Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

View from the O-Zone: So much younger, but …


JACKSONVILLE – It was a simple question, if slightly "out there…"

What was the coolest thing you did 14 years ago?

That's the question this week because the very young, inexperienced Jaguars are playing the iconic New England Patriots – a team that first began establishing their iconic status …

In 2001.

Yes, the iconic faces of The Patriots Way – the chiseled chin of Tom Brady, the scowling scowl of Bill Belichick – first rose to national fame 14 seasons ago. The first of their four Super Bowl championships came after the 2001 season, which means that duo has helped define the NFL for as long as most Jaguars players have known there was an NFL.

Winning a Super Bowl is cool, and the premise for this View from the O-Zone is the Jaguars on Sunday very much must forget how many cool things the Patriots have done in the last decade and a half. But before we get to this, let's hear the answers:

What was the coolest thing you did 14 years ago?

Allen Robinson's cool thing as a third-grader was what you might expect from a future receiver who was also a really good basketball player.

"I actually won an eight-and-under league basketball championship. At that point, the coolest thing? That was that."


Images of past matchups between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars.


Luke Bowanko's cool fifth-grade thing perhaps wasn't all that out-of-character for a future offensive lineman.

"I made a kid cry because I got in a fight with him. I made him cry, then I made my teacher cry because I made him cry. … (Smiling) I was a bad kid then."

Blake Bortles, a fourth-grader in 2001, unsurprisingly had the best story.

"Girls obviously mature quicker … so they started making these things at lunch you'd fold in your hands and you'd have to pick one (side): it would be like, 'kiss' … 'hold hands' … So, I got me a little kisser in fourth grade."

Bortles continued with a laugh: "I got caught, and the teacher made me hold hands with the girl and run around the playground."

He paused and added with a smile:

"She (the teacher) thought that was punishment … but I loved it."

Ah, the life of a quarterback.

But while every young Jaguars player undoubtedly has his own not-as-cool-as-Bortles'-story of what they were doing when Tom Brady became TOM BRADY, the back-to-the-present, back-to-football truth is this:

The Jaguars are very, young compared to Brady.

Their young players have accomplished a lot less than Brady.

And on Sunday, they will play a real game against the guy who was reaching the sport's pinnacle at pretty much the same time they were making teachers cry, winning eight-and-under-basketball leagues and getting a first "kisser."

This situation doesn't happen as much in the NFL as you might think. Careers are short, and great teams rarely span generations. So playing players whose careers date to when you were in grade school isn't all that common. And on some level, that must be really cool for these young Jaguars.

The Jaguars of course can't treat it that way. Not if they expect to have a chance.

And here's guessing they won't.

Listening to Jaguars players this week, they're not buying the "no-chance-to-beat-the-Patriots" theme. Nothing in tone or body language indicates it, either. There is huge respect, and understandably so. The film says the same thing about the Patriots the record and the rings say – that this franchise wins impressively and consistently for a reason. They have elite players. They're well-coached. They exploit matchups and when they see an edge, they take advantage of it. So, respect? Yeah, there's respect.

But awe? No.

Robinson tried to explain.

"I think it's pretty cool to be able to play against Tom Brady and stuff," he said. "I don't really think too much into it. For me, it was the same going into college. I didn't have too many favorite NFL teams. You get close to that level and you become a part of it. So, it's not so much of a big deal."

Not a big deal, but pretty cool. That's a good way to describe the feeling of Jaguars players this week. Robinson joked when asked if he might let the Super Bowl winner from 14 years ago know that he won't be the only player on the field with a title from that year.

There is the matter of that 8-under league title, after all …

"I'll be sure to let him know about mine," Robinson said, laughing.

Probably not, but it would be a cool a story if he did. And, of course, if the Jaguars' approach yields the sort of performance they hope, and if they do what no one nationally gives them much of a chance to do …

Well, to these young players that would be the coolest story yet.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content