SBD/March 22, 2012/Franchises

Tim Tebow Going To N.Y. Seen As Missed Opportunity For Jaguars

Khan said after not landing Tebow, Jaguars are moving on with "zero regrets"
In one of the "biggest opportunities in franchise history, the Jaguars dropped the ball by not agreeing to pay a reasonable price to acquire" QB Tim Tebow, the "most popular football player in Jacksonville history," according to Gene Frenette of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan, who was "clearly driving the Let's-Get-Tebow train," said in a statement that he was "satisfied with the outcome because general manager Gene Smith made a concerted effort to land the hometown legend." Khan said, "We're looking ahead with zero regrets." Frenette: "Maybe so. But whether it was the Broncos' decision or Tebow's call, likely seeing the Jets as a better opportunity to play quarterback and certainly a greater marketing bonanza, it's hard to not view this as a Jaguars loss." Forget the "potential bump in season-ticket or jersey sales, which can never be accurately gauged." The "real loss here is the Jaguars missed an opportunity to bring a dynamic element to their franchise" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 3/22). In L.A., Sam Farmer notes many had "believed Tebow would be shopped to his hometown of Jacksonville, where he could draw fans in a place that had difficulties filling the stands" (L.A. TIMES, 3/22). USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell writes it is "too bad that the Jacksonville Jaguars' prayers to land Tebow didn't work." Bell writes Tebow's hometown of Jacksonville would have been the "perfect landing spot" (USA TODAY, 3/22).

SMALL POTATOES: In Orlando, Mike Bianchi wrote Tebow is "going to the Big Apple and, sadly, the Jacksonville Jaguars remain small potatoes." The Jets made an offer for Tebow "because they wanted to," while the Jaguars "made an offer to Tebow because they had to." The Jaguars, who have had "trouble selling tickets and creating interest in their franchise, had a chance to make a deal for the most popular player in the NFL." They had a chance to "make a deal for a cultural icon" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 3/21). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes Tebow "chose right," as he "picked football over marketing." That the Dolphins "didn't chase him," is "smart for the franchise." It said that "important football decisions aren't made by the ticket department" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/22).

MR. FIX IT? SPORTING NEWS' Matt Crossman noted Khan’s friends and family feel that he has a "unique ability to fix ailing companies," which is what he is "trying to do with the Jaguars." Khan has hired former MLB Cardinals President Mark Lamping to "run the business side of the team." Lamping "sees parallels between the Cardinals and Jaguars because they are both in relatively small and regional markets." The Jaguars will "focus on strengthening their ties to Jacksonville while reaching out to the surrounding areas." Khan also "wants the Jaguars to lead the NFL’s push into the international market." Crossman noted none of those initiatives "will be easy or cheap, and Khan is expected to invest heavily in the team" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 3/20).
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