We’re a little over a week removed from Super Bowl XLVI, and one thing has gotten real repetitive – Jaguars fans saying that the franchise shouldn’t have fired Tom Coughlin almost a decade ago. There are fans saying that the Jaguars should have kept Coughlin around, because the team would have apparently won two Super Bowl titles, just like the Giants have over the course of the past few years. Back when Coughlin was fired, however, these same fans wanted to march down to Alltel Stadium at the time, and pack his bags for him personally. So, just hold on a second.
If the Jaguars had never shown Tom Coughlin the door, it can’t be said for sure that there would be two Lombardi trophies displayed in Jacksonville right now. At the time, following a 6-10 campaign in 2002, and three consecutive losing seasons overall, not only were the Jaguars a mess in terms of the salary cap (due in large part to Coughlin himself), they were about to enter a complete rebuild. At the time, it was something that had to be done. Take the last few years with the Jaguars for example, with Jack Del Rio. Following the excitement of the 2007 season, under Del Rio, the Jaguars went 23-35 (.396 winning percentage). What if in a few years, another NFL team hires Del Rio as their new head coach, and he wins a Super Bowl sometime down the road? Will you say it was a mistake to fire Del Rio? I would hope not, because it wasn’t.
Another example would be Bill Belichick, who has appeared in five Super Bowls as the head coach of the New England Patriots, winning three of them. When he was the coach of the Cleveland Browns, from 1991-1995, the Browns finished third in the AFC Central four of his five seasons. From 1991 to 1995, Belichick’s Browns made the playoffs once. The other four years, the Browns finished third in the AFC Central each of those years. Years later, again, Belichick went on to win three Super Bowls in New England. I get that the Browns went on hiatus for a few years following the 1995 season, but had they not, should they have kept Bill Belichick?
Let’s not forget the drafting. Since 2003, the Giants have drafted twice as many Pro Bowlers than Jacksonville with ten to five (however, one for each team was an undrafted free agent). For the Jaguars, it’s been Rashean Mathis, Greg Jones, Marcedes Lewis, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Montell Owens. For the Giants, there’s been Osi Umenyiora, David Diehl, David Tyree, Eli Manning, Chris Snee, Justin Tuck, Cameron Wake, Steve Smith, Zack DeOssie, and Jason Pierre-Paul. So, if the Jaguars had never fired Tom Coughlin, would there definitely be two Lombardi trophies displayed in Jacksonville?
Just let it go, and be happy for Coach Coughlin. A lot of my favorite memories of the Jaguars are from the early days, and I’m sure it’s the same for the majority of you. You can’t say for sure that things would have turned out the same had he never been kicked out of Jacksonville. It probably wouldn’t have. Let it go, and look towards the future. There’s a special excitement right now with the Jaguars, so enjoy it.
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