The Three Biggest Villains in Jacksonville Jaguars History
I want to thank Erik Lambert of NFL Mocks for giving me this idea. Lambert put together a solid piece on the biggest villain for each of the 32 NFL teams. The Jaguars have had a few Lucy Van Pelts over the course of their existence. Yes, even this team has its share of villains.
As Lambert wrote, the dictionary describes a villain as “the person or thing responsible for specified trouble, harm, or damage.” I am sure if you asked Jaguars fans who they thought were villainous over the past 23 years, the list would be long for various reasons.
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Jerry Porter took $10 million from this organization, played one season, caught 11 passes and didn’t make a dent in the team’s passing game.
There was Hugh Douglas, who got a five-year $27 million contract in free agency. Douglas played one season as a Jaguar as he was released prior to the 2004 season, picking up just 3.5 sacks in 2003. He admitted to “stealing money” from the team.
Douglas also said it was God’s fault for his laziness and lack of productivity in a Jaguars uniform.
Connor Barwin, upon leaving the Houston Texans in free agency, took out an ad to thank the city for his time there and gave a shoutout to Blaine Gabbert. Barwin made a career out of terrorizing the former Jaguars signal caller, referring to him as his “favorite” quarterback in the league at one point.
There are others, and this is a debate that could take hours or even days to settle.
Here is a look at the three biggest villains in Jaguars history.
Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way. The Jaguars have had some success in their short history in the NFL, but the New England Patriots and Captain Hoodie have made things a bit difficult over the years.’
Belichick is also the one Lambert wrote about as the biggest villain in Jaguars history. As Lambert points out, the Jaguars are 0-10 in games that involve Belichick over the years. His first foray of playing spoiler was in 1996 when he was the Patriots defensive coordinator and stopped the Jaguars and their improbable run in the playoffs. New England ended Jacksonville’s dream season in their second year of existence in the AFC Championship game.
“Fast forward to 2005. The Jaguars make the playoffs for the first time in six years. They don’t have long to celebrate as the Patriots knock them out 28-3,” Lambert writes. “This time Belichick is their head coach. Two years later Jacksonville returns, this time upsetting Pittsburgh in the wild-card round. Again they go to New England and again they can’t solve the Belichick puzzle, losing 31-20.”
Oh, and this past season, Belichick once again dash our hopes and dreams in the 2017 AFC Title game. Two things will stand out most in this game – the Myles Jack call on the fumble recovery that was ruled down and 3rd-and-18 which would have sent Tom Brady to the sidelines and halted a scoring drive that turned the tide of this game.
Mention the name Belichick in these parts and some fans might go to blows over what happened last season. Villain is not the word used to describe Belichick, but he is one of the biggest villains in team history.
Is there a head coach who is despised more by Jaguars fans than Jeff Fisher, the former Tennessee Titans frontman? It’s hard to believe it was once discussed the Jaguars should consider Fisher as a replacement for Gus Bradley before the team turned the reins over to Doug Marrone.
In 1999, the Jaguars were the best team in the NFL with a 14-2 record and the greatest team in franchise history. They ran through every team in the league with the exception of one – Fisher’s Titans.
The Jaguars lost 20-19 at home and 41-14 on the road against their AFC South divisional opponent.
After blistering the Miami Dolphins, 62-7, in the AFC Divisional playoffs – a game that sent Dan Marino into retirement – Jacksonville got another shot at their rivals at home with a chance to go to the Super Bowl on the line.
I remember it like it was yesterday because I help my five-month-old son in my arms the entire time (my wife thought it would be the best way for me not to yell at the television). I remember having a phone conversation with a fellow sportswriter, who shall remain nameless, who told me there was no way the Titans would beat the Jaguars three games in a row. I wish there was money on the line that day.
Tennessee broke the hearts of the Jaguars and their fans 33-14 that day.
Fisher isn’t hated as much for having coached good teams as much as he is remembered for saying during Super Bowl week (where the Titans lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams) he thought Jacksonville was another home field for the Titans.
A lot has changed over the years, but Tennessee still beat Jacksonville twice this past season and Fisher is still regarded as one of the worst villains – and I am putting that mildly.
This one is had more to do with what Gene Smith did not do as general manager of this organization and less to do with what he did. Still, he belongs on the list of biggest villains.
Smith is still a hot topic of conversation on sports talk radio in these parts because his decision making set this franchise back and is part of the reason Jacksonville’s playoff drought lasted 10 seasons.
Before there was Dave Caldwell, there was Smith who served as the team’s Director of College Scouting from 2000-2007 and later Director of College and Pro Personnel in 2008 before becoming the team’s general manager from 2009-2012.
Smith cannot be blamed for the debacle of the 2008 NFL Draft that saw the team trade the farm for Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves, but he has had his fair share of questionable moves.
Under Smith’s tenure with the team, the Jaguars drafted Gabbert in 2010 by trading six spots with the Washington Redskins to nab their “quarterback of the future” when they could have taken J.J. Watt one pick later.
Smith was known for gambling on small-school talent while shying away from big names in Power 5 programs with questionable backgrounds. He also was responsible for hiring Mike Mularkey, who had success in Tennessee (ironic) after being fired by Caldwell. Mularkey will go down as the worst coach in team history with a 2-14 record in 2012.
One has to ask what this franchise would be if Smith was not the general manager, and since he was in the positions, what would have happened if he had selected better players?