Jacksonville Jaguars is a professional soccer franchise based in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars participate in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the American Football Conference (AFC) Southern Division.
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The club’s official original date was 1995, when it joined the NFL as an expansion team. But an unofficial report mentions 1989.
Potential ownership group “Touchdown Jacksonville!” was organized that year. This group initially included Governor Jeb Bush, Tom Petway, and Wayne Weaver.
In 1995, Jacksonville was considered the least likely candidate to host an NFL franchise. The Jacksonville area is small, and television can’t keep up for several reasons.
Also, its stadium, the Gator Bowl, is old, and the ownership group is having trouble negotiating a lease with the city. However, Jacksonville has several influential supporters.
There is a strong soccer culture in Florida and a wealthy ownership group. Encouraged by Tagliabue, Jacksonville’s decision-makers reconsidered, and the city agreed to fund the renovation of the Gator Bowl.
Surprising everyone in the NFL, especially for putting Jacksonville ahead of Baltimore, the owners voted 26-2 in favor of creating the franchise in Jacksonville.
Wayne Weaver then led the franchise. In January 1994, Tom Coughlin was hired as coach. He was involved in many of Boston College’s victories and successes, but many at the time believed his hiring was a risky move.
Coughlin had worked in the NFL as a sideline coach, but he had never been a coach or coordinator. The franchise’s sports history did not begin until 1995.
Coughlin and his men’s record showed that the first year was one of discovery. The franchise finished with a history of 4 wins and 12 losses, but there was hope, especially with recruits like Mark Brunell, Tony Boselli, James Stewart, and Jimmy Smith.
The realization of this hope comes in the next four years. The years 1996 to 2000 mark the golden age of the North Florida franchise.
Coughlin’s men finished first in their division twice and second twice in four years.
The most outstanding seasons were in 1996 when the team finished with a 9-7 record, made it to the Wild Card round, and went on to the Conference Finals, where they lost to the Patriots 20-6.
The following two years were also playoff years but with less success. The 1999 season was the season of excellence for the Jags.
It was because, in addition to a flattering record (14-2), of a show of force in the divisional game against the Dolphins (62-7).
The expansion team has appeared the most in the playoffs over five years. However, they still lost in the conference finals to the Titans.