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Blaine Gabbert: Rookie QB Will Give Jaguars Fans What They've Never Had

ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 27:  Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Jacksonville Jaguars plays against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 35-32 in overtime.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Justin UseltonContributor ISeptember 22, 2011

The Jacksonville Jaguars fans have waited 16 years for this, and finally the time is here.

The Blaine Gabbert era.

A team that has never had a true franchise quarterback found theirs in April, and Gabbert will start his first professional game on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Once again, that's 16 years.

Mark Brunell, the best quarterback in Jaguars history, was great. Really. But he was a former Packer who stayed in Jacksonville for a while, won some games and is now a backup for a team who pummeled the Jaguars by 29 last week.

Ouch.

Jaguars fans, remember Rob Johnson? Yeah, I tried to forget about him, too.

Byron Leftwich? Nice guy, but I just threw-up a little.

David Garrard? Serviceable, but his release was way overdue.

In fact, the Jaguars have never had their guy. While they have gone from starter to starter every four years, they've been annually crushed by franchise quarterbacks.

The Jaguars watched in 2007 as Tom Brady, New England's legend, cut the hearts out of the Jaguars' collective chest in the playoffs.

For years, the Jaguars have fought to wrestle a division from the clenched fists of Peyton Manning. No chance. Not with these quarterbacks. Not without our guy.

The Titans had McNair, the Steelers have had Roethlisberger.

It seems every major AFC competitor has had their guy, who was drafted by the franchise, brought up in their system and became the face of the city.

It's your time now, Jacksonville.

Finally.

Savor Sunday, because there's only one first start for a guy like this. Savor this, because I'm willing to go on a limb and guarantee you that Gabbert is the right guy.

Tall, rifle attached to his shoulder, smart, accurate, hard-worker, looks the part, walks the part, talks the part and has the Florida nickname to match.

Sunshine. I like it.

You'll remember this 10 years from now. You'll remember this like die-hard Colts fans remember Manning's first start against the Dolphins.

Win, lose or draw on Sunday, an era is ready to dawn in Jacksonville.

Jaguars fans have been waiting way too long for this Sunshine.

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