On a windy, rainy weekend in north Florida, local musicians grabbed their drum sticks and trumpets and auditioned for the Jaguars drumline for the upcoming season. Approximately 50 drummers and trumpet players attended the tryout, with 30 musicians making the squad. The D-LINE is entering its second season and is led by coordinators Mike Patterson and Andrew Nixon.
Not only are the Jaguars players and coaches looking forward to the upcoming season, but the D-LINE is as well. They are anxious to improve from their rookie season a year ago.
"We have a little bit more talent on this year's squad; we are more cohesive as a unit. Our performances this year should progress from what we accomplished previously," said one of the veteran drummers.
Many NFL teams have different forms of game-day entertainment to offer their fans. The Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins are two of the NFL teams that provide live marching bands which play before, during and after games. The Redskins marching band is entering its 67th year and has been leading Redskins fans for many seasons in the team fight song, "Hail to the Redskins," after every Redskins touchdown.
The Jaguars are looking for the D-LINE to become an annual tradition in Alltel Stadium.
"We want to make them a part of our game experience, just like the mascot and our cheerleaders. They are a valuable asset to the organization," said Jaguars director of special events Tim Beach.
One veteran D-LINE member thought the drumline was a valuable piece of the excitement of game day.
"Our music gets everybody pumped up and ready for the game. It adds to the excitement of the game. When people hear the sound of drums, everyone turns their heads to watch," he said.
On game day, fans can find the D-LINE performing in the Pepsi Plaza prior to the game. Based on availability, they usually will perform during pre-game and during the player introductions. They perform once again at halftime and during the game atop the sky patio above the Bud Zone.
In addition to offering game day entertainment, the D-LINE attends a variety of different events in the community. Members of the D-LINE have performed at weddings, special functions, and openings all around Jacksonville.