HOUSTON, Texas – It happened shortly after game's end.
The Gus Bradley Era in Jacksonville ended shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday – less than two hours after the Jaguars' 21-20 loss to the Houston Texans. That was when Jaguars Owner Shad Khan announced that the team had relieved Bradley of his head-coaching duties.
This wasn't an easy decision for Khan, and it certainly wasn't one he wanted to make.
Had Khan wanted to fire Bradley, he could have done so after last season. He also could have done it after any number of frustrating, close losses during the nine-game losing streak that set a franchise record for consecutive single-season losses – and that eventually helped cost Bradley his job.
No, Khan did not want to fire Bradley. He and everyone else around the organization very much wanted Bradley to work. They wanted his approach to work. The players sure wanted it to work.
Bradley's 14-48 record will be offered as evidence it did not work, but Bradley was not dismissed Sunday because of 14-48. If overall record was the reason for his dismissal he indeed would have been fired long ago.
But the Jaguars' 2-12 record and their current nine-game losing streak made it obvious that whatever Khan's belief in Bradley that a coaching change was coming.
Why now? Why in the moments after this particular loss?
Khan didn't address that in the statement announcing Bradley's dismissal. Perhaps General Manager David Caldwell will address it when he meets with the media Monday. Until then …
Let's get to it …
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
It had to happen, O. It's sad. Players like him, media likes him, fans like him ... but it had to happen. It was just a matter of when. I'm not smart enough to know why today was the day, but Shad has a billion or so of them.
John: I don't know, either. Perhaps it was just time the way some things are just time – but it is sad. I understand that there are people rejoicing, and I understand some fans see this is as a happy day. It is not.
Ken from Jacksonville:
Looks like it was.
John: I'll assume this email is trying to say, "See, it was coaching!" As I have said many, many times, good coaches get fired all the time in the NFL. Tony Dungy. Bill Belichick. Tom Coughlin. All have won Super Bowls in the last decade; all were fired before doing so. Jack Del Rio. Mike Mularkey. Coughlin. Dirk Koetter. All have been fired by the Jaguars and have gone on to great success. Perhaps Bradley will go on to success. I hope he does. Perhaps he won't. Who knows? But just because a coach has a bad record in the NFL, and just because he gets fired does not mean "it was all coaching." Had the time come when it was obvious there was going to be a change? Sure. Does that mean Bradley in the end was solely responsible for 14-48 or that another head coach would have meant a better record than 2-12 this season? Absolutely not.
Gamble from Brasilia, Brazil:
When a team has won 14 games in the last four years, the team should be prohibited from talking about "owning the AFC South." They can talk about owning cleats. Or a helmet. Or puppies -- everyone loves puppies! But not the division.
John: Fair point.
Mark from Basildon, England:
Dear John, regardless of the final result, Jalen Ramsey is a beast!!
John: Also a fair point.
Carol from Jacksonville:
I would just like to say that, yes, we did all know that change was coming – but I do want to thank Gus for everything he tried to do for the Jaguars as he was always first class in the way he acted. I really do hope he can relax and enjoy the holidays now with his family. My concern is Dave Caldwell gets a pass and seemingly will stay as our general manager - I really think this team would not have had the record we have with better quarterback and running back play. And that falls directly on Dave Caldwell.
John: I've addressed the "Dave Caldwell Pass Issue" a lot in recent days, but in the wake of Sunday's news it's going to be a big topic. The overwhelming argument observers make against Caldwell returning seems to be that Blake Bortles is a bust. Is he? I don't know. It doesn't look good know, but who knows … perhaps he can improve. Either way, I don't believe you fire a general manager because of one miss – even if that miss is a franchise quarterback. If you believe a guy is a good general manager and that he's setting the right course, then you keep him. If you don't, don't.