JACKSONVILLE – Where were you November 30, 1993?
That was the question we at jaguars.com posed to fans, with a simple objective:
To find out where fans were that day 20 years ago, the day then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced Jacksonville and the Jaguars as the league’s 30th franchise, a day many in and out of the town never believed would happen and a day that changed a city forever.
The fans responded. They shared memories, emotions and feelings – and painted a picture of what the day in Jacksonville really was like two decades ago.
It was the first day of an ongoing journey, one traveled by the fans as much as the team.
Here is the first day of their stories:
Name: Sonny Thigpen
I was at my dad's house doing laundry. He asked me to stay and eat dinner. They made the announcement and he got really excited. He then informed me we would be going to games together. This was his way of him and I having bonding time. He got season tickets and we went to a lot of games together. He eventually passed away and I kept going. Little did I know that that announcement would mean a whole lot more than just the city getting a team.
Name: Jhorge Dominguez
It was my 15th birthday that day. I was at home in Jacksonville thinking this would be the best birthday present ever if we got an NFL team. Sure enough, when I saw the thumbs up from a Touchdown Jacksonville official on TV, I was so ecstatic I jumped out of the couch with joy. From that day, I already felt connected with the team and knew it'd be a special relationship. Happy Birthday, Jacksonville Jaguars...and to me!
Name: Becca Lucio
I was just five when Jacksonville was awarded the Jaguars. My dad and I went to multiple games the first season and despite being in the 400 level, they were always Daddy and Daughter days that I always will hold dear. Since those days, I knew they would always be a part of my life no matter where I ended up. I am a proud season-ticket holder despite the fact that I attend graduate school in Atlanta. Section 142 will always be home and I will always love the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Name: Chris Felts
I will always be a Jag fan because my friend Ray Potts actually won the naming-the-team contest. He passed a few years back. He passed away from meningitis at a young age. He was a season-ticket holder and huge fan and so am I because of Ray.
Name: Kathleen Griffith
I was working that day. One of our attorneys was with the group trying to get the team. We were given a heads-up to turn the TV on just before the official announcement, so we pulled the office TV into my boss' office to hear the news (the Internet was not as easily accessible as it is today). We were all very excited and a little surprised. I then thought how happy I was I had already showed my support and signed up to be an original season-ticket holder! The team has had ups and downs, but one thing has remained unchanged - my butt has been sitting in Section 122 for nearly every game for twenty years.
Name: Priscilla Johnston
I believe I was in South Carolina at the time during a quick vacation when I found out we got a team. I saw the newspaper front page shortly after. I wanted one of the T-Shirts that had that front page on it. The pic is of me in that T-Shirt.
Name: Drenda Collins
I was at a company luncheon for the Top 50 privately held companies at the Omni Hotel. Joe Theismann was our speaker when it was announced that Jacksonville had been awarded a franchise during the luncheon. Everyone cheered and clapped. It was a great day.
Name: Kenny McComb
I was on a business trip in Illinois driving across country roads listening to radio out of Chicago. The skies were gray and it was cold. Miles and miles of knocked down corn all around. It started to leak out that Jax was getting it...and I could not believe it. Finally, it was formally announced and I started blowing the horn while driving....to absolutely no one but a few cows....out in the middle of nowhere. That night, I stayed in the only hotel that I have ever seen that did not have ESPN. I went to a bar downtown in a small town just to watch the announcement again. The next day, I flew out of Quad Cities and through St. Louis to get back home to Jacksonville. The front page of their newspaper had a deflated football with their story about not getting the franchise. That sure was an amazing time, and it was funny seeing the gloom of St. Louis losing it compared with the elation of Jacksonville getting it.
Name: Chris Geib
Nine years old... After-School Program at St. Johns Country Day School.... All the other kids were playing… I was watching the news in anticipation... Dad picked me up and let me know we were getting season tickets! And the rest is history... GO JAGS!
Name: Donna King
On 11/30/93, our neighbor across the street had been missing for several weeks. We were out in the front yard as police with cadaver dogs were searching for our neighbor in his back yard. They must have thought we were CRAZY when we started running around, jumping up and down and celebrating as we got the word that we were awarded our team!
Name: Gaile Ruffo
I am an avid football fan!! I was out at the "Gator Bowl" with thousands of others when Robert Irsay landed in a helicopter in the middle of the field and we thought we would get the Colts, but that was not to be. We were again disappointed when we didn't get the Houston Oilers. But then in 1993, I was manager at Raggedy Ann Daycare in Palm Valley (Ponte Vedra Beach) - I had just sent the children outside for afternoon playtime after their snack with my assistant. I told her as soon as I cleaned up the tables and got things in order I would come outside. Actually, I had the TV on anxiously waiting to see if Jacksonville would be awarded an NFL expansion team. When the announcement was made by Paul Tagliabue I was so excited I started running around the day care screaming and crying, "We got it, we got it," then trying to contain myself, but unable to. I ran outside screaming, “We got it, we got it!!” I have been a season-ticket holder from Day One. Win or lose, they are my Jacksonville Jaguars!!! Stand united....Go Jags and thank you Mr. and Mrs. Weaver and Mr. Khan for believing in our team and our great city.
Name: Joe Crittenton
I was traveling between work locations when I heard it as breaking news on the car radio. I immediately decided it was time to get off and found the nearest sports bar: Scores and More on San Jose. I settled in for the duration. I saw the same announcement, interviews, city leaders and Wayne Weaver over and over that day, but would not budge.
Name: Kayti Mangan
Growing up in San Francisco around the 49ers I knew I wanted my own team. I graduated HS in 94, so when Jacksonville was announced I knew they were meant to be! Growing up in the Bay I knew MJD & followed his days at UCLA, so when he got p/u it was meant to be. I have pics of us and a signed Jersey. My bedroom is completely decorated in Jags! ♥ Jags!
Name: Kim Fowles
Growing up a Browns fan, I knew what a franchise coming to a town would mean. I was really hoping that my new home in Jacksonville would get to know that feeling. My wish came true on November 30, 1993.I was coming home from classes at UNF and trying to find a radio station that was announcing the results. When I got to the Avenues, I saw it flashing on the sign. I started whooping and hollering, I was so excited! I was able to go to a game that first season, sitting in the front row of club seats and got to talk to Mike Hollis. Later on, I actually got to work at the stadium for CSC and quickly made it up to work in the players’ hallway. I didn't get to see the games, but always got a thrill when I heard the jets fly over and when I heard the booms when we scored. I still carry a love for the boys in Teal and Black all the way overseas, where I now live and work as a teacher. I am planning next year to be there to root for them when they return to London. Jaguars are in my heart, and there they'll stay.
Name: Tom Willis
After Carolina had been awarded their franchise in October, it seemed all but certain that the NFL was leaning towards giving the other franchise to St. Louis. I had all but given up hope, when that Tuesday afternoon in late November word began to trickle out that Jacksonville would get the franchise. I remember hearing the news and "flew" down the stairs of the rectory at St. Paul's Parish, Jacksonville Beach. "We got the franchise! Jacksonville is in the NFL!" I had tears in my eyes and had no idea why. The parish staff thought I was crazy. The rest, as they say, is history. I have served as the Catholic chaplain to the team since its inception. What a personal blessing it has been; what a blessing it is to have the NFL in North Florida and the First Coast.
Name: Ramon Hernandez
I am a freelance cameraman and I was in the room when the announcement was made. I shortly thereafter I became a season-ticket holder! Go Jags!
Name: Stephen Poindexter
I was a sophomore at Andrew Jackson High School. On that Tuesday, November 30, 1993, I was in Color Guard practice after school and was about to leave practice after school when I learned through a pocket radio that Jacksonville won the 30th NFL franchise. I watched part of the celebration at a local store on TV. I thought of my late Grandfather who was a great sports fan. He died two years earlier. He would have been so proud of the Jaguars. I was at the first preseason game in 1995 working concessions in the upper deck helping to raise money for Andrew Jackson's Public Service Magnet Program. But nothing would have happened without Jacksonville being rewarded the franchise to start with. It was truly a great day in the history of Jacksonville.
Name: Gregory Clemmons
I was in fourth grade in after-school care. I remember shortly after the announcement they started selling the goober candy to make your tongue teal like the logo. My first pro football game ever was going to see us lose to the Bears, but the experience has stayed with me to this very moment. It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years already. We still have so many more memories to make happen, so LETS GO JAGS!!!!!!!!!!!
Name: A & J Hysler
We were at home, and I still have the newspaper from that day! As soon as it was announced tickets were on sale, we grabbed our keys and headed for the stadium. We were season-ticket holders for 15 years and between the two of us, we only missed two games. We are still friends with the couple who sat in front of us.
Name: Jim Parker
I had just landed in San Francisco and my assistant told me the great news! I started screaming though the airport and of course everyone was looking at me like I was crazy! Go Jags!
Name: Elinor Snow
I was driving in my car with my elderly mother listening to the radio. When the announcement came on that Jacksonville was awarded an NFL team, I let out a scream and my poor mother thought that we had had an accident. I had to pull over and assure her that everything was all right. She couldn't believe that I could get so excited about a football team. We bought season tickets on the first day that they became available and have had them ever since.
Name: Bobbi DeJesus
I just turned eight years old when it was announced that Jacksonville had acquired a NFL team – my now and always beloved Jaguars. Having been a Broncos fan by default (both parents from Denver) up to this point, it was nice to know that MY hometown would now have their OWN team. From that point on I was a diehard Jaguars fan. I attended games with my dad through the years but as soon as I was old enough, my then boyfriend (now husband) and I purchased season tickets and have been season-ticket holders ever since. We've remained loyal fans through good times and bad and will continue to do so. We now have a nine-month-old who is being raised the right way – as a Jaguars fan. I look forward to what the future holds for my team. GO JAGUARS!
Name: Tabitha Graham
I was in Baptist Medical Women Center waiting on the arrival of my first born and it just happened to be my birthday. :-) Once they announced that Jacksonville had been given a NFL team, my husband and I relaxed and focused on having our baby girl. She was nine pounds, one ounce. The next morning my husband left the hospital to go and get our season tickets. :-)
Name: Wendy Calhoun
I was in Pleasant Hope, Mo. I was taking care of my new baby. My father came home and told me that there was a new team in Jacksonville, Florida and I screamed with excitement. A team from my hometown. I have loved them from the start.