» Subscribe Today!
The Power of Information
Home
The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
X
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Article
VOL. 35 | NO. 48 | Friday, December 2, 2011

Big changes for old foes in Jacksonville

Print | Front Page | Email this story

For as long as the Tennessee Titans have been in Nashville, the Jacksonville Jaguars have served as their perfect foil.

The Jaguars entered the NFL in 1995 as an expansion team not long before the Houston Oilers became one of a handful of franchises to change locations, relocating to Memphis and, a year later, to Nashville.

From that, a rivalry was born between the Titans and Jags, cemented in 1999 when Tennessee handed Jacksonville its only three losses of the season and earned its only Super Bowl appearance.

It was around that time that Jeff Fisher was calling what was then Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville another Titans home field, and Jaguars running back Fred Taylor was in denial, saying the Jaguars were still the better team, no matter the outcome of the games.

The rivalry was good enough that when the NFL realigned in 2002 it saw fit to split up the six-team AFC Central, but keep the Titans and Jaguars together in the AFC South, while placing the Steelers, Ravens, Bengals and Browns in the AFC North.

As rivalries go, the Titans and Jaguars battle has ebbed and flowed a bit over the years, but to long-time fans of both teams the franchises seem linked. So it was with more than passing interest that Titans fans watched Tuesday’s stunning developments in Jacksonville.

Word leaked early Tuesday that long-time Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio – the second coach in franchise history – had been fired in his ninth season. That would have been news enough, but a couple of hours later word surfaced that Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver was selling the team to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan.

As many tumultuous days as there have been since the Titans arrived in Tennessee – and there have been a few involving the escapades of Pacman Jones, a couple of meltdowns by Vince Young and the whole Fisher departure saga back in February – never has there one been quite like what was experienced in Jacksonville on Tuesday. The coach fired and the team sold in the same day.

Let’s be honest here. With the Jaguars at 3-8, the Del Rio dismissal was coming. If not now, it would have occurred at the end of the season.

The bigger issue, and one that probably isn’t going away anytime soon, is what exactly does new owner Khan have in mind for his new team?

The early talk is that Khan is going to purchase a home in Jacksonville, keep the team there and try to make a go of it in North Florida. That is what Weaver has tried to do from the team’s inception, and he said Monday in his announcement that he “trusts” Khan is committed to the same goal.

But there is nothing written into the sale agreement that compels Khan to keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville. And though the stadium lease agreement has been called ironclad through 2029, if a contract is written, there’s a lawyer somewhere smart enough to find a loophole if the price is right.

With the Jaguars almost always struggling to sell tickets, it’s no wonder their name surfaces every time talk comes up about which franchise the NFL will eventually allow to be transplanted in Los Angeles.

And just as Ralph Wilson’s commitment to Buffalo keeps the Bills in upstate New York, it has been Weaver’s faith in and loyalty to the City of Jacksonville that has kept the Jaguars housed in Everbank Stadium through many lean years of late.

Now that Weaver is out of the picture, Khan is saying all the right things. But how committed is he really to keeping the Jaguars in Jacksonville?

Nashville hockey fans certainly know that uncertain feeling of potentially having a franchise whisked away. Had it not been for local ownership emerging in Nashville, NHL fans might now be watching the Hamilton Predators from afar instead of still filling Bridgestone Arena to enjoy the action on ice first-hand.

It’s not a foregone conclusion that the Jaguars will be moved now that they have been sold. But let’s just say that Jacksonville fans have been put on notice to support their team or face the consequences.

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com and is the AFC blogger for National Football Post.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & RSS:
Sign-Up For Our FREE email edition
Get the news first with our free weekly email
Name
Email  
TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0