Going into the 2022 season, Jacksonville Jaguars fans were already a damaged bunch. Having withstood trials that no fanbase ought to be forced to endure, they were at their wit’s end.
And yet, as the season began, they once again faced another new coach, numerous new players, and yet another “refresh.” The beginning of the season exceeded expectations, and the fanbase was, for one brief moment, re-energized.
But, now it has come crashing back down to earth again, with the Jaguars currently riding a four-game losing streak, and prepping to play a bad Denver Broncos team in London.
Ticket sales and attendance for the Jacksonville Jaguars are suffering
The current losing streak has left a bad taste in the mouths of Jaguars fans, and apathy has set in. Jacksonville is currently second to last in attendance in the NFL, and that’s with the assistance of visiting fans taking over the stadium by the tens of thousands.
Sheesh. Imagine how bad those attendance numbers would be if Texans fans and Giants fans didn’t (correctly) view the Jaguars as an easy win, making traveling to Jacksonville worth their time and treasure.
The hometown fans have reached their breaking point. In truth, they should be congratulated for continuing to support the team for as long as they have. Few NFL fanbases have been asked to support as much sustained lousiness as the city of Jacksonville, and yet, by and large, year after year, the fans returned.
But, outside of a few hearty souls who, apparently, will never give up, the city of Jacksonville has adopted a “show me” attitude toward the Jaguars.
It appears the team may have been aware of the growing apathy within the fanbase prior to the season. Perhaps due to their internal monitoring of dwindling ticket sales, the marketing department openly acknowledged the problems of the past:
“You’ve heard it all before. This season’s going to be different. We’ve found the missing piece.”
– Jacksonville Jaguars
Ironically, that video is narrated by Shaq Griffin, who is currently on Injured Reserve for a back injury. Oddly, his back injury popped up out of nowhere right after he got absolutely blistered by the Colts the previous week.
This fanbase has simply had enough, and it is completely understandable. The Jacksonville Jaguars ask, “You in?” The fans respond, “Win and we’re in. Otherwise, not really.”
Promises of Super Bowl-winning coaches, or generational quarterbacks, or the biggest free agency class in NFL history are no longer enough. Those sorts of things have done the trick to varying degrees in the past, but now, the fans are saying, “Let me know when they start winning some games.” In the meantime, the seats will either be empty or filled with opposing team fans.
This season’s “home game” in London could not be coming at a better time from an optics perspective. With the Broncos facing their own adversity this year, it’s doubtful many of their fans would have been motivated to hop on a plane to Jacksonville. The Jaguars might have been playing in front of a nearly empty stadium if they were playing at TIAA Bank Field this week.
If you think having your home stadium taken over by opposing teams’ fans is embarrassing, try having a nearly empty stadium, with no crowd to speak of at all.
The London game delays that embarrassment for a week. But, after this weekend, the Jaguars return home to play the currently 2-4 Las Vegas Raiders. Although the Raiders do have a fanbase that typically “travels well,” their current underachievement makes them a less-than-stellar draw.
If the Jags go to London and lose to a 2-5 Denver Broncos team that is arguably having a more disappointing season, the stadium could be a ghost town against the Raiders.
The term “must win” is one of the most overused terms in sports. But, Jaguars fans are fractured. They are cracked porcelain, ready to shatter with the next jolt. If the Jacksonville Jaguars expect the fans to even consider coming back in 2022, they must win in London, and look good doing it.