In 2019, the NFL and Home Box Office – I bet the kids had no idea that’s what HBO stands for – fumbled on the 1-yard line as the ball rolled out the back of the end zone.
The all-access docu-series that takes you into NFL locker rooms had gold in their hands with the Raiders. They had Jon Gruden – a coach that, to date, has a 10-year $100 million contract and has only won 10 games four times in his 14 years on the sidelines. The team also had a new General Manager in Mike Mayock who only played a few NFL games in his career and was previously a talking head on NFL Network with no front-office experience. And best of all, the Raiders had Antonio Brown, the league’s biggest drama queen.
And what did we get?
The most forgettable and uneventful season in the franchise. We got more info on social media and SportsCenter about Brown’s antics over his feet, his helmet, and forcing his way to New England than we ever got to see on HBO. But, the football gods could grant HBO another chance to make things right, as the Jacksonville Jaguars have become the league’s next must-see-drama with the addition of Tim Tebow.
Let’s break down the cast.
I’m not going to tell you about how this might be the single greatest – and most flagrant – example of white privilege in American history. I’m just going to post this tweet from Etan Thomas and let him do that. Besides, watching Tebow serve as an H-Back in Urban Meyer’s offense as a safety valve for Trevor Lawrence so he can barrel through defenders is already going to be entertaining enough.
Never forget that high-stress jobs have caused Meyer serious health issues, and basically caused him to quit coaching twice. Which is why it’s so interesting to watch someone who was so good at television give up that job to coach one of the most stress-inducing teams in the NFL. Never forget that Meyer is a domestic abuser protector, and quietly tried to hire a coach to his Jacksonville staff that was fired for persistent racist behavior at Iowa. It all blew up in his face.
Strong is one of “Urban Meyer’s guys,” and was a longtime assistant under him before running his own programs at Louisville, Texas, and South Florida. While in Gainesville, Strong made headlines for saying that he, a Black man, had been told that his wife — a white woman — had been the reason why he wasn’t getting offered head coaching jobs, as white folks in the South weren’t happy about his interracial marriage. A few years later, Strong and his wife went to Texas, of all places. Now he’s back in Florida, the place where he was originally told that his marriage was problematic.
Outside of the national championship this backfield tandem brought to Clemson and the ridiculous amount of awards they won in the watered-down ACC, the Jaguars’ decision to use both of their first round picks on these two was a great business decision. They combined for 17,894 yards and 186 touchdowns in college.
In sports, if you know the name of the owner of a team it’s for one of two reasons: They’ve been doing it for a really long time, or they say and do dumb things quite often. Jaguars owner Shad Khan is the latter. As the sole majority owner of color in the league, Khan is proof that “all skin folk ain’t kinfolk.” A quick Google search will show you he has spent money and said all the right things when it comes to racism. However, that same Google search will tell you that Khan supported Trump. You can’t have it both ways.
If your franchise is possibly going to be on a docu-series that chronicles the lives of players and coaches as cameras are everywhere, then you should probably have someone around that’s used to it. According to the Jags roster, the “Last Chance U’’ star will be on the team.
I have no idea if Minshew will stick in Jacksonville or eventually move on. But it’s imperative to note that this team was once led by a quarterback that looks like this.
Don’t f**k this up, HBO.