Sam's Commentary

January 21, 2018 Commentary Archive

Respect For The Jaguars? We Don't Care, We Live Here

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted January 21, 2018 ===========================================================================

There's been a lot of talk this week about getting "respect" for the Jacksonville Jaguars. A 3-13 team in 2016, the Jaguars are on the verge of their first Super Bowl appearance, playing in their third AFC Championship game in franchise history. But the Jaguars are still suffering from what they consider a lack of respect from other teams, other fans, the odds makers and the national media.

"At this point, if we don't got respect, that might be a lost cause," cornerback Jalen Ramsey said on Friday. "We just might not get none. We're one of the final four teams in the NFL playing right now, so if we ain't got no respect then, get it."

That consideration as an outlier isn't unique to this year's team. It's not even a new phenomena regarding the franchise. From the first days of Jake Godbold's dream of bringing an NFL franchise to Jacksonville, we've always been the outlier, "the not-really-in-it" city, much more than an underdog.

"What do you guys do with this stadium the rest of the time," I asked when covering my first Gator Bowl in 1978 while working in Charleston. "Well, we have Florida Georgia," was the response.

I was puzzled by that, not knowing about the Georgia Florida rivalry, but thought it was pretty different that a city could have a huge stadium for just two games a year.

"Look at that," I said to our anchorman two years later at Channel 2 in Charleston, "the Teamen are moving to Jacksonville and not even changing their name. That's kind of silly." Of course I knew little about the NASL and why the Teamen were keeping the name (they were owned by the Lipton Tea Company.) And little did I know that shortly my career would take me to Jacksonville and I'd be the play-by-play voice of those Teamen. Always kind of a mystery, Jacksonville didn't have a sports identity outside of the city limits. The only thing people knew was that it's where the tolls were on 95 and it smelled bad.

"Did I read in the paper you were moving to Jacksonville," my playing partner at Wild Dunes asked me in early 1981. "That's right, I go next week" I said, somewhat proudly to be moving to a much bigger market, important at the time in the TV business.

"I'm sure you think that's great," he added. "You're making a jump on the economic scale, but a couple steps back socially."

"What do you mean," I asked.

"Do you own a tuxedo?" he questioned.

"Three," I said, in the standard Charlestonian answer.

"You'll never wear it," he deadpanned.

And he was mostly right.

We've always been more casual, more of a big beach town than any great metro city.

And we like it that way. And people who don't live here don't get it.

Once we cleared out the tolls and cleaned up the air the town started to take off. Our bid for an NFL team started to crystalize, although no one took us as a serious candidate.

"You're not getting a team!" all of my media brethren would say with a giant laugh when I'd show up at the owner's meetings with the Jacksonville contingent. But as outlined in the excellent documentary "Destiny: How Jacksonville won the Jaguars," we did everything right and were awarded the 30th franchise in November of 1993.

Thanks to Wayne Weaver, who was popular among the ownership as a prospective fraternity brother (and that's what the owners group is) and Roger Goodell, who was the city's biggest patron inside the NFL office, the city that couldn't, did.

And that didn't set well with anybody else. Baltimore was incredulous. Memphis looked away, St. Louis couldn't believe it. And Charlotte did their usual look down their nose at us.

"Don't worry Charlotte, you're not Jacksonville" one columnist in the self-proclaimed "Queen City" the day after we got the team. Charlotte was awarded the 29th franchise a month earlier and couldn't imagine being put in the same category as swampy tackle box Jacksonville.

Of course Charlotte is so snotty they can't even call their downtown "Downtown." They have to call it "Uptown." And they're right, they're not Jacksonville. No beach, hot as blazes in the summer and cold as you-know-what in the winter.

So our own "second city" mentality was settling in, despite now being an NFL city. Fans and scribes around the country were so incredulous that they spent the next 15 years talking about where our franchise was going to move.

Even when the team went to the AFC Championship in 1996, the storyline was everybody else and the "upstart Jaguars" In 1999, the Jaguars were the best team in the league but their 14-2 regular season record was "only because of the easy schedule they played." No credit, no respect.

Talk of the team moving has subsided since Shad Khan bought the team and started to invest in the city. But even after hosting the Super Bowl in 2005, nobody likes us.

"Not enough strip clubs or late night drinking places," one NFL writer told me.

"I like doing stuff. And they're nothing to do in Jacksonville," another chided in a column during his annual trek to league training camps.

Of course if all you did in any city was go from the airport to the Hyatt, to the stadium, back to the Hyatt and back to the airport, you'd have the same impression no matter where you were. And that's all they do. They don't see the beach, or Mandarin, Ortega or explore the river. Time constraints and just plain laziness are both to blame. I've offered to give tours to the guys I know, but have gotten no takers.

And the fact that we like it here just plain makes people angry. I was raised in Baltimore and my parents always say the attitude in Jacksonville reminds them of "Charm City."

In Baltimore they don't want to be D.C. or Philly or certainly not New York. In Jacksonville we don't want to be Atlanta, or Miami or Tampa and certainly not Orlando.

We're perfectly comfortable in our own skin, and people in the "big city" just don't get it. So they try to run us down.

There will be plenty "Duuuvalll" chants this weekend in New England and in North Florida, a rallying cry all our own.

And everybody else will deride it as some kind of backwater slogan. But it doesn't matter.

Win or lose, winning season or losing season, we're pretty happy with who we are, our friends and the lifestyle.

They can all come visit, and they can even move here. Just don't tell us how great it was where you came from.

We're not listening. And we like it that way.


Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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ARCHIVE of The College Weekly Report

01-19-2018 - Telvin Smith Brings Talent, Heart
01-18-2018 - Tom Mcmanus Says The Jaguars Will Win
01-18-2018 - Hard Work No Stranger To Marrone
01-18-2018 - Marrone: Right Guy, Right Place, Right Time
01-17-2018 - Blake, Teammate, And That's How He Likes It
01-14-2018 - Jaguars Come Alive, Upset Steelers, Head To AFC Title Game
01-13-2018 - Jaguars In Pittsburgh, All Business
01-11-2018 - Jaguars To Play Eagles In London
01-07-2018 - Jaguars Beat Buffalo With Defense,"Grit"
01-05-2018 - Khan, "I'm very, very bullish on Jacksonville."
01-03-2018 - Boselli, Dawkins Finalists For 2018 Hall Of Fame
01-01-2018 - Marrone's Routine Stays The Same
01-01-2018 - Jaguars Home, Have Already Moved On
12-31-2017 - Jaguars Look Ahead To Playoffs
12-31-2017 - Jaguars Limp Into Playoffs
12-31-2017 - Jaguars Win AFC South, Lose Game, Poise In SF
12-17-2017 - Jaguars Dominate Texans 45-7, Qualify For Post-season
12-10-2017 - Jaguars Make Big Statement Beating Seattle, 30-24
12-03-2017 - Jaguars Sweep Colts, Eye Post-season
11-28-2017 - Mullen Is The New Gators Head Coach
11-26-2017 - Jaguars Falter, Lose To AZ, 27-21
11-24-2017 - Boselli's Chances For The Hall? Pretty Good
11-22-2017 - Boselli, Dawkins, Butler Among Hall Of Fame Semifinalists
11-20-2017 - Jaguars Do Just Enough, Beat Browns 19-7
11-12-2017 - Unlike Previous Years, Jaguars Find A Way To Win 20-17 In OT
11-05-2017 - Back To Back And At Home, The Jaguars Look Legit
10-30-2017 - McElwain Departure "It's Never Pretty"
10-26-2017 - Telvin Smith New Deal: Worth Every Penny
10-18-2017 - NFL, Khan, Players and Protest
10-16-2017 - Inconsistent Again, Jaguars Lose To Rams
10-08-2017 - Jaguars Real Selves? Dominate Steelers 30-9
10-01-2017 - Jaguars Models Of Inconsistency, Fall To Jets In OT
09-24-2017 - Jaguars Kneel, Lock Arms With Khan In Show Of "Solidarity"
09-24-2017 - Jaguars Rout Ravens in London
09-24-2017 - Jaguars To Use "Home" Field Advantage vs. Ravens
09-22-2017 - Jaguars Say London Trip Is Pretty Routine
09-17-2017 - Jaguars 2017 Look Like Jaguars 2016 vs. Titans
09-13-2017 - Fournette Works In Relief Effort
09-13-2017 - Jaguars, Khan Help In Relief Effort
09-12-2017 - Jaguars Workout In Houston, Thinking Of Home
09-11-2017 - Jaguars Notes From Houston
09-10-2017 - Jaguars Don't Just Win, They Dominate Texans
09-01-2017 - Jaguars Decisions: Not Just "The 53"
08-23-2017 - Quarterback Decision Can Wait
08-18-2017 - Jaguars Step Backwards vs. Bucs
08-17-2017 - Jaguars Need A Big Step Forward vs. Bucs
08-10-2017 - Jaguars Better 1st Impression vs. Patriots
08-09-2017 - Bortles Better But Not Close To Brady
08-08-2017 - The PLAYERS In March Is The Right Fit
08-08-2017 - Jaguars/Patriots Practice: What It's Supposed To Look Like
08-07-2017 - Gipson Now Knows Tom Brady Is The Goat
08-05-2017 - Marrone's Jaguars Camp: Old Is New Again
07-28-2017 - Jaguars 2017: All About Blake
07-13-2017 - Kingfish Tournament Still Fishing
07-12-2017 - TPC Performance Center Will Make You Better
07-07-2017 - Players Is Big And Getting Bigger
06-29-2017 - Gators Baseball Win National Title
06-28-2017 - Gators Baseball National Champs
06-17-2017 - Bortles Knows This Is It
06-17-2017 - Marrone, Albert Lynchpins To Jaguars Success
06-10-2017 - Marrone Unimpressed In OTA's
05-24-2017 - Bortles On Being Bad, Better
05-15-2017 - Sunday Stroll For Si Woo Kim
05-12-2017 - Still Anybody's Tournament
05-11-2017 - Malik Jackson At The Players: "It's Pretty Dope"
05-10-2017 - Winning Score? TPC Stadium Is Firm And Fast
05-10-2017 - Sergio: Everybody's New Favorite
05-09b-2017 - THE PLAYERS In May Or March Is Still Huge
05-09-2017 - GJO To The Players Is A Long Trip
04-29-2017 - Jaguars Take "Bama OL In 2nd Round
04-28-2017 - Jaguars Take Fournette: "Physical"
04-27-2017 - Past Is Prologue For The Jaguars Draft
04-22-2017 - Jaguars Draft 2017: Take The Best Player
04-21-2017 - Nothing Good In The Jags 2017 Schedule
03-31-2017 - Mt. Acosta Classic Is Something Special
03-29-2017 - Marrone Looking For Competition, Consistency
03-28-2017 - Khan "Actions Speak Louder Than Words"
03-28-2017 - Coughlin "We Need A Culture Change"
03-26-2017 - NFL Owners Talk Player Safety, Shorter Games In Phoenix
03-19-2017 - Gators Swamp Virginia, Head To New York
03-19-2017 - FSU Can't Shoot, Loses To Xavier
03-14-2017 - DL3 In The HOF, Still Wants To Play
03-08-2017 - Jaguars Free-agency Preview: Plugging Holes
02-24-2017 - Shorter SpeedWeeks, Better Racing?
02-22-2017 - One Stop Sports Recovery (Now available to everybody)
02-07-2017 - The Case For Boselli In The Hall, And The Process It Entails
02-01-2017 - Coughlin Says Boselli "Should Be In The Hall Of Fame"
01-19-2017 - Hackett Stays As Jaguars OC
01-12-2017 - Coughlin, "Winning Is What It's All About"
01-11-2017 - Marrone Starts To Change The Staff
01-09-2017 - Marrone, Coughlin, Caldwell Try To "Fix" Jaguars
01-03-2017 - Boselli Makes Hall Of Fame Final 15
01-02-2017 - Jaguars To Compete For A Head Coach

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