Longtime Jacksonville Mayor Jake Godbold Remembered For Spearheading Effort To Bring NFL To North Florida

Longtime Jacksonville Mayor Jake Godbold passed away Thursday at age 85. Godbold is credited for a number of things but most famously for helping lead the charge that eventually brought the NFL to Jacksonville.

Godbold, who served from 1978 to 1987, was passionate about landing an NFL franchise for the city, and in 1979 even helped pack the then-named Gator Bowl to capacity in order to show the Baltimore Colts ownership that Duval was the ideal place for them to to relocate their squad; the Colts eventually moved to Baltimore and later, Indianapolis.

Godbold continued to advocate for Jacksonville to get a team years after the Colts headed to Maryland.

But Godbold’s effort finally paid off in 1993, when the NFL granted Jacksonville one of two expansion franchises. The other city granted a franchise was Charlotte.

Ironically, one of the cities Jacksonville beat out for their expansion team was Baltimore–who it lost out on the Colts to in the previous decade–for the expansion team.

Godbold was at the studios of WJXT 4 in Jacksonville when the announcement was made by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

“I said, ‘Oh s—. We got it.’ I cried,” Godbold wrote in his biography, Jake!.

%d bloggers like this: