You know it’s July because there’s a story about the Jacksonville Jaguars moving to London. I debated even acknowledging the story, because frankly the vast majority of them are stemmed in ignorance, but I saw Jaguars Twitter work itself into a shoot on Wednesday so I figured I’d write about it.
NBC’s Dan Patrick brought it up on his show this week and sent people into a pseudo-meltdown.
“Speaking of Jacksonville I had somebody tell me a couple of days ago that Shad Khan’s end game is going to be four games in Jax(sic) four games in London,” Patrick told Peter King who was in studio with him. “So five years down the road at max you’re going to have four homes games in London and four home games in Jacksonville.”
I laughed when he said it, because it’s the same stuff we hear all the time. We hear absolutely nothing locally about it. Khan has shot down the idea in the past, but here it is once again. It’s not even a “report” just Patrick mentioning something he heard, of which it’s not even an original or unique idea. Not to mention, there isn’t really much benefit from the Jaguars doing that unless they get the unique deal for all four games they currently get for the single game... which good luck with that.
“Would not surprise me at all,” King responded. My feeling is that the NFL is going careening headlong into having a team and maybe eventually more than one in Europe and I think it could be by 2022. If you think of it this way Dan, there’s going to be a new collective bargaining agreement unless there’s a strike in 2021. Part of that collective bargaining agreement is going to be player’s giving their permission and working out some deal, maybe an increase salary for playing in London.”
I really don’t feel like digging into the issues with playing that many games overseas, outside of the logistics which even in 2018 are still a big issue. The collective bargaining agreement is one hurdle you have to get over, but then you have to abide by the labor laws of a foreign country, especially if the team is located in London. There are a lot of issues with taxes and such with other sports in Europe, especially the United Kingdom, in regards to this and the NFL and their players would have to deal with that first and foremost. Plus something like the draft doesn’t really work with the U.K.’s labor laws. Is a player going to re-locate his family to Europe to play for one of these teams or is he just going to be away from his family entirely for 2-3 months? Is the London market even sustainable for a full time team or do Londoners just like having the NFL, as a whole with different teams, a few times a year and it being a huge event?
Et cetera, et cetera, etc.
King went on to say the four-game split would be an interesting solution/alternative, but notes that Jacksonville fans and likely London fans wouldn’t be too happy with “sharing” a team to which I’d agree. Jaguars fans already don’t like the one home game lost to London, though most accept that it needed to be done due to the issues of the market and team being awful for over a decade. Some even bristle at the idea of the Jaguars playing back-to-back London games, one home and away, which I think is probably more likely than a full split season.
Again, this is all speculation and “I heard this” and not actual reporting by both King and Patrick. There are a myriad of reasons why I don’t think Jaguars owner Shad Khan is looking to re-locate the team and I don’t really feel like I should need to hash them all out again, because it doesn’t matter. If people want to think he’s just biding his time before jumping at the London market, they’re going to believe it no matter how compelling the counter argument.
Furthermore, it’s not even something we can control if that were the case so why stress yourself out about it? If they move, they’ll move. I don’t think they will, again, but I have no control over it if they decided to so I’m not going to worry about debunking it at every turn.
We’ve had the same story, every year, for nearly 20 years. The only difference is the re-location location changes. It was Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Antonio and now London.
So my London take is: I don’t care and neither should you.