After a wonderful 2017 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars were often compared to the Jags of the late 1990s, when the team enjoyed the best years in franchise history without knowing it. When it comes to any real success in Jacksonville, it’s all there is to provide a comparison. Perhaps, though, the 2017 Jaguars were being compared to the wrong team of the ‘90s.
What if the Jaguars were compared to the Denver Broncos of the same era?
What if Blake Bortles was more often compared to John Elway than Mark Brunell? While this may seem like blasphemy, their stats are more similar than you may think.
While John Elway was a highly desirable draft candidate, like Bortles, his early numbers were not Hall of Fame caliber. After an unusual 1983 Draft, Elway was selected No. 1 overall by the Baltimore Colts yet opted to play baseball for the New York Yankees instead. We’ve all seen the “30 for 30” and now know that Elway returned to football to play for the Denver Broncos later that season.
Elway’s first season in 1983 saw him record a passing percentage of 47.5. While this would be a career low, it took Elway ten seasons to see his percentage peak above 60%. Similar to Bortles, the first few seasons for Elway saw a TD/INT ratio that was concerning. It wasn’t until his fourth season that Elway appeared to get it under control.
In John Elway’s first three seasons, he threw 47 touchdowns and 52 interceptions. In his fourth season, Elway was able to manage the ratio to a much-improved 19 TDs and 13 INTs. That was also the year the Denver Broncos made an appearance in Super Bowl XXI.
John Elway would continue to develop and make a name for himself in what could be considered the greatest era of quarterback play in the NFL. However, it wasn’t until the 1996 loss to Jacksonville in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, ironically, that John Elway would achieve his championship dream.
This is where I can see the comparisons to the current Jacksonville Jaguars.
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