Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell arrives for the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Introducing The London Jaguars!

It’s catchy isn’t it?

Unlike the current situations of Maurice Jones-Drew and Justin Blackmon, this situation does concern me. It concerns me because it will have a direct effect on my quality of life here in sunny, beautiful Jacksonville, FL.

Last week, Jason La Canfora did a little piece of work on how London wants a team and how the Jaguars would be the best fit. If you haven’t already read it, check it out.  If you don’t feel like reading it, in a nutshell La Canfora basically says that Jacksonville doesn’t offer the same kind of market London does (thank you, Captain Obvious). You’d think Buffalo would be in the mix but evidently Goodell is good with the Bills playing in Toronto from time to time. San Diego or Oakland could move to L.A., so that leaves one spot for the Jaguars to go-London.

There is such a thing as the “London Committee” and their spokesperson or whoever it is has a “certainty” in his voice when speaking about getting a team in London. Basically there’s a group of dudes whose sole purpose is to get a team in London, which according to the article per La Canfora sounds pretty much inevitable.

Mandzukic doesn’t know how the NFL will compete with a world wide sport and neither do I. Mandatory Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports

It all boils down to money. Goodell and the NFL want the same kind of world wide acclaim and recognition as say, the other kind of football (we call it soccer here in the states) receives. The league wants to expand its reach and really the only thing left to do is to put a NFL team in an international epicenter like London.

The article hits on two basic points: 1. The NFL wants a team in London. 2. The Jaguars will probably be that team. Why? The Jaguars are playing a home game in London for the next 4 years, and eventually it sounds as if they could play two games per year. Has there been any other connection than that? No one here in Jacksonville has said anything about moving and why would they? It would hurt the team’s current marketability.

La Canfora goes on to straighten out some of the logistics of how it would work and it’s all very fascinating.

SO. What say we now Jaguars fans? Everything aside, from Khan’s committment to Jacksonville, to the stadium improvements, to the lock down lease, it’s looking like this could be a reality. Truth is we won’t know until it gets here.

It’s not just a simple as packing up shop and moving, however. There are a few reasons why the Jaguars moving to London may not happen. The reasons won’t be highlighted via a big time network source, but there are a few stipulations, mainly the lease. The lease locks down the Jaguars until 2027. There is a way to get out of the lease, but the team would have to prove that it’s been losing money for 3 straight years. Think the Jaguars are losing money because of attendance and whatnot? The Jaguars ranked 20th in attendance in 2012, and with their current promotions and make over of the franchise to draw more fans to the stadium, it should be even better in 2013. Why would Khan want to get a better draw if the only way to get out of the lease is to prove that they are losing money?

Anyways the arguement for both sides is there. The one side that suggests the Jaguars will move is a very, very strong one while the other side that suggests otherwise is more of a whisper.

It always boils down to, “the Jaguars are playing games in London, so that means they are moving to London.” Not a completely insane conclusion, but what if the Jaguars really are playing games overseas to expand the brand and gain more exposure? That’s not a completely insane conclusion either, now is it?

My suggestion? Don’t worry about things you can’t control. If the league really wants a team in London, there will be a team in London. If the league really wants that team to be the Jaguars, then that team will be the Jaguars. Plain and simple.

The only thing we as fans can do is continue to support the team. Buy season tickets. Buy single game tickets, I don’t care as long as we do something to show our continued support of the new regime and these new Jaguars. I’m not a believer in worrying about the future. I only focus on the “now” of things and as of now, the Jaguars are in Jacksonville.

-David R. Johns


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Tags: Jacksonville Jaguars Jason La Canfora London Jaguars

  • Sean Muldoon

    As a Brit I can vouch for the increasing popularity of the NFL over here, but one of the main reasons the London games have been so successful is their rarity. Simply put, the NFL would struggle to fill a stadium on a week-by-week basis. Unless they reverted to basing the London team in a more modest stadium. Wembley is the national football stadium and will not always be available. The other thing to bear in mind is that an awful lot of the fan base is not from London. Fans are happy enough travelling down as a once a year jaunt. (I’m thrilled that the Jags-Niners game falls on my 30th birthday, best present ever!) but people are not going to fork out all the money to get down t London, pay London prices for transport, food, booze etc. and then go home to the other end of the country for eight weeks.

    All this doesn’t even begin to tackle the sheer logistical nightmare of playing on the West Coast or having the West Coast teams come over here. The NFL would be better served in having one week where every team play a game in a different city in Europe than trying to base a franchise here.

    • David

      Wow. It’s so nice to get a take from someone who actually watches the NFL in London! You bring up so many great points I had not yet thought about and what a great idea about having different nfl teams pass through and play in Europe instead of trying to move a singular franchise. That’s a brilliant idea, Sean.