Thursday, August 29, 2013
Jags fans win abbreviation battle
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars fans 1, NFL 0.
Thanks to a social media campaign, plus some behind-the-scenes work from Jacksonville Jaguars digital media manager Chris Burdett, the NFL has agreed to change the official abbreviation for the Jaguars from JAC to JAX.
And don’t believe that one letter doesn’t make a huge difference.
A vocal group of Jaguars fans have been fighting the JAC vs. JAX battle with the NFL office for several years. The unofficial abbreviation of the city is JAX and it drove some fans nuts that the league was using JAC in hashtags, stat lists, or scorelines. Burdett had been trying to get that changed since the end of last season, without much success.
But the pressure from those fans had gotten worse lately. Since he joined Twitter several months ago, Burdett (@digital_jag) would get hit with requests and complaints from fans about getting the abbreviation changed.
"Every single time there’s always at least 10-15 fans that direct tweet at us and ask when it’s going to change," Burdett said.
Things came to a head on Thursday. Numerous fans took to Twitter and inundated Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) with tweets asking that the NFL change the team’s official abbreviation to JAX from JAC. They used the hashtag #JAXnotJAC.
Even team mascot Jaxson De Ville got involved.
Several hours later, Burdett got a letter from the NFL office: He and the (finally) fans won.
"It resonated enough that he walked into the league’s digital media coordinator’s office and said, 'We've got to get this resolved. Let’s fix it.'
"… There’s such a hardcore rabid fan base [in Jacksonville]. Granted it’s smaller than others, but it’s pretty rabid. Anyone who insults the city, even when it comes down to the letters, they will defend themselves, as you can tell."
It didn’t take long for people outside of Jacksonville to notice, either. The Arizona Cardinals’ official Twitter feed posted the following message shortly after the Jaguars announced the decision on Twitter: "We just wanted to have the first #AZvsJAX tweet. Haha. Enjoy #JAXvsATL!"
As for Burdett, he laughed when asked if he was sort of a hero to the fans because he helped spearhead the effort with the league office.
"I'll have my 15 minutes of fame," he joked.