Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Not City's First Stars

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Not City's First Stars

Article excerpt

Ah, the wonder of evolution! The sweet redemption of passing time.

Jacksonville stands today at the pinnacle of Jaguar culture, a first-tier American city with a National Football League franchise to prove it.

Forgiven and forgotten is the oversight of yesteryear, when Jacksonville stood on the first step of pro football and the people rose up and said:

"So what?"

Disgusted and disheartened, Jacksonville's first professional football team disbanded about this time of year in 1926.

The dreams of the Jacksonville All-Stars were dashed by the "disgraceful smallness" of turnouts.

Dispersed like the trains carrying the All-Stars back to their homes were plans to take the show on the road, meeting all comers, to the promised land of California.

There, according to the plan, the Jacksonville All-Stars would proudly bear this city's name before crowds of 40,000 to 90,000, "as is customary for football games in that part of the country," said The Florida Times-Union.

Instead within a fortnight there was in River City was but a hollow emptiness at Fairfield Stadium, a bare wisp of smoke from a pipe dream soon forgotten.

"The `It can't be done' boys' have their inning now," concluded Times-Union sports editor Paul W. Ferris.

Jacksonville had seen pro football and could not swallow the play for pay boys.

The rousing college grid game would forever have its place, of course, with it color and bands and dashing verve of unspoiled youth pursuing glory on the gridiron...

"Indeed, the professional grid artist is a new phenomenon," wrote Vaughn Meyerling in the Times-Union.

"Perhaps he deserves more attention than he did when he played in college a short time ago."

"Perhaps."

Now, this is hardly to say the Jacksonville All-Stars were chopped liver.

The great Ernie Nevers, the 11letter man from Leland Stanford, was captain of the team.

Nor did the All-Stars thrash about at the bush league level -- their first two opponents were the Chicago Bears, led by the immortal Red Grange, and the New York Giants.

(Indeed, these were their only two opponents.)

And acquit themselves well against these storied teams, did the now forgotten and even then ignored Jacksonville All-Stars. …

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