It Was Always… Who?

The Jags. That’s who. 

Words by Carmen Macri

 

It didn’t look that way in the 2020-2021 season when the team finished 1-15, which was not only a personal worst for the Jaguars but also the worst record in the league, only to be followed up with a 3-14 record.  It didn’t look like that this season either when the team was in last place in their division. Yet, the Jags turned it around and clinched the AFC South with a record of 9-8 (thanks, in part, to the Tennessee Titans who lost their final seven games but who’s counting?). Even if the Jags were still rocking that losing streak, one thing is for certain, the city of Jacksonville had their backs. There was never a doubt that it was always the Jags. 

The Jaguars have not had a season like this since 2017 when we were robbed of our spot in the Super Bowl because the referees were clearly on the Patriots’ payroll (P.S. Myles Jack STILL wasn’t down.) All that said, this has been a crazy season for the Jags and their fans. They started off this season much like every other, mediocre. Opening the season with a tough loss followed by a five-game losing streak, but that didn’t deter their spirit. No, not with Doug Pederson steering the ship. It is normal for a team to need time to get used to new coaches and new players. For the Jags, it took the first half of the season, but after they got into the groove, it was game over (for the rest of the division).

I spoke with Jaguars safety—and creator of “It was always the Jags”—Andrew Wingard, who believes this team is built on love and hard work. They all love being around each other and elevating one another, both coaches and players.

“Obviously we are very confident right now, and sometimes it takes tough losses to build character, and once you establish your character then that’s where confidence stems from,” Wingard explained. “With Doug at the helm and the culture he has established, I believe this team is in a great window of success.” 

Wingard and the team expected to be in the playoffs before the season even started. They knew where they stood as a team (and where the rest of the AFC South stood.) After ridding themselves of the parasitic Meyer, there was really only one way for the Jags to go, and that was up. It is pretty impressive that during Pederson’s first year with the Jags, he brought us to the AFC South championship and a second-round playoff game. 

“Losing teaches you more than winning, so it’s cool seeing all the guys who really fought through the tough times be able to experience success,” Wingard said. “We expected to be in the playoffs before the season [started]. We all manifested it and trusted God.” 

Even though the Jags lost to Kansas City in the playoffs, it was incredible they were even there. It was even more incredible to be watching the game at a crowded local bar hearing the “DUUUVAL” chant through the TV from Arrowhead Stadium. The city came together at home and on the road. With the rising success during this season, it gives the fans hope that next season will be even better. Good or bad, it was always the jags. 

“I came up with [the phrase] because it was always the Jags, no explanation needed, vibes only; not words,” Wingard explained. “I’m glad it’s blowing up because it’s the vibe we need, and it’s obviously working.” 

About Carmen Macri

Since a young age, Carmen Macri knew she wanted to be a writer. She started as our student intern and has advanced to Multi-media Journalist/Creative. She graduated from the University of North Florida and quickly found her home with Folio Weekly. She juggles writing, photography and running Folio’s social media accounts.