Welcome to the best NFL offseason series you'll ever read -- that is, if you're like me, and you want nothing more than the blissful lie that your team will be good in 2019. How Your Team Won Super Bowl 54 will take you through each NFL franchise with one goal in mind: convincing you that there's at least one universe in which Your Team wins it all. I'm Doctor Strange, you're Tony Stark, the Avengers are Your Team, Thanos is...Bill Belichick? I've lost the metaphor.
One thing's for sure:
You'll die in the end. Your Team is going to win Super Bowl 54.
When Nick Foles makes you feel better about your offense, you did something wrong
The question you have to ask yourself is this: if Nick Foles didn't win Super Bowl 52, would the Jacksonville Jaguars have signed him to a 4 year, $88 million dollar deal?
If you think the answer is no, then the Jaguars signed Nick Foles because of one game -- which, in a league full of unbelievable tomfoolery, is gut-wrenchingly hysterical.
And then -- after you realize that the Jaguars signed Nick Foles because of one game -- you remember that they gave him over $50M guaranteed, they gave him over $20M/year because they wanted to prove to the locker room that they believed he was a bonafide starter.
Again, let's consider the alternative. If Nick Foles loses the Super Bowl, the Jaguars don't sign him; but also, if they only payed him $15M/year, the locker room would never have trusted him as a starter.
This is where we are right now: Nick Foles is making more per year than Tom Brady, Cam Newton, and Philip Rivers, and it's all due to a one-in-a-million playoff run and the unquenchable pain of watching Blake Bortles start for your team for half a decade.
So, now that you've adequately convinced your locker room that Nick Foles is a Super Bowl winning QB -- it happened, and we're paying him like one! -- you've gotta actually do it. Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was the correct start: in Philadelphia, DeFilippo was a chief architect of a simple-read, quick-hitting, pre-snap offense that obscured Foles' panic under pressure and capitalized on his first-read reliance.
But the next step, if we're following the Philadelphia model, is an elite offensive line, playmakers at every position, and a wicked pass rush. Jacksonville may have that last bit -- or close to it -- but the offensive firepower around Foles isn't nearly what the Eagles had. Is he the sort of passer that elevates the players around him? No, he is not -- but he's paid like one!
The Jacksonville Jaguars have never won a Super Bowl -- they have never been. They've made the playoffs once in the last 11 years. When the team continues to bungle key franchise decisions, that's what will continue to happen -- and it leaks throughout the building. Defensive players haven't been happy for seasons, as evinced by situations like Jalen Ramsey's, Yannick Ngakoue's, and even Telvin Smith's. Even in 2018, the defense showed that it could not maintain 2017 standards -- a further drop-off is expected in 2019.
The defense might still be good; health could improve the offensive line; I kinda like D.J. Chark. But that 2017 flash in the pan created unreasonable expectations for 2018, and with The Bortlenator out of the building, it may be tempting to convince yourself that 2019 will be a comprehensive bounce-back.
It will not be.
How The Jacksonville Jaguars Won Super Bowl 54
The same way the Eagles did in 2017 -- by limping into the playoffs and catching enough lucky breaks to gain some momentum and throw on an underdog mask. Gardner Minshew The Goshdarn II comes in for relief of an injured Nick Foles in Week 16 and popguns his way into Jacksonville's hearts with a sly smirk and fabulous mustache. Flip gets Leonard Fournette 175 carries and 150 receptions en route to his league MVP award, infuriating the haters. Ngakoue and Ramsey both top out their positions with 2020 extensions, mostly because I like them both.
How many universes does this happen in?
3 out of 1000. Long live Blork Battles.
How does it all go wrong?
Doug Marrone is the head coach of this football team.