Go ahead and read it. It’s a prime example of the national media churning out a lazy, poorly articulated article about the how the Jaguars are the ideal candidate to move to Los Angeles. Now, to be fair, the impetus to this particular piece seemed to be the minor public relations snafu between the city of Jacksonville and the Jaguars. In short, General Counsel Cindy Laquidara made a massive mistake in threatening to terminate the Jaguars lease due to a change in the company managing operations at Everbank Field and other facilities. Shahid Khan and Mayor Alvin Brown moved quickly to resolve the situation, and in reality this isn’t a major issue. The team isn’t going anywhere, and the person responsible, Laquidara, is most likely going to be asked to resign.
Referring back to the original piece, fact-checking is supposed to be the easy, and most critical, part of constructing an article. To provide some truthiness to this piece of writing, I’m going to insert my own footnotes for the loyal readers of Black and Teal. Feel free to share with anyone else who read the article.
Mr. Khan looks like a man who keeps his word, and he plans to keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville.
“Teams like the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars have experienced financial losses in recent years as they operate in markets that cannot fully support them.”*
*”Financial losses” seems to be a bit misleading. If you click the link, it shows that the Jaguars had the largest negative change in team value (-16%) but there are several other meaningful statistics in the table. The Jaguars were middle of the pack in operating income and were ahead of the Raiders and Lions in total revenue. To insinuate that the Jaguars are in dire financial straits is a complete falsehood. In fact, if you want to make the financial argument, why not move a team with strong LA roots already in the Raiders?
“Unhealthy franchises, the ones that struggle to fill seats and generate income, don’t tend to stay put in the NFL. The Jaguars are the definition of an unhealthy franchise.”**
**The writer’s criteria for an “unhealthy” franchise are struggling to fill seats and generate income. Let’s quickly deal with the income argument – the writer just linked to an article where the Jaguars are 19th in operating income, ahead of teams like the Giants, Packers, and Steelers. I would say the Jaguars don’t exactly qualify.
I could point to several facts debunking that the Jaguars are the only franchise “struggling to fill seats” (like the Jaguars not blacking out a game since 2009 or the Jaguars never finishing last in attendance) but instead I’ll link to the #JaguarsFacts twitter bomb site.
“An expansion franchise that joined the NFL in 1995, the Jaguars have never really captured the hearts of Floridians.”***
***Yeah, you’re totally right. The people of Jacksonville were completely apathetic about the team during its magical playoff run in 1996-1997.
This guy had Jaguar fans pretty excited in 1997.
“The franchise has gone as far as to block off sections of seats to try to avoid television blackouts.”****
****This sentence could be more accurately written as “the team put tarps on some seats so the stadium that was built oversized for the Florida-Georgia game could be brought down to its appropriate market size for the NFL team.”
“On top of that, the Jaguars have a hard time bringing in attractive free agents and keeping their emerging players at home.”*****
*****Can someone explain this one to me? It’s pretty clear why the writer didn’t provide an example of the Jaguars losing an “emerging” player – because it’s never happened. The only time the Jaguars released players who could still contribute was during the end of the Coughlin era when the team was in salary cap hell. I can’t think of one unrestricted free-agent who left the Jaguars and went on to become a superstar. Additionally, the Jaguars didn’t seem to have a hard time bringing in premier free-agents in 2011 (Posluzny, Landry, Session) or 2012 (Robinson, Henne, Ross).
“Although the Jaguars are now under the ownership of a new group and in a lease until 2027, no amount of cajoling can turn the residents into the passionate fanbase that the team will need to develop in order to survive.”******
******This will be my final point from this article. The idea that nothing can turn the Jaguars into a passionate fanbase is absolutely ridiculous. Believe it or not, virtually every team struggles to sell tickets when the team is losing. The Colts still have over 3,000 unsold season tickets after Manning left. After only one bad year, the Colts franchise is struggling to sell out the stadium. The city of Jacksonville proved it can fully support this team during its run in the late 90s, and there’s every reason to believe the Jaguars can revive that kind of fervor in the city by winning again.
I don’t go out of my way to critique other writing on the internet, but it would be a disservice to Jaguar fans to continue to let this kind of garbage go by uncontested. It’s our duty as die-hard fans to comment on these articles when we read them and let the writer know that nobody is buying it. It’s about time this “Jaguars to LA” talk died down. Why reward a city that couldn’t keep two other NFL teams?
P.S. I am very aware of the irony in the title of this post