JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars' charter flight home from Pittsburgh flew over thousands of fans gathered Sunday night at EverBank Field. With no public viewing area to see the team arrive at the airport, the city opened the stadium for people to greet the returning players.
About 10 p.m., the ROAR, Jaxson de Ville and D-Line led the team onto the field, then coaches and players addressed the cheering crowd from the field.
“I hope you understand how much we appreciate the support we’ve been able to build through the year,” Coach Doug Marrone told the crowd. “We’re not done yet. ... We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
The Jaguars will play the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game next Sunday -- the second time in franchise history that the team has made it to the conference title game.
“I speak on behalf of the organization and the team: the support you guys have for us, it makes us to be able to do our job that much easier,” said Marcedes Lewis, the only player who was with the Jaguars the last time they played in the post season. “It’s like a partnership. We all work together. … Keep it up. We’ve got two more weeks. We appreciate it.”
“Duuuvaaaal,” linebacker Telvin Smith yelled to the crowd.
“Duuuvaaaal,” the crowd responded.
“This is just the beginning, baby,” defensive end Calais Campbell told the fans. "All the hard work is for this moment, right here. We’re going to the Super Bowl. Let’s go.”
Temperatures dropping into the upper 30s didn't discourage the crowd as continued to cheer on their team well past 10 p.m.
“I appreciate ya’ll,” running back Leonard Fournette said. “We owe ya’ll two more. Duuuvaaaal”
“Duvall” the crowd responded.