Nov 17, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; A Jacksonville Jaguars fan claps in the fourth quarter of their game against the Arizona Cardinals at EverBank Field. The Arizona Cardinals beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals: My Time in Jacksonville

After the Cardinals beat the Texans in week 10 it was noted that they play at Jacksonville the following week. A wild hair arose in me and said I should try and attend the game as it’s a few hours down the road from me. Thanks to some savvy shopping and low ticket prices provided by a 1-8 team, I ventured to Florida to see the Cardinals live.

Upon my arrival on Saturday I went straight to the beach as I was born a “Desert Rat”. I was greeted by warm water and a Celtic Festival which produced great live music and many men in kilts throwing logs on the beach fueled by limitless Guinness beer. This being my first impression of Jacksonville, it’s a great place-so far.

(Information from the game is soon to come) Inspired by the festival I chose to eat at a pub in Jacksonville Landings which is a downtown mall with entertainment at nights as it’s on the bay and holds businesses both inside and outside. To my surprise I found six Cardinal fans from various cities to include Boston. We formed a small Cardinal party on the patio, as other fans walking the bay area stopped by to say hello. The pub was greeted by the “Ambassador” of Jameson Whiskey (Lady in the recent commercials) and she brought cases of whiskey to share to liven the party especially for all of the Georgia Bulldog fans who just saw their team get beat by a hail-mary. Thanks to Jameson Whiskey and the ambassador for a fun night.

Another quick note regarding Cardinal fans as I was surprised to find people traveling from Boston, Georgia and Tennessee. I immediately ran into fans of the Cardinals at the game who frequently read  RaisingZona that traveled from Ontario, Canada! The fan base for this team is much larger than I could have imagined including the desire to take advantage of the cheap tickets and atmosphere. I hope the Cardinal organization knows what it has when it comes to “us” fans.

Regarding the game itself, I aim to provide you with some details that may not have been caught on television. During warm-ups I noted that MJD is as entertainingly small as he looks on TV. The Jaguars punter , who should have been the teams’ MVP that day didn’t look too professional to me as he beaned 2 bystanders on the field on separate occasions but after seeing the accuracy during the game perhaps it wasn’t by mistake.

The game started with a well conducted Military salute to include music, fireworks and a neat fly-by. The festivities continued during halftime with a performance by an “X-Factor” contestant and many more jet fly-by’s. The Jaguar organization served the military well in their celebrations, especially by allowing a wounded soldier to zip-line across the entire stadium.

The stadium went crazy when the Jaguars scored on the third down gadget play in the first possession which created a feeling that the Jaguars weren’t 1-8 but way better. I’d be lying if I wasn’t thinking what some of you were thinking when this happened but at least you were safe away from belligerent fans. I’ll take this part of the article to say that many of the people I encountered in Jacksonville were good souls, but the vast majority of the people at the game with alcohol created an annoying and belligerent environment. Luckily at half-time I ran in to some gentlemen who heard my gripes of annoying fans and said I could sit with them as an empty seat was available by them. The second half was so much less painful to sit through, give thanks to those who behave at games.  

Funny enough I noted a few Tebow fans in crowd as there is still a desire to have their hometown hero come home. For those of you that read the article regarding Carson Palmers’ comments about Jaguar fans, they read it too and verbally harassed Palmer anytime he was near the north end zone. Malcom Floyds long touchdown catch was worth the ticket price in itself to see live and the Cardinals made sure to give the harassment back to the heckling fans. After that score, hundreds of Jaguar fans left which just left me shaking my head as there was plenty of game left to be played.

I looked for the infamous RedZone airings you get only at Jaguar games. Sadly they are over-rated as they only appear during breaks and are delayed by as much as 35 minutes I got them way earlier on my phone. More entertainingly was the many dance renditions Calias Campbell gave any fan who noticed him during downtime on the field. I can attest first-hand the man has moves. The game provided many memorable moments, especially when the muffed punt by Peterson was given back to the Cardinals as well as the Interception by unknown linebacker.

Weather you watched at EverBank Field or on TV, you saw the Cardinals couldn’t execute any pass plays that needed time to develop and the run game was non-existent. It was nice to travel and see your team win but the performance does give cause for concern this week against the Colts. In the end it was an experience just like the one I had last season in Atlanta. I encourage you readers to get out more and experience anything you can. I know it’s tough going to actual games due to cost and annoying people but if you can’t vividly remember what a game is like live, you may want to go and refresh your memory.

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