Jaguars vs 49ers (Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock.com)
As their name suggests, the Jacksonville Jaguars are based in Jacksonville, Florida and play in the National Football League’s (NFL) American Football Conference (AFC) South Division. One of the more recent franchises to join the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars play their home games at the EverBank Field stadium.
Founded in 1993, the Jaguars played their first NFL season in 1995 and have had a reasonable amount of success for such a young team. They have won division championships in both 1998 and 1999 and have qualified for the playoffs on no less than six occasions, the most recent being in 2007.
The Jaguars are owned by Pakistani born, Shahid Khan, who bought the franchise for an estimated $770 million. He bought it from Wayne Weaver, shoe store entrepreneur and original owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Full Name: Jacksonville Jaguars
- Conference: American Football Conference
- Division: South
- Location: Jacksonville
- Stadium Name: EverBank Field
- Year Established: 1995
- Owner: Shahid Khan
- Head Coach: Gus Bradley
- Manager: David Caldwell
- Nickname: The Jags
- Mascot: Jaxson de Ville.
- Team Colours: Teal, black, gold
NFL Regent Street Parade in London
(Nando Machado / Shutterstock.com)
Led by shoe store entrepreneur, Wayne Weaver, a prospective ownership group called Touchdown Jacksonville! was formed in 1989 with a view to becoming one of the NFL’s two new expansion franchises. Other initial members of the group included the property magnate, Tom Petway, and the future Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush.
The Jaguars were considered to be the candidate with the least chance of getting a franchise because of Jacksonville’s relatively small size compared to the locations of the other potential franchises. The Gator Bowl, the stadium being that the Jaguars were due to use, was also outdated in comparison to other NFL stadiums. The Carolina Panthers were awarded the first of the two franchises and then the decision on the second was delayed. Surprisingly, however, the NFL owners voted for the second franchise to be awarded to Jacksonville by 26-2. Following the decision, the old Gator Bowl was demolished and construction began on a new, state-of-the-art facility.
Under the direction of new head coach, Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars’ first season was in 1995 and, as it may be expected of a brand new team, it wasn’t the most successful season, finishing with a record of 4-12.
1996, however, was a different season entirely and thanks to quarterback, Mark Brunell, throwing over 4000 yards and wide receivers, Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, each accumulating over 1000 receiving yards, they clinched themselves a playoff berth. Winning their first playoff match against the Buffalo Bills 30-27, they then defeated the Denver Broncos 13-3. Sadly, however, the AFC Championship was not to be losing 20-6 to the New England Patriots.
The next few years were successful for the Jacksonville Jaguars, making the playoffs in 1997, 1998 and 1999, also winning the AFC Central divisional championship in that year too, Jimmy Smith setting a franchise record for most receptions and receiving yards in one season.
It would not be until 2005 that the Jacksonville Jaguars reached the playoffs again, rejuvenated now under the coaching direction of Jack Del Rio who was hired in 2003. However, their appearance was thanks to a wildcard and lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC wild card playoff round.
2006 was a disappointing year for the Jaguars, missing the playoffs with an 8-8 record. However, it was an excellent rookie year for Maurice Jones-Drew, an impressive running back. 2007 saw the Jacksonville Jaguars reach the playoffs again, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round, but they were defeated by the New England Patriots in the next round by 31-20.
Since 2007, there have been many changes at the Jacksonville Jaguars both on and off the field. However, since the appointment of David Caldwell as General Manager and Gus Bradley as Head Coach in 2013, fans are optimistic once again and hope the next few years will see an improvement in form and maybe even their first Super Bowl appearance.
Super Bowl Appearances
The Jacksonville Jaguars are yet to make an appearance at the Super Bowl.
EverBank Field (Rob Wilson / Shutterstock.com)
The EverBank Stadium is the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars and has been since the inception of the team in 1995. From 1995-97 the stadium was known as the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, then the Alltel Stadium until it reverted back to the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium again in 2006. Since 2010 the naming rights have been purchased and the stadium is now known as the EverBank Stadium.
Since 2014 it has seen substantial upgrades including new scoreboards that are over 60 feet high and 362 feet long making them the world’s largest video boards. There has also been a variety of new seating added too. The stadium upgrades cost a total of $63 million, $20 million of this figure being financed directly from Shahid Khan.
As well as being the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, it is the home of the annual game between the University of Florida Gators and the University of Georgia Bulldogs, as well as the Gator Bowl (also known as the ‘TaxSlayer Bowl’). The stadium was also the site of Super Bowl XXXIX, which was played between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles with the Patriots winning 24-21. The stadium has a total capacity of 67,246, although this can be increased when necessary.
Tony Boselli (1995-2001)
Tony Boselli was the Jacksonville Jaguars first ever draft pick and second overall in the 1995 NFL draft. An offensive tackle, he stood at 6 ft 7 and weighed in at 324 lbs. Playing with the Jaguars until 2001, he is one of the franchise’s most popular ever players. After his move to the Houston where he was contracted for one season without playing due to injuries, he was allowed to sign for the Jacksonville Jaguars for one-day only, enabling him to retire as a Jaguar.
Jimmy Smith (1995 – 2005)
Known as ‘Lightening’ in the ‘Thunder and Lightening’ due that he and fellow wide receiver Keenan McCardell were known as, he posted seven straight 1000 yard seasons for the Jaguars and hit that figure nine times in all. By far the best receiver in the team’s history, his record is only blighted by his post retirement activities, resulting in him being sentenced to six years for drug and weapons charges.
Maurice Jones-Drew (2006-2013)
The diminutive running back ranks as one of the most popular players ever to play for the Jaguars. After an explosive rookie year, he experienced only one winning season but he always played the game in a positive way and the fans respected him for this. He now works as an analyst on NFL Now.
Did You Know?
- The most famous Jags fan in the world is the renowned actor, Gene Hackman, known for his roles in such movies as: The French Connection, The Poseidon Adventure, and Superman: The Movie.
- No numbers have been retired by the Jaguars but the number 71, as worn by Tony Boselli, has not been worn since he retired in 2002.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleading squad is known as the ‘Jacksonville Roar’ and were established in 1995.