The home stadium of the Jacksonville Jaguars was built on the site of the old Gator Bowl in 1995. The Jaguars moved in in time for the 1996 season. The Gator Bowl had been the home of the Florida Gators vs Georgia Bulldogs annual rivalry and also the Gator Bowl postseason bowl game, one of the oldest in college football.
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The old stadium was not an NFL worthy venue and had to be torn down when Jacksonville was awarded the NFL’s 31st franchise. While the stadium was built the Florida vs Georgia rivalry moved to the schools on campus stadiums for the 1994 and the 1995 game while the Gator Bowl game was moved to Florida’s home field in Gainesville.
When the new stadium opened for the inaugural season, fans were truly amazed by the chairback seats, the club level seating with the huge restaurant/bar areas, the luxury boxes, the beautiful new scoreboards and other NFL stadium amenities. This was a long way from the old Gator Bowl.
As often happens though, NFL teams build bigger and better stadiums after your teams is finished. After a couple of decades go by your stadium is considered a below average NFL venue. So when the team was sold to a new owner in 2013, he upgraded the stadium.
Everbank Field now boasts of two swimming pools in the north end zone that are open to anyone who bought a ticket for the game. They now also have two of the largest high def video boards in the NFL. The Bud Light Party Zone has 18 giant TVs, which are televising all of the other games going on in case a fan wants to check and see how his favorite team is doing during a timeout.
The team has been pretty awful that past few seasons, but the party atmosphere makes it a fun place to watch a game. Also, with the bad record, and the terrible economy the past five years, often times tickets are available at very reasonable prices. .
One thing a fan needs to be aware of when going to Everbank Field, especially later in the season, is to prepare for whatever weather might possibly happen. The stadium is close to the Atlantic Ocean and also on the backs of the St. John’s River. A cold front can come in and drop the temperature drastically in a matter of minutes. Many fans have gone to the game is shorts and short sleeved shirts only to find themselves freezing by the end of the first quarter.
A good rule of thumb when going to the Jags game is to wear a tee shirt with a sweatshirt, and a jacket with shorts and some long pants over the shorts. That way if it gets hot, you can strip down and jump in one of the pools, but if a cold front comes through, you will still be comfortable.
When going to the game, leave early and head down to “The Landing” for your pregame tailgating. You can park in one of the parking garages and hang out in one of the many restaurants or bars before the game. There is plenty to do while at The Landing including going on a party boat in the St. John’s.
Everbank Stadium is one of the best venues to watch a game in the NFL. If you are on vacation in Florida and get a chance, definitely make this one of your stops. I have been to many games at Everbank and have not been disappointed.
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