Lack of National Attention Doesn't Guarantee Success for Jacksonville Jaguars

Daniel ShanksAnalyst IJune 12, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 14:  Charles Woodson #21 of the Green Bay Packers attempts to tackle Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at Jacksonville Municipal stadium on December 14, 2008 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

As long as I've followed the Jacksonville Jaguars, fans and players have expressed their consternation about a lack of respect.

Because the team plays in a small market and hasn't had great success this decade, people think that the Jags are largely ignored on a national level.

In this day and age, when so much value is placed on getting respect in the sports world, the lack of national exposure is a thorn in the Jacksonville's collective side.

Some people would argue that this lack of perceived respect really motivated Jacksonville in 2007, when the team exceeded everyone's expectations and won a playoff game at Pittsburgh.

That success, coupled with free agent acquisitions like Jerry Porter, Troy Williamson, and Drayton Florence, was supposed to put the Jaguars over the top.

They quickly became a trendy Super Bowl pick for 2008 and an odds-on favorite to win the AFC South.

Finally, Jacksonville got the recognition it had been waiting for.

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And the Jags promptly fell flat on their face.

There were a plethora of reasons that Jacksonville didn't live up to the hype (a rash of injuries to the offensive line, a disaster with the new defensive coordinator, a bad decision in letting Marcus Stroud go, etc.).

At the end of the day, all that matters is the Jaguars grossly underachieved last year. In response to last year's 5-11 campaign, many of the national pundits are predicting no better than an 8-8 season.

Now I haven't heard any of the players make this point yet, but several fans on b/r are running around saying, "Now we can fly under the radar. We'll prove the haters wrong. This is just what we need to get back to the playoffs."

Really?

Listen, if your team can't deal with a little national publicity, then it isn't going very far in the first place.

I'm much more impressed with teams like Indy and New England, teams that have the national media on their jocks year in and year out.

I bet you'd never hear Peyton Manning or Tom Brady say, "You know, I wish we could sneak up on people and fly under the radar."

They know they're the big dogs, and they relish that role.

In the grand scheme of things, I don't think expectations, respect, and all this other stuff really has that much bearing on a team's success.

But as long as Jacksonville players and fans take this "No one respects us" attitude, you'll never get respect on a consistent basis.

What's the solution?

The team needs to sack up and get it done on the field.

And it wouldn't hurt if the fans could actually sell out the stadium.