On Tuesday, the Jaguars announced a monumental decision to play a second "home" game in London during the 2020 season. 25% of the team's "home" games will be played at Wembley Stadium in London this upcoming season. It's not yet a permanent fixture in the team's schedule, but to play two out of eight home games in a different country, away from loyal fans from the city of Jacksonville, is undoubtedly a bold move.
The decision by team owner Shad Khan has been met with an understandable amount of criticism from former Jaguars' players, fans, and media alike.
Former Jaguars' long snapper Matt Overton, who played for the team in 2017-2018, took to Twitter to express how difficult a business trip this is for everyone involved and more thoughts on the Jaguars' London trip.
"Jags playing back to back games in London will be extremely exhausting for the players," said Overton. That trip is brutal on everyone involved. Plus, you're saying screw you to your hometown fans."
"I've played in London 3 times. It's a fun trip, but playing at HOME is way better. So let's keep it real here. The Jaguars two games in London are not home games. It's a money move. Period."
There were countless heated reactions from fans. Some say they won't renew their season tickets, despite the decrease in price for the 2020 season.
But the boldest statement unsurprisingly came from the Bold City Brigade, who are ready to fight for their team and their city.
Even some from local and national media members gave harsh reactions.
Shad Khan should've expected an overwhelmingly negative response, but he instead believed that the news would be met with positivity. I'm not sure whether Khan is out of touch or just doesn't care about the opinions of fans and media. He appears to have a master plan that will allow Jacksonville to become more "viable" to him, but his vision is difficult to understand when fans and media hear from him, on average, once per year.
While many speculate that Khan is just preparing the world for the Jaguars' ultimate move to London, I think that's off base. An owner that's spending hundreds of millions of dollars out of his own pocket to improve a stadium that he doesn't own and improving Jacksonville's downtown experience, doesn't strike me as someone that's trying to move a franchise overseas.
Now, I do think there are several reasons to be critical of this.
Taking another home game away from local Jacksonville fans is a hard pill for fans to swallow. I think it's a bit of slap in the face to the local fans base and should've been explained further.
There's also the potential for incoming free agents to choose other teams over the Jaguars due to the London trip. Not only is it physically and mentally taxing to play two "home" games in London, but the players will be much more heavily taxed for the two London games.
Finally, the potential revenue that local business owners count on for home games every year has been cut down by 25% over the course of Shad Khan's tenure.
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