It all began with Touchdown Jacksonville! In 1989, Tom Petway and J. Wayne Weaver spearheaded the community’s initiative to bring an NFL franchise to Jacksonville. The city was one of eleven to apply and widely considered a long shot, but the organization’s tenacity was a preview of the team that was to come: on November 30, 1993, the 30th NFL franchise was awarded to Jacksonville.
Tom Coughlin took the reins as head coach, and as his first move, snagged offensive tackle Tony Boselli, whose seven seasons with the Jaguars would result in an incredible five Pro Bowl nominations. Even Boselli couldn’t help the Jaguars in their first game, though; they lost 10-3 to the Houston Oilers in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, later renamed EverBank Field. They lost their next three games, too, before securing an exciting 17-16 victory in a rematch against Houston. This set up a rivalry between the Jaguars and the Oilers, who would eventually become the Tennessee Titans.
As far as expansion teams go, the Jaguars closed their inaugural 1995 season with a strong 4-12 record. Heading into their second year, they found themselves 4-7 before crawling back to within playoff territory by winning four games in a row. It all came down to their final match against the Atlanta Falcons, and in a defining moment with only seconds left to play, the Falcons’ Morten Andersen lined up to kick a field goal that should have been -- pardon the cross reference -- a layup. But Andersen’s attempt went wide, sending the Jags off to Buffalo, where they defeated the Bills in a wild card game. The sophomore Jaguars made it all the way to the AFC Championship that year behind the stellar play of Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith, before finally falling 20-6 to the New England Patriots.
The Jaguars clinched the AFC Central Division title in both 1998 and ‘99 before a drought would keep them from making the playoffs at all until 2005. After three consecutive losing years, Coughlin was replaced as head coach by Jack Del Rio, who led the team to the postseason in 2007.
Major changes to the organization began in 2012 when the team was sold to Shahid Khan. Most notably, Khan pledged to grow the franchise beyond Jacksonville -- and in fact, beyond the United States. He looked to London as an untapped market, pledging that the team would play four games in four consecutive seasons overseas. Even their mascot, Jaxson de Ville, headed across the pond to stoke the Jaguar fire. The initiative was a smashing success, resulting in the Union Jax, a UK Jacksonville Jaguars fan club.
Closer to home, there’s no mistaking the ROAR of Everbank Field. With its high-energy cheerleaders, Bud Light Party Zone and Fan Entertainment Zone -- complete with a field goal kick, quarterback challenge and 40-yard dash -- it’s no wonder fans flock to the Sea Best Cool Zones to chill out before the games even start!