Since defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2007-2008 playoffs the Jacksonville Jaguars have arguably looked like a completely different team.
Throughout the 2008-2009 season, and in the months that followed, the Jaguars began to release several players who once made up the face of the franchise including: Fred Taylor, Paul Spicer, Reggie Williams, Mike Peterson, and Matt Jones. In the past few seasons inconsistancy on the field coupled with problems within the organization has led to off-and-on rumors of a possible relocation of the team to another city. Although the Jaguars and owner Wayne Weaver have made it clear that they will not be leaving Jacksonville any time soon, the Spinnaker decided to take a look at some cities currently without NFL franchises and how they may fair at supporting a team; as well as some possible mascots for each city.
Los Angeles– (Wave, Crush, Stars)
The city of Los Angeles is currently the biggest city in the U.S. without an NFL team; although the city has previously housed the Rams for several years. During the period of speculation with the Jaguars Los Angeles remained the constant forerunner in the discussion of where the Jags would land if they were to move. My pick for the L.A. mascot would be the Stars because what better way is there to describe L.A.?
Toronto- (Freeze, Mist, Predators)
Toronto seems to be the only Canadian city that can maintain programs in America’s major sports; well, except for hockey. Toronto is able to support an NFL team with fans, but people tend to speculate whether any city outside of the United States will ever really understand American football. Toronto’s mascot should probably be the Freeze considering a majority of American football fans would freeze if they had to visit Toronto for a game (accept maybe Green Bay fans).
Las Vegas– (Dice, Risk, Scorpions)
What city in the United States could possibly make more money off of NFL games? Las Vegas would surely be poised to bring in multitudes of fans to games as another of the million things tourists can do to waist their money in Sin City. However, inevitably investors, as well as the government, have realized that the other pleasures of the city would probably work their way into the franchise. However, if there was a team in Vegas I think they would be most suited going with the title of the Las Vegas Dice. They would be sure to repeat the success of the short-lived Nevada Hot Dice of TNT’s spectacular athletic extravaganza; RollerJam.
Orlando- (Trap, Destiny, Experience)
Orlando is another city whose tourist market could benefit immensely from another major attraction. The big problem for Orlando is that even though they only have one professional level team, they are surrounded by dozens throughout the rest of the state. Considering how much the Jaguars, Buccaneers and Dolphins have been struggling lately, it probably wouldn’t be the best idea for the state of Florida to add a fourth team to the equation. As for what mascot would best suit an Orlando franchise: any of the three I suggested. Because regardless of the name the city of Orlando will market the team with a phrase such as: “It’s your DESTINY to enjoy the EXPERIENCE of being dragged into yet another of Orlando’s tourist TRAPS.”
Sacramento- (Spartans, Dictators, Gods)
Out of all the markets in the United States Sacramento is the city that has been fighting hardest to house an NFL franchise for years. The city has been trying the steal the rights to the Niner’s and the Raiders since the dawn of eternity. However, it is fairly unlikely that Sacramento will host an NFL franchise anytime soon; especially before L.A. does. If the city does somehow land California’s fourth NFL franchise its mascot is sure to have some noble status if it is going to fall in line with the Kings, Monarchs and Solons. So, I am petitioning that the franchise be enshrined as the Sacramento Rulers of the Universe.
Salt Lake City- (Mirage, Trick, Rattlers)
Salt Lake City has proven they can support a professional program by housing the NBA’s prominent Utah Jazz. However, it is extremely hard for me to believe anything that is linked with this area of the country. Just think. Utah Jazz? I’m sorry, but Jazz is not the first thing I think of when I think of Utah. And if I was lost in the middle of the deserts in and surrounding Utah I would certainly be disappointed to find out that the biggest land based body of water in the United States is most likely undrinkable. For those reasons I would name any Utah franchise the Mirage; for misleading outsiders with the hope of something much different.
Portland- (Mystery, Skyhawks, Trees)
Although the state is home to a few prominent programs in the sporting world, it is hard for me to think what else is in Oregon. Being on the western seaboard the state has earned its right to claim that they have tough fans due to weather circumstances. But, I think I would be worried that they’re may not be enough of them to go around; especially with the gritty fans of Seattle not to far away. If there were to be a franchise in Oregon I would probably name them the Mystery; due to fact that I don’t know how they could possibly support a program, and that I have no clue of any realistic choices for mascot names involving Oregon heritage. However, maybe they would be better suited with the Portland Trees to go along with the Trail-Blazers and the Oregon State Beavers.
San Antonio- (Outlaws, Beat, River)
San Antonio is my top choice market to host an NFL expansion franchise. San Antonio may not necessarily show it with their support for the over-successful Spurs, but the city knows how to support teams. The AlamoDome and the city proved themselves worthy of NFL status after an impressive run with the Saints in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. And there is no doubt Texas is the perfect place for football. The state is arguably home to the best high school football in the nation and several collegiate teams full of rich winning traditions. If Florida and California can house three teams there should be no reason why Texas can ‘t. As for the franchises mascot, the city would be best suited with something that symbolizes its active spirit. Rather than playing off the stereotypical image of the Alamo, the program should be named the San Antonio River; in honor of the San Antonio River which helps shape the city’s landscape and culture.