Why are you a Jaguars fan?
As a Jaguars fan, if you haven’t been asked this question you are either locked in a bunker with no access to outside contacts besides Jaguars blogs and websites (even then, you’d be lucky not to be asked) or you cannot see or hear. I doubt it is the latter, so we’ll assume you have been asked this – or at least, someone in the past has insinuated that they don’t understand why anyone would be a Jaguars fan.
After years of my friends and family questioning my loyalty, I finally had enough and decided to systematically go through their usual questions and teases one by one. I want to do that here. Maybe it’ll help others.
1. No Super Bowl
This was, believe it or not, the easiest for me to throw back into their faces. It was far too easy to do, really. Why:
Since Jacksonville entered the league in 1995, there have been 18 Super Bowls played in the NFL. In that time period, 21 teams have made it to the championship game and 11 teams have won. That means that 8 (I do not include Houston or the Browns) teams have failed to make it to the Super Bowl for longer than the Jaguars have even been a team and more, 18 (again, no Texans or Browns), have failed to win.
So the fact that the Jaguars do not even have a Super Bowl appearance is, while sad, not something that only our fans have had to deal with.
2. Playoff Drought
Jacksonville has gone 5 years without a playoff appearance, tied for the most in team history. Many will make note of not getting to the playoffs. With this one, there are general things and specifics to use, depending on the team the person who is questioning you is a fan of.
Currently the Bills (13), Raiders (10), Browns (10) and Rams (8) all have gone longer without playoff appearances. Tampa and Jacksonville are tied at 5 seasons. You would then go on a rampage (especially if this person is a Tamp fan, I love them) about blackout stats. If you need help with that, read the information here.
I did a little of this above with the general stats on blackouts. I, being in Central Florida, run into a lot of Miami and Tampa fans. They are too easy. Others can be hard, or impossible. If your friend is a fan of one of the Bigs (my nickname for the major playoff contenders like New England, New York and Green Bay) then you’ll have a hard time. Other teams you might get lucky with. The Bears, for example, have actually been to the playoffs only 4 times since 1995. The Jags? 6. So do some research, and hit them low.
3. Team Talent
Most will attack our QB situation. Some will be a little deeper and question our pass rush, or comment on the general "lack of talent". Here is the key on arguing this point: Understand that, generally, they are right! Don’t be offended, but accept the truth. The current roster is /very/ young and mostly unproven. What you need to do here, though, I highlight the future strengths.
A. Two top-8 tackles, both who may have been the best tackles of their draft classes. Both are under 26 years old and if the team can keep Monroe after this season, they could be the best tackle pairing in the NFL
B. A young secondary that is showing great talent and potential early, yet is unproven. As of right now, there is a possibility of our entire starting secondary being rookies. Has that ever happened before? I don’t know, and neither will your friend (I imagine). Even if they aren’t the best this year, think of two years from now if they all pan out! Hope, my friends!
C. A very young, talented pair of complementary Wide Receivers. The production of Blackmon and Shorts in the second half of last season was amazing. If Blackmon can reign in his habits, these two could be one of the better WR pairs in the league.
D. 2014 draft pick. Listen, unless Gabbert surprises everyone and lights up the scoreboard, we will have a high draft pick. If that happens, our team will be able to fill in some missing pieces, and we’ll be even closer to having a great unit. A team isn’t built in one season. A hey – if Gabbert does do well and we don’t get a very high draft pick, than that is a great thing, too!
Okay, on three we all say, "ARGH!". One. Two. ARRRRRRRRRGH!!!
Now that that is out of our system, I’m pretty sure we all know how to attack the uninformed masses on this issue. If not, check out the link in the "Playoff" section above. I shouldn’t have to explain it anymore. I will say that one of my favorite parts of living in Central Florida is the silence I can almost taste when a Tampa or Miami fan even attempts to say the word "blackout".
This hasn’t been a major one yet, but I consider any talk of selling or moving the team to fall under this. Also, I use this as more of an attack piece now. By that, I mean I use this as one of our major strengths.
Most who believe this will normally talk about blackouts or ticket sales. Those are easy to refute and talk about. Many will mention London. I usually ignore those dweebs. When annoyance gets the best of me, though, I will go to the clause in the contract the team has with the city. If that isn’t enough, I go into the amount of money Khan has invested in the team, stadium and city. In stadium improvements, between the locker rooms, weight facilities and scoreboards he will have committed in the range of (or more than) $30 million dollars. In the city itself he is looking at ways to use the Shipyards property into something useful. Where other cities in the US are falling into states of… well, just bad states, Shad is seeking to help in Jacksonville’s growth and renewal. Speaking of growth, did you know that Jacksonville was the 13t fastest growing city between 2000 and 2010?
Also, I like to look at other owners and make sure people know how Shad is different. Some don’t go to games, for example. Others try to micromanage their team, often doing more harm than good. Some can’t even buy the grass their stadium needs (Ted Phillips). We may have only had Shad as an owner for a short time, but so far he has shown that he could be among the best.
Defending against the "old guard".
There are few fans in the world that annoy me the most as those who use the past to attack Jaguar fans. Listen, I was born in 1987. I am 25 years old. I, personally, am not yet able to afford season tickets and still be able to pay my school and housing bills. I wish I could. Once I can, I will. I can tell you this, however: Any person under the age of... say, 30, who tries to use history from before 1990 to make me feel like less of a fan is full of... air. Hot air. Can any of us seriously say we were real fans of anything before we were, say, 8? Please, don't try to use history you can't remember to try and make me "regret" the team I am a fan of. That is lame. For those of you old enough to remember those times, I hope you have enough class to respect people who stick to their colors.
That’s if for today. There are more topics to defend, of course, but I can’t think of any major ones I left out. Perhaps you can - discuss below, if you want to.
When all else fails to get annoying people off your back, I suppose you could always mention the fact that no team has a mascot quite as good as Jaxon. :D