Is the 1996 playoff run the greatest moment in Jacksonville Jaguars history?


The Jacksonville Jaguars have been around for a short amount of time relative to the rest of the franchises in the NFL. Consequently, the team hasn’t built up a healthy number of memorable moments, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some terrific highlights since 1995.

The Jaguars have been plagued by futility over the last decade or so, but the team started out strong, arguably having the best opening run of any modern professional franchise. The Jaguars made it to two conference championships in their first 5 seasons, including a magical run in their second season.

Ryan Disdier over at NFL Spin Zone thinks that 1996 playoff run is the greatest moment in franchise history:

"The finest moment for this team came in 1996, when second-year head coach Tom Coughlin led his team to a near-super run.Jacksonville boasted an impressive 9-7 record, including winning six of its last seven. Quarterback Mark Brunell had a terrific season, slinging the ball to Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith. It was a special time, as expansion teams rarely find success that early.In the playoffs, the magic continued, as the Jags beat the Bills in the wild-card round 30-27, and then upset the 13-3 Broncos in the divisional round.Unfortunately, the Jaguars were unable to beat the Patriots to advance to the Super Bowl, and the team is still searching for its first victory."

I agree with Disdier in his selection, as the 1996 playoff run narrowly edges the Jaguars’ heartbreaking 1999 campaign. While the Jaguars were undoubtedly a better team in 1999, the team arguably underperformed by losing to the Tennessee Titans (for a third time that season) in the AFC championship game. The Jaguars had high expectations after finishing the regular season 14-2 and losing to a division rival for the third time in heartbreaking fashion was about as cruel a finish to a season you can imagine.

On the flip side, the 1999 playoff run was sparked by a freak missed field goal. Morten Anderson unbelievably missed a chip shot field goal at the end of the Jaguars’ week 17 game against the Atlanta Falcons, allowing the Jaguars to finish 9-7 and sneak into the wild card spot.

The Jaguars then went on to pull off two of the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history, beating both the Buffalo Bills and the Denver Broncos. The Jaguars were already playing with house money by the time they lost to the Patriots in the title game.

Hopefully the Jaguars do some things in the next few years to push this moment a little farther down the list.

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