When the Jacksonville Jaguars played their first game in 1995, I was only nine-years-old at the time. I had grown up a 49ers fan all my life but I was still new to the game of football. My dad and I would watch the 49ers and I was a huge Steve Young fan.
The Jaguars were a new team and I only really was drawn to them based on their logo and uniform. I thought that they had the best helmet logo in the league. It was fierce (which I assumed was intentional to draw in young fans like myself) and the colors were so unique.
So I decided to follow the Jaguars. I mean, who would cheer on an expansion team? I did.
I wasn’t committed to the Jaguars but every time I saw their highlights, I was really excited to see this new team turn heads. And that’s exactly what happened in their second season when they nearly made it all the way to the Super Bowl. That upset against Denver was what made them the team for me to follow.
The Jaguars became my new adopted team. My love for the 49ers remained my top priority. But following an AFC team with a new fanbase (can’t call me a bandwagon because of that) was exciting for me. It also helped double my excitement every Sunday with two teams playing.
One big reason why I fell in love with the early Jaguars team was Mark Brunell. A lefty quarterback who wore #8 and was a good scrambler. He reminded me of my favorite player of all time: Steve Young.
So it was since those early years I started following the Jaguars. I can name the greats from the past (Jimmy Smith) to some of the players from the ugly years (Matt Jones) to some great legends (Maurice Jones-Drew). It was a team that never got enough respect and now that they are here, they still don’t have it.
Their quarterback has been criticized and their receivers are inexperienced. The defense is tremendous but that’s all anyone is talking about — if they want to talk. Their uniforms are atrocious and I don’t even know if people can locate Duval County on a map.
But that’s OK. What this team and their city deserve is a winner. They got that team right now. But can they win even more and go all the way to the Super Bowl? They’ll have to slay Goliath. But I do believe that the Jags are David and they have what it takes to win.
This team will always be that small team from a small city. I like the Cinderella story. I like that we can have a new champion. I like that the Jags are relevant again.
So go Jags! Get to the Super Bowl! It’s what I have been waiting for since I was a kid.