Just 4 years removed from being an expansion franchise, the Jacksonville Jaguars posted their greatest season in franchise history in 1999.
Head coach Tom Coughlin had already taken the Jacksonville Jaguars to unexpected levels of success that expansion franchises had never reached. The Jaguars had made the playoffs in every season after missing it in their inaugural season, including a trip to the AFC Championship in just their second season.
But 1999 was the year that everything seemed to come together.
In the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, the Jaguars scored 41 straight points en route to a 41-3 thrashing in which the Jaguars defense didn’t allow Steve Young or Jeff Garcia to surpass 100 yards. Blowing out opponents is something that would become common throughout the season. The Jaguars won 10 regular season games by at least 2 scores, ranking second in point differential.
Behind the #7 ranked offense and the #1 scoring defense, the Jaguars cruised to a 14-2 record and they made it look easy. The Jaguars offense was centered around their rushing attack, which ranked 2nd in the league thanks to 931 yards from James Stewart and another 732 from second year running back Fred Taylor who only played in 10 games that season. Pro Bowl QB Mark Brunell was the AFC’s version of 49ers QB Steve Young. His mobility was a huge part of this offense. His ability to scramble at the right time was a key reason this offense was able to rank 3rd in first downs converted. His go to wide receiver Jimmy Smith led the NFL in receptions with 116 and he ranked 2nd in receiving yards with 1,636. His partner Keenan McCardell pulled in 78 balls for 891 yards. Smith and McCardell were on the top receiving duos in the NFL for years with the Jaguars.
The 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars are honestly one of the greatest NFL teams ever, but they don’t get mentioned in that conversation but I’ll explain that in a second.
In Dan Marino and Jimmy Johnson’s last game in the NFL, the Jaguars sent them both into retirement with one of the most lopsided losses in playoff history, a 62-7 ass kicking. The Jaguars were up 38-0 with 12 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter. It was definitely just one of those days.
In the AFC Championship, the Jaguars would go on to face the only team they suffered a loss to that season: the Tennessee Titans.
After an early season 1 point loss at home to the Titans, the Jaguars pulled off 11 straight wins before heading to Nashville only to watch Steve McNair torch that defense for 291 yards and 5 touchdowns. The AFC Championship didn’t yield a different result either, with the Titans coming out on top 33-14.
This would be the last winning season Tom Coughlin had in Jacksonville as he was let go 3 years later. Imagine if Jacksonville showed Coughlin the loyalty that the Giants have shown him. Imagine where that franchise would be now…