Clowns to crowns: How the Jags got to playoffs in turnaround season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just a week ago over 70,000 fans packed TIAA Bank Field and celebrated as the Jaguars won the AFC South title.

Winning the division is always special, but the journey to Saturday’s wild-card playoff moment is what truly makes the Jags’ story shine.

Let’s rewind back to Jan. 9, 2022 -- Week 18 of the 2021 season. Clowns showed up to the TIAA Bank Field. Fans wore red noses to protest the Jaguars’ leadership.

The clowns might not have gotten the changes they wanted, but the Jaguars did find a new ringleader in Doug Pederson, who helped bring the city of Philadelphia its first championship.

Pederson accepted the task of trying to do the same for Jacksonville, but Pederson warned fans that it could take some time.

“This is not an overnight fix,” he said.

Maybe not overnight but definitely a quicker fix than many expected. The Jaguars jumped out to a 2-1 start to the season, but then October came around.

The Jaguars lost every game that month. Digging themselves a deep hole. But then something changed in quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

In the last nine weeks of the season, No. 16 was one of the best in the NFL. And the Jaguars went 7-2, leading us back to where we began: the moment the Jaguars earned a spot in the playoffs.

But, as Lawrence said: “Job’s not finished.”

Making the playoffs is just the beginning.

“They know something bigger is out there and all the teams in the postseason are chasing that right now,” Pederson

The Jaguars are just four wins away from holding up the Lombardi Trophy. They have the chance to take the first step Saturday night against the Chargers.

About the Author:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.