It has definitely been an interesting Thursday involving the owner of the Jaguars, Shad Khan, and his intent to purchase famed Wembley Stadium in London.
Not only that, the rumor-mongering from the British press continues that Khan maybe looking to either move the Jags to London completely, or is seriously considering splitting half of their home schedule between TIAA Bank field in Jacksonville and London.
First, about the purchase of Wembley itself. As we have written, Khan is currently the highest bidder and the front-runner to acquire the stadium for over $700 million U.S. dollars. And, Thursday afternoon in London the Football Association or “FA,” which governs the entire sport in England, met and discussed Khans bid.
While there was a definite possibility that they could have gone ahead and approved the sale to the Jaguars owner, who also owns the English Premier League team Fulham FC, the FA chose not to do that Thursday.
Instead, they have elected to hold a special meeting of the FA Council on Wednesday October 24th to address mounting opposition from the over 22,000 members of the FA. That includes soccer teams, referees, adult and youth players, coaches, volunteers and members of the public that are part of the organization.
The governing body announced after their Thursday meeting that they want to take all of the opposition into consideration before rubber-stamping the sale to the billionaire Khan, who is a Pakistani immigrant to the U.S.
Now, for the part that fans in North Florida are tired of hearing, but will not go away. The London Daily Mail reported Thursday afternoon that Khan is looking seriously into playing multiple, if not all Jaguar home games at Wembley Stadium to enhance the cash flow and offset his purchase price. However, the article does point out there are severe U.S. and British tax consequences for Khan and for his players and organization, if he moves operations to London.
The Daily Mail says that one theory that makes sense is: that the team would remain based in Jacksonville year-round, including having training camp in Jacksonville and playing up to four games at TIAA Bank Field. However, they would then replace the entire NFL International Series with four Jaguar games being played at Wembley Stadium, as the other half of the Jags regular season home schedule.
It’s important to point out, that this is only a speculative theory.
And, most importantly, that the NFL and its owners would have to approve such an arrangement with a 3/4 vote. And, this is assuming the Khan would even want to split half a season in London home games in the first place.
There’s also a strong argument and, this is where the NFL players Association might get involved, it would be completely unfair to the Jaguar players. You would essentially be having them play four home games in Jacksonville and 12 games away from Jacksonville that you would have to travel to. Clearly, it’s an unfair situation to single out one team and its players, and put them at competitive disadvantage for division and playoff purposes.
Khan released this official statement Thursday afternoon with regard to the FA meeting and action on scheduling another meeting in 13 days:
Latest from Shad Khan on offer to buy Wembley after plans were presented to FA Council pic.twitter.com/VoHhhzooPY
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) October 11, 2018
The Jaguars had no official comment over the last two days on any of the reports in the London media specifically, that Khan still intends to move the Jaguars to Jacksonville in 2022 or shortly thereafter, once he owns Wembley Stadium.
They will play the Philadelphia Eagles at Wembley four days after the special meeting on Sunday October 28th.
Jaguars welcomed back Foles but poor play still there
Sunday was supposed to be a game for a new start for the Jaguars. Off a terrible performance in London against the Texans two weeks ago, the Jaguars were also welcoming back a free agent quarterback that was supposed to be a difference-maker in their offense. Unfortunately, when it was over in Indianapolis, not much changed as the Colts easily dispatched Jacksonville 33-13.
Things started off well enough with Nick Foles leading a quick touchdown drive on Jacksonville’s opening possession. In fact Foles even picked up where he left off in his first game. In the opener against Kansas City he threw a touchdown pass to D.J. Chark on the play where he also fractured his collar bone.
Well, on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, his next touchdown of the season was also to Chark, who caught a pass over the middle, raced 34 yards for a score and a 7-0 lead:
— NFL (@NFL) November 17, 2019
However, the Colts demonstrated that it’s not just the start of the game. Rather, it’s everything that happens from then on. And from then on, they really dominated Jacksonville.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was back after missing last week’s loss to the Dolphins with a sprained knee and was solid throwing for one TD and rushing for another TD. Former USF running back Marlon Mack had 109 yards rushing and a touchdown before leaving the game with an injured hand. And, the Indy defense showed themselves to be stingy, again. This after they have already stifled the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan and Deshaun Watson.
Leonard Fournette never got going on the ground for Jacksonville finishing with just 23 yards on eight carries. And, after the initial touchdown, the Jags either punted, Foles threw his pick or they lost the ball on downs on their next eight possessions.
Foles couldn’t muster much, as Jacksonville fell further and further behind. He did get a very late touchdown in the final minute, again to Chark to pad his stats, which finished 33-47, 296 yds. and the 2 TDs with 1 INT.
The outcome is most disappointing for Jaguar fans who wanted to see their team climb back into the race for the wild card and maybe the division. However, this is now two decisive losses to division foes making even their biggest fans wonder if the season isn’t headed south. Jacksonville must turn it around, when they are back on the road next week against the Tennessee Titans.
To be fair, it was only Foles first full game back and he should be given at least another week or two before we start judging how effective he can be.
The problem is at 4-6, Jacksonville can’t afford many more losses to stay in the hunt.
Return of Jaguars QB Foles leads our Sunday primer
All three state teams are in action on Sunday with the Bucs and Dolphins hosting divisional opponents at home and the Jaguars and the key AFC South match up on the road.
Let’s start with the Jaguars, who will welcome back prize free agent quarterback Nick Foles (above) for the first time in 10 weeks. This after Foles suffered a left broken collarbone in the first quarter of his first game with Jacksonville in Week one against Kansas City.
Foles comes back to a situation where a rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew helped the Jaguars win four games in his absence and have the Jaguars at least in contention in the AFC South. Jacksonville must get running back Leonard Fournette back on track, as when last we saw him, he registered only 40 yards rushing in the 26 – 3 loss to the Texans in London two weeks ago.
The Colts will welcome back quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who missed last week’s loss at home to the lowly Dolphins do to a sprained knee. Brissett has been a pleasant surprise since taking over on the eve of the season for the abruptly retired Andrew Luck.
This is the first of two meetings on the year for Jacksonville and Indy, as they will play at TIAA Bank Field to end the season week 17.
Meanwhile, in Tampa, the Buccaneers host the first place New Orleans Saints in an NFC South matchup. The Bucs won dramatically over Arizona last, week when Jameis Winston led the game-winning Drive of 92 yards in the final 3 minutes for a 30 – 27 win. Winston is still under scrutiny after throwing two more interceptions a week ago and has 14 on the year to lead the NFL.
The Saints were humbled at home by a 1-7 Atlanta team last week. Not only did the Falcons defeat them, but their defense held Drew Brees and Co. to just nine points; the lowest output since he became the Saints starting quarterback 14 seasons ago.
The Buccaneers secondary is in flux after they released former number 1 pick, Vernon Hargreaves, earlier this week for lack of hustle and productivity under first-year coordinator Todd Bowles’ new defense. Tampa Bay will go with rookies Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean. And, the Bucs better be ready for the best pass-catching receiver in the NFL, Michael Thomas.
As for the Dolphins, we did not think we would write the sentence: they have a chance for a three-game win streak, especially after an 0-7 horrendous start. However, that’s exactly what’s at stake as they play longtime AFC East rival Buffalo at Hard Rock Stadium.
Solid play by veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, timely defense by Miami and some clutch field goal kicking from Jason Sanders last week has enabled Miami to perk up and win their last two games. Sanders kicked three field goals and was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in the 16 – 12 win over the Colts a week ago.
Buffalo started the year 6 – 2 but played poorly in the second half of last week’s loss to the Browns. Second-year quarterback Josh Allen will try to get them back on the winning track this week. The Bill’s already own a victory last month in Western New York over the Fins.
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