Two days after the end of the 2012 season that saw the Jacksonville Jaguars post a franchise-low two-win season, the team introduced its new logo. Whether you have already caught on, or not, it’s the tangible evidence to substantiate that this is a new era in Jacksonville.
While former owner Wayne Weaver certainly left a mark on the Jacksonville Jaguars, a year after taking ownership of the team, owner Shad Khan has turned the Jaguars into a new organization, into his organization. His process in doing so has been gradual, but significant.
Of course, the first major change to the team was a year ago when ownership of the team changed hands from Weaver to Khan.
The team was, until last year, an extension of Weaver; he brought the Jaguars and the Super Bowl to Jacksonville and will forever be remembered for what he did for the city. But, when ownership changes everything underneath must change, and that is what followed in Jacksonville.
Mike Mularkey was brought in as head coach, but his tenure was doomed from the beginning. It was not his fault, though as a result, he may not be given another opportunity as a head coach in the NFL. He put together a fine coaching staff, but did not have a lot of talent to work with. Blame for that can go to the former general manager, Gene Smith.
In January, Khan hired a new general manager, David Caldwell, replacing Smith, who had been with the Jaguars since its inception. While Gene Smith is an excellent judge of talent, his approach to drafting and building a team left much to be desired and resulted in below-average talent on the roster.
An example of this is the subject of Tim Tebow. When the Denver Broncos signed future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, last year, two teams proposed a trade for the incumbent starting quarterback—the New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While Gene Smith attempted to trade for Tebow and offered a better deal to the Broncos than the Jets, Caldwell shot down any thought that the Jaguars would work to acquire the former University of Florida Heisman Trophy winner.
Asked about the topic during his introductory press conference, Caldwell announced (via jaguars.com), “I can’t imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar…even if he’s released.”
Since his hiring, Caldwell has hired a new head coach, up-and-comer Gus Bradley. Bradley, in contrast to Mularkey, is known for his high energy, which can be seen in the attached YouTube clip.
That video alone, made Bradley a highly desired coach in Philadelphia before Chip Kelly decided to move to the NFL. Bradley brings a “you can do better” attitude, while Mularkey maintained the “we’re almost there” line of thinking.
These changes at GM and head coach and his staff are background changes; some may not notice them, while the new logo is in your face. Just like Nike is known by the swoosh, and Apple is known by their half-masticated apple, NFL teams are known by their logos.
Stephen Gillett is not a household name, but you know his employers. He was “head of digital and CIO at Starbucks and most recently EVP and president, Best Buy Digital, Global Marketing and Strategy at Best Buy.”
Prior to the unveiling of the new logo, if you did not know the Jaguars were changing, you know now. Like it or not, the new Jaguars that you woke up to are not the same Jaguars you woke up to previously. In the words of new GM David Caldwell, it’s evidence of an “atmospheric change.”