The history of the Jacksonville Jaguars may be short but damn is it loaded with ups and downs – maybe they should’ve called the team the Florida Rollercoasters. (The most popular alternate choices by the 1991 popular vote: The Sharks and Stingrays.)
The first move made by the Jaguars as a franchise was to hire then-virtually unknown Tom Coughlin as head coach of the team. After an expansion-typical 4-12 outcome in season 1, the Jags went 6-1 after the bye week to close out the season, squeaked into a wild card spot at 9-7 and stayed hot in the playoffs, topping both the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos as visitors in notoriously tough venues. Jacksonville ultimately fell to Bill Parcells’s Patriots, but few could deny Coughlin’s success.
Just to prove ’96 was no fluke, the Jaguars would go 11-5, 11-5 and 14-2 over the next three seasons. The last notched perhaps what is still the biggest win ever (in more ways than one) in franchise history, a 62-7 demolition of the Miami Dolphins, enough of a thumping to send Jimmy Johnson and Dan Marino into retirement.
After Coughlin was shown the door in 2002, the head coaching job went from Jack Del Rio (who somehow held the job for nearly nine seasons despite a cumulative 68-71 record and a mere two playoff appearances) to Mike Mularkey (2-14 in one season; yaay!) to Gus Bradley. The result of this has been a total mark of 104-163 (that’s a .390 winning percentage, or an average season of about 6-10) for the 21st century…
But then 2017. In the offseason, the Jaguars trumpeted the return of Coughlin, this time as general manager. The hero to locals was given much credit for the subsequent season’s success in which an often dominant (though inconsistent) defense carried Blake Bortles and a resultantly weak offense outside of Leonard Fournette to the AFC Championship Game.
Going into ’18, Jaguars fans are certainly more optimistic about their team’s chances than at any point since 1999 or so – but doesn’t this team have to ditch Bortles…?
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