October 24, 2009

Paul Tagliabue was Wrong About Jacksonville

One of the greatest pleasures in life is saying “I told you so,” even if it’s 16 years later and the target is retired.  So here goes: Paul Tagliabue, you were wrong about Jacksonville, and I told you so.

In 1993, when the NFL decided to expand from 28 to 30 teams, five finalists were selected: Charlotte, St. Louis, Baltimore, Memphis, and Jacksonville.  Everyone assumed that the two winners would be Charlotte and either St. Louis or Baltimore, but Paul Tagliabue’s love for the “Sun Belt” led the NFL to award the second team to Jacksonville amid widespread criticism.

How’s that decision looking now, Paul?  The Jaguars haven’t sold out any of their 3 home games this year.  In fact, they haven’t cracked the 50,000 mark in attendance for a stadium that seats 76,877.  The Jaguars also can’t find anyone to buy the naming rights to the stadium after their deal with Alltel expired.

As for the other 3 finalists, they all have teams now (except Memphis, but the Titans in Nashville get lots of support from Memphis).  The Rams, Ravens, and Titans all have passionate fans who pack the stadium week after week while Jacksonville seems less and less interested in having a team each year.

If Tagliabue had picked St. Louis, the Rams might never have moved from LA.  If he had picked Baltimore, the Browns might have stayed in Cleveland, and the 32nd team would have gone to LA.  So basically, Tagliabue’s decision led to the NFL having a team in Jacksonville instead of Los Angeles.  Great job, hall of famer.

1 Responses:

W said...

Well said, Brien.

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