Earlier this week in my Week 7 Mock Draft, I opened with what I considered a fairly vanilla statement.
First, Jacksonville sucks. If the NFL contracted, and the Jaguars no longer existed, I'm not sure anyone would care.
Apparently, one of the two living Jacksonville Jaguars fans didn't appreciate my tone, and took to the dutiful task of pointing out all of the ways that the Jags are relevant in the NFL.
He mentioned that they haven't had a blacked out game in years (since 2009), and....
That's where his argument ended.
So let's take a moment and examine the realities of the Jacksonville Jaguars... or should I say should-be-in-Los Angeles Jaguars.
What I said isn't a suddely-shocking statement. I would love to say I was being original, but that would be far from the truth. A few examples:
In 2005, the Super Bowl was in Jacksonville. As ESPN's Bill Simmons noted the week before the game, the positives were "the locals have been extremely nice," and the negatives were "everything else.
Fast forward to 2009, when Yahoo! columnist Dan Wetzel opined that "the NFL has no business being in Jacksonville."
And in 2012, The Post Game (part of Yahoo! Sports) included Jacksonville on their short list of teams that should relocate.
But there's more to it than just Jacksoville being widely regarded as a mediocre city to visit and/or attend a game.
According to Forbes in August, the value of the Jaguars franchise ranked 31st out of 32 teams. Forbes had them ahead of only the Oakland Raiders, but gave Jacksonville some credit by noting their attendance was at a four-year high last year in spite of the team's pathetic performance on the field.
Speaking of attendance, let's discuss that for a moment. Since 2005, when they hosted the Super Bowl, Jacksonville hasn't ranked higher than 17th in the NFL in home attendance (percentage of capacity). In 2012, the attendance numbers cited by Forbes, the Jags ranked 17th in the NFL, filling just under 97 percent of the available seats in their stadium. This year, however, the Jags are down to 27th in the NFL, filling only 88.7 percent of those seats.
In fact, earlier this year, the team offered free beer to fans in attendance just to avoid a blackout. I'm not sure if they were doing the local market a favor by being on television; I'm sure there was better programming available in syndication than anything the Jags put on the field that weekend.
When was the last time a relevant sports franchise had to offer free alcohol to get people to show up?
What's worse, last month a CBS affiliate in Orlando apologized for airing a Jags game. A television network apologized for airing a local team!
Which is exactly my point: the Jacksonville Jaguars are irrelevant.
What is most striking about the argument here is that, after almost 500 words, I haven't brought up the the fact that the Jaguars suck.
And that is fact.
The Jags are terrible.
Jacksonville has been over .500 only three times since the year 2000. From 2008 through Week 7 of the 2013 season, the Jags have won 31 percent of their games (27-60).
But here is where the real irrelevance of the organization comes into painfully plain sight: even with the Jags being a doormat for years, other team's fans won't even pay to watch them play, even though the game for much of the NFL is undoubtedly perceived as an easy win.
This season, the Jags rank 29th in the NFL in road attendance (again, percentage of capacity). Last year they ranked 31st out of 32 teams in the league. Unfortunately for the rest of the league, when the Jags come to your town, 10 percent of your stadium is empty on average over the last two years.
My final reality-based argument comes from earlier this month. Sports Business Daily published the results of a Harris poll indicating the Jaguars are the least-popular team in the NFL. They also ranked 32 out of 32 in 2011 and 2010, according to the post.
I'm not the first, and I certainly won't be the last, but I'll say it here as plain as day: the Jacksonville Jaguars are a lauging stock. And they haven't been relevant in the NFL for years. Maybe a move to Los Angeles would bring some life - and a few fans - to the franchise?