Jaguars host NFL party at Tower of London

LONDON – Of all of the historic and iconic places in London, perhaps none is more historic or iconic than the Tower of London. The stories of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, the imprisonment of Sir Walter Raleigh and much of English history are all contained within its walls.

But on Friday night, the Jaguars took over the Tower of London.

If Sunday's game is the centerpiece for the Jaguars trip to London, the Tower of London gala was the signature event of the week. Shad Khan and the Jaguars brass along with one of their sponsors, US Assure, hosted nearly 200 guests at the Tower to celebrate the Jaguars first trip overseas.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made an appearance as the Jaguars are serving as the host of the 7th game of the league's International Series in London. Several Jaguars players were in attendance early, as well as Head Coach Gus Bradley and General Manager Dave Caldwell as the guest were treated to a private viewing of the Crown Jewels and the rest of what the Tower has to offer.

Business leaders, politicians, Jaguars sponsors and chamber of commerce representatives were also there. In Khan's short remarks prior to dinner, the Jaguars owner had a nice touch in recognizing Tom and Betty Petway who were in attendance.

Petway is the man who kept the Jacksonville NFL Dream alive, brought Wayne Weaver into the fold and helped precipitate the sale of the Jaguars to Shad Khan. Shad pointed out that Petway's vision for Jacksonville and the Jaguars had brought them to this point more than 20 years later.

It's hard to overstate the importance of this week when it comes to the Jaguars, the NFL and the city of Jacksonville. While the focus is on the game, city representatives have spent the week networking and looking for economic development opportunities throughout the UK and beyond. There's no question that the Jaguars and Shad Khan are doing their part as an economic driver for Jacksonville.

"In case you were wondering, this is how Jacksonville rolls," Khan said to rousing applause from his guests.