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The Jacksonville Jaguars Should Be Dead To The City of Jacksonville And Duval

I gotta be honest. This one really stings. Before we get into what the future holds, let's take a little trip to the past. 

When I was in 3rd grade, I'm 37 now, the Jacksonville Jaguars were announced as a team. My dad worked in the Navy at NAS Jacksonville. I was born in Jacksonville. My family, extended and otherwise, all lived in the greater Jacksonville area. Having an NFL team was something that we heard about on the news but no one really expected it to happen. Tampa wasn't exactly thriving as a team. Why would another team come to North Florida. To our surprise, they did. People who had worn Dolphins gear and Falcons gear were suddenly in teal. 

Jacksonville was known as a college sports town because the Georgia/Florida game was played there and UF is only an hour's drive away. After overachieving the first two season, Jacksonville became an NFL town. One of my most vivid memories as a kid was getting some brand new Jacksonville Jaguars shoes. I was so fucking pumped. I wanted every article of clothing I wore to be Jaguars related. I had sweatshirts, t-shirts, the starter jacket. If I was wearing it, it had the Jaguars logo on it. 

Since I started working here, I pay less attention to sports than ever before. I rarely watch baseball. I watch basketball during the playoffs or the NCAA tournament. Other than that, I kinda tune out. Dave. Dan. PFT. Mush. Walker. Kayce and on and on. They all talk about sports and do it really well so I try to do other things. The only real exception to that is the Jaguars. I watch every single play. I read about them. I blog about them some. I watch all the press conferences. I probably should blog about them more but I don't because the numbers are bad on these blogs but this is something I wanna get off my chest because the Jaguars are my only real sports love. 

At this point, my only real ties to the city of Jacksonville is my childhood team. I don't go visit often and when I do, the Jaguars are central to that. I'll never live there because I'm rooted in San Antonio. If I were to leave here, it would be to go to New York or Chicago or a large city that made sense for my career. It wouldn't be Jacksonville, no matter how much I love it. 

That being said, it feels like the Jaguars giving another game to London is just like when Dad moves out while he and mom work on things. He's back for a couple of nights a week but in reality, you know he's gone. Your other friends have gone through something similar and you know parents don't really get back together. You think about your friends' parents in San Diego, Oakland, and St Louis and know that real divorces happen but you never thought it could happen to you and your family. Everyone is hurting and mom and dad are acting like the new arrangement will be fine because preseason tickets are 50 percent off. Preseason has nothing to do with Christmas. The best games are leaving. 2 games. You get 6. Custody battles always start off nice and then get nasty. This custody battle will get nasty too. There's no doubt about that. But, your parents think you are an idiot so they spout off some dumb shit. 

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Fucking save it. This team has been fucking trash for a decade except for 2017. Since the owner, Shad Khan, bought the team, they are 38-90. Think about that shit, man. 38 and 90 and that includes one trip to the AFC Championship game. For the most part, the team wins 4 games per year under his leadership. You do that and then talk about trust? TRUST. The only thing that makes NFL markets sustainable is fucking success. That's it. It's on the field success. The Broncos have had like 300 something consecutive sellouts. They've been good or at least average for decades except for a few outliers. This year, they struggled with attendance because there was little hope for wins. The Bills had blacked-out games until they were decent or the NFL rules changed. Now you can barely get a ticket when they are in 2nd place in their division. Winning cures all. There is no bad fan bases, just bad teams that stay bad for a long time. If the Jaguars had a winner, the stands would be filled. But, bad draft after bad draft. Bust signing after bust signing with no change at the GM spot and allowing Gus Bradley to compile several horrific seasons in a row leads to apathy. Nick Foles was a bust. This year and this offseason, there's no bright spot except for Gardner Minshew by which to sell tickets. 

The coach is the same. The GM is the same. The ownership is the same. The city, however, won't feel the same. It feels like the city is giving up on the Jaguars because the owner is giving up on the city. Shad can talk about building the lots and hotels and all that shit. Action speaks louder than words. The truth of the matter is that the ownership of the Jaguars doesn't trust the Jacksonville or Duval. The people there don't trust the ownership because nothing on the field has even hinted that they should. 2 games are going to London now. If my twitter timeline is any indication, the fans that are left in Jacksonville have had enough and many will stop buying season tickets. I've had enough. I no longer have season tickets but I do purchase the NFL ticket solely for the Jaguars games. Hell, that's the only reason I have Directv. The team is too bad at playing football to have to deal with this shit too. We are at the point of a huge negative return on our investment as fans. It might be time to cash out because, by having 2 games in London, Shad certainly is trying to have nothing but a cash grab even though his net worth is 7.4 billion dollars. He doesn't need the money. Every NFL team makes a profit and a large one at that. The economics behind it is bullshit. He bought the team for 750 million dollars. Every franchise in the NFL is now worth over a billion with Forbes estimating in 2017 that the Jaguars' worth was 1.95 billion. 

This all feels like a turning point: a turning point that hurts like hell because the team I started loving the moment they were announced, feels like it's going to be ripped away. If the Jaguars move, so will my last real connection with my childhood city and that fucking sucks. 1993 seems like it is so far away now, but still not as far as London.