The Jaguars Can Reach The Super Bowl With Blake Bortles

Over The Past 17 Years, 11 Teams Have Reached The Super Bowl With Statistically Average Quarterback Play

The Dolphins offensive line works to protect Dan Marino during the final game of the legendary quarterback’s career, a 62 to 7 Playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Alltell Stadium, Jacksonville, FL, January 15, 2000. (Photo by Brian Cleary/www.bcpix.com)

The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of four teams who has not reached the Super Bowl (Cleveland, Detroit, Houston). They’ve been to the AFC Championship game twice, losing to New England 20-6 in the 1996 season, and a 33-14 loss to Tennessee in the 1999 season.

1999 was the last time Jacksonville hosted a playoff game. Sunday, Jacksonville will take on the Buffalo Bills at EverBank Field in front of a raucous home crowd. A city with no MLB, NBA, or NHL team is starved for success from their football team.

Some scoff at the idea of Jacksonville getting to the Super Bowl this year. Mainly, because of the Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. It’s hard to forget that Bortles led the NFL with 69 turnovers since coming into the league.

More importantly, his last two games are a cause for concern. Two losses, completing 56 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and five interceptions.

However, this is season Bortles has played much better transforming into the leader Jacksonville needed to take the next step. The fourth-year signal caller has completed a career-high 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,607 yards, with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Also, Bortles posted an 84.7 passer rating for 2017.

PHOTO: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Jacksonville doesn’t need Bortles to be elite, or even above average. Bortles has a career-low 32.6 passes attempts per game and a career-low in interceptions.

Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has fully integrated his quarterback-friendly west-coast offense. Bortles is confident, he sees the field better and has cut down on his turnovers drastically.

A plethora of teams over the past 17 years have reached the Super Bowl with average or worse quarterback play than Blake Bortles.

The formula is simple, great defensive play, or a great rushing attack. Jacksonville has both.

The Jags finished second in points allowed (16.8), first in total defense (286 yards per game), first in passing defense (170 yards per game), second in sacks (55) and second in takeaways (33).

Combine that with a league-leading 141.4 rushing yards per game, Jacksonville has everything in place for a legitimate Super Bowl run.

Stats Do Not Lie

The 2000 Baltimore Ravens won Super XXXV Bowl with Trent Dilfer. Dilfer didn’t start the whole season but completed 59.3 percent of his passes with a 73.9 passer rating.

The 2000 New York Giants got to Super Bowl XXXV with Kerry Collins. Collins completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,610 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions

In 2001 the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI in Tom Brady’s first year as a starter. He’s the GOAT now but his first year’s stats were average. Brady completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 2,843, 18 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a 73.9 quarterback rating.

The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII with Brad Johnson. Johnson completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 3,049 yards, 22 touchdowns, six interceptions and a 92.9 passer rating.

In 2003 the Carolina Panthers reached Super Bowl XXXVIII with Jake Delhomme. Delhomme completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 3,219, 19 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and, a 80.6 passer rating.

In 2005, Super Bowl XL featured quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Hasselback. Roethlisberger completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 2,385 yards, 17 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and 98.6 passer rating.

The 2006 Chicago Bears reached Super Bowl XLI with Rex Grossman. Grossman completed 54.6 percent of his passes for 3,193 yards, 23 touchdowns, 20 interceptions and 73.9 passer rating.

The 2007 New York Giants won Super Bowl XLII with Eli Manning. Manning completed 56.1 percent of his passes for 3,336 yards, with 23 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, and 73.9 passer rating.

The 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII with Ben Roethlisberger, who did not play at an elite level that season. Roethlisberger completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 3,301, 17 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and an 80.1 passer rating.

The 2012 Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII with Joe Flacco. Flacco had great postseason but his regular season was average. Flacco completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 3,817 yards, 22 touchdowns, ten interceptions and an 87.7 passer rating.

In 2015, Peyton Manning was far from elite as the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50. Manning completed 59.8 percent of his passes, nine touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and a 67.9 passer rating.

Having an elite quarterback is what every team strives for, but it isn’t necessary to reach or win the Super Bowl. Any team with the top rushing attack and an elite defense has a shot.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will reach Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.