Dark skies don't cloud excitement for Jaguars 1st preseason game

Despite Jacksonville's narrow loss to New Orleans, fans optimistic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Despite the threat of storms early Thursday evening, Jaguars fans were ready to watch Jacksonville's first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints.

Thursday night was the first time the Jaguars played in the newly renamed TIAA Bank Field, and despite Jacksonville's 24-20 loss, fans were optimistic that the team will be just as strong this year as it was last year -- if not stronger. 

Though it appeared the rain would be an issue, it held off for the most part and didn't stop Jags fans from tailgating before kickoff.  

Scott Lovelace and his family even drove all the way from Lincoln, Nebraska -- more than 1,300 miles -- just to see the Jags take on the Saints in Week 1 of the NFL preseason.

They have no real ties to Jacksonville, so News4Jax asked, "Why the Jags?"

“I started off when I was a little kid -- just brand new team, ’95 when it came out," I was like, 'Oh, small team. I might as well pick it,'" Lovelace said. "(It's a) good team, starting to get bigger. I like it.”

Lovelace then got the rest of the family on the Jaguars bandwagon. 

"This is the first time I've been in Florida and I came, basically, for my son,"  said Deanna Smith, Lovelace's mother. "He wanted us to come, so I'm just excited to be here."

Scott Lovelace (pictured second from the right) and his family drove from Nebraska to watch the Jaguars play the Saints at TIAA Bank Field Thursday night.

The gloomy sky didn't dampen the optimism, which was a common theme among fans both outside and inside the stadium.

“The defense is looking good right now and the offense is a little shaky, but they’ll come through. It's preseason," Jaguars fan J.P. Frasier said. "The fans are out and I love it. Fans -- you've got to have the fans."

Coming off on a bit of a high from last season's success, Jags fans were hopeful about how this season will turn out.

“I still have a sore spot for last season. I actually think we can beat New England. I know we can beat New England," season ticket holder David Strong said. "I want us to get back there and win the Super Bowl.”

It was a common opinion among fans. 

"Let's go all the way," Jaguars fan Aimee Witkofski said.

Fan Jill McCauley added, "Super Bowl, baby -- we're going to be there."

After the game ended, many fans were already planning ahead for the next home matchup against the Atlanta Falcons later this month.