11/18/2010 12:46 PM -

The Jacksonville Sharks are celebrating the first anniversary of the franchise. November 18, 2009, the ownership group of the Sharks, comprised of Jeff Bouchy, Larry Payne and Steve Curran, stood at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena with head coach Les Moss and AFL commissioner Jerry Kurz to announce the birth of a new team.

“We are extremely excited to bring the highest level of arena football to the Jacksonville market,“ said Bouchy at the press conference last year. “While the football will be fantastic, fans are going to love the entertainment we bring to them. It is a hybrid of a KISS concert and football game rolled into one that is affordable and fan-friendly.”

The message was received by Jacksonville loud and clear. In the inaugural season, the Sharks won a record 12 games as an expansion franchise and captured the South Division championship, arguably the toughest in the Arena Football League, and earned home field advantage for a playoff game. The Sharks were near the top in the league in attendance, creating possibly the loudest arena, selling out three games. The Sharks were featured as the AFL Game of the Week six times on the NFL Network and had five additional games broadcast locally on WCWJ, CW17.

Les Moss told Jacksonville “we are going to bring fast-paced, high-scoring, hard-hitting arena football action to the Jacksonville area fans. We will have the top talent in Arena Football playing right here in Jacksonville.” He delivered on his promise. Signing several veteran players, including quarterback and AFL legend Aaron Garcia, the Sharks won seven of their eight regular season home games on Sea Best Field, a mark unbested by any other team in 2010.

Finatics, a term used to describe the Sharks faithful, saw record breaking action in their first season. Aaron Garcia set the new standard for quarterbacks breaking both the all-time passing yardage record (45,086 and counting) and the passing touchdown record (962 and counting). Garcia also finished the 2010 campaign third all-time in passing completions (3,582) and passing attempts (5,685). He also reached the top 20 all-time in rushing attempts (220) and rushing touchdowns (45).

The fun of a Sharks game is more than just the football. With theme nights like Halloween in July, Military Appreciation and Disco Fever, the Sharks entertained Finatics from the time they took their seat until they left the post-game autograph sessions. 2011 will feature the same great themed atmosphere and continue to offer great discounts for appreciation nights.

“It’s an honor to have the Jacksonville Sharks back for the 2011 season,” said AFL Commissioner Jerry Kurz. “During the team’s inaugural year in 2010, the Sharks proved they were devoted, not only to winning, but the entire Jacksonville community.”

The Sharks are continuing the momentum from the 2010 season. With training camp starting in late February, the Sharks have re-signed eight players from 2010, and several other AFL veterans. One of those veterans, Jeff Hughley, has already been productive in Jacksonville. As a Tulsa Talon last season, Hughley scored five touchdowns (four receiving, one special teams) against the Sharks on Sea Best Field. The Sharks have signed 14 AFL rookies, many with previous indoor experience.

“While we had a fantastic first year,” commented Bouchy. “Our goal for 2011 will be to continue offerring Jacksonville an exciting product for the best value in town. If you did not attend a game during the 2010 season, you missed out on an unbelievable show with lots of exciting and thrilling football. The good news is, we get to do it all over again starting in March, only better. The city has opened it’s arms and hearts to the team as we have already surpassed last year’s season ticket numbers. March cannot arrive fast enough for all of us!”

The Sharks will surely deliver another memorable year offering a family-friendly environment at an affordable price. With an 18-game schedule for 2011, the Sharks are offering season tickets as low as $50 for a 10-game package. The Sharks will also continue promotions like the Coca-Cola Family 4 Pack - a package including four tickets, four hot dogs, four bottles of Coke and four bags of chips for one low price.

Though the Jacksonville Sharks are only beginning the second year as a franchise, they have already established themselves as one of the top franchises in the league. With the continued support of local partnerships and first-class fans, the Sharks look to continue a tradition of excellence on the First Coast.

The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The reigning South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The Sharks return to action Saturday, March 12, 2011 in Arizona to battle the Rattlers. The Sharks return home Friday, March 18, 2011 to take on division foe Georgia Force. Season tickets for the 2011 season are now available. To reserve your season tickets, group tickets, or for more information please call (904) 621-0700.