From The Seats in Jacksonville: At Jaguars' Win, 46,031 Fans Felt Like Enough

Jack HarverCorrespondent IIOctober 5, 2009

It wasn't enough to prevent the second Jacksonville TV blackout of the season.

It isn't enough to cushion the financial blow the Jaguars are taking from more than 20,000 unsold tickets.

It won't be enough, if it continues, to keep the team from looking hard at relocation.

But during Sunday's 37-17 rout of the Tennessee Titans, the 46,031 Jaguars faithful in attendance made Jacksonville Municipal Stadium—which seats 67,164—feel like the legitimate home of an NFL team.

They didn't do it with sheer decibels. The stadium's design, unfortunately, is such that even the noise of a packed house would float away into the open air. Tennessee's only false start came when left tackle Michael Roos tried to get a head start on pass protection in the fourth quarter.

They didn't do it with nastiness. After booing the home team off the field during the Jaguars' 31-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals two weeks ago, Jacksonville fans might have been expected to turn their vitriol against the hapless, hated Titans in a game that was never close.

Aside from one late-game chant directed at Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher, who earned Jaguars fans' undying loathing by referring to Jacksonville as his team's "home away from home" during the 1999 season, the crowd was mild-mannered throughout the contest.

Instead, the fans who filled two-thirds of the stadium showed their class by ebbing and flowing with the action on the field.

Whenever the Titans' offense had the ball, the crowd rose to the best of its ability to shout them down—or, at least, to make some background sound swim around in their ear-holes.

Whenever a defender called for more noise, he got it. Linebacker Clint Ingram, cornerback Rashean Mathis, and defensive tackle John Henderson each turned the stadium's volume up as though the controls were at their fingertips.

Whenever Jacksonville's offense was at work, the place was pin-drop quiet, and after every big play the fans' adulation rained down on the players.

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew was cheered ("Dre-e-ew!") after the touchdown that highlighted his light workload for the day—a national superstar receiving his due.

But the applause was just as loud for receiver Ernest Wilford's 29-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter. Wilford, who spent the first four years of his career in Jacksonville before playing last year for the Miami Dolphins, was a clear fan favorite for his physical, high-effort playing style.

In spite of large patches of empty seats, the fans who came out to support the Jaguars lent their voices to make Sunday's win sound like anything but a lackluster showing at the ticket counter.

Unsold tickets weren't snatched up by visiting fans, either, as has been done by traveling supporters of teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers in the past. Visually, those in attendance were a mix of teal and white, with flecks of blue from the Titans' negligible representation in the stands.

Buoyed by their current two-game winning streak, the Jaguars should welcome the potential jump in attendance for their home game against the St. Louis Rams later this month—because 46,031 wasn't, isn't, and won't be enough to support them long-term.

But Sunday, it sure felt like plenty.