JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tom Coughlin’s second stint with the Jaguars ended on Wednesday night when the team fired him with two games left in the regular season.
Coughlin coached the Jaguars from their expansion season in 1995 until being fired in 2002. He won two Super Bowls with the Giants before returning to the Jaguars as the team’s executive vice president of football operations in 2017.
The team reached the AFC championship game that year, but has been in a freefall ever since. This season has been compounded by one issue after another, including Jalen Ramsey’s very public demands to be traded and a historically bad five-game losing streak that ended playoff aspirations. Jacksonville is 5-9 entering Sunday’s game in Atlanta.
Monday’s statement by the NFL Player’s Association about the Jaguars and them issuing heavy fines to players for things that went against the collective bargaining agreement was apparently the final straw for owner Shad Khan.
Here’s reaction from current and former Jaguars players, with some humorous social media reaction mixed in.
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette with the popular meme.
Jalen Ramsey, who forced his way out of Jacksonville, allegedly due to friction between he and Coughlin, implied something on Twitter, but we’re not quite sure of what.
👀..🤐— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) December 19, 2019
Former Jaguars offensive tackle Leon Searcy had a solid line about the departure and the unwillingness to evolve.
**BREAKING NEWS JACKSONVILLE** There’s a reason why dinosaurs are extinct— Leon Searcy (@searcy_leon) December 19, 2019
Former Jaguars center Luke Bowanko weighed in on the firing with a funny line on Twitter.
Former Jaguars linebacker Jeff Kopp with some perspective on his time with the Jaguars under Coughlin and how fining players is still as much in practice as it was when Kopp played.
I was fined conduct detrimental by TC after missing a lifting session on Monday after a bye week. That’s a game check. I got stuck in O’Hare due to lightning and cancelled flight. I was fined the same amount as a teammate that was arrested & spent the night in jail.— Jeff Kopp (@Kopper57) December 18, 2019
Former Jaguars linebacker Ryan Davis added a well-known internet GIF of Robert Redford in the movie, “Jeremiah Johnson.”
And here’s some love for former quarterback Blake Bortles. As Barstool Big Cat points out, the team hasn’t been the same since the BOAT set sail for the West Coast.
The curse of the BOAT. Jaguars have never been the same since they let their franchise QB go https://t.co/1TGNsGMMPX— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) December 19, 2019
Fans sound off on Coughlin’s firing
Some fans told News4Jax they believe releasing Coughlin was the right move, while others felt it was the wrong decision, saying Coughlin has been a major asset.
“I think its appropriate," said Anthony Milani, a Jaguars fan. "I think Tom in the 90’s was great for the team. His structure worked. But now it’s almost as players viewing it as a dictatorship, and if they don’t want to play for a guy, especially like today’s climate where it’s really geared to support the players, it’s just not going to work.”
“I’m pretty pumped," said Tom Hardy, a Jaguars fan. "These free agents are going to come down now because these free agents are going to want to play for the Jaguars now. They’re not going to want to play for this guy Tom Coughlin any more.”
Some fans on social media weren’t happy with the decision. One person said Coughlin’s release is “one of the most stupid moves Khan has done.”
Another fan said, "What a shame. Tom Coughlin is a stand up guy from a generation that is unfortunately forgotten.”
Milani believes the Jaguars need team managers that understand what the players want.
“Players don’t want to be told what to do -- when to do it any more,” he said.