When Jacksonville Jaguars associate strength coach Kevin Maxen came out publicly this summer, it marked one of the franchise’s high-water moments.
Maxen became the first publicly out male coach in American major pro team sports and the Jaguars made history off the field.
Now eight games into the 2023 NFL season, the Jaguars are enjoying a high water mark on the gridiron as well. Their 8-3 record projects as the second-best winning percentage in the history of the team. Their 4-1 AFC South division record bodes well.
Obviously, it’s a stretch to say that an inspiring LGBTQ story is the only reason the Jaguars have won so many games. If that were the case, every NFL practice would replace game film with Season 2 of “Heartstopper.”
But one of the best feelings in sports is when game results make us believe that karma exists in the universe.
The season before Maxen joined Jacksonville’s staff, the Jaguars finished 1-15. Three years later, they’re winning at a .750 pace.
Maxen and the 2023 Jaguars are doing more for the concept of karma than anybody since John Lennon.
When Maxen spoke to Outsports about coming out, he said “he is hopeful about the reaction Jaguars players will have to his truth. He’s confident his work ethic, personality, and commitment to the team’s success will win over any doubters.”
The Jaguars’ current five-game winning streak indicates that he nailed it.
On top of their stellar record, the nice thing about Maxen and the Jaguars’ performance is that it just feels good. One of the best parts of being a sports fan in our community is that every time a player or coach comes out, we have someone new to root for as part of Team LGBTQ.
In fact, there are some seasons when cheering for Team LGBTQ can be a lifesaver for your sports mental health, especially when your favorite team is going through yet another decade of rebuilding.
Which is really just a long way of admitting I’m a Chicago Bears fan and I just want to know what it’s like to have a coach who can stay employed halfway through the season.
All of Jacksonville’s good feelings and karma are about to face a big test, however. The Jaguars second-half schedule features a stretch of tough games with teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens.
It also features a Nov. 12 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, who employed out coach Katie Sowers from 2017 to 2020.
If the Jaguars can make it through that gauntlet, they’ll have earned their status as one of the best teams in franchise history and a spot in the playoffs.
And if they can keep their run going through the postseason, Team LGBTQ fans will be rooting for Maxen to join Sowers as out coaches who made it to the Super Bowl.