On a beautiful September day in 1995, over 72,000 fans joined together to watch the first regular season home game of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Among the excited throngs was a new owner, and a new coach. In fact, very few things that day weren't new. This September, fans of the same team, in the same city, will get the best opportunity to recreate that exact experience.
As Alfie pointed out in an article yesterday, the Jaguars have "retooled" before, but we have never had a complete rebuilding effort in the history of the franchise. Shahid Khan, in his second year as the team's second owner, is continuing his effort to create the "ideal franchise model." In that process he has hired a new GM, which led to the hiring of a new coach, a team president, created a new logo, facility improvements (with more to come) to EverBank Field, and more. This April, along with a new uniform, we'll see a lot of new faces on this Jaguars team.
With all of this new coming to our team, I believe this is more than a rebuilding effort. This is the closest thing to a second expansion, this team and its fans will ever go through.
I was only 9 that September day, and a lot of things that went on that day were lost on me. As I have grown up with the team however, I could not be more excited about this upcoming season. I am even excited in the face of knowing we probably won't be very good. This is an opportunity for old fans to reconnect with the team, and for the team to expand its fan base.
The idea of the team going through a second expansion will probably cause some fans to groan since we weren't all that good in 1995. If that's you, just remember, we were worst last year. Don't put all your emotional eggs in being better this season. It's going to take some time. Instead, enjoy the ups and downs that come with watching a team be completely reborn. Just sit back, and enjoy the ride.