Jacksonville Jaguars Advanced Stat of the Week: Breaking Down the 1999 Jags

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistMay 29, 2012

Smith was one of the greatest receivers ever.
Smith was one of the greatest receivers ever.A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

This week, Advanced Stat of the Week will look at some of the great teams in the history of the franchises that make up the AFC South.

The 1999 Jaguars were probably the best team in franchise history. They had only one weakness: They couldn't beat the Tennessee Titans.

The 1999 Jaguars finished the year 15-3, going 15-0 against the rest of the NFL but 0-3 against Tennessee.

Their advanced stat profile shows a deep and talented team.

The Jaguars were very good at everything, but dominant at nothing. By Pythagorean Wins, they were at 12.9, which is extremely high, even for a team that won 14 games. By comparison, the 16-0 Pats were only a 13.8 win team. This means the Jaguars' record was absolutely legitimate.

Their DVOA splits were interesting. The had the second best total rating in the league behind only the Super Bowl champion Rams. They were ninth on offense, sixth on defense and second on special teams. Most of the offensive skill game from the fifth ranked run game. Oddly enough, they ranked 11th in passing DVOA on both offense and defense and fifth in run DVOA on both offense and defense.

One of the reasons the Jaguars struggled against Tennessee was turnovers. They only committed 18 on the year, but seven of those came in two games against the Titans. Then in the playoffs, they gave the ball away six more times.

Mark Brunell went to the Pro Bowl in 1999, but he wasn't the true star of the offense. His NY/A was ninth in the NFL, and by many metrics, that's about where he should have been viewed.

The real super-star was Jimmy Smith. His volume totals were obviously impressive (116/1636/6), but he also lead the NFL in DVOA and catch rate for a wide receiver. Against the Titans, he was at his best totaling 19 catches and 325 yards in three games.

Tomorrow, I'll break down the 1999 Titans to see if there are any clues as to how they dominated the Jaguars, but on the surface it seems like the 1999 Jags were a very good team with good, not great, quarterback play and a solid defense. The Titans made plays when they had to and forced turnovers, but there was nothing in the makeup and profile of the Jaguars to indicate that was likely.

In football, the best team doesn't always win. There are matchup problems to account for and sometimes, random dumb luck intervenes as well. The '99 Jaguars had a lead at half time of the AFC Championship game. They lost to a team that put up 112 net passing yards.

Six turnovers will do that to you.