Jacksonville Jaguars: Too far mismanaged for greatness?
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan got a lot of heat for not getting rid of head coach Gus Bradley earlier – before finally firing him after a Week 15 loss – which is reflective of overall mismanagement.
Owning an NFL franchise, or any sports franchise, is difficult. If an owner actually wants to win he or she needs to invest heavily in both time and money to make it happen. It is difficult to own a winning franchise without devoting time and energy to the task. Passive owners rarely succeed in the NFL.
Since taking over the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012, Shad Khan has been learning what it takes to be an NFL owner. He has been learning how to manage the business side as well as the football side, often succeeding on the former but failing miserably in the latter. At just 16-62 since 2012, the Jaguars have been the worst performing team since his tenure began.
That is hardly the kind of statistic that Khan wants floating about as he works to right the ship. But his work five seasons in hasn’t done much. From trusting Gene Smith to hiring a novice general manager who hired a rookie head coach to waiting too long to make a change, Khan has not done enough football moves to warrant much trust in his management on the football side.
That isn’t to say that patience isn’t important. The patience Khan has shown is rare in the NFL and was a welcome change from the frantic pace and “win now” mentality that permeates the NFL. Unfortunately, the patience and trust in Bradley was misplaced and it showed the continued sharp learning curve that Khan is one. Football, unlike the other business interests Khan has, doesn’t reward persistence and patience often.
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A first-time NFL owner can be excused for getting things wrong initially (which he did when he kept Smith and gambled on Mike Mularkey for one 2-14 season) and his first real moves were the hiring of Caldwell and Bradley. Now that those initial mistakes are behind him, Khan needs to start to develop some football chops and show he can hang with guys like Jerry Jones or the Rooneys or Robert Kraft. Those owners get it and they make the right moves consistently.
The aforementioned learning curve is steep and unforgiving, but if the Jags ever want to dig out of the pit they are in, they need strong, competent management from the top. To this point, Khan hasn’t shown that he can provide that.
Hopefully, after taking his lumps, he can move past his initial mistakes.