I feel compelled to interrupt our normally scheduled blogging for some good old fashioned sports talk. Many of you already know that I’ve made my home in Jacksonville Florida for the last 16 years. On Tuesday of last week we experienced a convergence of Jaguars related news that boggles the mind (literally. Do you know how long it takes to get your mind unboggled… the amount of time is mind boggling as well, so watch out.)
The news is so big that that we need a nickname for the day so that we can always remember that this was the day it all happened. Henceforth, the last Tuesday in November shall be known as Teal Tuesday and we will use it to celebrate the contributions of Wayne and Deloris Weaver to Jacksonville and also to celebrate the downfall of the long statewide nightmare known as the head coaching career of Jack Del Rio.
Let’s start there. Jack Del Rio is gone. He has been “dismissed” as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Classy as always Mr. Weaver. Let me paraphrase in my best Donald Trump – Del Rio, Your Fired! I know it’s not nice to feel joy over someone’s misfortune, but I really can’t help myself. I honestly got chills when I got the text message from my friend this morning telling me that Del Rio had gotten the axe (keep chopping wood Del Rio!). I’m serious, I almost got misty eyed in the middle of my business meeting. Del Rio has been so maddening over the last few years. The times weren’t always bad. Once upon a time I supported Jack, but year after year of blaming things on everyone around him would take its toll on the staunchest fan.
Del Rio took it to new levels this year. When asked why the game plan was so conservative he honestly answered by saying he didn’t know why they were so conservative. Really? REALLY? He’s the head coach and he doesn’t know why the game plan is what it is? That’s so asinine, so pathetic that it still makes me want to scream two months later. My opinion is simple, he didn’t like the heat and tried to deflect it to Koetter. Here’s the problem Jack – YOU WERE THE HEAD COACH! It’s your job to know these things and deal with them. ESPN Blogger Paul Kuharsky’s tweet about the situation was absolutely classic:
Jack Del Rio said
#Jaguars‘ offense was too conservative in Carolina. Revolutionary idea: Click headset on and say “open it up.
Del Rio’s dismissal is easily a big enough piece of news to make my day. Here’s where the story took an unexpected twist. In the same press conference long-time owner Wayne Weaver announced that he had sold the team to Shahid Kahn, an auto-parts mogul from Illinois. I think it’s pretty cool to have the first minority owner in the NFL (Khan was born in Pakistan and came to the USA at the age of 16). It’s also super cool to have the best mustache in the NFL. Seriously, this guy is on par with Rollie Fingers. It’s amazing.
In all seriousness though, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Wayne and Deloris Weaver for everything they’ve done for the city of Jacksonville. Without the Weavers there are no Jaguars, no upsets of the Bills and Broncos in ’96, no 14-2 in ’99 and no Monday Night Football victories over the Steelers. More than that, the Weavers have been such a classy pair and have done as much for the city outside of football as they have inside of it.
That being said, the last few years have been very rough. The loyalty that Mr. Weaver brings to his business ventures was not necessarily a good fit for the NFL and there seemed to be a reticence to spend on par with other owners to make sure that the Jaguars were more Patriots than Bengals. I’m very hopeful that this will change under Khan. A new owner is certain to want to make a mark and there a few ways better than spending the money necessary to bring a high quality head coach in here to turn things around.
Lastly, in a move that fell slightly under the radar due to the size of the other news, Mike Smith, the Jaguars GM signed a 3 year extension today. Smith’s performance has been hit or miss so far. In particular the ability of Blaine Gabbert to adapt to the NFL and learn to step into throws under pressure will do a lot to decide Smith’s long term legacy. I’m a little surprised, I thought that the Jaguars would completely clean house, but overall I’m not unhappy about it. It tells me that both Weaver and Khan believe in Smith’s process. While mistakes can happen, it’s the overall process that usually determines success over the long haul.
So, there’s my take. You know, it’s a lot easier to write about sports than the other topics. This didn’t take long at all. Next week we’ll return to our regularly schedule type of blog post.
Until then, be blessed.
Posted on December 3, 2011, in Sports and tagged Blaine Gabbert, Deloris Weaver, Football, Gene Smith, Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville, Jaguars, Khan, NFL, Shahid Khan, Teal Tuesday, Wayne Weaver. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.