Writers on NBC’s acclaimed afterlife comedy The Good Place have been confounded by the unlikeliest of real-world events: the Jacksonville Jaguars’ winning season. The perpetual punchline of an NFL team and their quarterback Blake Bortles have been running jokes throughout The Good Place’s first season and a half, but after their playoff win last week, writer and producer Joe Mande has a problem: “What do we do now that the Jaguars are good?”
“It’s been very funny, because the team has been the butt of all jokes on the show for two years, and now suddenly here they are winning a playoff game on the back of Blake Bortles,” Mande told USA Today. Indeed, Bortles—the favorite player of The Good Place’s oft-mocked Floridian, Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto)—played a significant role in the team’s first playoff win since 2007, leading the 11-6 Jaguars to victory over the Buffalo Bills.
According to Mande, a team official has informed him that Bortles is “aware” of the jokes that The Good Place cracks at his expense, and that the Jaguars have had a “great sense of humor about it,” even inviting Mande and Jacinto to Jacksonville for last week’s playoff game.
”[Jacinto] was running around like a dumbass,” Mande recalled. “It was cool seeing how many people at the game recognized [Jacinto], because his optimism is very representative of their fanbase.”
In early episodes of The Good Place, Jacinto’s character passes himself off as a Buddhist monk who has taken a vow of silence, but he is later revealed to be an incredibly dopey DJ from Jacksonville. Mande told USA Today that he had just done a series of stand-up shows in Jacksonville when creating the character, which inspired him to make Jason a Jaguars fan. “We thought, how about we make him a dirtbag from Florida who is an entrepreneur, a competitive dancer and a die-hard fan of this doomed franchise,” Mande said.
The Good Place was recently renewed for a third season, so we’ll have to see how Mande and company handle Jason’s Jaguars fandom going forward. The inventive and hysterical sitcom has been a fixture on Paste’s TV power rankings through its first season and a half, and we don’t see that changing any time soon … unlike the Jaguars’ fortunes.
The Good Place is currently airing its second season, with new episodes on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. EST on NBC. Jason Mendoza’s Jaguars face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC divisional-round playoff at 1:05 p.m. EST on Sunday, Jan. 14 in Pittsburgh.
Enjoy one of The Good Place’s funniest Jaguars moments below.