Though all reasons for the decision to fire coach Jack Del Rio won’t be known unless Wayne Weaver (1) shares them with the media and (2) tells the truth when he does, there’s a factor that simply can’t be overlooked when considering the ultimate fallout in Jacksonville.
With Tim Tebow doing in Denver that which few believed he could do at the NFL level, Weaver undoubtedly is stewing about the failure of his football people to recommend drafting in 2010 a guy who not only would have easily filled the home stadium in the short term, but whose success could have allowed Weaver to permanently remove the tarps from EverBank Field.
“Star power is incredible, and Tebow is an iconic figure,” Weaver said in 2009. “That’s very compelling. He clearly is an outstanding football player and would be an asset to any football organization. . . .
“The game is such an important part of this community, and Tebow is such an iconic figure that people would legitimately think, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if he was a Jaguar,’” Weaver added at the time. “I’d be silly to sit here and think that’s not going to be a huge thing.”
So what happened in early 2010? With Weaver excited about the ability of Tebow, a Jacksonville native who played college football up the road in Gainesville, to sell tickets and strengthen the ties between team and community, someone had to talk Weaver out of drafting Tebow, from a football standpoint.
That someone most likely was Del Rio or G.M. Gene Smith, or both.
And now that Tebow has won five of six in Denver and the man for whom the Jaguars traded up to draft — Blaine Gabbert — has looked a lot worse than second-rounder Andy Dalton, Weaver’s blood likely boils every time he sees Tebow lead the Broncos to an unlikely victory, and every time he sees Del Rio lead the Jags to an inevitable defeat.
Sure, Del Rio’s firing may have been inevitable. But with a local boy making pretty darn good right now in Denver, Weaver had to be influenced by the fact that he was influenced by Del Rio and/or Smith not to set the clock in Jacksonville to Tebow Time.