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How the NFLPA Conspired to Force the Jaguars to Fire Tom Coughlin

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:25 PM
Travis Pulver
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:25 PM
  • Tom Coughlin was brought back to the Jaguars in hopes that the most successful coach the team ever had could revive the franchise.
  • While the second Coughlin era got off to a promising start, it ultimately crashed and burned. The writing was on the wall for a long time.
  • But after the letter the NFLPA sent its members, the Jaguars had no choice but to fire Coughlin.

This is a unique time of year in the NFL. While some teams are looking towards the postseason, others shift their focus much further down the road. That’s what the Jacksonville Jaguars did Wednesday when they fired Tom Coughlin.

The Jaguars looked like they were on the verge of becoming a powerhouse in 2017, only to fall back down the rabbit hole of obscurity last year. Maybe this season could have been different if Nick Foles hadn’t gotten injured in Week One, but we’ll never know.

But their lack of success on the field is not what did Tom Coughlin in. From what Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in his statement , it may have started that way. But it wasn’t losing that made Khan get rid of Coughlin now.

It was the NFLPA.

NFLPA Wins Grievances Against Jaguars; Warns Players

On Monday, the news broke that the Jaguars had fined at least one player (later confirmed to be Dante Fowler ) 25 times for more than $700,000 because he missed offseason treatment sessions at the team facility.

dante fowler jaguars tweet
Source: Twitter 

Here’s the problem: The collective bargaining agreement prevents teams from making anything in the offseason mandatory (with limited exceptions). Teams certainly can’t make treatment sessions at the team facility mandatory.

Following the ruling against the Jaguars, the NFLPA sent members a letter explaining the ruling – as well as how the Jaguars tried to circumvent the CBA. The letter went on to say that the Jaguars have been the subject of 25% of the grievances filed by players over the last two years.

Then came the part that forced Khan to fire Coughlin:

You as players may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club.


NFLPA statement on Jaguars
Source: Twitter 

Tom Coughlin Had to Go – The NFLPA Forced the Issue

When the players union advises members against signing with your team, there is only one thing that a team owner can do. Khan had to eliminate the driving force behind the grievances; in other words, he had to fire Tom Coughlin.

Otherwise, no matter how much money Khan threw at free agents (and he always throws a lot), the Jaguars were going to struggle to fill their roster – much less add top-tier talent. They already lost one guy because of management (Jalen Ramsey). They couldn’t afford to alienate this year’s free-agent class before free agency even starts.

Some players may have been willing to overlook the warning – for the right price. But most would not. With so many other teams available, why would they?