Jacksonville Jaguars: Top 10 Memorable Moments of Wayne Weaver Era
On November 29, 2011, the city of Jacksonville let out a collective sigh and immediately gasped for another breath. Wayne Weaver announced that embattled coach Jack Del Rio would be fired, which was a foregone conclusion.
However, his next announcement, put the entire city on the edge of its collective seat. The Jacksonville Jaguars were to be sold to business tycoon Shahid Khan. Every person that has bled teal and black for the last 17 years was nervous about the future of the franchise.
As of today, the NFL approved the sale of the Jaguars to Khan, and he is determined to rebuild in Jacksonville. While the news of a few weeks ago shocked Jaguars fans, the old adage remains "all good things must come to an end."
Wayne Weaver and his wife, Dolores, were great ambassadors for the city of Jacksonville and brought many great moments to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Let's look back at some of the finest moments of the Jaguars franchise under the helm of its departed owner, Wayne Weaver.
Honorable Mention: Josh Scobee's Thorn in the Colts' Side
Recent Jaguars history has been enveloped with dreams of winning the AFC South Division. Since the NFL realigned the divisions in 2002, the Jaguars have had to compete with the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans.
However, the Jaguars biggest rival in this division has been Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Almost every matchup between these two teams have been high-strung, drag-out battles. One of the men smack in the middle of this rivalry is Josh Scobee.
When you need a 50-yard field goal to beat the Colts, you call on Josh Scobee. He has done it twice. The first was in Indianapolis in 2008. Byron Leftwich led the Jaguars on a long drive that started deep in their own territory. With seconds left, Scobee nailed a 51-yard field goal to shock the Colts and get their first win of the season.
Two years later, Jacksonville was the backdrop for another last-second thriller. The Jaguars were leading late when Peyton Manning constructed a quick game-tying drive with under a minute left. The Jaguars were able to get inside Colts' territory and Scobee again came onto the field for more magic. This time, he nailed a 59-yard walk-off field goal to stick it to the Jaguars' vaunted rivals again.
As the Jaguars and Colts continue to lock horns for years to come, be rest assured that Josh Scobee will be involved one way or another.
10. David Garrard Leads Jaguars to Playoff Win in Pittsburgh
January 5, 2008.
The Jaguars entered the 2008 playoffs with a bad taste in their mouth with bad loss to end the regular season. The trip to Pittsburgh presented another dogfight between the former AFC Central foes. Jacksonville jumped out to an 18-point lead. Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers overcame that with a furious fourth-quarter rally to take a one point lead, 29-28.
On 4th-and-2 with less than two minutes remaining in the game, David Garrard took a delayed quarterback draw 32 yards through the Steelers defense to set up a game-winning field goal to leave the Steel City with a surprising playoff victory.
This would be the only playoff victory under former coach Jack Del Rio. It was a sweet one nonetheless.
9. First Home Playoff Game
The 1998 season was another first for the Jaguars, winning their first AFC Central title. The endzones were painted black and Alltel was rocking as the franchise hosted its first home playoff game against the New England Patriots.
Drew Bledsoe was injured, replaced by Scott Zolak. Mark Brunell returned from an ankle injury. And Fred Taylor bursted onto the scene. Taylor ran for 162 yards and Mike Hollis kicked five field goals to defeat the Patriots, 25-10. It would definitely set the tone for future Jaguar success.
8. A Season of Firsts
It was indeed a season of firsts at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Kickoff Sunday in 1995. The Jacksonville Jaguars competed in their first regular season game against AFC Central opponent, the Houston Oilers.
The Jaguars' only points that day came via a Mike Hollis field goal. The first game would be the first defeat at the hands of the Oilers, 10-3.
It would be the beginning of something greater down the road.
7. Revenge Is Not Only Sweeter, It's Also the Start
A month after the Jaguars' first franchise loss, they received another crack at the Houston Oilers in the Astrodome.
With the Oilers holding a 16-10 lead, backup quarterback Mark Brunell fired a 15-yard touchdown pass to Heisman trophy winner Desmond Howard.
On the ensuing drive, Chris Chandler led the Oilers down the field and set up a 52-yard attempt by Mr. Reliable, Al Del Greco.
His kick flew woefully wide left and the Jaguars celebrated their first ever victory, 17-16.
6. Broncos Become Part of Jaguars Destiny
The Jaguars were not supposed to go to Mile High Stadium. They were not supposed to beat the Denver Broncos in Mile High. They were not supposed to defeat John Elway and the AFC-leading Broncos. But this was destiny.
Mark Brunell threw late touchdown passes to Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith as the Jaguars continued on their shocking debut playoff run, defeating Denver 30-27.
This victory would send the Jaguars to the AFC Championship game for the first time, falling short to the New England Patriots. However, the magical night in Mile High put the rest of the NFL on notice. The Jaguars franchise was destined for success.
5. Dominating 1999 Season Leads to Domination of Marino, Dolphins
It was Dan Marino's last game. The Jacksonville Jaguars sent, perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time, into retirement rather rudely.
Cornerback Aaron Beasley predicted he would intercept Marino twice, which he did. Fred Taylor scampered 90 yards to the endzone for the longest run in NFL postseason history.
The Jaguars dismantled and embarrassed the Miami Dolphins 62-7 on their way to another AFC Championship game, falling to the Tennessee Titans, the only team to defeat the Jaguars during the 1999 season.
4. Natrone MEANS Business in Buffalo
No team had ever gone into Orchard Park, in the cold, in the playoffs, and left with a victory against the Buffalo Bills. Never. So why would anybody believe that the upstart Jaguars would be able to shock the world? However, that's exactly what the Jaguars did.
It was a complete team effort in the franchise's first ever playoff game. The spotlight shed on tackle Tony Boselli, as he kept All-Pro Bruce Smith at bay all day long. Clyde Simmons telegraphed a Jim Kelly screen and returned it for a touchdown. Finally, Natrone Means revived his career and put on a "rumblin', bumblin'" show to defeat the Bills 30-27.
On this day, even Chris Berman would admit that, "NOBODY circles the wagons... like the Jacksonville Jaguars!!"
3. Monday Night Magic
The 1997 season was supposed to be special. It didn't start that way. In the Jaguars second preseason game, Mark Brunell went down with an apparent serious knee injury. The Jaguars had to rely on their second and third string quarterbacks, Rob Johnson and Steve Matthews, to start the season 2-0. That set the stage Brunell's surprisingly early return for Jacksonville's first prime time spotlight.
Monday Night Football came to the River City for first time. Jacksonville and its home team Jaguars pulled out all the tricks and all the stops. The game included a fake punt pass from Bryan Barker to Dana Hall.
However, while the Jaguars led 23-21 late in the fourth, the Steelers had driven into field goal territory to set up kicker Norm Johnson. In stunning fashion, the field goal was blocked and returned to the end zone by Chris Hudson. The extra point was not even attempted, but added to the score anyway, 30-21.
On this night, the city embraced the spotlight and their prime time players. It would be the first of many magical Monday nights.
2. Touchdown Jacksonville
At 4:12pm, everything changed. After years of campaigning and fighting, the NFL awarded two expansion franchises. One located in Charlotte. The other, in Jacksonville, Florida.
The entire city became plagued with Cat Scratch Fever. Wayne Weaver delivered on his promise of bringing an NFL team to Jacksonville.
The rest is history.
1. Big Cats Sail Wide Left into Playoffs
Many may disagree that this is the most memorable moment.
The Jaguars early in the season still looked like an expansion team. They fought hard but couldn't win games. Then, the Jaguars rattled off four consecutive wins. They knew that a fifth would deliver the franchise's first playoff berth.
The game was in hand until a late surge by the Atlanta Falcons set up Morten Andersen for a potential game-winning, season-ending field goal.
As the entire stadium, and city of Jacksonville, held their collective breath and looked for angels above, Santa delivered an early Christmas gift. Andersen's kick sailed wide left and the franchise rejoiced, reaching the postseason in their second season of existence.
If that kick sailed through the uprights, who knows where the Jaguars would be today.
It will forever be a landmark moment in the foundation of the Jaguars organization.
Thank you, Morten Andersen.
The Jacksonville Jaguars