FanPost

The greatest possible corner in Jaguar history would have been Ronde Barber or How Elway never got his 1st Ring(A slightly different 1997)

From Hurricane 123, another True Teal and Black What If?) I was going to change so much, but there is a rule in this game that you must change the minimum possible event in order to change the world.

With the 50th pick in the 1997 draft, the Jaguars selected Mike Logan out of West Virginia. Only three picks later, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected a wide receiver and with the sixth pick in the second round, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Ronde Barber out of Virginia. Here's to saying it went a little different....

The Jaguars selected cornerback Ronde Barber out of USC with the 50th selection. Faced with a new cornerback in the division, the Steelers choose to outsize the young corner with a tight end named O.J. Santiago to pair with Mark Bruener. Faced with the loss of their higher-rated corner, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected a young corner named Mike Logan (who later finishes his career with his hometown Steelers after being released due to salary cap constraints).

In in a late October game versus the Steelers, the young corner Barber manages to match up well with the veteran Yancy Thigpen and instead of lighting them up for 196, gauges a still good 106. The young Santiago, faced with a drive late in the game to tie it up, drops a crucial pass on third down from nerves (which many say Yancy Thigpen or Mark Bruener would have caught) and the Steelers have to go for it on fourth down with the game ticking down. Stewart does connect, but the field goal is a bit rushed. The kick sails in the Three Rivers wind, and the Jaguars hold on 17-14.

Fast forward to December...not much has changed from what we know, the Jaguars and Steelers tie for the AFC Central crown and due to their 11-5 record, swipe the second seed from the Patriots despite losing to them in week 15 26-20. Well rested from their very surprise bye (a gift of tiebreakers), they face the Patriots at home in Jacksonville. Like they would in the 1998 Wildcard, they exorcise their Patriot playoff demon, revenging the year before, winning a difficult game 26-20...on the road in despite being at home in the AFC Title Game because of their seeding, they once again are underdogs to the Broncos, they are just Jagwires, they are just forgotten....at home, they rise to the occasion, knocking off the Elway Broncos 24-21......sadly, a Brunell pass intended for Pete Mitchell was broken up by the young LeRoy Butler on fourth down and the Jaguars fell 31-24......

and that is how Mike Logan gave the Buccaneers a hall-of-fame defensive back, Elway lost a ring, the Vikings visited Super Bowl XXXIII, and how folks we found the difference between defensive backs can change a franchise

*I did make a goofy mistake, if the Jaguars had the #2, they would have been at home versus the lower seeded Broncos

*In reality, they were obliterated by the Broncos in the '97 Wildcard by four touchdowns 42-17


FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors of Big Cat Country or SB Nation.

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