NFL Wembley: Jacksonville Jaguars made a fast start but have struggled in recent years

By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH.   Last Updated: 25/10/13 12:49pm

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Eugene Monroe in action for the Jacksonville Jaguars

Eugene Monroe in action for the Jacksonville Jaguars

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They arrive in London without a win this season, but things haven't always been so bad for the Jacksonville Jaguars - one of the newer teams in the NFL who will call London home for the next four years.

The Jags host last year's Super Bowl runners-up the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley on Sunday as the first of their four-year commitment to playing one game a season in London, so let's find out a bit more about the team making a second home in the UK.

Early success

Jacksonville was awarded an NFL team only in 1995 as part of an expansion along with the Carolina Panthers. Although it was the 15th largest city in America at the time, it was not the biggest market America and it remains that way today, which is why at times they have struggled to fill the stadium.

The team certainly started life in the NFL well under their first head coach Tom Coughlin, who has later led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories, as they came within just a game of the Super Bowl in just their second season.

After upsetting the Bills in Buffalo, the Jags then produced one of the biggest shocks in play-off history by beating the powerful Broncos in Denver to really announce themselves as a force to be reckoned with, but they came up just short against the Patriots in the AFC title game.

Jacksonville Jaguars have had little to shout about this year

They made the play-offs in the next three seasons as well - again getting to the Conference Championship in 1999 when they were denied a Super Bowl spot by the Titans. But leaner times have followed with just three more play-off games in the last 12 years.


Tony Boselli was the team's first ever Draft choice when they selected him with the second pick of the 1995 Draft, and the All American offensive tackle went on play 91 games for Jacksonville before being chosen the first pick of the Houston Texans in their 2002 expansion draft.

However, a knee injury meant he never played for Houston and he signed a symbolic one-day contract so he could retire as a Jaguar. A popular player with the fans - he was the first player to make the 'Pride of the Jaguars' and his No 71 jersey has not been worn since - the local McDonald's even made a Boselli Burger during his time.

Quarterback Mark Brunell was brought in from Green Bay in a trade and almost led the team to the Super Bowl twice. He threw for 4,000 yards in his second season and went on to make the Pro Bowl three times.

Though he was just unable to get the team into the big game, he was a big part of their early success and left after eight years having thrown for 25,698 yards and 144 touchdowns.

Fred Taylor was drafted in 1998 and spent 11 seasons with the Jags as their star running back, piling up 11,271 yards and as a team captain was a leader on the field. After spending a couple of years with the Patriots he too returned on a one-day contract to retire as a Jaguar.

Did You know?

The Roar of the Jaguars are the team's official cheerleaders

Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida and the largest, by land area, in the United States outside of Alaska, and was named after future President Andrew Jackson in 1822.

Despite this and the fact it is the 12th most populated city in America, the fact that the wider metropolitan area is not so large, and the fact it has no other sports teams from the big four American sports means it is one of the smallest TV markets in the NFL.

Although Jacksonville got its NFL team in 1995, a number of other sides had looked at the city as a new home. The Baltimore Colts almost moved in 1979, while the likes of the Saints, Cardinals, Falcons and Houston Oilers all had contact about possible moves.

First owner Wayne Weaver had to change the original Jaguars logo as it looked too much like the one used by the Jaguar car company. The new logo featured a fierce Jaguar's head with a teal tongue - Weaver's wife added that and he later said it was from "feeding Panthers to our Jaguars" - in a jibe at the Carolina team who joined the league at the same time.

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