Jacksonville Jaguars

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 19:48

The History of the Jacksonville Jaguars

About the NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars, betting and information.

The Jacksonville Jaguars is a Jacksonville, Florida-based team that plays in America's highest-level, professional American football league, the National Football League (NFL).  The franchise is relatively young, having been established in 1994, but the team has acquired some success in their nearly 16 years of history.  In total, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made a total of six National Football League Playoffs appearances, and they have won two American Football Conference Central Division Championship titles.  The team has yet to win a Conference championship and make it to the Super Bowl.  This article will cover the franchise history of the Jacksonville Jaguars, reviewing each season that the team has played, and taking a look at some of the big events in Jaguars history.

The establishment of the Jacksonville Jaguars

Long before the National Football League made its way to Jacksonville, Florida, the town already made a reputation for itself as a great football town.  Aside from hosting the Gator Bowl every year, Jacksonville also hosts the annual Florida vs. Georgia Football Classic, otherwise known as "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party".  It has long been easy to see that Jacksonville was also a town that was home to a healthy and hospitable college football community.  Throughout the years, the town itself showed its support by helping in the construction and renovation of the Gator Bowl stadium, which has hosted the United States Football League, the World Football League, and various National Football League exhibition games.  Throughout the years, NFL franchises such as the Houston Oilers and the Baltimore Colts considered moving to the city, and they were urged by Jacksonville football lovers to do so.  Unfortunately, none of the deals held water and the town remained without an NFL team.

In the early 1990's, the National Football League made an announcement that they would be expanding the league by adding two teams to bring the total number of teams in the league to 30.  The original, 1991 plans slated the expansion for 1993 and the NFL would choose between Memphis in Tennessee, Baltimore in Maryland, Charlotte in North Carolina, St. Louis in Missouri, and Jacksonville in Florida.  Overcoming the odds, Jacksonville was chosen as one of the two cities (the other being Carolina) that would be the new homes of the NFL expansion teams.

The ownership group, which would later hold the reigns of the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise, included well-known and reputable Jacksonville citizens, such as Jeb Bush and Tom Petway.  Later on, however, J. Wayne Weaver, Nine West founder, would lead the ownership group of the Jacksonville Jaguars.  When 1993 rolled around, the NFL named the Charlotte as the home of the 29th franchise to join the league.  After then, Jacksonville thought that the final, 30th franchise, would be awarded to St. Louis.  Against all odds, however, Jacksonville would win the rights to the 30th NFL franchise and Jacksonville fans would celebrate at the Gator Bowl the next morning.  When the NFL told the city that it needs to make extra renovations that needed to be made to the Gator Bowl for the stadium to meet the NFL standards, the city responded by practically building a brand new stadium.  Jacksonville and what is known today as the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium were finally ready to host the new addition to the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Early success of the Jaguars

When the Jaguars first entered into the league, the team came off to a rough start.  In the team's first season, 1995, they finished last in the American Football Conference Central Division, with a record of 4 wins and 12 losses.  Just like any other professional sports league, most expansion teams usually have a difficult time adjusting to a mature league with teams that have been in the game for decades.  In the 1996 season, though, The Jaguars would show that they were up to the challenge by posting their first-ever winning season with a record of 9 wins and 7 losses.  It wasn't the best record in the league, or in their division for that matter, but it was good enough to get them to second place in the AFC Central Division and land them a spot in the Wild Card Playoffs.  It was the team's first appearance in the NFL Playoffs and they beat the Buffalo Bills in the first round, then they beat the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Playoffs before losing to the New England Patriots in the Conference Championships.  It was a good run for the Jacksonville Jaguars, one that would prove that the team was there to stay in the NFL.

The 1996 NFL Playoffs appearance by the Jaguars was the first of what would turn into a run of four consecutive appearances.  In the 1997 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars would land second place in their division for the second consecutive season.  They improved on their record, winning 11 games and losing only five.  They made it to the playoffs once again, but they would lose in the Wild Card Playoffs against the Denver Broncos.  The next season, in 1998, the team would record another 11-5 regular season record, which won them their first AFC Central Division Championship Title.  The team went on to beat the New England Patriots in the Wild Card Playoffs before getting defeated by the New York Jets in the Divisional Playoffs.

The year 1999 would mark a great year for the team as they recorded their best season in franchise history.  The Jaguars recorded a dominating regular season record of 14 wins and only two losses.  They went into the Divisional Playoffs, facing the Miami Dolphins who the Jaguars crushed en route to a lopsided, 62-7 victory.  The team then faced the red hot Tennessee Titans who would end the Jaguars' playoff run in the Conference Championships.

The decline of the Jacksonville Jaguars

After a great start in the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars expansion franchise went into a decline.  It was the turn of the century and the team was struggling with its salary cap, causing some key players to leave and ultimately leading to a decline in the team's performance.  In the 2000 regular season, the team only won 7 games, losing nine, and slipping to fourth place in the division as the season ended.  The following season was even worse, as the Jaguars posted 6 wins and 10 losses and finished fifth in the AFC Central Division.  The 2002 and 2003 seasons had a similar result, with the team finishing 6-10 and 5-11 in each season respectively. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars since 2003

Since the 2003 NFL season, the Jaguars have been able to get back into shape and make it to the playoffs twice.  The 2004 season marked the franchise's first winning season after four, consecutive losing seasons.  In 2005, the team finally made it to the playoffs again after placing second in the AFC South Division with a record of 12-4.  They were eliminated by the Patriots in the Wild Card Playoffs.  The team failed to make the playoffs in 2006 after posting a respectable 8-8 record.  In 2007, the Jacksonville Jaguars made another strong push, putting together an 11-5 record and making it to the playoffs.  The team won in the Wild Card round against the Pittsburgh Steelers, then they lost to the Patriots in the Divisional Playoffs.

Since their last playoff run in 2007, the team has been on a decline once again.  They posted a 5-11 record in 2008, followed by a 7-9 record in 2009.  Hopefully, this team can bounce back out of their losing streak to get back into the playoffs and perhaps get a good shot at winning an NFL Championship title.