Jacksonville Jaguars: Is there an advantage to playing in London?

Lerentee McCray #55 leads the Jacksonville Jaguars onto the field (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)
Lerentee McCray #55 leads the Jacksonville Jaguars onto the field (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images) /

Will there ever be a true advantage to the Jacksonville Jaguars playing more than one home game in London? If so, when will that happen?

The discussion about the Jacksonville Jaguars and taking another home again away from the local fans and heading to London has slowed down a bit since it was first announced by the organization. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a hot-button topic that gets a flurry of comments and opinions from a fanbase that feels like it was once again stabbed in the side with a knife by the franchise’s front office.

Jacksonville’s need to remain a viable NFL franchise in a fraternity of 32 cities remains very real, and team owner Shad Khan and president Mark Lamping believe from an economic standpoint, moving yet another home game across the pond to Wembley Stadium is the best way to supplement income for the Jaguars. What it amounts to is the revenue the team brings in from one game in London averages out to two homes games played on American soil.

I’m not a math whiz, but essentially the Jaguars will make the amount of money in two games in the UK they would make in four home games. It’s a situation, like it or not, has to be done for one of the league’s smallest markets to survive.

Players, members of the Jaguars staff and local and national media have all offered their two cents on the situation. Well, here is one more for thought. If the Jaguars turned the International Series into a true advantage, would it be that bad? Would fans warm up to the idea more, knowing these Jaguars kick some major butt in London each year?

Also, if the NFL scheduling committee would work to appease the fanbase more by making one or both of these games part of divisional matchups that Jacksonville had a decided advantage to, wouldn’t football fans feel more comfortable with the idea of this organization packing up for two weeks, locking the gates to TIAA Bank Field and playing games that mean something?

Defensive end Calais Campbell weighed in on the topic.

"“Obviously going overseas and playing two home games, you know it’s one of those things where it’s going to be tough,” Campbell said via the Florida Times-Union. “That’s going to be a situation where you are in a new place, but we’ve been there before. We have some history and familiarity with it, but it’s going to be a little bit tougher.”"

My biggest gripe with all of this, is the NFL will have the Jaguars face teams they don’t usually get to face in London for ratings, which also punches the fans in the gut once again because seeing the team play Chicago or Miami or Cleveland or Detroit in television instead of in living color doesn’t make anyone happy.

Division games are vital to playoff standings. Home teams should have a decided advantage in those contests. Why not make it part of the reason to come to London? The twist with that theory is the Jaguars must take this opportunity and run through the competition. They haven’t done that, as they have struggled against opponents they have faced.

"“I hope that whatever one of those teams we play, we will get an advantage over them,” Campbell added. “They won’t come as prepared and that can give us a little bit of an advantage but at the end of the day, we’ve got to win them no matter where they are.More from Jacksonville Jaguars NewsJacksonville Jaguars keeping TE Evan Engram in 2023 one way or anotherThe Jacksonville Jaguars should take a chance on Kenny GolladayJaguars: The first overall pick may be coming to the AFC SouthAddressing the Jacksonville Jaguars defense is pivotal in 20235 draft prospects the Jacksonville Jaguars must keep an eye on in the 2023 NFL Combine“Going over the first week is going to break your routine, especially for a home game. The benefit of playing at home, you have your normal routine. When you are on the road, it changes. But that second week should hopefully give us a little bit of an advantage. I would love to scratch out two wins in London, that would be huge for us.”"

Huge is an understatement. The Jaguars have plummeted the past two seasons since a 10-6 AFC South title season in 2017, which seems like a distant memory. Coming back to the states with two wins created momentum, something this team hasn’t known about since Week 7 and 8 last year.

The NFL has guaranteed that home games against Pittsburgh and Chicago will be here in Jacksonville. the rest are up for grabs. I know seeing the Detroit Lions may not have much meaning to local fans, but it’s a team Jacksonville doesn’t face all too often. Rival Miami should be played at home as it is an inter-state game. Cleveland is a blue blood that has plenty of support nationally from its fan base.

If the Jaguars and the NFL are bent on making two games in London part of the schedule beyond 2020, then please make it more acceptable to the fans here who cannot travel thousands of miles to be at these events. Getting out of the heat early in the season may be enough to soothe the fans’ feelings about losing yet another home contest. Giving Jacksonville a decided advantage to playing in London would calm tempers down even more.

This is supposed to be a resource to make the Jaguars a better team financially. Until there is another incentive for ticket holders, it remains a way to anger them more than making them feel there is an advantage to playing games overseas this season or in the future.

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