To head coach Doug Marrone, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and all of the rest of my heroes on the Jacksonville Jaguars:

 

Please, gentlemen, no more talking about feeling terrible that we didn’t make the Super Bowl.

Don’t you realize what you guys have done for Jacksonville?

And for the nation?

You guys were the Cinderella team of the decade.

You came into the 2017 season with everyone expecting the Jacksonville Jaguars to be one of the NFL’s worst teams. But by the end of the 2017 season, you had every single NFL team quaking in its boots.

They were all scared.

So guys, please.

Stand up.

And yell this as loudly as you can:

“We did it!”

Because you did more in one season than Jacksonville has been able to do for itself in 40 years.

There’s always sadness when you come up short of an ultimate goal.

But you did succeed.

You made us proud.

I was like a 70-year-old kid watching you beat Houston, take apart Pittsburgh (twice), wreak havoc on other teams over the past few months and win the AFC South division.

And then you had the hated New England Patriots on the ropes.

Yes, the Patriots were able to tap dance away in the end.

But it doesn’t get much better than all of that!

IT WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN

I will end with this anecdote:

Nearly 50 years ago, I was driving my blue 1968 Shelby convertible to college each day where I would park next to a then-unknown basketball player’s lavender Cadillac Eldorado. And while I was never a basketball fan, I couldn’t help but become one.

Of course, the Cadillac belonged to Artis Gilmore. The college was Jacksonville University. And Gilmore and the other members of that era’s Jacksonville University basketball team remain my heroes. They nearly upset the powerhouse UCLA Bruins in the 1970 national championship game.

Artis.

Joe.

Chip.

Rex.

Pembroke.

Greg.

I haven’t forgotten.

And I never will forget!

So that’s what I’d like to say to the Jaguars now:

Stand up.

Be proud.

Cheer what you have done.

Because maybe some 50 years from now, there will be another 70-year-old man who will fondly talk about what you did and what you accomplished.

He will not have forgotten it.

And he never will forget it!

John Pittman, Jacksonville