The Jacksonville Jaguars are heading back across the pond for a game in the upcoming 2021 season; this according to a Tuesday report from The Athletic.
Citing sources, The Athletic said the Jaguars and the Atlanta Falcons will each host a “home” game in London at Tottenham Football Club’s stadium this fall. It will be the Jaguars' first time playing in said stadium. The league will release the official schedule tomorrow night, May 12, at 8 p.m. eastern.
The NFL has hosted 28 regular season games in England since 2007. It was an adventurous relationship for both parties and continued through 2019 before the global pandemic COVID-19 rendered all international travel impossible last season.
The Jaguars had played an annual home game in Wembley Stadium in London each year since 2013 and were scheduled to play two overseas in 2020. Under the ownership of Shad Khan—who also owns Fulham F.C. of the Premier League—Jacksonville has been at the forefront of the NFL’s International games.
The Jaguars are 3-4 in games played in London since 2013, including a 26-3 loss to the Houston Texans in 2019.
Just under two weeks ago, on April 30, Khan told local media, “I think really there’s no update [on London games]. I think as soon as we have it, we’ll share with you. I’m not even sure if there’ll be games [in London], but May 12 is the schedule [release day]. Hopefully we’ll know a little bit before that.”
In early March, while on an appearance of The Buddy Martin Show, new head coach Urban Meyer expressed an interest and curiosity of the possibly London-based game.
“That's new to me,” said Meyer at the time. “When I was at Notre Dame, we played in Ireland one time. And obviously, that's a great experience for everybody involved. I mean, it's a little bit of wear and tear. And I don't know -- we've talked about it here with our owner. And I think they are committed to one time a year. With COVID, I'm not sure we'll be able to do it this year.”
Now, with vaccination numbers rising in the United States and England, leading to COVID cases lowering (according to John Hopkins University, the rolling 7-day average in the United Kingdom has dropped to 1,867 as of May 10), transatlantic travel is back on the table. Beginning May 17, England is allowing International travel with those entering the country being required to quarantine. Lengths of quarantine will be based on the country of origin, with a minimum of 10 days.
With the NFL schedule set to kick off September 9, the likelihood of travel restrictions being loosened even farther—to the point of negating a need for quarantine—is high. Of course, as the 2020 NFL season taught everyone involved, flexibility is key and possible.
As mentioned, the full NFL schedule is set to be released Wednesday night. With the Jaguars reported to be one of the “home” teams in London, the possible opponents are as follows: Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, and the Denver Broncos. The Jaguars are also scheduled to play the Falcons at home.