There was quite a buzz a few weeks back surrounding the possibility of the Green Bay Packers playing in London in 2016. After all, the Packers are scheduled to play a road game with the Jacksonville Jaguars next season. With Jacksonville regularly playing one game each year across the pond and both the Packers and Aaron Rodgers expressing interest in doing so, it seemed a logical option for the league.
Now, unfortunately it seems that this item on Aaron Rodgers' bucket list is off the table, at least for the immediate future.
A few days ago, Packers' president and CEO Mark Murphy indicated that the Jaguars were "reluctant" to allow the game against Green Bay to take place in Wembley Stadium. This has now been confirmed in the first public comments on the matter from the Jaguars' front office, as team president Mark Lamping told the Florida Times-Union that the Packers-Jaguars game will not be played in London, but instead at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville:
We get the Packers here in Jacksonville so infrequently. They have such a national following. We have a lot of people here in Jacksonville that are Jaguars fans but also fans of the traditional NFL teams. So, we look forward to that game being played here in Jacksonville.
Clearly, the Jaguars recognize that hosting the Packers is one of their best opportunities for a sellout and for a significant presence by a visiting team in the stadium. As a result, that economic benefit is something that Jacksonville is unwilling to pass up.
The door is not closed on the Packers playing overseas, of course. In addition to the Jaguars' annual contest, the league has scheduled two more games in London each of the past few years. With the Packers continuing to state their position that they would be open to playing a road game in England, it is possible that the league could identify another game to be played across the pond instead in the coming seasons. However, if the league does find a way schedule Green Bay to play there in 2016, it appears that it will be against a different opponent.