NFL teams exist to make money.
Sometimes as fans we forget that these are businesses. And the goal of any business is to turn as big of a profit as it possibly can within the bounds of the law. (And often well beyond those bounds).
That's why the Jacksonville Jaguars absolutely, positively had to trade for Tim Tebow.
Immediately Tebow would have sold tens of thousands of additional seats and jerseys. He would have revived a moribund franchise that often deals with blackout threats and disinterest.
You know the football game that most engages the city of Jacksonville every year? The one that actually allows the seat covers in the top of the stadium to be removed? The Georgia-Florida game, the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
Two of the three years that Tebow started in that game, I was there.
The Jacksonville excitement was palpable. No one cared about the Jaguars, but everyone cared about Tebow.
That's why it's so stunning that a smart business person like Jags new owner Shahid Khan, a man who understands the power of Tebow, could have let the greatest asset in franchise history hop to the New York Jets for a fourth round draft pick.
A fourth round pick!
And a sixth round pick. Lots of sixth round picks don't even make the team.
Do you know who the Jags took with their fourth round pick in the 2011 draft?
Some guy named Cecil Shorts, a wide receiver.
Do you know what stats Cecil Shorts put up in 2011?
He had two catches for thirty yards.
Wow, God forbid you can't get a guy like that in 2012 with your fourth round pick sent for Tebow.
How would the franchise survive?
Will Tebow be a winning NFL quarterback long term?
I do know this, however, he's already won more career playoff games than Carson Palmer.
Will he make the Jacksonville Jaguars a huge pile of money?
Could Tebow singlehandedly keep the franchise from relocating?
Let me break it down for you as simply as I can: Tebow. Sells. Tickets.
If the Jags were awash in fans and ticket sales they could afford to be finicky and listen to the football people in their franchise who don't want Tebow. But the Jags are a franchise perpetually on the ropes, the weakest link in an otherwise sound collection of 32 NFL teams.
How could a smart business man like Shahid Khan, a self-made billionaire, make a decision like this?
He wants the team out of Jacksonville. Rack up another couple of 4-12 seasons, ticket sales dwindle, and options abound.
"The fans won't support the team he can argue to other NFL owners. We've tried everything."
Will it be LA? St. Louis, if the Rams relocate to London? The London Shaguars?
By not giving up a fourth round pick for Tim Tebow, Khan revealed his hand.
Bye, bye Jacksonville.