Change Is Coming
By: Jeff Doke
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
One would think that if you are still a Jacksonville Jaguars fan (as I am), you would have developed a bit more patience.
Imagine being a Jaguars fan that went into a coma after the 1999 season. You’ve experienced four straight playoff appearances, back-to-back division championships, two trips to the AFC Championship game, and an overall record of 49-31. The franchise looks primed for a long stretch of success on the gridiron.
Now imagine that fan coming out of that coma Thursday night.
The Jags have only had four winning seasons in the last 21 years. Only three trips to the post-season. I don’t even want to add up the win/loss record in this stretch (I’m not THAT much of a sports self-flagellator).
Gus Bradley. Doug Marrone. Mike Mularkey.
Oh, and Myles Jack wasn’t down.
And now, we have this season. We started the season with a highly-touted franchise quarterback. A new head coach with a top-notch college resume. Dare I say it, hope. Things, on paper, looked good.
And then, reality. An opening game loss to a Houston Texans team in a Jaguars-esque state of franchise chaos, followed by a week two loss to the Broncos, and a second-half collapse against the Cardinals.
Which brings us to Thursday night. Sometimes, being a Dawg fan prepares you for being a Jags fan. Remember the meme that was making the rounds after the 2018 SEC Championship game? Georgia and Alabama have played 120 minutes in the past two games. Georgia has led or been tied for 119 of those minutes and lost both games.
Wanna hear it sound even better? In those last two games the teams have combined for 290 plays. Alabama has had the lead for 9 (3%) of those.
Oof. Not “woof.” Oof.
Thursday night was like that for the Jags. They were tied or had the lead for the full 60 minutes of that game. The winning kick for Cincy crossed the goalposts as the clock read 0:00. It was the only play of the game that the Bengals were in the lead, and unfortunately, it was the only play that mattered.
And out come the boo birds. The defeatists. The naysayers. The fans that were expecting the franchise to immediately turn around with the arrival of Coach Meyer and T-Law, calling both men “mistakes” and “failures” with ¾ of a season still to play. Armchair GMs decreeing that the Jags are going to go nowhere with either one.
To quote our Commander-In-Y’know-The-Thing; “C’mon, man!”
Let’s be honest, Duval. We are on a 19-game losing streak. We didn’t get here by making smart choices. But change *IS* coming, just not overnight. To make my point, I implore you to look at the 1999 season.
Not ours, but Indianapolis’ 1999 season, otherwise known as “Peyton’s Rookie Year.”
The best forehead in the history of the NFL led his team to a 3-13 record. He threw two more interceptions than touchdowns. He finished the year with a 71.2 QB rating. And just look where he went from there.
Oh, and that same 1999 season, Bill Belicheck was unemployed. His win-loss record after five years in Cleveland was 36-44. Heck, his first season in New England looked like more of the same – 5-11 and last place in the division.
True, the last two decades of football on the banks of the St. Johns River have given us precious little reason to have hope for the future.
Four games into a career is not the time to give up on our new coach and QB. You’ve held on to that glimmer of hope thus far, keep the faith. Change is coming.
Just maybe not this year.