The Jacksonville Jaguars announced their two fourth round NFL Draft picks on Saturday, and did so from a surprising place. Through the National Health Service (NHS) the Jags chose Wembley stadium as their location to select their new players, a stadium they’re all too familiar with.
Could this be another hint at a possible relocation in the future?
Rumours of an NFL team making London its home have been brewing for a while, and now, rumours of that team being the Jacksonville Jaguars are beginning to heat up. Having played at Wembley every possible year, the Jags seem to be entranced by the British allure.
Now they have taken it one step further.
Locations chosen by franchises to present their draft picks are generally meaningful. Construction workers on the site of Las Vegas Raiders’ new stadium announced their day three selections in 2019. The Patriots announced a pick beside a newly acquired Lombardy trophy. Could the Jags choice be just as significant?
Presented the @Jaguars’ fourth round draft picks live from Wembley with some of our incredible key workers last weekend and it was wonderful 😊🏈
— Max Whittle (@max_whittle) May 4, 2021
Picks Jay Tufele and Jordan Smith had their names called quite literally on British soil. Sky Sports presenter Max Whittle, alongside NHS key workers, stood on the Wembley football pitch to announce the draftees.
The Jaguars have played a game at Wembley every year since 2013, barring a covid ridden 2020 season. The Jacksonville side have also recently agreed to a deal with the FA allowing them to host games at the stadium from 2022 in addition to the four NFL international contests agreed by NFL owners.
The FA told Sky Sports: “The FA maintains good relationships with the NFL and the Jacksonville Jaguars having enjoyed over a decade of hosting games at Wembley Stadium.”
With two games already scheduled for the Jags at Wembley for next year, fans back home in Jacksonville seem to be slowly easing to the reality that fewer and fewer games will be played at their ‘home’ ground TIAA Bank Field.
In a statement, team owner Shahid Khan and the Jaguars organisation, said:
“Our annual home games in London have strengthened our franchise, helped to forge relationships between Jacksonville and UK businesses, and established the Jaguars as the team to follow and support in London, the UK and throughout Europe.”
Unbelievable diving catch = 🤯
Game winning TD = 🙌
Best @wembleystadium TD ever? Absolutely 💯
— Jaguars UK (@JaguarsUK) March 25, 2021
While nothing concrete has been stated by either the NFL, Jacksonville Jaguars, or the FA regarding a permanent move, it is hard not to grow more suspicious with the franchise’s continued presence in England’s home of football.