No fan base in the league has had a more miserable run for the last decade than Jacksonville. Well, no fanbase in the league not named Cleveland. But let’s be real, Browns fans are in their own category. The Jags have suffered through zero winning seasons since 2007 and while I know that Cleveland is in the middle of a 1-31 stretch and the Bills haven’t exactly dominated until this season, the fans themselves didn’t take the heat in those two cities. In fact, there was nothing but respect and love for the fans in C-town and Buffalo who had to suffer what they had to suffer through, and the belief that those two fanbases deserved better.
Jags fans, on the other hand, not only had to suffer through bad seasons, they also had to suffer through being mocked as the worst fans in the league. Nobody called the Browns fans bad or the Bills Mafia terrible. But Jags fans took all that fire. Bad team and bad fans, everyone said. That was the rap.
The golden era of Mark Brunell, Fred Taylor, Keenan McCardell, and James “Little Man” Stewart were a long time ago. And since then, Jags fans had to be content to watch Blaine Gabbert, aka Plain Garbage, and Chad Henne, aka Chad Henne. No wonder they needed tarps for the seats. They’re lucky the stadium’s still standing.
And no wonder they’re loving this season the way that they are. It’s no wonder that, according to TMZ, a bakery in Jacksonville is sending Ben Roethlisberger an order of 7 turnovers because, you know, he turned the ball over 7 times against the Jags this year. Get it!?!
I do. I mean, it’s a terrible joke and some of the weakest trolling ever and really just a shameless pub grab for the bakery, but I get it. And because it’s Jacksonville, I’ll allow it. They’re not used to this kind of success and they’re going to do whatever they can to enjoy it and soak it in. That’s why I had absolutely no problem with that victory rally Sunday night back at the stadium. Not only did I like it, I loved it. Why not have a party when you’ve just gone into Pittsburgh and smashed Pittsburgh? Why not have a party when you’re sixty minutes away from the Super Bowl? Meeting the team at the airport? Cool. The team meeting you at the stadium? Even cooler.
Sure, there’s the argument that the Patriots weren’t having a rally with their fans after they beat the Titans, but that’s because they’re the Patriots. They’re supposed to be there. The Jags aren’t supposed to be there. Not this year. And not this far.
And yes, I know the whole “act like you’ve been there before” school of thinking, but the Jags really haven’t been there in a long time. Hell, MJD and David Garrard was a decade ago. So when you’ve had to watch Gabbert and Henne, and now you get the chance to see Leonard Fournette, Calais Campbell, Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and the rest of that badass defense for at least one more game, damn right you’re going to celebrate.
If they don’t have that rally, we don’t get Jalen Ramsey grabbing the mic and doing this:
That’s not him shouting out to his favorite living actor, that’s him shouting out to his favorite county. Duval County. Because Jacksonville, AKA Sacksonville, is DTWD – Duval Til We Die.
They’ll have a whole county behind them on Sunday and while they’re not the favorites, not by a long shot, sleep on this crew at your own risk. Because they knock heads with the best of them, Leonard Fournette runs with the best of them, and Blake Bortles is doing everything he needs to do to be sixty minutes away from a Super Bowl. I’m not saying they’re going to win on Sunday, but I am saying they’re going to show up. And they show up loud and nasty.