Not even mustache aficionado Shad Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, would have believed you if you told him his 3-13 team would rebound with a 10-6 record, let alone make the playoffs. Many of the NFL’s most renowned sports analysists failed to predict the rise of the Jaguars. This unprecedented success has given the franchise a much needed identity. Priding themselves on their defense, the Jaguars have adopted a new name: Sacksonville. By identifying as Sacksonville, the Jaguars have managed to launch themselves into the limelight and have become a huge talking point in the world of sports. #Sacksonville has become a marketing and selling point for both current and prospective fans, and the Jaguars’ social media handles have made it a point of emphasis to create as much buzz as possible around the franchise. With the Jacksonville Jaguars one win away from the Super Bowl, you may be asking yourself, “Why should I root for them?” Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why you should be rooting for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
1. The Jaguars can stop the New England Patriots from making it to the Super Bowl.
On January 21st, 2018, the Patriots will look to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars and secure their eighth Super Bowl appearance in the last twenty years. This may not seem like much, but with 32 current teams in the NFL, this level of success for a franchise is ludicrous! The Jacksonville Jaguars are the only team left that can stop the Patriots from making their way to another Super Bowl. The Super Bowl has gotten to where it’s unentertaining. We gather around the television every year with friends and family. The location of the game changes, the commercials change, but ONE of the teams participating NEVER seems to change: the [insert random NFL team name here] vs. the New England Patriots. I know the Patriots don’t make it to the Super Bowl every year, but it sure feels that way. Seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Super Bowl and the Patriots on the couch would be a breath of fresh air for viewers. Just ask any Falcons fan.
2. The Jaguars have been downright terrible in recent years.
For close to a decade, the Jacksonville Jaguars have failed to reach a record of above .500. Jacksonville has averaged slightly over 4 wins a season since 2008 –those stadium swimming pools sure helped. Only the Cleveland Browns have averaged less wins in that time span. For this season (2017), the Jaguars have 12 wins (including the postseason). That win total is more than their win total from the 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons combined. This team has been BAD. The Jaguars may not have deserved your respect during their 10 year losing spell, but with a defense boasting league leading numbers in sacks and points off of turnovers and an offense that leads the league in rushing yards per game, they sure deserve it now. We all love a Cinderella story. Is there any more team deserving of a happy ending than Jacksonville?
3. Jacksonville has never won a Super Bowl…, because they’ve never been to one!
Although the Jaguars are a relatively young NFL franchise (~23 years old) when compared to a team like the Green Bay Packers (~99 years old), they have yet to reach the Super Bowl. The closest Jacksonville has ever come to reaching the Super Bowl was in 1997 and 1999 with losses to the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans respectively. Jacksonville is the only team currently in contention to not have played in a Super Bowl. The AFC championship game is the hump that the Jaguars have yet to get over, and they’ll be looking to finally take that step this Sunday in Foxborough.
4. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the clear underdog…uhhh…undercat.
NFL playoff predictions are slowly starting to roll out as we get closer to the AFC championship game, and here are several early predictions:
Sports Illustrated: Patriots 20, Jaguars 10
Forbes: Patriots 28, Jaguars 21
Bleacher Report: Patriots 27, Jaguars 24
I’m not saying nobody picked the Jaguars to win, but it’s very apparent that the Patriots are favored. All three of these sources picked Pittsburg to beat Jacksonville last week by an even larger margin, and they were all proven wrong. Why can’t Jacksonville do it again? Are you sick of seeing Tom Brady in the Super Bowl? Then you better be rooting for Jacksonville to shock the world AGAIN this Sunday.
5. Blake Bortles and his social media torment.
Jacksonville’s quarterback, Blake Bortles, has had it rough this season. From players calling him trash on the field, to memes depicting him as a garbage can, Bortles has been the NFL’s 2017-2018 punching bag. The jokes began at the beginning of the season when Bortles threw five interceptions during his first practice. Bortles hasn’t necessarily helped his own cause on the field, but he hasn’t really hurt it. Although his numbers aren’t eye popping, Bortles has posted serviceable numbers from the quarterback position. He set a career low in interceptions and a career high in rushing yards. He’s overall been a better quarterback this year than he was last year when Jacksonville went 3-13. Why all the hate now? I think NFL fans miss making fun of the Jaguars. They can’t make fun of the team as a whole anymore, mainly because of Jacksonville’s defense, but they still have Bortles to remind them of the 3-13 Jacksonville Jaguars. Bortles has even brought to light how the social media bullying has affected his family:
“I have family all over social media and doing stuff like that, so they can’t help but see some of it. And I know it makes them mad because I don’t think anyone would want a loved one or family member to be talked about in negative light by somebody else who is playing against them, but I have talked to close family and friends, and they understand how I feel about it and know it doesn’t bother me, and they do their best to try and do the same.”
I’d gladly be part of an onslaught of derogatory memes for millions of dollars, but he’s still human! If you’re a neutral fan or indifferent to the Jacksonville Jaguars, how can you not be rooting for this guy or this team? Blake Bortles could save the NFL the same way Luke Skywalker saved the galaxy!