Sam's Commentary

December 17, 2014 Commentary Archive

Jaguars Top 20 Road Trips

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted December 17, 2014 ===========================================================================

Recognizing the Jaguars 20th anniversary, this week's top twenty is Top 20 road trips. This top twenty is about what road trips to take to see the Jaguars play taking into account ease of travel, stadiums, hotels, proximity and things to do. While it's easy to name some great things about all of the cities on the Jaguars travel list over the years, our list comes from our personal experiences as well as perhaps some of the Jaguars results while we were there. It also got us thinking, where would Jacksonville rank on other teams fan's travel list? Probably not near the top, which means they've never been here!

Even though the Jaguars are the home team, we put London at the top of the list for every Jaguars fan. Not only is it one of the great international cities of the world, it's not that hard, or expensive to get to from Jacksonville. Once you're there, the history and the nightlife are incomparable with anything else on the list. Wembley is one of the great stadiums as well. Now if the Jaguars could only win a game there!

Domestically, just about any city in the top ten could qualify as number one. As we mentioned, ease of travel, stadium and proximity to the stadium from everything else went into account on this list. That's why Nashville is at the top. Non-stop flights (Southwest), a chance to go every year, great nightlife and restaurants, sightseeing and nice hotels put Music City in this spot. Also, the stadium is close by so it's no big deal to get over there on game day. Not a great stadium, but not terrible either.

You might be surprised to see Baltimore this high but even a survey of Jaguars staffers puts "Charm City" near the top. Easy to get to on a nonstop flight (Southwest), downtown isn't far from the airport and the stadium (and the whole sports complex) is close by. In fact, you can walk just about anywhere you want to go, the Inner Harbor, Camden Yards, all if it is right there.

Chicago is one of the great cities in America and the ability to get there on one flight and everything in walking distance makes it a fun trip. If you can get to a Jaguars game at historic Soldier Field on a day the Cubs are playing at home at Wrigley, it'll be a memorable experience.

New York would be higher because well, it's New York. Easy to get to but actually going to the game is a giant pain. Other than that, the New York trip can be fun. Just don't wear your Jaguars gear to the stadium of we're playing the Jets. Honest.

While hard to get to, San Diego is a great trip because of what they've done with downtown. In a lesson that Jacksonville could learn, they installed light rail and completely re-did what's now called the "Gas Lamp District." Great weather, good sights, easy to get around. The light rail goes directly to the stadium. If the Chargers stay in San Diego, it's worth the trip. The stadium's not much, but it is easy to get to on the rail line from downtown.

Seattle is also hard to get to but their sports complex and the city itself make it worth the trip. Nice hotels downtown a really cool stadium and passionate fans would make it memorable. Just plan an extra day or two for travel. And sightseeing.

If it was easier to get to, New Orleans might top this list. There used to be non-stops to the Crescent City but now it's not easy to get over there. Obviously the food and the atmosphere is classic Americana. The Superdome renovation has upgraded it to a nice spot and you can just about walk to everything. At least once, this is a trip worth taking.

Surprisingly, Indy and Philly make it into our top ten. Both have non-stops, both have nice stadiums, fairly new. Philadelphia is full of American history if you've never taken the time to explore it, absolutely worth the time. Great restaurants all downtown near hotels. Indy has a bustling downtown with nice restaurants within walking distance.

Nearly impossible to get to, Lambeau Field should be a "must visit" for all football fans. Plan an extra couple of hours once you get there to go through the Packers Hall of Fame Museum. They have the best Bloody Mary Bar you've ever seen in their new atrium and great fans.

While San Francisco and Oakland are long trips, the Bay Area is a great place to visit. The 'Niners new Levi's Stadium is state of the art but not easy to get to. Oakland Coliseum is old and decrepit but if you want to see crazies in person, it's the place to be for a Raiders game. Again, don't wear your Jaguars gear if you go to Oakland. They seriously will hurt you.

Nice weather will follow you to Tampa and Miami. While Tampa is fairly non-descript, it's easy to get around and easy to get to the stadium. Miami has a lot to offer and a trip to South Beach should be on any visiting fans itinerary. The stadium is nowhere near the city, so have a plan to get there, and get out.

Good weather might not follow you to Buffalo, but with very serious fans, you might see the largest collection of brown liquor ever during the tailgate before the game. Any trip to Buffalo should include a stop at Niagara Falls.

Cincinnati, Minneapolis and Cleveland might not seem like great travel spots for fans to visit but all three have nice downtown areas and easy proximity from the hotels to restaurants and the stadium. A trip to Cincinnati should include a stop at the Montgomery Inn, a famous barbeque spot on the river. If the Reds are at home, that's a plus as well. If it's chilly, you never have to go outside in Minneapolis, everything's connected through walk bridges and tunnels. It might be difficult for the next couple of years because they're building their new stadium. And Cleveland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well.

The new stadium in Dallas should be on any sports fans list to see. While it's close to nothing, it's a destination itself. Downtown Dallas has plenty of options. Take an extra hour to look at the Museum at Dealy Plaza and you'll be surprised by so much that's apparent and accessible there regarding the Kennedy assassination.

Carolina makes the list but Atlanta or a variety of the other cities could be in this 20th spot because they're easy to get to. They still call their downtown "Uptown" but lots of nice restaurants and easy access to the stadium. Arizona would be here or higher but the stadium in Glendale is in the middle of nowhere. Kansas City has great barbeque and great fans and St. Louis is worth the trip if the Cardinals are also in town. Plus a trip under the Arch to the Museum of Western Expansion is a surprise for any visitor. Denver can be fun if you include a couple of days skiing. We'd like to put Detroit somewhere on the list but the best thing they have going for them is Ford Field. And if the Tigers are at home, it's right next door. Washington is worth a trip to see our Nation's Capital but FedEx Field is not much and is in the middle of nowhere and hard to get to. No parking either. Houston has a great stadium and if the Astros are at home, probably worth the trip as well. If you've never been to Pittsburgh, a trip there will show real NFL passion, that's for sure.

We're sure you have an opinion! Let us know with #JagsTop20 on Twitter or email us at Sports@wjxt.com. We'll talk about the list this week on "Jaguars Friday Night."

1. London
2. Nashville
3. Baltimore
4. Chicago
5. New York
6. San Diego
7. Seattle
8. New Orleans
9. Indianapolis
10. Philadelphia
11. Green Bay
12. San Francisco/Oakland
13. Tampa
14. Miami
15. Buffalo
16. Cincinnati
17. Minneapolis
18. Cleveland
19. Dallas
20. Carolina


Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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