By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
When I watched the press conference on Wednesday and saw the announcement of more than $63 million being committed to improving EverBank Field, I could not help but think of one thing --- A Super Bowl in Jacksonville. Whether it is one where the team is the host city and plays for the NFL title or the city spruces itself up for the event, it sure looks like Shad Khan will, at some point, take another swipe at trying to lure the NFL’s greatest game back to the First Coast.
I would love to be the first to jump on that bandwagon.
The renovations to the stadium, which according to Jacksonville.com, include the video boards — one in each end zone that will measure 55 feet by 301 feet, making them longer than a football field and eclipsing in size those in Houston and Dallas. This is not a matter of beating those cities at their own game, rather allowing this city, which is one of the smaller football markets in the NFL, to remain on the same level.
Winning happens on the field, in free agency and through the draft. Khan is giving this team that opportunity and in turn trying to make Jacksonville a “destination” for people to come to, not avoid.
According to the story which appeared on Jacksonville.com, Khan’s feelings about the team, the scoreboards and improving the overall condition of the franchise were well laid out.
“We’re making a statement to the NFL, to the nation and to the world that Jacksonville is world-class,” Khan said. “This will put EverBank Field squarely in the discussion of world class … while making us a destination for college football, international soccer and many other major sports and entertainment events.”
This, of course is also a “win-win” for the Gator Bowl and Florida/Georgia game, two annual events that will reap the benefits of the professional team’s good fortune. One can only hope that the benefits of improvement means Khan hosting a Super Bowl and revenue helping the city in more ways than just sports entertainment.
As a visionary, I applaud Khan’s efforts. I applaud the city for its action and I applaud the fans who continue to fight on with this franchsie. Hopefully, the fight will continue, the improvements will be well received, the winning will begin and a “super” things will happen in the near future.
But above everything else, you have to like the way the offseason, off-field success has started.
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