This does not typically happen but before addressing the Shad Khan era, I want to speak from a personal perspective. As a Jacksonville native, I remember when the city found out they were chosen as a NFL expansion team along with the Carolina Panthers.
The excitement that everyone felt is something I’ll never forget. There were Jacksonville Jaguars jerseys everywhere and the stadium was full of happy fans drinking beer and sharing high-fives. The franchise hasn’t been the same since those early days and recent events have magnified that fact.
The truth is, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ glory days ended with names like Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, Tony Boselli, and Fred Taylor. Also, no one can forget that incredible 1996 AFC Championship run.
It felt like the team could go nowhere but up. Unfortunately, the Jaguars slowly but surely digressed as time when on.
There was another glimmer of hope in 1999 and then again in 2017 when they made it to the AFC Championship game. The Jaguars ended up losing to the New England Patriots in a performance that started out dominating but showcased the coaching staff’s inability to remain aggressive for four quarters.
That opportunity slipped away and they ended the following season with a 5-11 record. Once again, that little bit of hope came crashing down.
This past Tuesday marked Shad Khan’s ten-year anniversary as the Jacksonville Jaguars owner. Although his intentions are good, Khan’s tenure is marred with unstable front office decisions that have ultimately played out on the field and in the media.
Under his leadership there have been four coaches, three general managers, and the addition of Tom Coughlin as executive vice president of football operations.
Shad Khan and company signed Nick Foles to a massive contract when no other team was courting him. Shortly after, the Tom Coughlin experiment crashed and burned. Not the mention the Jaguars have lost several promising first round draft picks throughout the years: Dante Fowler, Jr., Jalen Ramsey, and Leonard Fournette to name a few.
Then when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse, owner Shad Khan hired Urban Meyer which turned out to be a complete dumpster fire. Besides only mustering up a 2-11 record, Meyer embarrassed the franchise in multiple ways.
It started with hiring Chris Doyle who was accused of making racist remarks and bullying black players while at Iowa. Among other things, he was caught on video dancing at a bar with a woman who wasn’t his wife, there were rumblings of strife with players and his coaching staff, and as of a day ago he was accused of kicking former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo in practice.
“What’s different about this is, you have losses and you have drama. In the past, it was like you were the lowly Jaguars and everyone left you alone,” Shad Khan said. “Now, the scrutiny we have is really something different and how much of that is we’re bringing it upon ourselves, how much of that is deserved, and how much of this is he won wherever he was and this is something he never dealt with.”
“When you win in football, you create enemies, Khan continued. “The only way you can really deal with that is you have to win again.”
Those comments were ominous and came out a few days before Khan pulled the trigger, firing Meyer overnight on Tuesday, less than a year into his five-year contract. It’s worth mentioning he passed up several more experienced options for a coach transitioning from college with a questionable reputation.
Now there is no more room for mistakes. Khan is in a position where his next move must be the absolutely right decision. With a generational talent like Trevor Lawrence at the helm, there is no more time to waste.
Quite frankly, the Jacksonville fans don’t seem to have that much patience left either.
“I feel the (fans) pain, you know,” Khan said. “I know because I’m living it. We’re going to do better.”
Since the firing of Meyer, names such as Byron Leftwich, Eric Bieniemy, Doug Peterson, Jim Caldwell, and Josh McDaniels have emerged as candidates for consideration.
Khan has a lot to think about but one thing is for sure, better needs to come quick, fast, and in a hurry.