The Jacksonville Jaguars have turned into one of the most dysfunctional franchises in the league. They have been unable to find a long-term answer at the two most important positions, head coach and quarterback.
It is safe to say that the pair of Doug Marrone and Gardner Minshew is probably not the answer. The issues at these two positions dates back to Jacksonville drafting Blake Bortles No. 3 overall in 2014. It continued with giving Nick Foles a high-value contract only to trade him to the Bears. Now, the Jaguars have to completely rebuild again in an attempt to get back to the postseason, a place they have only been seven times since 1995.
Jacksonville made the playoffs in four of their first five years as a franchise under Tom Coughlin. Since 2005, they have only been back three times. Heartbreak is common for the Jaguars; here are the top three moments.
3. Early Success Cut Short
In just their second year in the NFL, the Jaguars made the playoffs with a 9-7 record. They won the first two games of the postseason by scores of 30-27 and advanced to play the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
Jacksonville got a taste of what would turn into a trend: Being eliminated from the playoffs by the Patriots. The Jaguars’ offense was stifled all night long as they were only able to muster up six points.
This ended their Cinderella run in 1996 but the team was hoping for more success in the upcoming seasons.
2. Miracle Season Ends in New England
When a team goes from worst-to-first in the NFL, it is always exciting. This was what happened in Jacksonville during the 2017 season. The Jaguars were coming off a 3-13 season and a last place finish in the AFC South. This marked the sixth year in a row they finished in the bottom half of the division.
The tide turned with a 10-6 season that landed them their first division title since 1999. Jacksonville played two games with extremely different styles. First, they hosted the Buffalo Bills in a defensive battle that ended 10-3. The Jaguars then traveled to Pittsburgh and outscored the Steelers, 45-42, in an entertaining shootout.
The AFC title game would once again take place in the place where so many teams go to end their seasons. This time around, it was the Jaguars who gained an edge in Foxborough. A Josh Lambo field goal gave the Jaguars a 20-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. From that point on, it was Tom Brady that got the best of an otherwise strong Jacksonville defense.
Brady would connect with Danny Amendola twice in the fourth quarter and steal a 24-20 win. Jacksonville’s miracle season ended in the blink of an eye.
1. AFC Title Loss Ends More Than Just Season
The 1999 season was the best in Jaguars’ history. Mark Brunell was playing at a high-level and led the team to a 14-2 record. They entered the playoffs as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
In their first game, the Miami Dolphins could not even compete. Jacksonville jumped out to a 24-0 lead after the first quarter and extended to 41-7 heading into halftime. The final score was 62-7. The Jaguars outgained Miami, 520 yards to 131, and rushed for 257 yards. The defense forced seven turnovers. It was one of the most lopsided games in recent memory.
The Jaguars marched into the AFC Championship game with confidence. The 1999 season was right before the dynasty began in New England so Jacksonville did not have to go through the Patriots. Instead, it was Steve McNair and the Tennessee Titans. Jacksonville scored twice in the first half on a Brunell pass to Kyle Brady and a 33-yard run by James Stewart. They led 14-10 at halftime, but that would be it for the offense.
The Titans came out and outscored the Jaguars 16-0 in the third quarter and added a fourth quarter touchdown. The team that scored 62 points just a week earlier had their season end with just 14 points.
This loss began a stretch of five years with no postseason action. Jacksonville has made the playoffs just three times since this game and have not made it in back-to-back seasons. The 1999 Jaguars team can be remembered as one of the best teams to never win a championship.