The Jacksonville Jaguars are a professional American football team based in Jacksonville, Florida. They are members of the South Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Jaguars joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1995.
Since their inception, the Jaguars have donned teal, black, and gold as their primary team colors. But why specifically did the organization choose teal when selecting the franchise’s visual identity? There are a few key reasons:
Teal Represents Jacksonville
Jacksonville is situated in Northeast Florida along the Atlantic Coast. The city is known for its extensive port system, including its massive seaport on the St. Johns River. The river flows directly through the heart of Jacksonville.
With the city’s deep connection to the water, the teal color was selected as a nod to the river and ocean. It visually associates the new football team with the nautical nature of Jacksonville.
Beyond the water elements, teal also represents the blue skies and bright sun that frequently shine over the River City. It is a lively, vibrant hue that reflects the energy of the Jacksonville community.
Teal Stands Out in the NFL
When Jacksonville was awarded an NFL franchise in 1993, the organization wanted its visual identity to stand out from the crowd. Up until that point, no other NFL team had featured teal prominently.
The color was unique and distinctly different from the American football norm. It helped the new Jaguars forge their own path and identity rather than blend in with the red, blue, black, and green schemes used by other teams.
Teal helped signal that the Jaguars were an expansion team ready to make a splash in the league. It differentiated them at first glance.
Origin of the Jaguars Name
In addition to the local Jacksonville connection, the name “Jaguars” was also selected to be accompanied by teal. Jaguars are large wild cats that live in Central and South America. Their fur coats are distinctly patterned with rosette shapes. The centers of these rosettes are often colored light blue or aqua.
|Jaguar Fur Color
|The background color
|Ring around the rosettes
|The outline of the rosettes
|The middle of the rosettes
So when the team consulted zoologists about colors found on real jaguars, teal was a natural selection to connect back to the animal.
First Logo Designs
Original logo concepts for the Jacksonville expansion team incorporated teal in creative ways. The first logos presented to ownership in 1993 included:
- A jaguar head silhouette filled in with teal and gold
- A leaping jaguar outlined in teal
- The letters “JAX” in teal on a gold football
These logos helped sell the teal vision and build early brand recognition before the team name was even announced.
Other Jacksonville Sports Teams
The Jacksonville Jaguars were not the first local sports team to adopt teal. Both minor league baseball and indoor football teams had previously used the color.
The Jacksonville Suns baseball team displayed teal uniforms and logos during the early 1990s. This established some familiarity and connectivity with local fans.
Additionally, a successful local semi-pro football team nicknamed the Jacksonville Barracudas wore teal jerseys when they forced the Jacksonville Bulls out of town just a couple years before the Jaguars formed.
This further planted teal in the hearts and minds of Jacksonville’s football fans right as they were awarded an NFL team. The Jaguars embraced the existing teal passion and carried it into their new franchise.
Wayne Weaver’s Favorite Color
Jaguars founding owner Wayne Weaver also reportedly liked the uniqueness and vibrancy of the teal color. As he worked closely with the NFL during the expansion process, his affinity for teal may have subconsciously influenced the team’s early branding concepts.
Weaver was hands-on with the logo and uniform selection. While teal connected back to Jacksonville and the Jaguars nickname, having Weaver’s blessing certainly helped cement it as the primary color.
Marketing Benefits of Teal
From a marketing perspective, teal was a smart choice for merchandise and branding. It stood out on retail shelves. Early merchandise flew off the racks as fans sought the exciting new colors.
The teal also looked great under the lights at the Gator Bowl, the Jaguars’ first home stadium. The color popped on television broadcasts and provided some key visual differentiation.
Between the logos, merchandise, and uniforms, the teal gave the Jaguars an eye-catching look from the very beginning.
Teal Expansion Team Trend
The 1990s saw a wave of teal-branded expansion teams across major professional sports leagues:
- 1993: Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)
- 1993: Anaheim Mighty Ducks (NHL)
- 1993: Florida Marlins (MLB – teal added in 2012 rebrand)
- 1995: Carolina Panthers (NFL)
- 1995: Toronto Raptors (NBA)
- 1998: Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
Teal helped these new franchises stand out and sell merchandise as they entered established leagues. The Jaguars’ early success out of the gate continued building momentum for teal expansions teams in the 1990s.
Connection to Early Success
Speaking of success, the teal-clad Jaguars were an instant hit on the field. They went 9-7 in the inaugural 1995 season and made the playoffs in four of their first five years.
Fans quickly associated the winning tradition with the exciting new colors. It solidified teal as a central part of the Jacksonville identity.
Jaguars’ Teal Uniform History
The Jaguars have tinkered with different uniform styles over the years, but teal has remained the foundation:
|Dark teal home jerseys paired with white away jerseys
|Introduced a teal alternate jersey
|Switched to black home jerseys paired with white away jerseys
|Returned to original teal home jersey design
After experimenting with other looks, the team brought back the classic teal home jerseys in 2022 as a nod to the early success of the 1990s expansion era.
Teal Merchandise Popularity
From a business standpoint, Jaguars teal merchandise continues selling well among fans. The team operates the “Teal Street General Store” at TIAA Bank Field on game days to sell exclusive teal gear.
Items like teal jerseys, t-shirts, hats, and novelties remain popular souvenirs and collectibles. The vibrant color helps apparel stand out in a crowded Florida sports retail scene.
In summary, the Jacksonville Jaguars colors feature teal for several key reasons:
- Teal represents the nautical culture of Jacksonville, Florida
- It differentiates the new franchise and stands out in the NFL
- The color connects back to the rosette markings on real jaguars
- Original logo concepts highlighted teal
- Local Jacksonville teams had success using teal
- Founding owner Wayne Weaver liked the unique color
- Teal provided marketing and merchandising advantages
- The expansion-era teams experienced on-field success in teal uniforms
For these reasons, teal became the signature color of the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise. It remains a central part of the team’s identity and a testament to the city’s connections to the sea and its successful first years in the NFL. Teal establishes the Jaguars as Jacksonville’s team and allows the franchise to stand out among its sports peers.