The Jacksonville Jaguars history is relatively short considering they began as an NFL expansion team in 1995. They play in Jacksonville, Florida, and joined the Central Division of the AFC at the same time as the Carolina Panthers. In 2002, the NFL realigned divisions and the Jaguars became a part of the AFC South Division of the NFL. Jacksonville is known as a great place for football, boasting college and pro games, celebrating big games with parties and parades. A look back in Jacksonville history documents them hosting the 1967 and 1968 All Star Game of the AFL. They had attempted over the years to acquire a team, first chasing after the Baltimore Colts with no avail, and then setting their sights on the Houston Oilers. They even created a “Jacksonville Oilers” banner and designated an area of the stadium as non-alcoholic and family oriented to try to win this team over in the late 80s. However, they remained without a team of their own for quite a few more years.
Since the NFL hadn’t had an expansion team since 1976, they decided in the early 1990s to add two more teams. The goal was to have them ready for the 1993 season, and the city choices were to be made from Charlotte, St. Louis, Baltimore, Memphis, and Jacksonville. As it turned out, Jacksonville and Charlotte were chosen, and the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers were born. So Jacksonville Jaguars history began in Southern Florida. Considering Florida already had two NFL teams with the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it wasn’t expected that Jacksonville would get the team. Also, the markets were ranked very low, and the fan base was questionable because of the large focus on college sports in the area. Nonetheless, they were elected to own the franchise.
The Gator Bowl stadium was built during the Great Depression, which hosted occasional NFL exhibition games, as well as the short-lived World Football League and United States Football League. It was old and had attempted to make adequate construction additions over the years, although it was still unusable for NFL franchise. Therefore, it was demolished in 1993, and a brand new stadium was built. For cost savings, they were able to spare the west upper deck and a portion of the ramping system from demolition and deemed usable in the new structure. Hence, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium had arrived. For a ten year stint, it was known as Alltel Stadium, but then reverted back to being called the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.
Jacksonville Jaguars history began in 1995, starting off slow with a record of 4-12 for the year. That season set the stage for many key players, including the likes of Mark Brunell, James Stewart and Jimmy Smith. The team improved their second year, winning six of their seven final games, allowing them to finish with a winning record of 9-7. A significant event in Jacksonville Jaguars history is when they won a spot in the AFC playoffs, beating both the Buffalo Bills and the Denver Broncos, two teams that had easily dominated the AFC that season. Increased demand for Jacksonville Jaguars memorabilia and event tickets was a result of their recent successes. They performed well in the championship game, even though they had recorded a loss to the New England Patriots. Jaguars made the playoffs again in 1997, losing the first round game. This kept on for quite some time, each year with a winning record and a trip to the playoffs, until 2000, when the Jacksonville Jaguars team took a turn for the worse.
Some of the disappointments in Jacksonville Jaguars history involved salary cap problems and other issues plagued the team in 2000-2003. Jaguars were not able to afford to keep a lot of talent on their roster; losing key players affected their chances to win. When 2002 arrived, the NFL saw fit to divide up the teams further, which brought the Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC South from the AFC central. Jacksonville Jaguar experienced challenges and struggles, many don’t realize that they have had their share of successes. Since their inception they have had six playoff appearances and two division championships to their credit.