The alarms in Jacksonville are blaring in the wake of the news that the Jaguars will play a pair of home games in London next season. Team president Mark Lamping has tried to throw water on the notion that the team eventually will be crossing the pond for good.
“Shad Khan’s been very clear,” Lamping said regarding the franchise’s owner, in an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “The most important thing he wants to do is bring a Super Bowl to Duval County, and obviously we have a lot of work to do on that front. But the other thing he wants to do is ensure that there’s NFL football in Northeast Florida for many generations to come.”
Lamping explained the mixed-use development around the team’s stadium, a project he described as “Patriot Place on steroids.” He added that the effort is “changing the feel and energy of downtown Jacksonville, and as downtown Jacksonville goes, so will the Jaguars.”
Later in the interview, Lamping was clear: Khan is “committed to keeping the team in Northeast Florida.” Still, that doesn’t change the fact that the Jaguars will be playing one or more games in London, indefinitely.
“London supplements what we’re doing in Jacksonville,” Lamping said. “It certainly doesn’t replace it.”
But it definitely replaces home games in Jacksonville. For several years, it’s been one. This year, it will be two. It’s fair and reasonable for Jaguars fans to wonder when and if that number will expand.