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Jags should go tropical?

4448.jpg Senior Editor Vic Ketchman is on vacation this week, so five "Ask Vic" readers were randomly selected to be "Vic For A Day." Each guest columnist was given a topic on which to write and the guest columnists' work will appear this week on Kelly Carlisle of Rohnert, Calif., is today's guest columnist and his assigned topic is: Would you change the Jaguars' uniforms and, if so, in what ways?

By Kelly Carlisle

Football is a very complex sport, and not just out on the field. Season to season, even week to week, a myriad of tough decisions must be made regarding personnel, the coaching staff and in drawing up your strategy for the next opponent. But some of the most difficult decisions an organization faces have little to do with the game itself.

I'm a big fan of the X's and O's of the game, but there's so much more to think about than that. The NFL would not be where it is today without a half-century of marketing and merchandising. Everyone likes to be able to sport his or her team's jersey because it helps identify you as a part of the organization, at least for a few hours on Sunday afternoons.

So let's take a step back: It's 1993 and you've just been awarded the 30th franchise in the NFL. Congratulations! Now what are you going to call the team and what is it going to wear? There are a lot of fans out there who'll be wearing your logo and your colors, and you only get to make this decision once, unless, of course, you're Art Modell.

Let me say here and now that I am a die-hard Jaguars fan and have been since Mark Brunell scrambled his way to victory against the Denver Broncos in the 1996 playoffs. I was raised in a Miami Dolphins household and have never fully recovered from Super Bowl XIX, so it was great to find a feel-good, upstart team to follow.

I often tell people, "I bleed teal," which brings up a good question: What's with the teal? How does a team named after a big, dangerous cat end up with teal in its color scheme?

You see, jaguars are a lot like panthers, only golden brown with dark spots. But gold and black have already been done by New Orleans and Pittsburgh, so we've got to keep thinking. You could somehow use the spot pattern from the jaguar, but we've all seen the effects a stripes motif has had on the Bengals. There must be a psychological disadvantage there.

Now, here's where I think the organization took a misstep. You've got a fierce-looking predator for your logo and black and gold so far for your colors. Why teal?

Few cities in Florida are more recognizable than Miami and the Dolphins have always been represented by orange and aqua. It makes perfect sense from a marketing standpoint, since Miami is surrounded by azure waters and the orange glow of tropical sunsets. Now, some can argue the difference between teal and aqua, but we're talking blue-green here, people. The teal might fit Florida but does it really fit a jaguar?

So my modest proposal, while sure to incite the wrath of some, should be given the benefit of an open mind. Since we're talking about a north Florida identity, and obviously not worrying about being true to the jaguar motif, I think we should adopt something a bit more marketable.

Why not create a bright yellow jersey emblazoned with tropical birds and palm trees. Pair that up with khaki bottoms (a must-wear item for the Florida lifestyle), and you can get Jimmy Buffett to endorse the team and start blasting "Margaritaville" at the stadium entrances. Now you replace the traditional Gatorade bottles with yard-long Margarita glasses and you have a team that can play four tough quarters and roll through the end zone bar for tequila shots without even hitting the showers.

Well, it's just one idea and, to be quite honest, I like the uniforms just the way they are, but especially (and I'm sorry to do this to you, Vic) when they break out the tough, black-on-black alternate uniforms. It could be worse, though. We could be forced to cheer for a team wearing spots.

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