This week’s Top 20 in recognition of the Jaguars 20th anniversary looks back at the top 20 personalities in Jaguars history. There have been a few standouts that were obvious and would be obvious to hard-core or casual fans of the Jaguars franchise. Others were a bit subtler and as we got to know these players through interviews, locker room chats, charity work or developed personal relationships with some of them, parts of their personalities were revealed that you never would have believed.
A lot of candidates for the top of the list but John Jurkovic comes in at number one. Funny, frank, sometimes so blunt you wanted to ask him if he really wanted to say that, “Jurko” was part of the daily conversation among anybody interested in the Jaguars during his time here. Called his gut “the boiler” and delivered the needle to everybody. Parlayed his personality to a second career as a sports talk radio host in Chicago.
Trying to change the culture of a downtrodden franchise is a difficult task. As good of a coach as he seems to be, Gus Bradley is also a big personality, capable of getting the team to “buy in” to a winning way of thinking. Could have been at number one.
Shad Khan has cut such a wide swath since buying the Jaguars he could also qualify in the top spot. He clearly enjoys the “celebrity” aspect of being a NFL owner but is truly engaging, smart, fun to listen to and fun to be around. His moustache and hair are also so distinctive that they’ve helped catapult him to the number one spot among popularity when it comes to NFL owners.
Jeff Fisher makes the top five, right in front of Tom Coughlin because he became the first personality Jaguars fans loved to hate. He had the needle out for Jacksonville since day one in public. Privately he told friends he loved to beat Coughlin because Tom acted “like he invented football.”
Coughlin is in the top 5 and has such a multi-faceted personality that he could easily make the top spot. Over the twenty years since 1995, Coughlin has morphed into somebody who understands the culture of the modern day player a bit better. If he had been willing to change his ways sooner, he’d probably still be the Jaguars Head Coach. Super smart, engaging, loyal to his friends, Coughlin is qualified virtually in any spot on this list.
Tony Boselli has a big personality and it showed on the field and in the locker room as a players. Since returning to Jacksonville, Tony has dipped his toe into politics, been part of what could be some of the solutions to civic problems with his foundation and has emerged as an easy listen as an analyst on Jaguars broadcasts.
Despite his recent troubles, for a guy who doesn’t talk, Jaxon De Ville is one of the big personalities of the Jaguars. Easily the best mascot in the NFL, Jaxon has such a big personality that he’s part of the landscape of the Jaguars in the league and internationally.
You might not think of Kyle Brady as a “personality” but I laugh every time I think of going with him on the Jaguars charter flights. He’d grab the flight attendant microphone, do imitations, and Coughlin would storm to the back of the plane. Hilarious. He once showed up at a Halloween party as the Hulk, having painted his whole body green. Very authentic. Brady has a wicked sense of humor and might be the smartest guy to ever wear the Jaguars uniform. A commercial pilot, Kyle is also a licensed financial planner and a lawyer who recently passed the bar in Florida.
Maurice Jones Drew played and spoke with a chip on his shoulder. Quirky, somewhat inconsistent, but definitely a personality. Tom McManus had the same personality as a player as he had on his popular radio show. Big opinions, sure of his position, McManus wrote screenplays in his spare time and has stayed in town to raise his family. One of the most intense players in the history of the franchise, Jeff Lageman gave no quarter to anybody not giving a hundred percent, in anything. A graduate from Virginia in economics, Lageman has used that analytical part of his brain to flourish on Jaguars broadcasts.
Linebacker Brant Boyer kept his teammates in stiches with his physical comedy. An undersized player for his position, Boyer knew how to get the needle out and leave ’em laughing.
Reggie Williams was so strange; we weren’t sure where he fit on this list. He was big on “grills” as a fashion statement and even admitted he probably lived on “Planet Reggie.” John Henderson was genuinely funny and anybody who had a trainer slap him in the face to get him ready for games had to be in the top 20. I think John was also an interior decorator in his spare time. Josh Scobee and Joe Zelenka might have broadcasting careers in front of them if they like. They both see the irony in some things that happen in football and have been staples on Jaguars.com interviewing their teammates.
Sen’Derrick Marks is always honest and fun and you can tell something goes on in the locker room when the media’s not there. His teammates are always all over him when it comes to anything he says. Nobody can joke with his teammates on this current team like Sen’Derrick.
Taking a line from Al Michaels, Dave Widell cemented his place in Jaguars history when he grabbed the mic at the stadium after the win in Denver and asked, “Do you believe in miracles,” to the assembled spontaneous crowd. Widell would give you an honest answer anytime you asked. Known all over town for his charity work and his willingness to help, he should probably be higher on this list.
Andre Branch has a sense of humor and a sardonic sense of style that spills over into his personality. The owner of more than 500 pairs of shoes, all of which he wears, he’ll intern for GQ this coming summer.
You might not know Pete Carmichael. He was the receivers coach under Coughlin. Anybody who stood in front of Coughlin at practice, moving around so Coughlin couldn’t see the team on the field, on purpose, every day, for six years, and had a laugh about it, has to be on this list.
And you might wonder why Andre Rison made the list. He’s in at #20 because he’s the nuttiest player ever to be on the team. Kooky, head shaking, eye rolling off his rocker. He’d be #1 on any list of nuts in teal and black. So he’s here.
1) John Jurkovic
2) Gus Bradley
3) Shad Khan
4) Jeff Fisher
5) Tom Coughlin
6) Tony Boselli
7) Jaxon De Ville
8) Kyle Brady
9) Maurice Jones Drew
9) Tom McManus
10) Jeff Lageman
11) Brant Boyer
12) Reggie Williams
13) John Henderson
14) Josh Scobee
15) Joe Zelenka
16) Sen’Derrick Marks
17) Dave Widdell
18) Andre Branch
19) Pete Carmichael
20) Andre Rison
Among the honorable mentions: Mike Tice as an assistant coach was likeable, a cutup, and sociable enough to say hi if he saw you out somewhere. Fred Taylor and Mark Brunell fit into a similar category but I’m not sure if it’s because of who they’ve become after their careers were over or just how long I’ve known them but both are thoughtful, funnier than you might think and guys who are trying to raise families and impact their kids.
I hosted the End Zone with Keenan McCardell so there are a few stories there from off-air that wouldn’t be fair to share but suffice to say, Keenan likes the finer things. He was always dressed impeccably, carrying a Louis Vuitton bag and gave me wristwatch envy on several occasions. Keenan also brought a “winning” and a “losing” outfit to the locker room each Sunday.
Aaron Beasley was a locker room cut up, but he saved it for his teammates. Ty Hallock was among the smartest guys to ever wear a Jaguars uniform and his dry sense of humor was never lost on his teammates. Mike Smith as the Jaguars defensive coordinator left an impact in town. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll meet and did tireless charity work while he was here.
Jeff Novak was a riot to his teammates. Mark Duffner was about as subtle as you could be and still make a whole room laugh. Pete Mitchell was thoughtful and a go-to interview while Damon Jones might say anything so you had to talk with him. Plus with a nickname of “Big Sofa” you get a glimpse into his personality. Richard Collier was such a funny, engaging guy as a player and looked to be on his way to a solid career. It’s hard not to think what “might have been.
TJ Slaughter had his own clothing line and was a model. Paul Spicer and Jeremy Mincey were engaging in the locker room and funnier when the cameras were off. Mincey couldn’t live in the Gus Bradley world and that’s a shame because he could be a contributor on this team right now. He’s also passionate about his music business. Montel Owens also qualifies as one of the smartest guys to ever wear Teal and Black. A University of Maine graduate, Owens made the team as an undrafted free agent. He’s an accomplished trumpet player as well. I still scratch my head about his release. He seems like a perfect fit for the current Jaguars.
Terrance Knighton is showing the personality we knew in the locker room on his current Bridgestone tire ads. Gary Walker and Kelvin Pritchett didn’t mind calling out, fans, teammates or even the media if they thought necessary. Danny Clark saw himself as more than a football player and Paul Posluszny couldn’t be more engaging when he’s around (and not working) He’s also currently working toward his Private Pilot’s license.
And Leon Searcy deserves a mention here. Not a guy to talk much, when he did, it was usually something meaningful. He also remains the only guy in Jaguars history that, by consensus in the Channel 4 Sports Department, we wouldn’t want on the other side in an alley fight. No thanks.
Did we miss anybody? Tweet us at #jagstop20 or @Sports4Jax or just send us a note on Facebook. We’ll talk about your adds on Jaguars Friday Night.