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Downfall of the Colts Means Opportunity for Mike Mularkey

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In 2003, Jack Del Rio was hired as the head coach of the Jaguars, serving eight full seasons before being fired during his ninth season in 2011. Through those eight full seasons he coached the Jaguars, he never once lead his team into the playoffs as the AFC South division champions.

Also in 2003, Peyton Manning earned his first ever AP All-Pro and won the 2003 NFL AP MVP award after leading the Colts to a 12-4 record. Between 2003-2009, the Colts had seven consecutive seasons with 12 or more wins and won the AFC South in every year during that span with the exception of the 2008 season in which they were dethroned by the 13-3 Tennessee Titans.

While the Jaguars certainly weren't world-beaters any time during that era of Colts dominance, each year they were given very little chance at winning the AFC South title. But with the absolute implosion that was the Colts in 2011, the future for Mike Mularkey's Jaguars isn't so daunting.

The Colts appear to be inching closer towards releasing the man that made it all work, Peyton Manning. After multiple neck surgeries kept him out for all of the 2011 season, Jim Irsay and the Colts have fired just about everyone who is anyone in the organization and is prepared to start over with Stanford QB Andrew Luck. Manning, who is 14-5 all-time against the Jaguars in the regular season, is soon to be the next victim of the purge.

Yes, the Texans are a good football team, but they are not even close to the same level of scary that the Colts were on. For one, their quarterback, Matt Schaub, is already 30 years old as the team is just now reaching a playoff quality of play and he has a had a history of injuries, including a foot injury that sent him to injured reserve in 2011 and essentially cost the team a chance at a Super Bowl run.

What Mularkey will have is an opportunity that is much larger and easier to obtain than Del Rio ever had during his tenure in Jacksonville.