Sounds more and more like the Jags will be moved to London sooner than later.
THE LONDON JAGUARS?
This year sees Wembley host two regular season games for the first time. The San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars are in town on October 27, which also marks the beginning of a four-year agreement with the Jaguars to host a home game at Wembley up to 2016. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other league officials have hinted at expanding outside the United States and see the International Series as a way of gauging interest in a London-based NFL franchise. At a presentation on the feasibility during a meeting of NFL owners in October 2012, ‘sources’ who attended revealed that the NFL are actively working to establish a team in London. “It didn’t sound like an ‘if’, we took it as a ‘when’”, said one and, “I left that meeting thinking this isn’t 20 years away, this is happening in five to 10 years,” said the other. At present, the NFL are more likely to relocate a team as opposed to adding to their current 32 teams and the Jacksonville Jaguars are the most likely to move to Britain but not before a few hurdles are jumped, including major US markets, like Los Angeles, reappearing on the NFL map with a franchise.
A NEW MONARCHY?
The Jags would be welcome. London has had its own professional gridiron franchise before, the London Monarchs of the old World League of American Football, of the early to mid 1990s. In the first season they were part of a 10-team league made up of franchises from the US, Canada and Europe and the Monarchs won the inaugural World Bowl 21-0 over the Barcelona Dragons in front of 61,108 fans at the old Wembley Stadium. Their field goal kicker that day, and the League’s leading points scorer that season, Phil Alexander, picked up his World Bowl winners’ ring and for many years now has been the chief executive at Crystal Palace. The World League evolved into the Europa League and the Monarchs moved from Wembley to White Hart Lane and then to Stamford Bridge as performances waned and crowds dwindled. Fans will recall William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry, a Super Bowl winner with the Chicago Bears, rumbling around as a Monarch.