To run a successful NFL franchise, you need buy-in on all sides — ownership, the front office, and fans must have a shared vision. If one group is out of step, it can spell disaster.
That’s why Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s plan to unify these three groups is so important to the franchise going forward.
Last year, the Jaguars posted their seventh losing season in eight years under Khan’s ownership. He sounds excited about decreasing local fan engagement, but simply losing games on the field wasn’t enough. In a bold move, he is removing yet another home game from Jacksonville and his comments yesterday to the Black News Channel demonstrate he will do whatever it takes to bring fans to the same level of interest in winning that he is:
“Jacksonville, I think, is a small market,” Khan said yesterday. “When I was introduced, for me it was... I’m going to do everything to keep NFL football in Jacksonville. So how do we do that? A logical solution to me was really we want to expand the fan base. We don’t want to put extra pressure on our fans in Jacksonville to be able to support all the games.”
Telling fans that they should enjoy
eight seven six home games a year from now on may seem shocking. But it’s the final step of a master plan that had been years in the making. Khan knew that simply asking the Jacksonville community to support the team a little less. It had to feel natural. You needed to put a product on the field that was absolutely embarrassing to watch.
Enter Dave Caldwell.
Looking back on Khan’s vision for how all three phases of the team could be tied together, Caldwell has done nothing short of working with Khan to make the Jaguars one of the least competitive franchise in professional football. Drafting the likes of Luke Joeckel, Blake Bortles, and Dante Fowler with back-to-back-to-back picks at the top of the first round meant the team had no young superstars in early years and instead had to rely on overpriced and underproductive free agents. Zane Beadles? Toby Gerhart? Julius Thomas? Kelvin Beachum? The list goes on and on for Caldwell.
Putting it all together, fans can now begin to see the genius behind the emerald curtain. It took eight years, but the culture Khan has formed at TIAA Bank Field can be a shared reality with fans too.
“We can finally see what this team can become when everyone is in lockstep,” said Josh Corrie, 32, of Green Cove Springs. “Khan doesn’t want to burden us with another full slate of home games. We don’t want to put extra pressure on our team in Jacksonville to be able to win. That would increase our excitement for Jaguars football. The owner doesn’t want that. The front office doesn’t want that. And I don’t want it. To have a successful franchise in this league, you need to work together.”
Now we wait to see if it pays off. This plan only works if we let it.
Spanish Language Commentary is satirical observation of the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise, fans, and news.