Welcome to the refreshed Big Cat Country! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we're sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you'd like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We're collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams.
Why am I a fan? There wasn't much in the way of professional sports in Jacksonville when I was a kid. We had minor league baseball's Jacksonville Suns and with Atlanta Braves games broadcast in our city, I thought I'd grow up with baseball as the sport in our house.
And then the Jaguars happened.
That 1995 season was a whirlwind and after the 1996 season I was hooked. Winning seven straight, recording the radio broadcasts on cassette tapes, listening again and again and again to Morten Andersen's miss, watching Mark Brunell run with winged feet in what would become the Mile High Upset -- the window closed just a few short years later and the magic has yet to descend upon Duval in quite the same way, but I'm still hooked.
Jacksonville was awarded the Jaguars when I was 11. I remember getting on the bus to go to school the day after we were awarded the team and everyone being excited. We were a bunch of dumb kids and didn't know anything about it, but I remember everyone talking about how awesome it was going to be. Prior to the Jaguars coming to town, I only remember being a passive fan of the NFL. My dad didn't watch a ton of sports, we watched some college football because he was a fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes (he's from Iowa) and baseball because I played a ton of baseball when I was a kid. It was before travel baseball was kind of a thing, but I played year round and ate it up, so that's mostly what I watched, baseball and professional wrestling.
I don't think I really liked any specific teams prior to the Jaguars coming, but I do remember watching the Pittsburgh Steelers a lot because they had basically identical uniforms to the Hawkeyes, so naturally I liked them. But otherwise, it was just a casual watching the NFL or if they playoffs were on we'd watch that. I vividly remember watching a Buffalo Bills game in the 1992 playoffs. The Houston Oilers were winning 35-3 and Frank Reich was starting because Jim Kelly was hurt. I was sitting on the couch watching with my dad and one of his friends and I remember betting my dad that if the Bills win I could have ice cream for dinner or something, and if they didn't win I had to clean my room. Something dumb, I don't remember that part, but I vividly remember the Bills 38-3 run in the second half to win 41-38 in overtime. I think that was the game that made me fall in love with the NFL, and while that love was still fresh the city got the Jaguars.
It also helped that the Jaguars were good, right away.
I didn't go to a ton of games as a kid, because my parents couldn't afford it, but I remember being at the stadium in 1996 when they buzzed the plane over the stadium and came back. I got my first season tickets on my own back in 2002 when I could afford it and haven't not renewed since.
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