There have been very few people in recent years who’ve compared the NFL’s train-wreck-of-a-franchise Jacksonville Jaguars to the NBA’s dynastic Golden State Warriors. However, ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum, a former NFL general manager, recently did just that.
It’s an absolutely ridiculous comparison.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a complete mess
The 2021 season was supposed to be a transformational year for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The franchise had the No. 1 pick and took generational prospect Trevor Lawrence at QB. With pick No. 25 pick, they took Lawrence’s Clemson teammate, RB Travis Etienne.
And, to lead it all, owner Shad Khan finally convinced three-time National Championship-winning college coach Urban Meyer to make the leap to the pros.
Eleven months and one day after Meyer signed on the dotted line and the Great Jacksonville Rebuild started, it all came crumbling down.
How’d this happen?
The tough times in Jacksonville started with Etienne going out for the year in the preseason with a foot injury. It continued with Lawrence starting his career on a record-setting interception pace.
It got really bad when Meyer decided not to fly back from Cincinnati with his team, got worse late-night in an Ohio bar, and reached epic proportions when he tried to sugarcoat the whole situation to his team.
Things got (slightly) better down in Duval County for a time, but a bombshell report from the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero changed everything. The final straw was former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo accusing Meyer of kicking him in the leg in pregame warmups.
Khan fired Meyer after a Week 14 shutout loss to the Tennessee Titans that brought the team’s record to 2-11. Not much changed after Meyer left, though. And a loss to the (almost) equally bad 3-11 Houston Texans sunk the team’s season mark to an NFL-worst 2-12.
Now, the team, once again, will start the offseason looking for a new coach. However, what’s different is that at least one former GM — Mike Tannenbaum — thinks this is not just the best job in the NFL but the best job in pro sports in the last seven years.
Former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum says the Jaguars are like the Golden State Warriors in 2014
Mike Tannenbaum led the New York Jets front office as general manager from 2006-12. The franchise had some of its best seasons in recent memory during that period. They made the playoff three times and the AFC Championship Game twice. But the team’s record was still only 57-55 in those seven seasons.
Thanks to that barely above .500 record, Tannenbaum is now an NFL pundit on ESPN.
This week, on the morning show, Get Up!, Tannenbaum weighed in on whether the Jacksonville Jaguars job or the Chicago Bears job (which also features a talented rookie QB and a coach who most expect will be fired soon) is better.
The former GM left no doubt as to which he preferred:
Jacksonville is a historically great opening because of Trevor Lawrence’s contract. Over the next three years, they’re gonna save upwards of $40 million a year on what they would have to pay him as a veteran quarterback. The day I get that job, I’m getting Davante Adams on the phone, saying, ‘congratulations, you’re a Jacksonville Jaguar.” I am not getting off the phone. DJ Chark’s coming back. Travis Etienne’s coming back. Guys, this reminds me of when Steve Kerr went to the Warriors, and he had the foundation there. They made a couple of tweaks, and the rest is history. This is a team that should be in the playoffs next year.Mike Tannenbaum on the Jacksonville Jaguars job
That’s right. Not only did Tannenbaum say that the Jaguars’ job is better than the Bears’ job (which is arguable). He said the Jags job is as good as the Golden State Warriors job was back in 2014 (which is laughable).
Tannenbaum’s assesment of the situation in Duval is ridiculous
In 2014, former longtime NBA player, assistant coach, and general manager Steve Kerr famously turned down the glamorous New York Knicks head coaching job for the No. 1 seat on the Golden State Warriors bench.
In addition to seeing the Knicks’ crippling dysfunction, led by the notorious James Dolan, he also saw the potential in the Warriors’ young nucleus. This group included second-year forward Draymond Green, third-year guard Klay Thompson, and fifth-year greatest shooter in NBA history, Stephen Curry.
The Warriors won the NBA title that season, one of three in Kerr’s first four seasons.
To say that is where the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster is in 2021 is patently ridiculous.
Sure, a generational franchise QB is comparable to a generational scorer like Curry. However, to say Trevor Lawrence is anywhere near that level yet — even with his potential coming out of college — is absurd.
Justin Fields, who Tannenbaum dismissed out of hand, has started 10 games this season to Lawrence’s 14, so a raw, stats vs. stats comparison isn’t fair.
However, looking at some of the numbers, you’ll find Fields had a better completion percentage (58.9% to 58.1%), a better Quarterback Rating (73.2 to 69.3), and a similar TD to INT ratio (7/10 to 9/14).
Plus, while Travis Etienne could turn into Klay Thompson, and maybe (Jacksonville’s) Josh Allen is Draymond Green, there’s just as good a chance that Darnell Mooney and Roquan Smith turn into comps of those guys, and it’s Fields, not Lawrence that becomes Steph Curry.
Not to mention, it may be Mac Jones or Trey Lance or Zach Wilson who is the Curry of the 2021 NFL Draft when it’s all said and done.
Finally, you have the fact that the Jaguars have little to no history of success while the Bears have been one of the best and most well-run NFL franchises for large parts of the last 100-plus years.
If Lawrence blossoms like Curry and 100 other things go right, there is a world where the Jaguars become the Warriors in the next few years. However, there is just as good a chance (if not better based on history) that Lawrence is actually closer to Hasheem Thabeet or Johnny Flynn, and the Jags stay the Sacramento Kings of the NFL.
The Jaguars job is a decent one, and an interesting one. But let’s not get too loose and start proclaiming it much better than the Bears job or even close to the Warriors job in 2014. OK, Mike?
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference