Aaron It Ouch: The Sting of Elimination

When you have something to write that is too big for Facebook or Twitter, you become thankful that you have a sports blog.

The Jaguars’ season ended last evening in a game they seem to have been destined to lose – not because the team isn’t talented enough, but because it seemed like everything that could have negatively affected the Jags, did.  Okay, I’m talking about the bogus calls the refs made on the Jaguars.  The Bouye PI that wasn’t even a catchable ball.  The Jack fumble ruling.  The delay of game that was called only after the play was complete and a first down made, coming out of a time out.

And then there’s this:

And this…

I saw the above tweet, by the way, because Josh Scobee, former NFL player, retweeted it.  I mean, if that doesn’t tell you something, what does?

So I’m in a state of sports-fan-sadness right now, and I am also in a little bit of a funk, and I blame the Pats and the refs.  I tell myself I won’t watch the Super Bowl and I know I’m lying to myself, because I am a huge football fan.  But man, the magical Jaguars season is over. I can’t believe it.  I don’t want to believe it.  It’s surreal almost.  I am hurting, man.  I am invested in this team.  This is my team and they have played their butts off this year and brought their fans more success this year than has been seen in Jacksonville for a decade or more.  I mean, there have been 18 years between AFC Championship appearances for the Jaguars.  That is so cool, that the Jags made it that far.  But it could have been farther.

There’s really no one to blame here.  The defense played their butts off and many of the top D players were playing through a lot of pain.  The offense did the best it could, and Blake literally carried the team on his back.  Special teams pretty much nailed everything they could; Josh Lambo is THE kicker of the future for Jacksonville.

And yet it sucks, because MY team is home today, and later they will probably head to the stadium and pack up for the offseason, because of a few bullcrap calls during a game they led for three and a half quarters.  I want to be so upset.

But think about where Jags fans were a year ago.  Wondering who the new coach would be, wondering if Coach Coughlin would come back to town, trying to figure out who would be drafted in May, wishing we were one of the playoff teams, and looking at the dang Senior Bowl as the next point of excitement.

This year we were one win away from a Super Bowl appearance.

The Jaguars have a new and deserved swagger.  The Jaguars are on the precipice of truly being respected nationally again.  The Jaguars are in for a huge 2018.

And there’s change on the horizon too, but nothing major.  The team needs to address the offensive line, probably take a long look at receiver, and maybe free safety.  We’ll see new uniforms, as well.  That should be fun.

Before we know it, January 2019 will be upon us.  A new year of playoff football.  A new time to make an impact.  There are two new head coaches in the division now, which may eventually bring competition but for now leaves the AFC South wide open.

This really, really stings.  But going from 3-13 to 10-6 and the playoffs, that’s amazing.  Once the “I can’t believe we lost to the stupid Patriots” wears off, we’ll appreciate this season.  It wouldn’t hurt if the Eagles curb-stomp the Pats, either, I guess.

Go Jaguars.

#DTWD

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Aaron It Out: Wild (card) and Crazy Guys

Welcome to a wild card, mini edition of AIO. I’m still on vacation and largely in denial of the real world, so I will have a longer column next week. Now, a few quick thoughts and your Wild Card picks.

The coaching changes we thought would happen did, except maybe for Jack Del Rio getting hosed by the Raiders for Jon Gruden, a man who hasn’t had a successful coaching year since before Del Rio started his first coaching job in Jacksonville.

Looking forward to seeing what happens especially in Indy, New York, and Arizona. The Cardinals are a solid QB away from rocking back to the playoffs and they have great experience carrying thru veteran QBs, so a Sam Bradford, Kirk Cousins, or Eli Manning signing makes a load of sense.

Here’s the picks:

TITANS AT CHIEFS – The Chiefs are not who you want to play in January – they are playing very well and look formidable. The Titans still pretty much stink and may be looking for a head coach soon. Chiefs win.

FALCONS AT RAMS – I don’t see a situation where the Falcons win. It’s a long trip to Los Angeles and the Rams are young and hungry. It should be a great offensive game. Rams win.

BILLS AT JAGUARS – This game should be over pretty quickly if the right Jags team shows up. If the one from the last couple of weeks comes, it could be interesting. However, if you ask me, the Jags are ready to make a postseason impression. Jaguars win.

PANTHERS AT SAINTS – This game should be fun and another shootout, but I will take the home team. Saints win.

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