Can the decision to play two home games in London help the Jacksonville Jaguars in a positive way moving forward?
The Jacksonville Jaguars will play two “home” games in London during the 2020 season. How will this impact the team now and in the future? To get a better idea, let’s start by looking at the new CBA proposal by the owners that will affect the future of the Jaguars and other NFL teams.
Per CBS Sports, This agreement will have an effect on NFL teams possibly as soon as next season. But the effect for the Jaguars will be much greater. If passed this proposal will add a 17th game. However, it also caps the number of international games. Each team will play either eight or nine home games in alternating seasons. The extra game could be played in another venue. This would give each team a minimum of 10 home games – two in the preseason and eight during the regular season.
This sounds ideal but it probably will not apply to the Jaguars. That’s because team owner Shad Khan has been allowed to designate the Jaguars London games as home games. In other words, the Jaguars will essentially play six home games and 10 away games during the regular 2020 season.
If a 17th game is added, the Jaguars may play only six home games and 11 away games every other season. This puts an already rebuilding team in an impossible position. Home field advantage is very important in all sports. I don’t see London’s Wembley Stadium as the Jaguars home field.
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Is there really a home-field advantage? According to Ben Owen of Lineups.com, there is.
"“The short answer is yes. Over a large sample size, it is documented that the average NFL game is won by the home team by a score of just below three points. What is even more telling is that, in the NFL, home teams win between 55 and 60% of the time,” he writes."
The bottom line is that a team playing at home is more likely to win. The team in 2020 will play 10 road games in nine cities. The travel time alone has to add additional stress. And the team hasn’t done enough to prove it has a decided advantage in traveling across the pond.
There are other issues that are impossible to ignore from this decision. First is time away from the family. It’s difficult to be away from loved ones but also there is added stress of unfamiliar beds, food, possible time changes, etc. The physical recovery from the game is done in unfamiliar locations without the familiar routines. Then there is the income tax that is much higher in London and other venues that decreases the pay check for that game.
This situation could also effect free agents’ interest in Jacksonville. There are many factors looked at in choosing a team but time away from family is certainly an important one.
During the past 10 seasons, the Jaguars have played 80 home games and 80 away games. They won 32 of their home games for a winning percentage of 40%. They won 19 of their away games for a winning percentage of 23.7%. These numbers speak for themselves.
I must honestly say that our Jaguars have been put in a really tough situation. Statistics don’t lie (in this case) and playing on the road most of the year puts us in a likely losing situation too often.
I would love to see this change before it’s become a habit that’s impossible to break. Moving these games to London doesn’t help this organization make that change.