Jags Finally Sell Out
'Tis the season for NFL blackouts, with the Jacksonville Jaguars leading the way with seven.
Through 14 weeks of the season, 17 games have been blocked from local television because the home team failed to sell all its tickets in time in a recession-battered economy.
The Jaguars had been 0-for-the season until a grassroots campaign the last couple of weeks helped push ticket sales for Thursday night's visit from the Indianapolis Colts to reach the league's requirements for a local telecast.
The fact that the Colts are one of the league's two undefeated teams helped. So does the fact that the Jaguars, despite Sunday's loss at home against the Miami Dolphins - which was blacked out - remain in the postseason hunt at 7-6.
Yet it took Touchdown Jacksonville, a group committed to pro football in Jacksonville, to seal the deal with a campaign directed toward local businesses and fans to get seats sold at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.
The city's mayor, John Peyton, appeared at a news conference this week to announce the sellout, mindful of a potentially wandering eye of owner Wayne Weaver.
"This team is important to our city (and) it's part of our culture," the mayor said. "We're proud people (and we) are responding."
Jacksonville, one of the league's smallest markets, is the only winning team to have had blackouts this season. The others are the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions.
Nine NFL games were blacked out last season, 10 in 2007 and seven in 2006.
This is the fifth season the Jaguars put tarps over nearly 10,000 seats to reduce their stadium's capacity to 67,164.