I love the New Orleans Saints, but I also love the Jacksonville Jaguars. People often ask me how I can like two NFL teams? You should have sole allegiance, otherwise you aren't a real fan of either, or that I have jumped on the team bandwagon. Well for all of you who are wondering, here's my answer! A few years ago I went to New Orleans on a mission trip. I got the awesome opportunity to rebuild houses that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. (This also happens to be the year that the Saints won the Super Bowl, in their home city!) I went back again the next summer to work on areas that were still in the rebuilding stage from Katrina. I fell in love with the city and the people who call it home.
When you do work in a city and call it home for a week for two consecutive summers, you begin to learn what the football team means to the city. After Katrina hit, the Super Dome had minimal damage and the Saints promised to come back to the city and win. And win they did! Super Bowl Champions!!! Drew Brees and the rest of the Saints squad were considered heroes of the city.
Talking to some of the people in New Orleans, you realize what real fans are like. These people live, eat, and breathe Saints Football. Many of them, their whole wardrobe consists of Saints gear. Some of them have Saints memorabilia in there house. Most of them, believe Saints are the best thing the city has ever produced.
I don't live in New Orleans, obviously, though I wish I did! So why such the strong connection with the team there? I love what they are doing for the city. I don't think I've ever heard of another team doing what they do, and on the level the Saints do things. They are a major sponsor for a jazz concert that is put on every week called "Wednesday at the Square." They also do a week of giving back, where they pay for people's gas, work the drive-thru line at McDonalds, and pay for phones from Verizon for people. Let's be realistic here too, not everyone they are doing these things for will like the Saints, some could be from out of town, or just not like football, but the team doesn't care.
Something else I find really cool about the Saints is their quarterback, Drew Brees. Every now and then, Brees is a volunteer deliverer for Jimmy John's and takes sandwiches to people's houses! Imagine if your favorite NFL quarterback delivered food to your house?! I would be freaking out.
So I bet you're thinking, "Megan, that's a few okay reasons to like a team, but it doesn't seem like you know very much about the team." Well I'm here to tell you, respectfully of course, that you are wrong. I do know about the team, but I will not be flexing my Saints knowledge in this post, because anyone can look up stats and write about it on the internet. But if you ever see me out in town, lets have a conversation about Saints football.
I can tell you who my favorite players are and why though. Obviously, Drew Brees is my absolute favorite Saint. On and off the field he shows the same qualities, and is an all around fan-friendly player. You look at major quarterbacks like Tom Brady or Tony Romo, and you don't see the relationship that Brees has with the people of New Orleans. My other favorite player for the Saints squad is running back Darren Sproles. This may seem like an odd choice, but he's a fire cracker of a player. When he isn't injured he is a game changer. He also went to Kansas State, and deep in my blood there is a little of that K-State royal purple and white. (My family is from Kansas, in case you were wondering why I like Kansas State.)
Traveling somewhere and falling in love with a city is easy. I hear Paris is a great place for that, even falling in love with a person is easy there. But what about the other team that shares my heart?
With a losing record last season and in many seasons before that, thoughts of moving to L.A, and a whole bunch of staff changes, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to make themselves a new team. Now, before you read any further, I am not one of those underground Jags fans, nor am I a bandwagon fan. I have grown up in Jacksonville and my family loves the team so that was passed on to me. I have pictures with players from when I was little and went to training camp with my aunt, my closet has Jags swag, and I know what I'm talking about when it comes to the team and the business side of the Jags. (If you don't believe me, read my article on the Tim Tebow Effect in Jacksonville.)
Moving on, the Jaguars teal and black runs deep in my veins. I believe in the new management and what they are doing with the team. I also love that the new owner Shad Kahn is so transparent and open with fans. He is the type of owner every team in every league needs. He is always out meeting fans before games, not just in his suite hiding from everyone. He goes to events the team is putting on, and he has made some great business moves.
Apart from the front office staff and management, the Jaguars are starting to do great things for the city of Jacksonville. This includes fan rallies with player meet-and-greets, opening up more camps and practices for fans, and all around putting out a better image for themselves.
The Jaguars, whether they achieve a winning record or not this season are getting better every day. A lot of this is due to the coaching staff changes and the draft picks and free agent signings the team has gotten. If you asked me 15 years ago who my favorite Jaguar was I would have told you quarterback Mark Brunell, though my grandma would have told you it was right defensive tackle John Jurkovic. She still has a picture from when I was like seven with Jurkovic after a mini-camp practice on her desk. Things have changed and both of these players are long gone from the Jaguars.
If you ask me now who my favorite players for the Jacksonville squad is, I would say quarterback Blaine Gabbert (don't start questioning my choice yet) and kicker Josh Scobee. Gabbert hasn't necessarily proved himself helpful to the Jaguars yet, but like any team, it's not just about one player. Gabbert hasn't had a steady or even decent offensive line around him to protect him in the pocket. I think that Gabbert has a lot of potential to be a great quarterback, but he needs more coaching and a better offense, both of which the Jags have gotten for the upcoming season. As for Scobee, I have always had a special place in my heart for kickers, even in the Mike Hollis days. Scobee is not only a great kicker, like top three in the league, but he's a fan favorite. He's really great about doing things for fans, and interacting with them in any way possible.
If you still have any doubt that I am a bandwagon fan of either team, or somehow just don't get that someone can only cheer for one team, them I'm sorry. My heart that loves football loves both teams for different reasons. On any given Sunday during football season you can find me in a Saints or Jaguars shirt cheering for both teams (unless they are playing at the same time, in which case I have the Saints game on).