Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spurrier vs. Jags Not Big Draw around Nation

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spurrier vs. Jags Not Big Draw around Nation

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Elliott, Times-Union sports writer

The hype has been building in Jacksonville ever since Steve Spurrier left Florida in January and accepted the Redskins coaching position.

And while interest continues to grow on the eve of the game, such isn't the case around the country -- or even in some other parts of Florida.

CBS and Fox alternate weeks with regard to a network carrying a single game or doubleheader on Sunday. This is CBS' doubleheader weekend, which leaves all Fox affiliates to pick from among four 1 p.m. contests and two 4 p.m. games.

Most national affiliates have opted to pass on Jacksonville-Washington. The Fox market map shows this game will be seen in just 14 percent of the country. In Florida, it will only be carried in Jacksonville, Gainesville and Orlando.

Miami and West Palm Beach didn't want to run the Jaguars game because the Dolphins are playing on CBS at 4 p.m., and thus elected to take an early Fox game. Two other Florida stations gave a thumbs-down on showing the Jaguars-Skins game.

"People here are more concerned about seeing games that affect the Bucs," said Brian Fields, Director of Programming and Research at WTVT Fox TV-13 in Tampa, which will carry the New Orleans at Carolina game at 1 p.m. "We [Tampa Bay] have a rivalry developing with New Orleans, plus the Bucs play Carolina next week.

"I think much of that interest in Spurrier going to Washington has died down. There is not much of a buzz about the 'Skins and Spurrier here anymore."

Don Abel, Creative Services/Program Director at WTLH Fox TV-49 in Tallahassee expressed similar thoughts.

"We service Southern Georgia and we're besieged by Falcons fans when we don't show their games," Abel said. "The majority of our fans are Bucs fans and with Tampa Bay idle, the interest is with Atlanta, which is in the same division. …

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