Jaguars say London is more like a home game

By Sam Kouvaris - Sports Director
AP photo by Tim Ireland

Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns makes a diving catch for a touchdown with 2:16 left in the game to put the Jaguars back on top and hold on to win 34-31.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - When you step on the practice field in the middle of the week in the NFL you can tell what day it is, whether the team won or lost and usually who’s going to get a chance to play the following Sunday.  For the Jaguars, this was a Wednesday practice, but different than last Wednesday’s practice and the one before that.

“I thought one of the things after the Green Bay game was that really hung around for a while,” Gus Bradley explained after practice. It just was heavy on us. I thought we handled it much, much better this Wednesday.”

Headed to London, the Jaguars have experience on their side, heading overseas with an 8-hour plane flight a couple of days before the game.  They’ve left on a Sunday and a Monday but they beat Buffalo last year at Wembley after leaving Thursday night so they’ll follow that schedule exactly.

“Leaving on a Sunday, leave on a Monday, leave on a Thursday and then before the games, just talk to our players about how they felt and how their bodies responded and going into the game, not after the game,” Gus said about the thought process.  He didn’t take into account the general superstition factor NFL teams have but rather “Just some of the studies that we have found. For us, for our team, we felt like Thursday was the better option.”

Perhaps this was a good opportunity after three straight losses to get away, have an “us against the world” mentality headed to London.  Bradley was having none of that.

“Hopefully we are circling the wagons in our locker room. It doesn’t take a road trip to do it.

Playing in London is important for the Jaguars from a revenue standpoint.  Around 20% of the team’s total revenue is generated by the London game through tickets sales and sponsorships specific to the game in the UK.  It’s also changed in the four years the Jaguars have made the trip into much more of a home game.  Each year, the number of Jaguars jerseys in the stands grows.

You are seeing the fan excitement and the fan loyalty towards us,” Gus Said. “It has changed over the last couple of years. I know the number of Union Jax fans and all that has grown. It is beginning to feel more like a home game as much as it can over there. It is a great atmosphere.”

Following last year’s schedule the Jaguars will depart for London on Thursday evening, arriving Friday morning at Heathrow.  They’ll practice that afternoon at a rugby facility, and head back to their hotel.  Standard meetings as well as an appearance on Regent Street are on the schedule on Saturday.  Sunday the game is at 2:30 BDT, 9:30 EDT here in Jacksonville.  It will be shown by the national network around the country instead of being streamed outside of the local markets.

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