JACKSONVILLE FL - JULY 30: Owner Wayne Weaver of the Jacksonville Jaguars speaks to the media prior to the first day of Training Camp at EverBank Field on July 30 2010 in Jacksonville Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Less than three hours after the news broke regarding the Jacksonville Jaguars firing head coach Jack Del Rio, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports (via PFT) that Jags owner Wayne Weaver is in the process of selling his franchise to Shahid Khan, the owner of the automobile parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate Corp who recently tried unsuccessfully to purchase the St. Louis Rams.
Interesting side note: Schefter works for ESPN. His report counters a report made as recently as Oct. 24th by Chris Mortensen, also of ESPN. Back in October, Mort reported that Weaver would not sell the team, and his source for the report was Weaver himself.
With a potential new owner, the speculation will now involve whether or not the Jaguars will move to Los Angeles, where the NFL desperately wants to set up a franchise to play in the mega Southern California market. The Jags have the 26th worst attendance in the NFL, drawing roughly 62,000 a game. They also play in a tiny market that has been utterly crushed by the economic downturn plaguing the United States. Right now, they look the most likely to pack up and leave for So Cal.
For me, a longtime Colts fan with nothing but disdain for the Jaguars and their sometime silly fans, I would view a move by the franchise as something that would hurt the league, not help it. The Jaguars should stay in Jacksonville, and the new owners should do what Wayne Weaver refused to do: Spend money and build a franchise worth a damn.
Despite my annoyance at the fanbase, the reality is Jags fans have gotten a raw deal with this putrid, pathetic excuse of a franchise. Analysts and blowhards (like me) have often criticized fans in Florida for not embracing the Jags.
Well, it's kind of hard to justify spending money on a franchise when a known cheapskate like Weaver owns it and when a moron like Del Rio coaches it for more nine years. Seriously, how the hell can anyone get excited about the Jags? They have a 68-71 record over nine seasons, with just one playoff victory. They've never hosted a playoff game in that span, and never had a player that could draw in big numbers of fans the way Indianapolis did with Peyton Manning.
Also, gonna go out on a limb and say that Del Rio being a lazy, disconnected, finger-pointing asshat might have had something to do with the product on the field being next-to-worthless. Now, with a new CBA that forces owners to actually spend their money on talent rather than pocket it, Weaver wants out.
What a bum.
I'm sure a few kooky fans of the Glitter Kitties might come in here and give me crap for raggin' on Weaver. Reporters and media will say he is a classy, nice guy. Yeah. Whatever. People who defend Weaver as an owner are chumps. he man refused to spend money, and the team was kitty litter under his ownership.
My hope is that Khan, or whoever ends up owning the Jaguars, gives the fans in Jacksonville a fair shake. They deserve a good product on the field, a contending product. Successful small markets are the lifeblood of the NFL. While the MLB and NBA continue to struggle to compete with pro football (and college football in many areas) due, in large part, to those leagues being far too focused on mega markets, the NFL soldiers on as the unquestioned top sports league in America.
This is accomplished because fans in little markets like Green Bay believe their team can beat anyone else in the league, regardless of whether they play in Dallas, New York, Chicago, or San Francisco.
Jacksonville fans deserve to have the kind of commitment to their market and fanbase that Green Bay gives to theirs. Hopefully, new ownership will do that. They could start by hiring a coach who actually knows what the f*ck he's doing.