Jaguars fans are some of the longest-suffering, ever-hopeful fans in the NFL – but they too have their limits. The decision to fire Urban Meyer dampened their anger for a few weeks, but they want more change and it’s getting ugly.
When it became known that GM Trent Baalke had the support of Jaguar owner Shad Khan, fans lost it. Baalke didn’t hire Meyer, but he wasn’t a popular choice initially, and the team’s terrible play on the field is viewed as endemic to the Jaguars’ mismanagement and the need for change. It started with fans all over Twitter turning their profile picture into a clown emoji, complete with Khan’s signature mustache.
Now fans are going one step further and are planning to get Khan’s attention and express their displeasure on Sunday by wearing clown costumes and having a “clown party”. It’s unclear if that’s going to be enough to spur change, but at least it’s a bit of a catharsis for fans to put up with so much this season.
So what happened to get to that point? Well, it’s more of a confluence of years of frustration. Jaguars fans have always loved Shad Khan and what he did for the city of Jacksonville, but that patience is now over. Baalke was seen as a terrible employee when he was announced after leaving the league for four years and nothing he has done has instilled confidence.
There was a time when Baalke was one of the NFL’s hot young executives. Promoted to GM of the 49ers at age 47, he hired Jim Harbaugh to take over the team, and the duo quickly achieved success. It wasn’t long, however, before the couple clashed and left Harbaugh in controversial circumstances, with the 49ers saying it was “each other” while Harbaugh blamed Baalke’s ego.
From then on, the team went down the drain. Baalke hired Jim Tomsula, which was a disaster, and followed suit with Chip Kelly – another mess before he was fired and ousted from the league. The Jaguars desperately thought he could turn the team around with another college coach with a track record, but it’s blown up.
New NFL rules allowed the Jaguars to begin interviews with coaching candidates a week ago, but some of the top potential candidates like Byron Leftwich have refused to conduct interviews until the end of the season and Baalke is believed to be one of the reasons for this is hesitation among aspiring coaches.
Now we can wait and see if the Clown Party pushes Khan to change. It’s going to be a weird weekend anyway.