The Jacksonville Jaguars have become the NFL's laughing stock with six straight seasons of double-digit losses, nine straight without a playoff berth and only three winning seasons in the last 17 years. They need someone to completely rebuild the franchise.
And they might just turn back to the man who built it for them in the first place, more than 20 years ago.
Tom Coughlin, the former Giants and Jaguars coach, is on the Jaguars' shortlist of candidates to replace their recently fired coach Gus Bradley, and a source familiar with Coughlin's thinking said the 70-year-old is definitely interested in talking to them about a job. Coughlin has made no secret of his desire to return to the sidelines, and this might be the perfect job.
Why? Because the Jaguars desperately need someone with his knowledge and resume and authority to come in and completely clean up the mess that has been created, especially over the last six seasons. And Coughlin has deep ties to the Jacksonville community, where he keeps a home and where his Jay Fund charity is based.
It makes sense on so many levels, which is why Jaguars GM David Caldwell wasn't shy about stating his interest.
"Tom is somebody we'll be interested in talking to," Caldwell said at a press conference on Monday. "Tom's a great man, a great person, and we'll see how it goes. There'll be a lot of people we'll be interested in talking to."
None, though, will come with the resume and respect that Coughlin will, and not just from the two Super Bowl championships he won with the Giants. He was the Jaguars' first coach in 1994 and literally built them from scratch, starting work a year before they played their first game working out of a trailer parked in a field.
The Jaguars went 4-12 in their first season as an expansion team, but they went 9-7 and reached the AFC championship game in just his second season. And he followed that with three straight seasons with double-digit wins, including a 14-2 season in 1999 that again ended in the AFC championship game.
Coughlin's tenure there ended with three straight losing seasons, but most observers agree that was largely the result of his performance as GM (he had dual titles) and his mismanagement of the NFL salary cap, which was new at the time.
Caldwell said "experience is critical" for his next coach, and Coughlin has that with 20 seasons as an NFL head coach and a 170-150 overall regular-season record. The only real knock against him is his age, but Coughlin - who interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason and flirted with the San Francisco 49ers when they were looking for head coaches - has never seen age as a deterrent.
And he definitely still has the desire.
"Am I missing the sideline?" Coughlin said last month when he was inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor. "I would be less than honest if I had told you that I didn't miss the sideline."
Whether he'll return, though, remains to be seen. Currently Coughlin works in the NFL office and he could be a candidate for several jobs in the offseason when the crop of potential head coaches is largely considered to be thin. Jacksonville, though, would seem to represent his best chance.