Being able to forgive is a well known strategy for happiness. Holding onto pain gives power to the event, in a sense keeping you a slave to your past. Easier said than done. As I consider my expectations for the 2014 season maybe the most important goal is for the team to be part of my football therapy.
2007. Dear god it's been so long. But not even that last playoff appearance can give much comfort from the six years that would follow. The games, the players and the coaching served as fertile soil for the weed bed that Gus Bradley, Dave Caldwell and Shad Khan are trying to clean up. Yet as I look back on those games I cannot let go, I find they fell within the frame of better days. When your team is bad all loses tend to be the same.
Maybe you could also be helped by purging some of those old and burning memories. Well sit with me in the circle of forgiveness as I attempt to release some demons, with the belief that 2014 is our collective foundation for happier times. Coffee and snacks are on the back table. If you have to smoke please go outside.
Hello everyone. My name is Brian, and I am a Jacksonville Jaguars fan.
Game #5 - September 10, 2000 - Jaguars 36 Ravens 39
It is the game I consider the first sign of the apocalypse. Not yet being totally gutted by mortgaging the future for the present, but searching for retribution from the 1999 collapse, Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith put on an offensive clinic. The Jaguars finished the first quarter leading 17-0. The Ravens would match that with 17 fourth quarter points. Smith finished with 15 receptions for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brunell, 386 yard 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The Ravens had neither a running back or receiver over 100 yards, but when Tony Banks hit Shannon Sharpe for a touchdown with :41 left in the game...just typing the names Tony Banks and Shannon Sharpe make me feel dirty. How them?!
Mike Hollis had four FG, and we lost because we could not cover a tight end. Thirteen years later you can track the pattern of Jaguars offensive and defensive failings: unable to score touchdowns and cannot cover tight ends.
Game #4 - December 26, 2004 - Jaguars 0 Texans 21
My "What if" game. Year two of the Jack Del Rio era and the Jaguars were primed to make the playoffs. Two games left to play: at home versus Houston and at Oakland. The Texans were 6-8. The Raiders would be 5-10 when the Jaguars would play them, but by year's end that game would not matter because...well, Jaguars. No one showed for this game. Fans. Players. Coaches.
The week before Byron Leftwich led the team to victory in Green Bay (Sort of ironic considering it would be a preseason game in Green Bay that would signal the end of his Jaguars career.) All arrows were pointing up. Yet in what would be common under Del Rio's rule the team disappeared late season when it mattered. The stat line: Leftwich 35 passing yards. Greg Jones 38 rushing yards. Troy Edwards 24 receiving yards. In fairness to Byron he did sustain an early game hit that was reported as a concussion. To add insult to injury it was the Texans first shutout in team history.
What if the Jaguars win this game and make the playoffs?
Game #3 - December 17, 2006 - Jaguars 17 Titans 24
Remember that pattern I just referenced? It's the week after 375. If you do not know what that refers to then research your Jaguars history because I am not telling you. One might even say it is a requirement to be a Jaguars fan to recall such a brilliant display against a hated rival, and player.
So here we are at 8-5, going to Nashville to play a Titans team that is horrible. Vince Young will eventually win OROY over Maurice Jones-Drew because the media had an unholy attraction to the bust. He just wins my ass. The Jaguars would own him over the course of his career, and this game would be no different. Yet thanks to David Garrard's three interceptions and one fumble the Titans would score three defensive touchdowns. The Jaguars defense, on the other hand yielded no offensive touchdowns. This would be the Jaguars first of four losses to end 2006 leading to no playoffs.
Hey Matt Jones, don't think I forgot about your lack luster attempt to tackle Cortland Finnegan.
83 interception return for a touchdown. 92 yard fumble return for a touchdown. 61 yard interception return for a touchdown. ARRGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
Game #2 - January 12, 1997 Jaguars 6 Patriots 20
I just might have had a subscription to Sports Illustrated back then. And maybe, just maybe, because I needed to blame as many non-Jaguars things as possible I canceled my subscription because they cursed the team.
A transformer fuse blew outside the stadium causing an in-game 11 minute delay, symbolizing the dying light of a memorable playoff run. It was a cold and windy day, with four turnovers proving too much to overcome. The two that are stuck in my memory are Brunell's end zone interception trying to connect with tight end Derek Brown and James Stewart's late fourth quarter fumble that was returned for a touchdown. I was absolutely convinced the Jaguars were going to tie this game, then win it in overtime.
Carolina lost too. Burn in hell Sports Illustrated!
Nothing will ever change the memory of the 1996 season, but this one hurt. Of course this is merely a flesh wound compared to the eviscerating loss that is my top (or is it bottom) memory.
Game #1 - January 23, 2000 Jaguars 14 Titans 33
I don't want to talk about it.