Duval 'Til We Die: Being a Jaguars Fan Down Under

For most Australians, there's only one kind of football and it's Aussie Rules. But Simon grew up with a dad who loved all things sports… and when his hometown of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, started carrying an NFL highlights show, there was one team that stood out above the rest.

Simon's earliest memories are filled to the brim with sports. Whether it was watching local footy games or kicking the ball around the front yard, sports was how Simon and his dad bonded. But it wasn't just sports popular in Australia that Simon was exposed to. They watched an NFL highlights show on Sunday mornings because his dad was one of the few Australians that passionately followed American football.

"We use to love watching it together. Dad is a Raiders fan and would never push me to support his teams. I remember watching it one day, I assume it was either Jacksonville's first game, or when the franchise was announced, or their first win, but I can remember there were streamers and fireworks. It kind of stuck from there."

But why did the Jaguars stick? Why not one of the more popular teams at the time like the Cowboys or the 49ers?

"Me and Dad always support underdogs and non-popular teams. Not sure why. But I could never support your New England Patriots, Dallas, Manchester United. I always thought that going through the bad times with your teams makes you much more passionate about it. It makes the highs much, much higher. So I think watching the highlights and knowing that they were kind of underdogs was cool."

As Simon got older, Australia started increasing their coverage of games. At one point, American football games were nowhere to be seen on television but now, they'll show three games a week.

"It's usually only popular teams. I think the Jags have been on once or twice and I was mysteriously sick those times. For a couple of those days on my old job I would try to organise my rostered days off on when Jags games were on a night game, but even then they weren't often on TV. I recently subscribed to NFL Game Pass, so I am super excited about being able to watch games this year. We have a pub that's a two-minute walk from our house so I'm thinking of staying in the dark on game days and not finding out the score. Then I'll head down with my fiancee and have dinner while watching the Jags on my laptop every Monday night."

Simon said one of the reasons he's excited to watch the games is because he knows the franchise is doing all the right things, starting at the top with owner Shad Khan.

"There is no doubting how good the Weavers were for the Jags and you can't thank them enough for what they did. But it was time for a change and Khan, from what he has done so far and what he is doing, you know that him and Lamping have huge plans for the Jags and Jacksonville."

"Gus Bradley just exudes excitement and energy. I have only seen a few interviews with him and a few other bits of footage and its amazing how pumped up he get you. In comparison to Mike Mularkey last year, the difference just seems immeasurable. I mean, losing with Mularkey was depressing and you didn't think things would get better. But with Bradley I can't see that happening. He puts such a positive spin on things… although I am curious to see how he reacts to a press conference if we get absolutely flogged."

Flogged. Yes.

Being in a different hemisphere, it might not be hard to connect with team, but you might think it's hard to connect with the fans. Simon said that hasn't been a problem at all.

"#JaguarsTwitter is the best. It's how I stay in touch with all of my Jags news. Like I said on the Bold City Radio Show the other day: If it weren't for Twitter, I would be convinced that we'd be moving to Los Angeles, with half our games in London, with Tebow at QB. I literally wake up each morning an hour before I need to so I can catch up on all of the #JaguarsTwitter news from the night before. Every Bold City Brigade person is awesome… I just love their passion. It is so infectious!"

"I almost think of all you guys as pen pals. Me and my fiancee visited Jacksonville in 2010 and we saw a Jags game. I absolutely loved the place. It was amazing just to see the place and it was so beautiful with the St. Johns River running through it. I really cant wait to get back there."

Neither can we, nephew. Neither can we.

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