Near the bottom of Michael C. Wright’s in-depth talk with Patriots tailback Fred Taylor, the veteran says that he thinks moving the Jaguars to Los Angeles would be “good for the NFL.”
This, of course, went over in Northern Florida like a led zeppelin. Taylor was a Jaguar for 11 years, in many ways becoming the face of the franchise, particularly since he went to school up the road at UF.
It’d be a little bit like if Andre Tippett had advocated the Patriots moving to St. Louis in the mid-1990s. And because of the ripple effect, Jacksonville reporters had to get some of clarification. Which they did during Taylor’s Wednesday conference call.
“Sometimes the truth hurts,” Taylor said. ” It can be played either way; that the fans want the team, they have to show that they want the team to stay there. I’m a Jacksonville guy, I always have been and I always will be. I love the community. But according to the NFL, they’re going to move a team out there and I don’t know what’s going to be a decision-maker, or breaker, but you look at average attendances and what-have-you, at the end of the day, they’re going to find a team to take out there.
“It’s just that I was in that market for several years and I understand that some of the other owners as far as revenues and this and that, that they don’t, from my understanding, I don’t think they want to split that pot or certain pieces of the pot with smaller market teams. So they got to find an answer.
“But there’s several small market teams out there, I just came from one. So I said what I said. Part of it was me kind of being a funny guy but I don’t know if it came across – I don’t want to offend anyone, never do, I’ve never been that way. But you gotta be realistic. You got to step up to the plate, they (Jacksonville) need to have a ‘Step Up to the Plate’ campaign, cause there are some great die-hard fans, absolutely. Then there are some that are fair-weather, you all know that. All in all, I hope whatever happens benefits the city at the end of the day as well as Mr. and Mrs. Weaver.”
So … will the Jaguars be the team to eventually inhabit this place …
… Or some other place in the vacant L.A. market?
Chances are pretty good. The Vikings, Bills, Rams, Raiders, 49ers and Chargers would be possibilities for that spot, too, considering the stadium issues those clubs have.
But Jacksonville might just be the leader in the clubhouse. They play in the nation’s 47th-ranked television market, their territory is hemmed in by the Bucs, Dolphins and Falcons — making the kind of growth potential that Buffalo or Minnesota have non-existent — and they’ve had seven of their eight home games blacked out.
Wouldn’t be surprising if Taylor was on to something.