Sam’s Commentary

How The Patriots Do It

In the past eighteen years, the New England Patriots have won sixteen AFC East titles. They haven’t had a losing season. They’ve played in twelve AFC Championship Games including eight in a row from 2011 to 2018—and won eight of them. How is it that New England has that kind of sustained success that most […]

Pro Football Hall the Toughest

This is my 24th year on the Selection Committee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  It’ll be the third straight year I’ve presented Tony Boselli’s case as a candidate for induction into Canton. This year, 102 former players were nominated for the Class of 2019. That list was sent to the 48 members of […]

Jaguars “Can’t Miss” Offseason

Last week’s column about the Jaguars future elicited the full gamut of responses. From “I agree” to “stop drinking and writing,” fans are clearly passionate about what the team should do going forward. A friend of mine once said, “When the reader agrees with you, they’re brilliant. When they disagree, you’re an idiot.” My favorite […]

Bortles, Marrone Should Stay

There will be changes to the Jaguars for 2019; the question is, how many?  There’s a lot of strange stuff that happens early in the offseason, so despite what you might have read or heard, I don’t think any decisions have been made about the Jaguars near future. Every NFL roster turns over about 20 […]

A Pro Stop in North Florida Can lead to a Lifetime in Jacksonville

As the Christmas season unfolds, families will gather this week, many of them coming to North Florida for the holidays. A professional stop for Navy veterans and football players in Jacksonville often has led to those two groups staying here, living here and raising families here. “It starts with the friendship of the people in […]

Players Know Change is Coming

Like any other group, a football team is made up of a lot of different individuals. Guys come from the city, the suburbs, farms and ranches, from all kinds of different backgrounds. The common thread is that they’re all tremendous athletes and have supreme self-confidence in their athletic skill. They need both to get to […]

Wrong Tone Early Sinks Jaguars

Again this week, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone was asked if he was “coaching for his job.” It’s the kind of question that’s asked with some regularity when your team is suffering though a disappointing year. “Every day. Same as last year,” Marrone answered with an unusually clipped response. Any different than last year? “I […]

Something Magical About High School Football

This season both Mandarin and Raines made it to their state high school football championship games. While this weekend’s appearance in Orlando is a crowning achievement for those teams, it also marks a swift and sudden end to many players’ football careers. “I know how special it is,” Mandarin Head Coach Bobby Ramsey said this […]

An Encounter with President George H.W. Bush

Sitting in the men’s locker room in the early ‘90’s at Marsh Landing Country Club, there was a steady stream of guys coming through as usual or a weekday afternoon. I knew most of them and we exchanged the normal pleasantries as they passed through. It’s not unusual to see guys in all levels of […]

In Retirement, Poz Still Knows

So what happened? Last year’s Jaguars team was, according to Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, “one whistle away” from going to the Super Bowl. And with virtually the same players, some free agents and draft picks sprinkled in, the Jaguars fell on their face in 2018. “Aren’t you going to fill other pieces […]

Jacksonville Gets a Team, 25 Years Later

Friday, November 30th will mark twenty-five years since the NFL awarded Jacksonville the league’s 30th franchise. It’s still an amazing, improbable story: Mayor Jake Godbold realized, in the 1970’s, that the people in town didn’t think much of themselves or the city. He believed a pro sports team could change that. As a reporter following […]

Missing Poz, and a Lot More

To hear Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone’s comment about replacing players, it sounded eerily similar to Tom Coughlin’s answer to a similar question in 1995. “You’ve got to see if someone you put in there is going to be better,” Marrone said when asked about lineup changes, particularly at quarterback. “You can’t just replace people […]

Social Media a Fact of Life in Pro Sports

Walk into the Jaguars locker room during the “media availability” time on any given day and there will be a smattering of players arrayed in front of their lockers in various positions of repose with one thing in common: They’re all on their phones. Not talking on their phones, not texting, but looking at their […]

Only the Jaguars Can Stop the Slide

At 3-6, this Jaguars team doesn’t resemble last year’s squad at all. It doesn’t feel like the ’96 team that was also 3-6 but made the playoffs. That team was young and playing with a bunch of exuberance that carried them through the second half of the season. It doesn’t even feel like some of […]

Bortles is the Right Guy

It seems not a day goes by without somebody asking about Blake Bortles. Is he the guy? Will the Jaguars address the QB position right away? Wait ‘till the draft? Eli Manning? Teddy Bridgewater? Buehler? Anyone? But here’s the truth: Blake is the right guy for this team. Built to play defense and run the […]

Jaguars Could Take a Lesson From the Blue Angels

There’s a big difference between a group of people and a team. Being a team is pretty simple: Everybody doing their job well toward a common goal. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Lately, the Jaguars are the opposite of that. The whole is lesser than the sum of their parts. […]

Jaguars in London Pretty Routine

In the five years the Jaguars have played in London, they’ve tried all kinds of different things to figure out how to give themselves the best chance to win. One year the team left directly after a game from Cincinnati. Dinner at the Montgomery Inn on the river, then a special TSA check, bus by […]

Frustration, Expectations Dog Jaguars

Among the questions that will need to be answered for the Jaguars before they go to London is about the starting quarterback. It’s nearly unheard of to take a QB out of the game because things aren’t going well. Yet Doug Marrone yanked Blake Bortles when things went south early in the second half against […]

Georgia Florida is a Big Deal

Working in Charleston I got a chance to come to Jacksonville to cover the Gator Bowl in the late ‘70’s a couple of times. After the 1978 game between Clemson and Ohio State (the one where Woody Hayes famously punched Charlie Bauman on the sidelines) I asked an usher on the way out, “What else […]

Jaguars Need a Fix Fast

It’s pretty simple math. Last year the Jaguars were 3-3 at this point in the season and finished 10-6. That means for the final 10 games of the year they went 7-3 and won the division. But even Head Coach Doug Marrone knows this year is different. “When you look back and we were 3-3 […]