Jacksonville – Cry. Pout. Sulk. Cuss. Throw something.
It’s all right, because that’s how just about everybody else feels. And it’s normal.
I know you keep telling yourself, it was just a football game. And it’s silly to feel this way. But it’s not. Analyze it, go over it again, be mad with the players, coaches, refs, the media, whatever it takes to put it away and still accept the Jaguars are your team.
The Jaguars loss to the Titans Sunday could have been easier to swallow if they had just played sort of like they played during the regular season. Or even half as well as against Miami. To lose is one thing. To give it away is another. And that’s what makes it hurt all the worse.
Sometimes people who don’t count themselves as “sports fans” can’t understand what all the fuss is about. Now, living in Jacksonville, they must know. The money, time, and passion invested in the team came to an abrupt end Sunday, leaving an emptiness fans here have never experienced. But it’s OK. Communal pain is what brings the passion to a fever pitch the next time.
Now you know why Denver, their fans, players and media have such animosity for Jacksonville and the Jaguars. We did to them in ‘96 what Tennessee did to us. Only worse. The Jaguars were an expansion team! And a decided underdog. Just a formality on their way to the Super Bowl. You don’t think when the Jaguars visited Denver in the playoffs the next year, the way the Broncos dismantled Jacksonville, and kept on doing it was an accident do you? Cleveland’s passion for their Browns’ was steeled through years of getting close but never taking that last step. John Elway in the late ‘80’s, then Art Modell in the ‘90’s.
It seems like ancient history now, but when the Colts left Baltimore in ’84, they left behind 30 years of history. An entire generation of sports fans, abandoned, left alone to deal with the pain of being shut out in the NFL title game, being on the losing end of the greatest upset in NFL history, now with no team to cheer for, and not even anyone around to be mad at.
Tom Coughlin’s comments on Monday were right on the money. “Don’t ask me to evaluate now,” said the Head Coach, “Because today it’s ‘Fire everybody’.
Isn’t that how you felt?
Fire ‘em all, and start over.
That feeling is now subsiding.
Some guys can stay, and some have to go. But it’s your team to root for. Not just the players who wear the uniform now, but also the team as a whole.
It’s the people you tail gate with, the experience of sitting in the rain at the game, of complaining about warm beer and cold hot dogs. That’s what makes you a fan, and it gives you the right to sulk. To cuss. To cry if you want to.
Then sneak the sports section after declaring yourself done with them, and scan the agate type for who might be available. Then check the dates on free-agency. And the upcoming college draft. Then dream of summer camp, and the season opener, and your chance to be a fan again.