Jacksonville Jaguars: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
27 of 30
Mark Brunell, Jacksonville Jaguars
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52. . QB. (1995-03). Mark Brunell. 4. player

  • Pride of the Jaguars (2013)
  • Franchise leader in passing yards (25,698), touchdowns (144)
  • 3x Pro Bowl (1996-97, 1999)
  • 1996 NFL passing yards leader (4,367)
  • 63-54 record as Jaguars’ starting quarterback

Even though Blake Bortles stands a good chance at leading the Jaguars to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance, Mark Brunell remains the greatest quarterback in Jacksonville history. He was the first starting quarterback in franchise, as well as the best.

Brunell played in college at the University of Washington for legendary head coach Don James. While the Huskies were an elite program back then, Brunell would only end up a fifth-round selection by the Green Bay Packers in the 1993 NFL Draft. He played sparingly in Green Bay because the Packers had some guy named Brett Favre entering his prime under center.

So to Jacksonville Brunell went. It turned out to be the best thing for him in his 19-year NFL career. After playing just two games over two seasons with the Packers, Brunell would get his opportunity to lead an NFL franchise. While the Jaguars struggled in their inaugural 1995 NFL season, they went to the AFC Championship the next season during Brunell’s breakout campaign.

Brunell would lead the NFL in passing yards with 4,367 in 1996. He made his first career trip to the Pro Bowl, going 9-7 as a starter. However, the Jaguars couldn’t handle the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game that January.

Brunell backed up his great 1996 season with another Pro Bowl campaign in 1997. He went 9-5 as a starter, as the Jaguars made it back to the AFC Playoffs. He made the Pro Bowl one last time in what remains the Jaguars’ greatest season to date in 1999.

Jacksonville went 14-2 that fall and made it to the AFC Championship Game for the second time in four years. Brunell went an impressive 13-2 as a starter that season. However, he couldn’t beat the division rival Tennessee Titans for the life of him, as Jacksonville went 0-3 against them in 1999.

Brunell played with the Jaguars through the 2003 NFL season. He was replaced under center by former first-round pick Byron Leftwich. Brunell ended up going to the Washington Redskins in 2004, but was a sub-.500 quarterback for them over three seasons as a starter.

After the 2007 campaign, Brunell evolved into being one of the best backup quarterbacks in football. He won a Super Bowl as a member of the 2009 New Orleans Saints backing up Drew Brees. Brunell retired after the 2011 NFL season as a member of the New York Jets.

Even though it 15 years since he last played for the Jaguars, Brunell remains the franchise leader in passing yards (25,698) and touchdown passes (144). He went 63-54 in nine years as the Jaguars starting quarterback. Though not a Pro Football Hall of Famer, Brunell was inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars not long after his retirement in 2013.