The Denver Post
Yo, Jags: It's time to hit the road, Jack
January 4, 1997
Jacksonville Jaguars? What league are they in?
When did the NFL start letting USFL teams participate in the playoffs? Did I miss something? Or, are the Jags from that goofy World League or the Continental Basketball Association? After the Broncos dispense with these Jaguars today, do they face the Barcelona Bobcats or the Birmingham Power & Light?
In the postseason the Denver Broncos are supposed to be playing the Cleveland Browns or the Oakland Raiders or the Buffalo Bills. The opposition should have an Al Davis or a Terry Bradshaw or a Bruce Smith to get riled about. There should be a 30-year rivalry and a playoff history and a spitting disgust for the other team. There should be bad blood and revenge and a suck-it-up sensation.
How do you get worked up to play somebody called Jacksonville with a bunch of nobodies?
Who wants to hurl insults and snowballs at Jaguars?
Mark Brunell is the quarterback. I give up.
Jacksonville? Is that a semi-pro team or a theme park? Isn't Jacksonville the only Florida city without a beach?
This is the playoff game Denver has been waiting for?
The Broncos go 13-3, yet are forced by the league to play kissyface with Jaguars. Bring on Pittsburgh - a mean team with meat on the bone.
When the Broncos reach the Super Bowl, skeptics will just say: "Oh, but they beat Jacksonville."
Wasn't Jackson (Miss.) State available?
Oh, I remember Jacksonville now. Expansion team. Been around for a couple of years. I get the Jacksonville Jags confused with the Carolina Panthers, or is it the Carolina Jags and the Florida Panthers? Isn't that the hockey team the Avalanche beat?
I looked it up, and the Jaguars did win six of their last seven regular-season games, against the likes of Baltimore (twice), Cincinnati, Houston, Seattle and Atlanta. That sounds like a Nebraska schedule. And the Jags squeaked into the playoffs on a quirky missed field goal by Atlanta. The Broncos didn't face such cupcake foes, except for Baltimore and Cincinnati and Seattle, and they marched into the playoffs cremating, for example, Chicago and Minnesota.
Who do these upstart Jaguars think they are, anyway, coming to Mile High Stadium, where the Broncos haven't lost this season and only once ever in the playoffs? They must think they belong here, but they will learn.
"I told you back before the season began that Jacksonville was going to be a playoff contender," said Adam Schefter, the self-proclaimed, know-it-all pro football expert employed by The Post.
I don't recall that specific statement. I do know that when Jacksonville beat the Broncos in the final exhibition, I said something like: "The Jags are awful. They should have Anita Bryant at middle linebacker."
In Jacksonville, the Broncos put up 17 points early and retired. John Elway played two series Aug. 23, and the rest of the starters lasted about a quarter. But Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin acted as if his team had just won the Super Bowl. "It was a helluva victory. We played great in the second half to come back and win it."
As if the Broncos were serious.
The conference must be really down this year for Jacksonville to make the playoffs.
Jacksonville reportedly has the No. 1-ranked passing game in the NFL. Wait until the Jaguars try that stuff at Mile High Stadium. And the Jags bring back center Dave Widell, who was a nice player and swell talk-show host in Denver in his day.
This is easy. It will not be a Jag War.
The tanned, rested and ready Broncos will invalidate the Jaguars. Instead of "The Drive" and "The Fumble,"
Denver-Jacksonville will be known as "The Blowout." The Broncos are favored by 14. Not enough.
This is where you get off, Jaguars. No way, no (Natrone) Means.
Broncos 31, Jags 10.
Can we get a legitimate NFL team in here next Sunday?