The Jacksonville Jaguars are the NFL’s ambassador to the world and it is a terrible idea. Every year for the past five seasons the NFL has sent the sorry excuse for a professional team, the Jags to London to spearhead a movement towards a global NFL. Yet, the Jaguars have constantly been near the bottom of the league during this stretch, so are they the right ambassador or the only choice?
The Jaguars will host a game at Wembley stadium for the next three seasons with more possibly on the way. So, why is the NFL sending the Jags, a team who hasn’t had a winning season since 2007, over to London each year to act as tough leagues number one diplomat?
In my experience, a good product will sell itself, so why are we sending the Jags and Bengals to London instead of The Patriots and The Seahawks? The Jags are almost unwatchable half the season and this is who the NFL is using to sell its product…
It’s obvious that Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL want to expand outside of the US and London is the first target market. The money is there to be made so you know the NFL will get their greedy hands on it somehow.
The Jaguars have an international owner in Pakistani-American Shahid Khan and he has expressed interest in possibly moving the team permanently to London. Jacksonville is a small market in an area already saturated with NFL teams, so a relocation is likely.
What about the players, who need all the prep and recovery time possible after games? They are the ones who suffer from playing games overseas. A day less of preparation and added travel time only wears on the players mental and physical health.
While players are asking for fewer games and more recovery time, owners and the league want more games and further travel. The sides see the future of the NFL very differently and with a looming strike when the collective bargaining agreement ends in 2019, the fans will end up losing the most.
A strike or lockout is almost guaranteed so prepare for a drawn-out battle as the two sides fight for their rights. It seems like a poor time to try and expand when there is so much internal strife between players, the owners and the league.
Like I said earlier, the NFL is only worried about the bottom line and it’s obvious that player health and quality of product are not their immediate concerns. Until they realize that the product and players should be their number one concern, the NFL will struggle with its own demons.
Expect to see more NFL games overseas, with bottom feeders Jacksonville Jaguars scarfing up all those scraps left over by the original football in London. It will be tough to steal market share form the world’s biggest game by sending over the Jags as your ambassador.