September 11, 2011 was a patriotic day for Americans across the country as we all took time out of our daily schedules to remember those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks 10 years ago. It also happened to be the first NFL Sunday of the year which meant plenty of football for avid fans and also fantasy owners.
I watched the Jaguars/Titans season opener that was played in Jacksonville, FL. The opening anthem was excellently sung by rising singer Charice as a large-sized American flag was spread across EverBank field. The Jaguars would actually go on to win the game against the Titans 16-14 on a late interception by Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck. All in all, it was a pretty good day for the fans that showed up to see the game in Jacksonville.
However, not everyone that attended the game in Jacksonville came with patriotic intentions. Earlier in the day during the pre-game tailgating, a few Jaguars fans thought it would be funny to bring a skeleton dressed with a ripped and bloodied jersey of former Titans QB Steve McNair who was murdered two years ago.
Clay Travis of Outkickthecoverage.com has the details:
The picture, which arrives via email from a reputable source, included these details: “A very close friend who lives in Jacksonville that is a big Jaguars fan took the photo Sunday before the game. He asked me who #9 belonged to. When I replied he apologized for the classless Jag fans.”
The Titans and Jaguars rivalry is a fierce one and goes back to the late 90s when the McNair led Titans would clash with the Jaguar teams led by QB Mark Brunell and RB Fred Taylor. Back in 2000, when the Jaguars hosted the AFC title game it was the Titans that came to Florida and defeated them — the Jags haven’t come that close to a title ever since. After that game, former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher would joke about playing in Jacksonville, saying that it was like a “home away from home” for the Titans.
Though the Titans/Jags AFC Title Game was over 10 years ago, the bad blood between these two teams is still apparent. Last year’s Titans/Jaguars game in Jacksonville was aired on Monday Night Football for a national audience and Coach Fisher once again drew the ire of Jaguars fans by running up the score when he sent Chris Johnson out on 4th down (he would score a TD) with with a 20 point lead and less than 2 minutes left in the game.
That being said, it was totally inexcusable to mock the death of the former QB of the Titans. Steve McNair’s death was a tragedy and the city of Nashville is still haunted by questions surrounding the sketchy details of his death. Football is an intense sport and as fans of the game we often let emotions get the best of us, but it is important to remember to leave all things football-related on the field on Sundays.
The fans in Florida that showed up with the McNair skeleton may see their actions as harmless, but they also have to account for the fact that McNair was not only a teammate and football player but also a husband, father, and friend to many.
What goes around comes around as we all know Karma doesn’t discriminate. If the Jacksonville Jaguars eventually relocate to Los Angeles, we know who to blame.