Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles (7) watches his team warm up before the start of last week’s preseason game versus the Falcons. (Stephen B. Morton)
Columnist

Exactly 23 years ago to this moment, I was in Jacksonville on an NFL-related business trip. On my first night there, my co-workers asked me to join them for dinner.

“Where we going?” I inquired.

“Hooters.”

“Hooters? Really?”

“Oh, yeah,” one of the co-workers said. “Get the chicken sandwich. It’s awesome.”

I got the chicken sandwich; it was not awesome. I quickly ascertained we were not in Hooters for the chicken sandwich.

That was my first and last time at Hooters.

And that was my first and last time in Jacksonville.

But I did not leave the River City without telling myself: Remember the Jaguars.

So here we are in 2019, and the perpetually disregarded, largely forgotten Jacksonville Jaguars have had a losing record seven of the past eight seasons, including last year’s gloomy 5-11 mark good for last place in the AFC South.

But that was then and this is Nick Foles.

Somehow, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to let their franchise quarterback leave the franchise.

Why exactly did the Eagles push Foles out the door?

In two stints with the team — 2012-14 and 2017-18 — he won 20 of his last 26 regular-season starts. Over the last two seasons, he was 4-1 in the playoffs, including a 41-33 win over the TB12 Patriots in Super Bowl 52 to give the Eagles their only Super Bowl championship.

See ya, Nick.

The Eagles chose to keep likable lughead Carson Wentz, who has a 23-17 record, has never won a playoff game and is likely to reinjure himself walking into a shopping cart at Target.

So long, Nick.

(Column Intermission: Frankly, Helmetgate pales next to Cryotherapygate; apparently, Antonio Brown has problems from head to toe. Does it get any better than the Oakland Raiders wide receiver’s frostbitten feet caused by wearing improper footwear while using a cryotherapy machine in France? My goodness, you go to France for the croissants, for the Eiffel Tower, for the Tour de France, or, if it happens to be 1789, for the French Revolution; you do NOT go to France for cryotherapy. Plus, who enters a cryotherapy chamber with inappropriate footwear? Rookie mistake, man.)

The Eagles’ loss is the Jaguars’ gain, and the Jaguars, my friends, are your NFL Team of Destiny.

The Jaguars lost five games by six points or less last season. Losers lose and winners win — I believe Ralph Waldo Emerson first said this — and Foles is a winner.

He leads by example. Last month, in full pads on a day in which the heat index was 102 degrees, Foles ran 50-yard sprints after practice — 10 of ’em — with every teammate already in the locker room, according to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Maurice Hayes.

Foles essentially said: To heck with the stifling Florida heat, with the bugs out here the size of defensive linemen, with soft millennial sensibility . . . I am committed!

Couch Slouch likes the cut of his committed jib.

He is a man of faith — he plans on becoming a pastor — and a man of well-chosen words. Foles even wrote his autobiography last year, “Believe It: My Journey of Success, Failure, and Overcoming the Odds,” which critics have compared favorably to my 1993 book, “Hold On, Honey, I’ll Take You to the Hospital at Halftime.”

With Foles replacing Blake Bortles at quarterback, running back Leonard Fournette healthy again and a rugged defense, the Jaguars might go from worst to first in the AFC South. I’m figuring 9-6-1 and a wild card berth at a minimum, en route to a surprising postseason run.

And if the Jaguars make it to Super Bowl 54, I pledge here and now to return to Jacksonville.

I also pledge here and now to even return to Hooters — well, at least drive past it on my way to Popeyes.

Ask The Slouch

Q. How does the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration resist the urge to name every single hurricane after Stephen A. Smith? (Jeff Hazle; San Antonio)

A. Actually, there is a chance — due to changing White House scientific priorities — that NOAA’s offices are no longer even wired for cable.

Q. Why does the NFL still play preseason games? (Terence Barnes; Chicago)

A. Without a sunrise, you cannot have a sunset; without a preseason, you cannot have a regular season.

Q. The R*dsk*ns are looking to replace Trent Williams. Do you think 77-year-old rookie Mitch McConnell is a good fit? He blocks everything! (Dave Bray; Winchester, Va.)

A. Not a good fit: The R*dsk*ns are looking for a left tackle.

Q. Your writing has been dramatically stronger recently. Are you taking performance-enhancing drugs? (Jack Leininger; Spokane, Wash.)

A. No — just Fresca.

Q. If the New York Mets win the World Series, will Bobby Bonilla get a ring? (Tim Reinhart; Stevens Point, Wis.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!