are right sometimes Jacksonville is unfairly targeted by the media. That's true.
But Jaguars fans could shut everyone the hell up by buying tickets. Jaguars fans should be mad at one entity only: the people of Jacksonville. No one else.
Now excuse me while I put on my bulletproof vest.