Jaguars fans are some of the most long-suffering, eternally hopeful fans in the NFL — but even they have their breaking point. The decision to fire Urban Meyer staved off their ire for a couple of weeks, but they want more change, and it’s getting ugly.
When it was announced GM Trent Baalke had the support of Jaguars owner Shad Khan, fans lost it. While Baalke didn’t hire Meyer, he wasn’t a popular selection to begin with, and the team’s horrible on-field play is being seen as endemic of the the Jaguars’ mismanagement and a need for change. It started with fans all over Twitter changing their profile picture to a clown emoji, complete with Khan’s signature mustache.
Now fans are going a step further, planning to get Khan’s attention and voice their displeasure Sunday by wearing clown costumes and holding a “clown party.” It’s unclear whether that will be enough to inspire change, but at least it’s a little catharsis for fans who have put up with so much this season.
So what happened to reach this point? Well, it’s more a confluence of years of frustration. Jaguars fans have always loved Shad Khan and what he’s done for the city of Jacksonville, but that patience is now gone. Baalke was seen as a terrible hire when he was announced after being out of the league for four years, and nothing he’s done has inspired confidence.
There was a time when Baalke was one of the hot young execs in the NFL. Promoted to GM of the 49ers at the age of 47, he hired Jim Harbaugh to take over the team and the duo quickly had success. However, it wasn’t long before the pair clashed and Harbaugh left under contentious circumstances, with the 49ers saying it was “mutual,” while Harbaugh placed the blame on Baalke’s ego.
From there the team went down the drain. Baalke hired Jim Tomsula, which was a disaster and followed up with Chip Kelly — another mess, before getting fired and being pushed out of the league. The Jaguars desperately thought he could turn around the team as well with another college coach with a history of success, except it’s blown up.
New NFL rules allowed for the Jaguars to begin interviewing coaching candidates as early as a week ago, but some of the top potential candidates like Byron Leftwich has refused to interview until the season is over, and it’s believed Baalke is one of the reasons why there’s hesitation among prospective coaches.
Now we’ll get to wait and see if the clown party pushes Khan to change. It’s going to be a weird weekend either way.