GAME REPORT – Jaguars vs. Giants

Photos by Fran Ruchalski

Twenty-one years old.

Jacksonville Jaguars fans, your team is officially old enough to join you in the Bud Light Party Zone for a cold one.

Kidding aside, the Jaguars did celebrate the 21st anniversary of becoming the 30th NFL franchise (two more teams have since been added to the league) Nov. 30 against the New York Giants.

The Jaguars did receive quite the birthday gift, in the form of a come-from-behind victory over the Giants. It was also a homecoming of the Jags most successful coach in its short history, Tom Coughlin.

Coughlin may not be thrilled, but his team did give up a 21-point lead to the Jags, eventually falling 25-24, thanks to Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee’s 43-yard field goal with just a few ticks left on the clock. The Jags and the fans couldn’t have asked for a better way to bring in the 21st year.

At halftime, the Jaguars brought out some former players, ones who played for Coughlin back in the teams’ early years.

Names like Jimmy Smith, Kennan McCardell and Fred Taylor were announced to the crowd, which was the only thing worth cheering for at the point of the day.

Those players thrived on Coughlin’s teams in the 90s and the first few years of the 21st century, reaching the AFC Championship game twice, one of those (1996) being the Jags second year of existence.

After reaching the AFC Championship game again in 1999, when the Jaguars had the league-best record of 14-2, the wave the Jags had ridden its first five years finally came crashing down. Three losing seasons later, Coughlin would be fired.

The coach did find success with his next, and current team. It took a few years of rebuilding the Giants, but judging from the team Coughlin helped build in Jacksonville, he was the right man for the job.

Coughlin would go on to lead the Giants to two Super Bowls wins, reaching the big game that eluded him a few times when he coached the Jaguars.

Yet, Coughlin hasn’t really found much success against the team he helped start. He did leave Jacksonville with a win his first trip back the EverBank Field in 2006, and losing the last two, including Sunday’s matchup.

His 68-60 record as a Jaguars coach still leaves him as the only coach in team history with a winning record.

Coughlin still has ties to Jacksonville too. His Jay Fund is still active in Jacksonville and he still owns a home in Atlantic Beach.

When fans look up at the Pride of the Jaguars, where some of the names of Coughlin’s best players from Jacksonville, such as Taylor, Mark Brunell and Tony Boselli, grace the inside wall that splits the upper and lower levels of the stadium, one could wonder if, when the coaching career of Coughlin comes to a close, his name will be added to that list.

After all, he did lead the team through its best years.

About David Rosenblum