Cleveland Browns vs.
Jacksonville Jaguars Stadium
November 21, 2010
24 - 20 Win
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Capacity: 73,000 seats
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Draft Beer: $7.00 (bottle)
Hot Dog: $6.00
Lg. Soda: $6.00
EverBank Stadium Address
One Stadium Pl
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Stadium Review - PBR's with Big Cat Tailgating
The Jacksonville Jaguars franchise is always on the short list of NFL teams that are candidates for relocation (Why is that anyway?). When the NFL Owners Meeting convenes every February, it’s always the small market teams like Jacksonville or Buffalo that are targeted to be moved to a “stronger market”. Usually its the untapped football market of the Los Angeles area that the owners are always clamoring about, so quite frankly it’s frustrating for the small market fanbase, who typically have a strong connection to their team, to be constantly looking over their shoulder wondering when the other shoe might fall and they find themselves without a team ... like Baltimore, or Cleveland. Unfortunately with profit margins being the overriding priority for NFL owners, it’s simply the reality of the situation. So on a recent trip to Jacksonville, I set out to find out why is it is that Jaguars fans seem to have a bullseye on their backs with regard to relocation.
I was in Jacksonville the weekend before Thanksgiving to catch up with some old friends and to see the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Cleveland Browns at EverBank Field. Arriving at eight in the morning, the parking lot was fairly empty (apart from a few early risers), so I decided to take a walk around to check out the stadium. As you approach EverBank Field from the south, a massive bronze Jacksonville Jaguar statue is there to greet you. It’s a great photo op that apparently can also be rather dangerous, so be careful. It’s rumored that several years ago a little boy got his head lodged in the Jaguar’s mouth and they had to bring in the Jaws of Life to release him. I guess like they say down here, “you mess with the bull, and you’ll get the horns, boy.” (of course I omitted the tobacco spitting and wheat chewing, but I believe that’s the gist of it).
You’ll notice that the Jaguar appearing on the team’s logo has a teal colored tongue. When the expansion Jaguars came into the league with the Carolina Panthers in 1995, it was said that the teal tongue was the result of “feeding some Carolina Panthers to our Jaguars”. The teal tongue in Jacksonville has become a fan favorite. During the Jaguars first preseason game, teal colored candies were handed out to Jaguars fans to turn their tongues blue in time for kickoff. The “Candy Man" in Section 142 carries on this tradition by passing out raspberry lollipops at gametime and wagging blue tongues can be seen all over the stadium.
By around ten o’clock, the parking lots around EverBank Field began to liven up and I dropped in on some tailgaters to find out what they had cooking. One thing I’ve noticed about the NFL down south is that the folks down here are always very welcoming. There’s a true sense of family that permeates through the area, stemming from that trademark southern hospitality. As you walk the lot, people are willing to engage and chat with you, and offers for a beer or a taste of whatever they have on the grill are always plentiful. Since Jacksonville is right on the ocean, Jags fans usually have some excellent fresh seafood on the grill right alongside your typical brats, dogs and burgers. That southern sense of community is really refreshing to see, and I look forward to my visits down south, and to Jacksonville especially, for some of the top notch tailgating that you’ll find in and around EverBank Field.
When I’m in Jacksonville I always hang out with Big Cat Tailgating, the premiere tailgating experience outside EverBank Field. Big Cat Tailgating is comprised of several nationally ranked anglers that bring their own style to traditional tailgating representing some of the league’s elite. Last time I was in town, they had their famous shrimp and crawfish boil. The boils are great because they’re a very social experience. A full compliment of boiled seafood stuffs is adequately spiced, heated, and dumped onto a table. Guests are then challenged with finding their way through the pile. This time, Big Cat Tailgating prepared an incredible feast of multiple options including some excellent marinated chicken and steak wraps and several crab dips with incredible sides. Believe me, if you go hungry at this tailgate, it’s your own fault. The main entrée, and my personal favorite, was the freshly caught grouper seasoned with their trademark “Slap Ya Mama” Cajun spice blend. I’ve never raised a hand to the woman that bore me, but they claim this stuff is so good it makes you wanna “slap ya mama”. (Why so violent Big Cat?) My mother happens to be a little Filipino woman who would not take too kindly to such a greeting. She’s the type that would grab an implement to aid her in her response, so I guess I’ll just have to keep it under control when I hang out in Jacksonville.
As gametime approached we headed toward EverBank Field. It was an incredible Florida day, with clear skies, sunshine and 75-degree temperatures. For late November, considering that in cities like Chicago and Pittsburgh, bundled NFL tailgaters are huddled together around fire pits and charcoal grills trying to keep warm, you almost wonder why anyone would live up there. With excellent weather, friendly folks, and great food, it appears that these fans have it all figured out.
Looking around the stadium, it was actually a little discouraging to see so many seating sections masked off in the 65,000 seat arena. Along with several sections in the endzone, each of the four corners of the upper decks were masked off as well. The fans that do show up were true die hards forming a formidable 12th man that I’m sure is largely responsible for the Jags being so tough to beat at home. The unfortunate thing for this franchise is that apparently there aren’t enough of them that want to come out on Sundays.
The game itself was incredibly exciting as these “Cardiac Cats” certainly kept things interesting. The Jaguars defense put forth an inspired performance and they gave rookie Quarterback Colt McCoy fits throughout the day. With linebackers flying all over the field and a defensive line that was in the backfield all day, McCoy was harassed throughout the day. Browns running back Peyton Hillis, the Man-Child, got his share of yardage, bowling over Jags defenders, but when the game was on the line, the Jaguars defense tightened up and kept a turnover-happy offense in the game. Down by three points late in the forth quarter after five turnovers, the Jags offense finally got it in gear. Led by an electrifying 65 yard run by Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jags punched it into the endzone for the go ahead score. Surviving a late surge by Cleveland's offense, the Jags intercepted Colt McCoy in the endzone to bring this one to a close with an improbable 24-20 victory.
Back at Big Cat Tailgating, the celebration began as soon as we got back to the parking lot. We relived the highlights, chastised the Jags for their carelessness on offense, and praised what was an incredible defensive performance for these division leading Jacksonville Jaguars.
Big Cat Tailgating’s celebratory beverage of choice? Apparently it’s Pabst Blue Ribbon (for some reason). The taste of victory in Jacksonville almost seems more like a punishment. However, if you read this blog often then you know me, and I’m all about immersion into local culture. If that means experiencing the agony of defeat along with the thrill of victory while drinkin’ PBR’s in Jacksonville, well then Chicken Man, crack open another one for me!
For more information on the city of Jacksonville, FL check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
NFL: November 25, 2007 - Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL: December 10, 2006 - Alltel Stadium Recon Visit
|City of Jacksonville Local Informationon|
Top Tourist Attractions:
The Alligator Farm
Historic St. Augutine
What They're Drinkin':
Land Shark, Teal-Colored Stadium Beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon
Tailgaters Parking - Touchdown Lot
Local Sports Media:
Florida Times Union
SeaWalk Pavilion (Irish Pub, Ocean Club, The Brick)
Jax Beaches area (Billy's Boat House Grill, Chizu, The Mellow Mushroom,
Sneakers Sports Bar and Grill, Al's Pizza )
San Marco/ Downtown (The Wine Cellar, Bistro AIX, Matthew's, Café Nola)
Breweries (Ragtime Tavern, River City Brewing Co)
Yucatan Taco Stand - Jacksonville Beach
Pocket Map of Jacksonville
Stadium Parking Map
Premiere Fan Forum: JagsZone.com
Getting to the Stadium:
I prefer driving to the stadium on gameday as there's lots of great tailgating in and around the area. If you plan to drive, be sure to get a parking pass in advance at one of the premiere tailgater lots and enjoy the day. If you're looking for a public transport option, look into the Jacksonville Transit Authority's park and ride Stadium Shuttle Service there's also a water taxi that's operated by SS Marine Ventures that will take you from your hotel to the stadium on gameday.
Where To Stay:
There’s plenty to see and do in downtown Jacksonville. You’ll want to check out the museums, fine dining, and the Riverside Arts market. The Hyatt Regency-Jacksonville and the Wyndham-Jacksonville River walk are both prime hotel locations for Jaguars game day.
Compare Prices for Jacksonville Jaguars Football Tickets Here:
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|Crystal, Myself & Annabella - Nov 2007||Crystal, Myself & Annabella - Nov 2010||EverBank Field Gates|
|Cleveland Browns Fans made the Trek||Big Cat Tailgating||Peyton Hillis Fans from Cleveland|
|Gametime in Jacksonville||Annabella and I in the lower level||Great seats here|
|Big Time Jags fans!||Section 436 ain't so bad!||Celebrating with a Pabst Blue Ribbon|
Please feel free to post any suggestions or comments you might have for my journey to
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, including the following:
- Local Hotspots (Bar Districts, Restaurants, Clubs)
- Local Foods (Traditional Cuisine, Micro Brews)
- Tailgating Traditions
- Your Experiences or Helpful Hints
- If you saw me let me know!
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