1996 Jacksonville Jaguars Season
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1996 Jacksonville Jaguars Season
1996 Jacksonville Jaguars season
Head coachTom Coughlin
Home fieldJacksonville Municipal Stadium
Division place2nd AFC Central
Playoff finishWon Wild Card Playoffs (Bills) 30-27
Won Divisional Playoffs (Broncos) 30-27
Lost AFC Championship (Patriots) 20-6
Pro BowlersT Tony Boselli
QB Mark Brunell
WR Keenan McCardell

The 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars season was the franchise's 2nd season in the National Football League and the 2nd under head coach Tom Coughlin. The Jaguars improved on their 4-12 record from their inaugural season. The Jaguars marked success as they won six of their last seven games of the season and finished with a record of 9-7. The credit for this midseason turnaround probably lies in the demotion of wide receiver Andre Rison in favor of Jimmy Smith after a game against the St. Louis Rams in which Brunell threw 5 interceptions. The interceptions were blamed on Rison and he was benched. In the team's final game of the regular season against the Atlanta Falcons, needing a win to earn a playoff berth, the Jaguars caught a bit of luck when Morten Andersen missed a 30-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining that would have given the Falcons the lead. The Jaguars clinched the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs.

The Jaguars achieved their first ever franchise playoff game victory, in a stunning upset on the road against the Buffalo Bills. The victory against the Bills was notable due to the fact that the Bills roster was made up of many of the same players that had been to four Super Bowls in the decade, including eventual Hall of Fame players Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and Bruce Smith (who had previously been the league Defensive Player of the Year).[1] Their next game was on the road against the Denver Broncos, who had dominated the AFC with a 13-3 record (and earned the top AFC seed). The upstart Jaguars were not intimidated by the Broncos or their fans and their good fortune continued, as they largely dominated from the second quarter on. A late touchdown pass from Mark Brunell to Jimmy Smith gave the Jags a 30-20 lead. They held on to win in a huge upset, 30-27, in a game that many people still consider the franchise's finest hour. Upon their return home, the Jags were greeted by an estimated 40,000 fans at the stadium. Many of these fans had watched the game on the stadium JumboTron displays and had stayed into the early hours of the morning when the team arrived. In the AFC Championship Game, the Jaguars acquitted themselves very well, playing a tight and close defensive game in a hostile environment for over three quarters before finally losing 20-6 to the New England Patriots on the road.


NFL draft

1996 Jacksonville Jaguars draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 2 Kevin Hardy *  Linebacker Illinois
2 33 Tony Brackens *  Defensive end Texas
2 60 Michael Cheever  Center Georgia Tech
3 63 Aaron Beasley  Cornerback West Virginia
4 110 Reggie Barlow  Wide receiver Alabama State
5 146 Jimmy Herndon  Guard Houston
6 170 John Fisher  Defensive back Missouri Western State
6 185 Chris Doering  Wide receiver Florida
7 227 Clarence Jones  Wide receiver Tennessee State
7 228 Gregory Spann  Wide receiver Jackson State
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career




Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result TV Time TV Announcers Attendance
1 September 1, 1996 Pittsburgh Steelers W 24-9 NBC 1:00pm Marv Albert & Sam Wyche
2 September 8, 1996 Houston Oilers L 34-27 NBC 1:00pm Dan Hicks & Bart Oates
3 September 15, 1996 at Oakland Raiders L 17-3 NBC 4:00pm Jim Lampley & Bob Golic
4 September 22, 1996 at New England Patriots L 28-25 (OT) NBC 1:00pm Marv Albert & Sam Wyche
5 September 29, 1996 Carolina Panthers W 24-14 FOX 1:00pm Kenny Albert & Tim Green
6 October 6, 1996 at New Orleans Saints L 17-13 NBC 4:00pm Jim Lampley & Bob Golic
7 October 13, 1996 New York Jets W 21-17 NBC 1:00pm Marv Albert & Sam Wyche
8 October 20, 1996 at St. Louis Rams L 17-14 NBC 4:00pm Dan Hicks & Bart Oates
9 October 27, 1996 at Cincinnati Bengals L 28-21 NBC 1:00pm Don Criqui & Beasley Reece
10 Bye
11 November 10, 1996 Baltimore Ravens W 30-27 NBC 4:00pm Tom Hammond & Bob Trumpy
12 November 17, 1996 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 28-3 NBC 1:00pm Jim Lampley & Bob Golic
13 November 24, 1996 at Baltimore Ravens W 28-25 (OT) NBC 1:00pm Jim Donovan & Bob Golic
14 December 1, 1996 Cincinnati Bengals W 30-27 NBC 1:00pm Dan Hicks & Bart Oates
15 December 8, 1996 at Houston Oilers W 23-17 NBC 1:00pm Jim Donovan & Beasley Reece
16 December 15, 1996 Seattle Seahawks W 20-13 ESPN 8:00pm Mike Patrick & Joe Theismann
17 December 22, 1996 Atlanta Falcons W 19-17 FOX 1:00pm Kevin Harlan & Bill Maas


AFC Central
(3)Pittsburgh Steelers 10 6 0 .625 344 257 L2
(5)Jacksonville Jaguars 9 7 0 .563 325 335 W5
Cincinnati Bengals 8 8 0 .500 372 369 W3
Houston Oilers 8 8 0 .500 345 319 W1
Baltimore Ravens 4 12 0 .250 371 441 L3


Round Date Opponent Result TV Time TV Announcers Attendance
Wild-Card December 28, 1996 at Buffalo Bills (4) W 30-27 ABC 12:30pm Mike Patrick & Joe Theismann
Divisional January 4, 1997 at Denver Broncos (1) W 30-27 NBC 4:00pm Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms
AFC Championship January 12, 1997 at New England Patriots (2) L 20-6 NBC 4:00pm Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms

Game summaries

AFC Wild Card Game vs Buffalo Bills

The Jaguars win their first Playoff game in franchise history with this win over the Bills.

AFC Divisional Game vs Denver Broncos

Considered one of the greatest upsets in NFL Playoff history,[2] the Jaguars (who were 14 point underdogs, and initially fell behind 12-0 in the first quarter, but led 13-12 at halftime) would stun the Broncos 30-27. Earlier in the day, Denver Post sports columnist Woody Paige referred to the Jaguars as the "Jagwads", stating throughout the article that the Jaguars weren't worthy to travel to Mile High Stadium and play the Broncos. The Broncos had indeed been dominant during the regular season, going 13-3. The Broncos opted to rest most of their starters for the better part of the final month of the season- as they had secured the number one seed in the AFC Playoffs relatively early on in the regular season.[3] Conversely, the Jaguars had battled their way into a Wild Card spot; and coming off of their upset road victory in Buffalo, were only further motivated by the general lack of faith in their chances. Mark Brunell threw 245 yards with no interceptions, and two touchdowns, including a diving effort on 3rd down by WR Jimmy Smith with 3:49 left in the 4th Qtr to put Jacksonville up 30-20. It was Natrone Means, however that was the star of the game. He ran for 140 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown, and subsequently relieved the pressure on Brunell and the Jaguars passing game. The Broncos would struggle all game to contain Means, whose longest run of the day was 21 yards.[4] With this win, the Jaguars in just their second year of existence would go to the AFC Championship Game.

AFC Championship Game vs New England Patriots

The Jaguars come up a game short of the Super Bowl. They would lose four critical turnovers.

Awards and records

  • Mark Brunell, Franchise Record, Most Passing Yards in One Game, 432 yards (Sept 22, 1996)[5]
  • Mark Brunell, Franchise Record, Most Passing Yards in One Season, 4,367 Yards[5]
  • Mark Brunell, Led NFL Passing Yards, 4,367 Yards[6]
  • Mark Brunell, Pro Bowl MVP Award[7]
  • Mike Hollis, Franchise Record, Most Field Goals in One Game, 5 Field Goals (December 1, 1996)[5]
  • Keenan McCardell, Franchise Record, Most Receptions in One Game, 16 receptions (Oct 20, 1996)[5]


  • Keenan McCardell, 1,000 yard receiving season (1,129 yards)[8]
  • Jimmy Smith, 1,000 yard receiving season (1,244 yards)[8]


  1. ^ Prisco, Pete The 1996 Jaguars: An oral history CBS Sports. January 27, 2016
  2. ^ http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-top-ten/09000d5d8111b706/Top-Ten-Biggest-Upsets-1996-Jaguars
  3. ^ http://www.footballoutsiders.com/walkthrough/2005/rest-stopped-1996-denver-broncos
  4. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199701040den.htm#all_pbp
  5. ^ a b c d NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 52
  6. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 438
  7. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 202
  8. ^ a b NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 440

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