Greg Cote

Greg Cote: Florida’s NFL teams in state of mediocrity

A Jacksonville Jaguars fan cheers in the stands during a game against the Cleveland Browns in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.
A Jacksonville Jaguars fan cheers in the stands during a game against the Cleveland Browns in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. AP

Miami visiting Jacksonville on Sunday reminds us, unfortunately, that when it comes to the NFL the state of Florida has become the state of woe – that, or the state of waiting. The Dolphins, Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a combined 5-14. If only this were an aberration, and not a continuing trend.

The Jaguars last made the playoffs and won a playoff game in 2007. That also was the team’s last winning season. Since then the Jags are 32-71 (.311).

The Dolphins last made the playoffs in 2008 and last won a playoff game in 2000. Since that last winning season in ’08, Miami is 38-48 (.442).

The Bucs last made the playoffs in 2007 and last won a playoff game in 2002. Since the club’s last winning season in 2010 the team is 16-38 (.296).

All three state teams each had a winning record the same season in 2005.

All three last made the playoffs the same season in 1999.

The teams’ combined playoff drought will reach 20 years if none of the three makes the postseason this year. That’s all but a certainty for Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. Miami is giving itself a chance but right now would be fairly called a long shot.

Clearly, the Dolphins are in the best position of the three state franchises and the closest to trending upward.

If only that weren’t such faint praise.

Recent history has made being the best NFL team in Florida something like being the fastest giant tortoise in the zoo.

Scatter-shooting the league:

▪ Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray is on pace for 426 carries, which would break NFL record of 416 set by Larry Johnson in 2006. The 400 mark has been topped only four other times.

▪ Bears’ Matt Forte leads NFL with 52 catches; no RB has led league since Roger Craig in 1985. Forte is on pace for 118; RB record is 101. Also, Colt Ahmad Bradshaw is first RB since 1986 with six TD catches at this point.

▪ Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger has 99 victories in 149 career starts. Most QB wins in one’s first 150 starts: 116 by Tom Brady, 108 by Joe Montana, 102 by Terry Bradshaw.

▪ If you wondered, Colt Andrew Luck is on pace for 5,328 passing yards. That would be third all-time, after Peyton Manning (a record 5,477 last season) and Drew Brees (5,476 in 2011).

▪ Kurt Warner had most passing yards, 11,457, in first 40 starts. Luck, with 10,527 through 39 games, can surpass Dan Marino for fourth in that category with 232 yards Sunday.

▪ Entering Week 8 the Broncos had distanced themselves a bit as Super Bowl favorites, at 3-1 odds via Bovada. Next came Packers at 8-1, then Cowboys/Seahawks both 9-1. Peyton Manning has taken over as MVP pick at 5-2, followed by DeMarco Murray 7-2 and Aaron Rodgers 5-1.

▪ There already have been 10 comeback wins from 14 or more points down. Season record is 12, in 2011. And the five Week 7 games decided by one or two points were most in any one week since 1982.

▪ Pro Bowl voting has begun at NFL.com, through Dec.15. Most likely Dolphins at this point are DE Cam Wake, LT Branden Albert and CB Brent Grimes.

▪ In a small volley in the war to repair its image, the league has instituted an NFL Sportsmanship Award for on-field comportment. Not among early betting favorites: Ndamukong Suh.

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