The Jacksonville Jaguars are a franchise facing a crucial time and point in their history. We just concluded are 15th season, and in retrospect I'd have to say it's been pretty successful.
6 playoff seasons, five playoff wins, 2 AFC Championship games, and 2 Division titles. Considering franchises like the new Cleveland Browns have made one playoff appearance since their move back to Cleveland in 1999 and the Houston Texans have never made the playoffs despite being in the league since 2002, I would say the Jags have been a pretty model franchise for success for a relatively new team.
So why then when you hear about the Jags, it's negative publicity from not filling up the stadium to moving to Los Angeles to bad drafting to players with run-ins with the law? As good as the history has been, their has been something missing between the early success of the team in the mid to late 90's under coach Tom Coughlin to the past decade led mostly by coach Jack Del Rio, and it's not just wins and losses.
Those early Jag teams had a connection to the city, from Mark Brunell to Tony Boselli to Jimmy Smith to Dave Widell and others. I remember waiting up to about 3 in the morning waiting on the Jags plane to land after those amazing playoff wins over Buffalo and Denver in 96', and the love they received after a tough, hard fought loss to New England in the AFC title game. We loved our Jags unconditionally, and they in return loved us as well and showed it on the field.
Fast forward to now. Outside of Maurice Jones-Drew, is there any other player that you get a sense of just wanting to be around not only because they are stars for your favorite team, but because you get the feeling that they generally care about you as a person?
Enter Tim Tebow. Tebow is the only person, outside of Brunell and Boselli, that you get the feeling that despite how great a player on the field that he is (and the accomplishments are plenty) he may be an even greater person. Tebow and Mojo together can get back the feeling of mutual love between team and fans like we once had and once again make the Jags relevant in our homes and communities, and in retrospect the Jags would receive the unconditional support they sorely lacked in seasons past to perform at a top level on the field.
Before being blasted for writing yet another pro-Tebow article, let me state that why I do believe Tim needs work, if for nothing more than to continue adjusting to his newfound throwing motion, I do believe that the Jags have no other choice. Now just so we are clear, I am not advocating taking Tim with the 10th overall pick, but if we can trade down to the bottom half of the 1st round (which Gene Smith has expressed wanting to do) then I'm all for it.
The reason I say we have no choice is because despite all the efforts of both the marketing dept (30 for 30, 8 month payment plan, etc.) and Team Teal, the Jags still face a staunch reality of not only having this seasons games blacked out, but a real possibility of losing the Jags altogether. Now while I am not saying that Tebow will be a perennial Pro-Bowler (although I think he can become one), can we really afford not to take him and he does somewhere else? If Tim is drafted by another team and leads them to a Super Bowl, that may be the final nail in the coffin for this franchise.
Agree or not, while no player can single-handedly save a franchise, Tim is the only person that can come close. With Tim, Mojo, Tony Boselli and GM Gene moving forward, the Jags can once again get back to the glory days and "Restore the Roar" of the Jags in Jax.