Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers took offense with Trevor Lawrence's characterization of the terrible towel, which he described as a little yellow towel. While accurate, his comments enraged fans and became a talking point heading into Week 8.
The Jacksonville Jaguars beat Pittsburgh and safety Andrew Wingard even snatched one towel off a Steelers fan. Fast forward to 2024 and the Curse of the Terrible Towel was brought up as a reason for the Jags' late-season collapse
Following the loss to the Tennessee Titans in the finale, user Mink Flow took to Twitter to point out that Jacksonville is 3-6 after beating the Steelers in Week 7, "the curse of the terrible towel doesn't forget," Flow said. The tweet gained traction, and even ESPN went with it.
Even though Trevor Lawrence was dealing with a knee injury at the time, he played well, completing 75 percent of his passes for 292 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Both Antonio Johnson and Andrew Wingard registered interceptions while bookend pass rushers Josh Allen and Travon Walker had a combined three sacks between the two.
By all accounts, the Jags had one of their best outings of the season in 2023. Unfortunately, they weren't able to enjoy sustained success. They had their BYE the following week and went on to get crushed by the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10. They then racked up a couple of wins in back-to-back seasons before riding a four-game losing streak.
The Jaguars managed to end the losing skid by beating the Carolina Panthers. However, they missed the chance to clinch the AFC South and a playoff seed early in the season by then. Still, they had one last opportunity to qualify for the postseason and win the division. All they needed was to beat the Titans in the finale. They came crashing down and were eliminated. Ironically, the loss paved the way for the Steelers to punch their ticket to the playoffs.
Terrible Towel or not, the Jacksonville Jaguars weren't able to finish the season strong
Curse of the Terrible Tower notwithstanding, the Jaguars cooled down as the season progressed. Both their offense and the defense failed to execute, and they were never able to get back on track. The losses kept on piling up to the point that all the momentum they had built on early on evaporated.
Injuries most definitely played a role. Left tackle Cam Robinson, safety Andre Cisco, cornerback Tyson Campbell, wide receiver Zay Jones, left guard Ezra Cleveland, and receiver Christian Kirk all missed time. That said, injuries are an inherent part of the sport and clubs must be prepared for them. The Cleveland Browns, for one, didn't let them sink their season and managed to make the playoffs.
Head coach Doug Pederson, for his part, isn't pulling the injury excuse, and rightfully so. Instead, the Jaguars must look at themselves in the mirror, find the reasons for their collapse, and fix them.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are now in offseason mode, so they'll have plenty of time to figure things out. One thing they should consider the next time they face the Pittsburgh Steelers is not disrespecting the Terrible Towel again.