Woody Paige Reflects on his 'Jagwads' Column Before Jaguars' Playoff Victory in Denver
Long-time Denver sports columnist Woody Paige has had quite the career, penning an abundance of columns, articles and novels and being featured in countless television appearances.
But through the decades which Paige's career has spanned, there has been one specific story that landed him in enough hot water to the point where he still years about it today, over 20 years ago. That story, of course, is Paige's infamous column ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars' Divisional Round bout vs. the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium.
When asked what is the stance or opinion he has had that his gotten him in the most trouble, Paige revealed on UNMUTEABLE! The Woody Paige Podcast on Wednesday that his column about Jacksonville and the Jaguars is still the answer to this day.
"The word is Jagwads," Paige said in response to the inquiry. "A day in my life does not go by when I don't hear from someone in Jacksonville and I'll give you how this works out. That if I write that the Premier League is starting soccer again, if I write that, somebody will write me and go 'well what about Jacksonville in 1997.'"
Ahead of the game, however, Paige authored a column in The Denver Post in which he lambasted the Jaguars as a team compared to the Broncos, largely due to the fact Jacksonville was in just their second season as a franchise and the Broncos were one of the most respected teams in the league.
"Jacksonville Jagwads? What league are they in?
When did the NFL start letting USFL teams participate in the playoffs? Did I miss something? Or, are the Jags from that goofy World League or the Continental Basketball Association?
After the Broncos dispense with these Jagwads today, do they face the Barcelona Bobcats or the Birmingham Power Light?" Paige wrote in his column in January 1997.
What followed the column was the Jaguars completing one of the great upset victories in the league's storied history. In only the franchise's second season, the Jaguars traveled to Mile High Stadium to go toe to toe with the 13-3 Denver Broncos in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, leaving Denver with what is widely considered to be the greatest victory in team history.
The Jaguars were 14-point underdogs and were famously regarded by many as a pushover for the talented Broncos team, but the Jaguars would storm back from an early 12-0 deficit and win 30-27, capping off a monumental upset and bringing the upstart franchise one game closer to the Super Bowl.
"And so I just ragged on Jacksonville, the city and the team that 'who are the Broncos playing next week? Forget about this game. This game's over.' So sarcastic for 20 inches of column space or something," Paige said on his podcast.
"And so, Jacksonville comes in and it's the second biggest upset other Joe Namath and the Jets in the postseason beating the Baltimore Colts. And during the game from what I was being told during the game, and it went down to the last 10 minutes or so, but the Broncos gave it away."
Paige said Wednesday that his scathing column of the Jaguars was eventually seen by head coach Tom Coughlin, who would later go on to make sure his players knew what those in Denver were saying about their team ahead of their massive game against the Broncos.
"So Coach Tom Couglin in Jacksonville got up on national TV and held up the Denver Post and said, this is the reason we won the game. He went around and had one piece of paper put under every door in the hotel. And that was their fighting charge; that was their bulletin board material," Paige said on UNMUTEABLE! The Woody Paige Podcast.
Everything since is history. Jacksonville beat Denver and to this day Paige continues to hear about the words he printed in The Denver Post in January 1997. The upset win over Denver is not just the most memorable and significant win in team history, but it is the team's biggest piece in the NFL's history. Considering the importance of that win to Jacksonville and its fans, it isn't a surprise to see that Jaguars fans continue to make Paige eat his words to this day.
For Paige's complete podcast and story revealing the background of his infamous 'Jagwads' column, click here.