This Jaguars’ season was doomed from the start. Even though they won seven of eight games from late October through mid-December, even though they made it to the AFC championship game, and even though they were up by 10 points in the fourth quarter of that game, we should have always known that this team was critically flawed. But it’s not the flaw you’d expect. Yes, their quarterback is a mixed bag at best, they came into the playoffs with virtually no postseason experience, and their vaunted defense was a middle-of-the-pack unit against opponents’ rushing attacks — but no team could truly hope to win a Super Bowl while rocking a helmet that belongs in the XFL:
But now, the Jaguars are ready to join the NFL’s elite. According to Mark Long of the Associated Press, Jacksonville is retiring its two-toned monstrosity. It’s officially the end of an almost entirely forgettable era. RIP.
Say goodbye to this piece of (art). The Pro Bowl will be the final game for Jaguars in the widely mocked, two-tone helmet pic.twitter.com/4C3p2awA2Z— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) January 28, 2018
This iteration of the Jacksonville helmet, unveiled in 2013, was a flawed idea made worse by sloppy execution. The helmet combines both gloss and matte finishes, when it should be one or the other. The gradient between the gold and the black looks like an abrupt, hard line down the side of the helmet when there should be a smooth transition. And possibly most grating of all is that the colors are in the wrong spots — if the black were on the back of the helmet, it would create an image of the jaguar leaping out of the shadows in attack. Instead, he’s jumping into the darkness, a fitting symbol for how the Jaguars played for four of the five years they donned this helmet.
But it’s finally over. The Jaguars are moving on from their ugly headgear and now have a chance to fix their Achilles’ heel, though how they plan to do so is a mystery. Long says he’s heard the next helmet will be “solid black,” but then muddied the waters by saying “it won’t be flat black.” (The exact difference between “flat” and “solid” black is up in the air.) It’s also possible that the Jaguars are looking to go back to something like the helmets they wore from 2009 to 2012:
If the franchise is insistent on a two-toned look, that isn’t the worst way to do it.
Also per Long, the Jags will be getting new uniforms with “more teal” next season. They’re expected to be unveiled in April. Teal is great — I fully support the use of more creative colors in the NFL — but that alone won’t fix the team’s flaws. That can be done only with the right helmet. Don’t mess this up, Jacksonville.