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The Jacksonville Jaguars' Will Ta'ufo'ou carries an American flag as he runs onto the field before his team's NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys at Wembley Stadium in London, Nov. 9, 2014. Reuters


  • Jacksonville, Florida was awarded an NFL franchise on November 30, 1993
  • The Jaguars were given the lowest odds of winning a franchise at the time
  • Wayne Weaver led the ownership group in the city's bid and owned the team until 2011

Watching the NFL has been a time-honored tradition amongst American households, but today is an especially remarkable day for fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

On November 30, 1993, the NFL formally awarded Jacksonville, Florida its own franchise in a surprising turn of events.

Jacksonville was still just a small-market team even back in 1993 as they had a population of 844,000 and was ranked 55th in the television market category, but all numbers were trumped when its citizens came out and bought 10,000 club seats in 10 days to showcase their want of a team.

The Florida-based team had been looking at getting a professional football team on their side of the map as early as 1925, but it can be argued that the 1970s were an incredibly important time in convincing the NFL to take a chance on them.

The Jacksonville Sharks and Express played in the short-lived World Football League, the Firebirds in the American Football Association, and the Bulls in the United States Football League were all of the city's attempts then to get professional football going.

Considered the least likely expansion team due to the aforementioned population tally and television market, Jacksonville's hopes were about to be sent down the drain as they had to compete with Charlotte and Memphis, as well as former NFL cities St. Louis and Baltimore.

Charlotte was awarded the first franchise in the form of the Carolina Panthers in October 1993 and the shocker that was the NFL owners voting 26-2 in favor of Jacksonville was announced a month after.

"There was a strong feeling that Jacksonville is a hotbed of football interest, a feeling that the Southeast is the fastest-growing part of the country and that the NFL, even with a team in Charlotte, is under-represented in the Southeast," claimed NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue as quoted by the Chicago Tribune at the time of the announcement.

J. Wayne Weaver, who had led the ownership group that won the rights for Jacksonville, was named the owner of the team and was now in prime position to build a franchise in preparation for their 1995 NFL debut alongside the Carolina Panthers.

Weaver selected Tom Coughlin as the first-ever head coach of the Jaguars in January 1994 despite Coughlin never being a head coach nor a coordinator at the time as he was only a position coach then.

Coughlin would lead the Jaguars to a 4-12 record in their maiden season – an expected start for an expansion team.

However, success would find the Jaguars in the next four seasons as they had winning records from 1996 to 1999 which also featured two AFC Championship appearances in 1996 and 1999.

Coughlin was later fired by Weaver in 2002 despite amassing a 68-60 regular season record and an even 4-4 record in the playoffs–a move that Weaver admitted was a mistake after selling the team to current owner Shahid Khan in 2011.

The Jags would find some success under the guidance of Jack Del Rio between 2003 and 2011 before going through their issues in the mid-2010s that sadly still extends to this season.

Despite the franchise's current run of struggles, November 30, 1993 will always be remembered as an important date in Jacksonville, Florida history.

Trent Baalke, Jacksonville Jaguars
Trent Baalke, General Manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars, looks on during a press conference introducing Doug Pederson as the new Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Stadium on February 05, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. James Gilbert/Getty Images