Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Jaguars have some roar left in them yet


The NFL has a history of team owners packing up – sometimes in the middle of the night – and moving cities, leaving behind their fans, taking their history, trophies and name to another city.

It is one of those differences with soccer’s traditions that leaves Europeans scratching their heads but the truth is, most Americans don’t like it either. Fans look back with some bitterness on how Cleveland or Baltimore lost their teams (later to regain them in different forms).

Sport flourishes upon romance, upon an emotional attachment to a team or upon blind loyalty to a hometown and when cold business decisions are made – such as moving a team to a city that is offering a free, publicly-funded stadium or has a greater potential for ticket sales – that romance is lost.

If there is a team in the NFL that is currently at risk of being moved then it is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last season they were 30th out of 32 teams in home attendance (ESPN) and their failure to sell out their stadium meant that the league’s local tv blackout rule was enforced for all but one game – a ‘lose-lose’ situation for all involved.