The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to play their first home playoff game in five years after a five-game winning streak to end the regular season earned the team the AFC South title.
Jaguars fans are — for the first time in a long time — excited, optimistic, and packing TIAA Bank Field.
Along the way, Jaguars players and fans have embraced a simple five-word motto: “It was always the Jags.”
The team has used the hashtag #IWATJ across its social media platforms, and it even filed a trademark application for the phrase earlier this week.
So where did it come from? It’s Jaguars safety Andrew “Dewey” Wingard who deserves the credit.
In early December, the Jaguars’ season was on life support after a 40-14 loss to the Detroit Lions. It was brought back to life with a 36-22 win in Nashville over the then-division-leading Tennessee Titans. As the players walked off the field, Wingard grabbed a camera and yelled the now-famous words.
“To be honest with you, it’s actually a gambling term. You’re with your buddies. You see a lock. Hey boys, ‘it was always this,'” Wingard told First Coast News this week.
Since then, players and fans have run with it.
“That’s just the mindset of this team,” Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence told reporters after a 40-34 win over the Cowboys in December. “No matter what happens you’ve just got to keep playing. … Just battled some adversity, and it was always the Jags, as Dewey would say.”
On Saturday, the Jaguars will play their fifth ever home playoff game and their first ever primetime one at TIAA Bank Field. It was a long road for the team to reach this point, but here it is. It was always the Jags.