Jaguars’ worst-to-first turnaround has been an emotional roller coaster for fans

At the beginning of the season, a psychologist said some fans had been seeking therapy due to the team’s performance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jags Nation has experienced an emotional turnaround.

Jaguar fans are in the midst of euphoria after the improbable season Jacksonville just pulled off. Jacksonville went from having the worse record in the NFL at the end of the 2021 season to first in the AFC South this season.

The city is now gearing up for Saturday night when the No. 4-seed Jaguars will host the No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

But back after Jacksonville’s season-opening loss to the Washington Commanders, News4JAX sat down with a psychologist who said some fans had been seeking therapy due to the Jaguars’ performance.

“Talking about the Jags is a common topic in my psychotherapy sessions,” Dr. Justin D’Arienzo, a clinical psychologist said in September.

What a difference four months can make. The Jaguars were sitting at 2-6 before they won seven of their final nine games, including its first five-game winning streak since the 2005 season.

After the Jaguars won the AFC South with a 20-16 victory at home over the Tennessee Titans this past weekend, News4JAX on Monday talked with D’Arienzo again. He said patients are remaining optimistic.

“Fortunately, people have a short memory,” D’Arienzo told News4JAX over Zoom. “And as soon as the team turns around and is winning, they get excited and they forget about all those losses. It just feels good to win. So I’m not seeing that many doubtful people.”

But fans are still dealing with some emotional whiplash from the team’s worst-to-first ascent.

“For this year, yeah, I was surprised. I thought maybe next year had a chance, but the fact that they played in such a bad division this year certainly helped,” said Jaguars fan Mike Grayzeck.

The playoff buzz is all over Northeast Florida. Some fans are stopping by a Jaguars gear shop at TIAA Bank Field. Others are making plans for the game.

And while there is a general sense of surprise around Jags Nation, some fans say they always had hope.

“I love it — love every minute of it. Can’t wait until next week,” said Jaguars fan Steven Snell. “I’ve got faith in them.”

Fans say they are having a lot more hope because of how this season played out.

News4JAX is hearing from fans they are having a lot more hope because of how the season played out. The team had a slow start but has been on fire for the past two months and is hot at the right time heading into the playoffs.


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Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.