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One hour not enough


This is our yearly night of catharsis. Out with the old, in with the new. Don't you wish it was that easy.

For the Jaguars, Monday was that day. We said goodbye to this team's first and only coach, Tom Coughlin.

The morning began with a season-ending team meeting. It was brief. There were no farewells. It was a traditional season-ender; tie down the loose ends.

Then Coughlin repaired to his office; to wait for the call from Wayne Weaver. It was the morning of decision. Coughlin had to know it was coming. Imagine his despair.

Sometime around 9:30 a.m., Weaver dropped the bomb on his coach. Their meeting was also brief.

By 9:45 a.m., Coughlin was informing his staff of the news they all knew was coming. Imagine their despair. They were out of a job; find a new one, sell the house, find a new one, pull the kids out of school, find a new one. Some of Coughlin's assistants are young and there's no guarantee they'll find another job in this league. Thoughts immediately turned to those they knew on the way up.

At about 10 a.m., the man who slept in his office every gameplan Tuesday for the last eight years of his life, began packing his personal effects in the most unceremonious of cardboard boxes. Maybe you know how it is; you started with a picture of your wife and kids on your desk, and now you have a whole box of them. You're going to need another job, just to have a place to put all of these pictures.

Sometime around 10:30 a.m., car packed with pictures, Coughlin pulled out of the parking space where his car spent 16-18 hours of each day -- and sometimes more -- and headed home. Imagine his despair.

It only took an hour. Think about that.

So, the new year begins tonight, and the Jaguars and their fans will train their thoughts on a new beginning and a rejuvenation of the spirit, as they should. Thoughts turn to a new coach and a full stadium and playoff games, as they should. This is supposed to be a happy game.

And soon my thoughts will turn to all of those wondrous things, but I'm going to spend some time tonight thinking about that "hour." It was too quick. I never got a chance to say goodbye.

That bothers me and causes me to ask: Are we taking ourselves and this game a little too seriously? Have we lost perspective when we condense eight years of sport into a rushed, one-hour exit?

When you welcome in the new year tonight, and you consider what you'd like to change about yourself in 2003, give some thought to your perspective on football. Is it proper?

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