Happy New Year! Let’s celebrate with some not-so-fun news regarding the past decade. Jacksonville Jaguars fans have grown accustomed to futility within the franchise during the past 10 years, but the national media has taken notice as well.
Yahoo! Sports writer Jeff Eisenberg recently identified the 10 worst professional sports franchises in America during the 2010s. Surprise, surprise — Jacksonville made the list. Remember, this is across all major sports leagues, not just the NFL.
The Jaguars just barely made the list, coming in at 10th.
Here is what Eisenberg had to say about our beloved Jaguars (Note — this piece was written just prior to the Week 17 game and prior to the news that Doug Marrone and Dave Caldwell will return):
10. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Record since 2010: 50-109 (.314)
Coaches since 2010: 4
Most recent winning season: 2017
Most recent postseason appearance: 2017
What went wrong: It’s easy to forget that Jacksonville led New England deep into the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game two years ago. Aside from that season, the Jaguars have won less than 38 percent of their games this decade and have not made another playoff appearance. Quarterback play has been the biggest culprit for Jacksonville’s decade-long struggles. Spending top-10 picks on Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles did not work out, nor has the acquisition of former Super Bowl hero Nick Foles thus far. A dominant defense helped the Jaguars overcome their quarterback issues two years ago, but that unit has rapidly declined the past two seasons. The Jaguars lost 11 games last season and might match that feat this year.
Rock bottom: Convinced they had found their franchise quarterback, the Jaguars gave up two picks to Washington to move up six spots and select Gabbert at No. 10 overall in the 2011 NFL draft. Then the team dumped supposed starter David Garrard less than a week before the 2011 season began, thrusting Gabbert into the role. Alas, Gabbert wasn’t ready for that responsibility, nor was he worthy of such confidence. He went 5-22 as a starter in Jacksonville and threw more interceptions than touchdowns during that three-year stretch. He also missed games as a result of injuries to his shoulder, forearm, thumb and hamstring, as well as a cut on his throwing hand. In 2014, Jacksonville finally admitted its mistake. It traded Gabbert to San Francisco and … selected Bortles third overall in the 2014 draft.
Hope for the future: With Tom Coughlin already out of a job and head coach Doug Marrone likely to go with him, the Jaguars are headed for a rebuild. It will take at least a year or two to upgrade the offensive line, retool the formerly dominant defense and figure out whether either Foles or Gardner Minshew are franchise quarterback material. The good news for the Jaguars is that they have an opportunity to build through the draft. They have two first-round pick each of the next two seasons after trading disgruntled corner Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams.
Frankly, it’s hard to argue that Jacksonville shouldn’t be on this list — a 31.4 percent win percentage this decade, four head coaches since 2010 (five, if you count Mel Tucker as an interim) and one winning season in that timeframe. It’s more than a fair assessment.
Owner Shad Khan agreed to buy the team in 2011, and the sale wasn’t officially finalized until January 2012, so to be fair to Khan, he wasn’t around for the entire decade. With that said, the team has struggled under Khan for the majority of his tenure. And, of course, many are not too happy with Khan’s decision to bring back both head coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell for the 2020 season.
Joining Jacksonville on this list of infamy is the San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago White Sox, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Miami Marlins, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks and Cleveland Browns.
Here’s to hoping the 2020s bring more seasons like 2017, and much more success for the Jaguars. I’ll foolishly continue to root for this team either way.
Do you agree with the Yahoo! Sports writer?
The Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the worst professional sports franchises of the 2010s
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