O-Zone: Whistle away

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Tim from Fort Wayne, IN

Funny how a team just won the Super Bowl by playing great defense and running the ball well. Haven't fans been telling us all year that you can't win in today's NFL by playing that way?

The New England Patriots indeed won Super Bowl LIII Sunday by running effectively and playing big-time defense, which is precisely the formula the Jaguars won with in 2017 and wanted to use in 2018. Does that mean the Jaguars were successful in 2018? Of course not. Does it mean the Jaguars need to stay status quo moving forward with what they’re doing offensively? No. Does it mean all of the people who believed the Jaguars were absolute idiots for building philosophically as they did will admit that maybe the decision-makers weren’t idiotic after all? Maybe … but likely not.

Disgusted from Everywhere but Boston

Those Greedy Jerks Brady & Belichick need to retire already. Not good for the league for the Pats to keep winning. Seriously. They probably sold their souls. I wouldn't be surprised. They'll be screaming, "IT WASN'T WORTH IT!"

I admit to being a bit indifferent to the Patriots winning Sunday, and little doubt it stemmed from a feeling that they’re there every year – and that they win every year. This postseason and Super Bowl certainly felt on some level like a foregone conclusion, and I agree that that’s not particularly good for the league. I can’t quite tell if the Patriots are well ahead of the league or if the league as a whole is just doused in mediocrity compared to New England. I suppose the good news for the rest of the NFL is that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can’t keep playing forever, and that Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick can’t coach forever. Right? Right?

NoFairLeague from Wherever

I'm glad at least I didn't watch. I knew the Pats were going to win, so I wasn't going to give CBS or NFL the ratings.

Yes. You showed them.

Bob from Sumter, SC

If it was up to you, would you trade a third-round pick for Foles?

I assume this question refers to a comment made Sunday by Chris Mortensen of ESPN that quarterback Nick Foles’ current team – the Philadelphia Eagles – would like to trade him to the Jaguars. The Eagles reportedly will place the franchise tag on Foles with the idea of trading him, and Mortenson said the Eagles would rather trade him outside their division – the NFC East – to a team such as the Jaguars rather than trading him to a division rival such as the New York Giants or Washington Redskins. Adam Schefter of ESPN in the same discussion said the Eagles likely will be seeking a third-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft for Foles. The scenario makes sense, though there’s a long way to go – and much to happen – before anything would be official. Would a third-rounder for Foles make sense? Yes. That’s reasonable. The Jaguars would then pay Foles the franchise-tag salary of around $25 million or renegotiate a new – and presumably similar – contract. Is that reasonable for Foles? “Reasonable” for a quarterback is relative, but it likely would mean penciling Foles in as the Jaguars’ quarterback for the foreseeable future.

Leon from Austin, TX

I know we all saw Jalen Ramsey in the NFL All Star commercial. Hopefully soon the Jaguars will be playing in the Super Bowl rather than in commercials. Go JAGS!

Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey getting a “pass defensed” in the #NFL100 commercial during Super Bowl LIII Sunday was cool. The fact that Franco Harris caught it for a replay of the Immaculate Reception was cool, too. People liked it. And why not?

James from Socorro, NM

With the NFL Honors happening Saturday, I did a little research and discovered that the Jaguars are the only team in the NFL not to produce an Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player, or an AP Coach of the Year, or an AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year, or an AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year, or an NFL Rookie of the Year, or an AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, or an AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, or an AP Comeback Player of the Year, or a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, or a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That's depressing.

It sounds like you did a lot of research – and yes, the Jaguars are the only franchise not to produce any of those. They haven’t been around nearly as long as a lot of franchises, so that’s one reason – and they haven’t had an elite quarterback. That reduces your chance of heady individual honors. They have had players and coaches honored by respected entities, though. Calais Campbell in 2017 was the AFC Defensive Player of the Year by the prestigious NFL 101 Awards, and Doug Marrone was honored by the same organization as its AFC Coach of the Year. But overall … no, the Jaguars haven’t gotten a lot in the way of individual honors.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Kevin Mawae was not better than Tony Boselli. What argument do the voters have for this? Longevity?

Mawae, a center for the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets from 1994-2009, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday whereas former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli was not. I agree that Mawae was not better than Boselli, and yes … this is a case where longevity likely comes into the equation. It’s not that most voters are saying Boselli doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall because he played just six seasons as much as the fact that he played just six seasons hurts him when comparing him to other deserving players. Mawae, for example, played 16 seasons compared to Boselli’s six. Because he played longer, he was able to be named All-Pro eight times compared to three for Boselli. When deciding between players and listening to arguments for players, those sorts of things understandably hold some sway. Also remember: voters aren’t voting against Boselli in this process. I’ve never heard a voter say, “I don’t believe Boselli deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.” I have heard them say other players deserve to be in. They’re not incorrect.

Emiel from Texas

They voted in a former Titans offensive lineman over Tony Boselli ... are they trolling us?

No. They’re just trying to get deserving players in the Hall.

Scott from Wichita, KS

So, why should I care about the Hall of Fame? It's starting to feel like the Pro Bowl voting to me.

Fans are going to feel how they feel about the Hall voting process, and fans are going to be suspicious of it – and angry over it – because there are going to be years when their player(s) of choice isn’t elected. Jaguars fans are angry over the process because Boselli wasn’t elected. There are Denver Broncos fans angry because former Broncos safety Steve Atwater wasn’t elected even though cornerback Champ Bailey and Owner Pat Bowlen were elected this year. Indianapolis Colts fans are mad because running back Edgerrin James wasn’t elected, and Raiders fans are angry because Head Coach Tom Flores wasn’t elected. That’s the nature of the process. I wish Boselli would have been elected. I am disappointed for him. At the same time, the reality is there is a legitimate reason he hasn’t yet been elected. The duration of his career makes him a tough sell to some voters when other players have been the best at their respective positions for far longer. I will say about the Hall process what I have said since I began writing the O-Zone: it’s not perfect, but the people involved take it seriously. They put an inordinate amount of time, thought and discussion into it and they understand that they are responsible for the legacies of the all-time great players. They’re not perfect, but they are not putting bad players into the Hall of Fame. They are putting great players there. They’re just not putting everybody’s first choice there because doing so would be impossible.

Red from New York, NY

Johnny O, with your amazing streak and literary feat intact ... as a fan, I am curious about the process. Do you write the Zone alone in a room with an 8x10 of Abigail Van Buren watching over you? Is it done the night before with a sixer of PBRs? Do you get up at 4 a.m. and whistle a happy tune as you walk to your home office with your gold-plated desk and literary awards? Or are you lying on a bean bag chair scratching yourself with your Koss headphones on listening to the Clash at the Max. Or perhaps, you have modernized and are sipping a Starbucks and dictating your column to Alexa. Please Johnny O, can you give us a peek through the window?

No.

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