Jaguars folk hero Blake Bortles showed the importance of QB position

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

All good things must come to an end. That’s why former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has announced his retirement. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though. This had been in the making for a while, as the BOAT hadn’t played in a regular season game since 2019.

Bortles announced he was hanging up the cleats during an appearance on the Pardon My Take podcast. “I have not touched a football since January”, Bortles said via NFL Media. “I have officially retired.”

The former UCF Knight was the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and caught the eye of the national media in 2015, when he completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 4,428 years with 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. While these numbers pop off the stat sheet, a closer look shows that production came during garbage time.

Bortles once again got the spotlight following the 2017 season. That year, the Jags went 10-6 thanks to their sturdy defense and in spite of Bortles. Still, the front office rewarded the quarterback with a three-year contract worth $54 million. It didn’t take long for the Jaguars’ brass to realize their mistake and pulled the plug on him just one year later.

Following his release, Bortles’ career became somewhat nomadic, spending time with the Rams, the Green Bay Packers, and the New Orleans Saints. As a matter of fact, had he not made his retirement known, you wouldn’t see the media talking about him, that’s how unremarkable his career had become in recent years.

You can like former Jaguars QB Blake Bortles and accept he wasn’t good

Bortles is trending not because of how good he was on the football field (he wasn’t) but rather because he became something of a folk hero. The Jags went 5-11 in his best statistical year (2015) but he became a Fantasy Football darling because of how much he padded the stat sheet.

Similarly, the Jags made it all the way to the AFC South Championship in 2017 because Bortles had a superb team around him. Once injuries hit the defense the following season, his lack of talent was exposed. Nevertheless, he was always relatable and didn’t seem to be in over his head which made him a fan favorite.

Moreover, someone came up with the Blake Bortles profile on Twitter, an account dedicated to posting random stats about the quarterback that made him look considerably better than he was. Of course, being likable and being a franchise quarterback are two different things and the Jags — nor any NFL team for that matter — could employ Bortles.

After all, football is a team sport and every single position is important but none has an impact on the outcome of a game as much as the quarterback. The Jaguars recognized it and moved on from Bortles. Then again, it took them a while to get it right. It wasn’t until they drafted Trevor Lawrence last year that the revolving door at the position stopped. That’s how difficult it is to find a good quarterback.

The bottom line is that you can like a football player and at the same time accept that he isn’t very good. Blake Bortles is the quintessential example.

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