Monday, December 05, 2011

Jersey Monday: Jeff Lageman


Monday Night Football Matchup: San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars

There are two obvious questions to be asked here:

- Why are the Jaguars on Monday Night Football?
- Why do you own a Jeff Lageman jersey?

I can't answer the first one -- Jacksonville was bad last year and wasn't expected to be good this year either -- but I kind of have an answer for the second one.

Most of the earliest NFL jerseys I got were of players I really liked. And most of the recent ones I've purchased have also been in that category. But there's a swath of my collection in the middle that fell squarely in the "I'm trying to get a jersey from every team, so I'll settle for this guy" category. Lageman is probably the perfect example of that. He was a perfectly serviceable defensive end for the Jets and Jaguars, carving himself out a nice 10-year career in which he had 47 sacks. But he wasn't really a "star", nor was he the kind of player where anyone outside of the Jacksonville area would be like "man, I really want a Jeff Lageman jersey".

I got this jersey in 1997, Lageman's last full year in the NFL (he only played one game in 1998 due to injury). I was at a Buccaneers-Bears game in Tampa Bay, where I'd already purchased a Bucs jersey before the game. As my dad and I were leaving, we saw a merchandise tent that was clearing out a whole bunch of stuff, including jerseys from around the league. It was the end of the season, so the pickings were slim, but I did spot this Lageman jersey. It was marked down even further from the initial end-of-season sale price, because there was a minor printing error on the TV numbers, and some of the gold outline was bleeding into the white number. I didn't care, I just wanted a Jaguars jersey, and with this one being so cheap, I couldn't pass it up.

I remember when the Jaguars changed their number font from this block style to their unique style, I wanted to add another Jags jersey to my collection, but I never got around to it. Now that they have a jersey with weirdly bland styling, I really don't have any interest in updating the Jags slot in my collection.  I figure I'll get around to it when they move to L.A. in a couple years.

Jersey Monday will continue every Monday until I run out of jerseys to spotlight. And since I’ve got more than 150 of them, that could be awhile. For the remainder of the NFL season, Jersey Monday will feature one of the teams playing on Monday Night Football.

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