JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In what organizers hope will become a weekly event, a small group of Tim Tebow fans held a tailgate party at EverBank Field on Monday imploring the Jacksonville Jaguars to sign the unemployed quarterback.
The gathering started at 3:16 p.m. in honor of the John 3:16 biblical verse that Tebow used to paint in his eyeblack when he played at Florida. It was scheduled to last about 3 hours, 16 minutes. About 40 people showed up.
Organizers set up a tent outside the stadium, served grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, and said they hope to do it every Monday.
They had planned to set up their tent at the Jaguar statue at the stadium, but moved back after stadium security objected to them gathering there. The group did pose for a picture at the statue.
Tebow is a free agent after being cut by the New England Patriots at the end of training camp. Before that, the former Nease High and University of Florida quarterback was cut by the New York Jets.
Casey Jones, a season ticket holder and member of the Champions club, a volunteer organization of Jaguars season ticket holders who attempt to sell tickets, suggested to group founder James Stewart that they gather at the stadium.
Stewart, a retired Marine who started a Web site called jags-tebow.com, had signs reading, “JAGS TEBOW, WHY NOT?’’
Saying that the Jaguars are struggling at quarterback, “this is a perfect time to bring in Tebow,’’ said Stewart, who said he is not a season ticket holder.
Bob Hovey, a pastor at Sun Life Church in Riverside, was wearing a Tebow Denver Broncos jersey. He said signing Tebow would be a good idea for the Jaguars.
Another fan, who declined to give his full name, is against the idea of the Jaguars bringing in Tebow, and showed up to debate the Tebow fans.
Though the Jaguars are 0-2 and have the worst record in the NFL in their past 37 games (7-30), they are unlikely to be swayed by the Tebow fans. The team is spending the week on the West Coast between games against Oakland and Seattle, and team executives weren’t at the stadium Monday.
Tebow was still with the Jets when Dave Caldwell was named the Jaguars general manager last January. At the time, Caldwell said he had no interest in signing Tebow, “even if he is released.’’
One fan, Jon Arnette, who said he gave up his season tickets this year, acknowledged that Caldwell is unlikely to change his mind, but didn’t like the GM’s comment.
“That’s the only thing he’s known for so far in his regime,’’ he said.