This is the second of four years the Jaguars are the “home” team in London as part of the NFL’s International Series. And as the home team, they get first pick of hotels, practice facilities and everything else that goes with the game.
But it’s still a lot of work.
The Jaguars left for London directly after their trip to Cincinnati, arriving mid-morning in the UK. For there they boarded busses to the outskirts of the city to the bedroom town of Watford and “London’s Country Estate” The Grove, their home for the next five days. And on Friday they packed up again and headed in town to the Wembley Hilton, across the street from the stadium.
“We’ll take this show anywhere, anytime,” Sen’Derricks said as the players settled into their newest “home” for a couple of nights. “Gus (Bradley) has done a good job with that message to the team, especially the young guys.”
Marks said he’s enjoyed the trip, his time in London and the practices in the UK. “There was a little sluggishness at the beginning of practice on Wednesday but we got over that real quick. Wednesday was a good practice and Thursday was even better. We’re on ‘go.'”
Things were set up so meticulously in London that the Jaguars had a bus to take them to the stadium for Saturday’s practice. Despite that it was just over 100 yards to the field. “They want to emulate just about everything that’s going on for Sunday,” one staffer told me. “They’ll ride to the stadium on Sunday so they’ll miss the crowd. So they’re riding over there today.”
This year’s trip had a familiar feel for many of the Jaguars and their fans. But it seemed there were fewer fans in black and teal to be found. A trip to Trafalgar turned up nary a Jaguars fan among the street performers, monuments and poppy memorial. We did see two young girls, perhaps 4th graders, in Jaguars print coats but that was it. So it was off to Westminster and the crowded corner overlooking the Cathedral, Parliament, and the London Eye.
We weren’t there long when Michael and Tammy Heath walked by, proudly sporting Jaguars gear. “We were here last year and it was great,” Michael said without prompting. “There aren’t as many Jaguars fans here and Cowboys fans aren’t representing. We’ll be walking by and they’ll say ‘Boo, Hiss, Go Cowboys’ and we’ll look around and they won’t be wearing any stuff. Maybe the cold has everybody bundling up,”
“Last year we did a bunch of stuff but we haven’t seen so we’re doing that today,” Tammy told us. “We did go down and see Shad’s boat,” she told us. When asked if it would fit under the Parliament Bridge she said, “I bloody well don’t think so.” Khan’s yacht “Kismet” drew a crowd on both banks of the Thames, with thousands of photos taken each hour.
Khan hosted dinners at Parliament and Kensington Palace, cocktails on his boat two nights, had sponsors at Craven Cottage for the Fulham match (they won 3-1) and guests at Wembley on Sunday. He’s been busy.
Sure would be a good weekend for Shad if the Jaguars could come up with a victory but not many people think that’s possible against Dallas. The Jaguars are a decided underdog in the game, especially with Tony Romo saying he’s playing.