Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Question Who Was Star of This Show

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Question Who Was Star of This Show

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

The sign said "Event Parking: $5."

The woman taking cash asked, "Are you here for the circus?"

No, she was told. Well, not the Barnum and Bailey one. She pointed to the other side of the stadium.

Over there, there weren't elephants or tigers. But there was free parking, burgers and hot dogs, plus a mascot holding up signs and leading a raucous crowd in a chant.

"Del!" yelled one side of the room.

"Rio!" yelled the other.

It was billed as a news conference. But that doesn't really do it justice. Vince Lombardi never was introduced like this. Instead of trying to keep this news quiet until the official announcement, the Jaguars practically took out billboards advertising it. Instead of holding the event in some auditorium at 10 in the morning, the team decided to have it in the Stadium East Touchdown Club at 6 p.m.

Happy Hour.

That's what this was. One big happy hour for Jaguar fans. Part news conference, part pep rally, part first date.

Jack, meet Jacksonville.

Jacksonville, meet Jack.

Maybe you had heard of the Jaguars' new coach long before yesterday's announcement. It's a name that sticks in your mind. Jack Del Rio. Sounds like a comic book hero or a cop in Dragnet.

But even if the name rang a bell, it probably didn't bring to mind much beyond a basic bio: former NFL linebacker, six years as an NFL assistant, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator last season.

So in many ways, this was his chance to make a good first impression. And he did.

At 6:07 p.m., after being introduced by Wayne Weaver, Del Rio stepped to the stage, in front of a backdrop created for this day -- "a new era begins" -- and gave Jaguar fans a glimpse of the personality that won over the Jaguars' owner.

Del Rio wore a dark blue suit, a light blue shirt, a yellow tie and a huge Super Bowl ring, a souvenir from being Ravens linebackers coach. …

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