Arguably the biggest NFL news of the week came out of Jacksonville. Hours after firing 9 year head Coach Jack Del Rio, owner Wayne Weaver announced he had sold his expansion team to an Illinois business man by the name of Shahid Khan - a man who is so passionate for the game of football that he attempted to take ownership in St. Louis a couple of years ago, but everyone in Denver knows how that all went down (Hey Stan, how ‘bout them Avs huh?).
Now, there are two things I find shocking about this whole situation: 1) that Jack Del Rio was the head coach for 9 years and was canned and 2) that according to Forbes magazine the team’s price tag for this deal is $760 million.
I get that the NFL is richest of the four major sports but seriously? How are the Jaguars worth even half of that? The team that has only sold a game out once in recent history and only thanks to the return of the Patron Saint of Florida, Timothy Tebow, who came to town serving the Denver Broncos game last year.
This is the same team who had a chance to keep their franchise breathing by drafting Tebow out of Florida, yet with the 12th pick selected Tyson Alualu, a defensive tackle out of Cal. Ah, yes…a player out of Cal, that’s the way to keep your Florida team afloat.
The Denver Broncos, worth $1.05 billion as of 2011, like most franchises, have earned their price tags. They have consistent attendance, good stadiums, died hard fans, and are competitive (ignore last year…and the year before…and the year before). Jacksonville has almost none of those things, though I’m sure Blaine Gabbert’s mom watches them sometimes, yet they are worth almost a billion dollars. Not to mention, this team has that price in a recession. What the hell are they worth normally? To give them some credit, it’s not all their fault they don’t have fans or local support. The team and its awful stadium are stuck right in the middle of the college football country; the two major highways that run through Jacksonville connect it directly to Tallahassee (Florida State Seminoles) and Gainesville (Florida Gators), a pro team in north Florida will never compete with Saturdays in the fall, and the second Khan is handed the keys to the young, beat up franchise he will realize it. However, Weaver assured the 5 Jags fans that the team will continue to be in Jacksonville under Khan’s ownership. Right…so when the team moves to Los Angeles, will they become the LA Cougars? It seems like the most logical choice.