The Jacksonville Jaguars are an American professional football franchise based in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the American Football Conference (AFC) South division. The team plays its home games at EverBank Field. The Jaguars and the Carolina Panthers joined the NFL as expansion teams for the 1995 season. Since their inception, the Jaguars have won division championships in 1998 and 1999 (as members of the defunct AFC Central) and have qualified for the playoffs six times, most recently in 2007.
From their inception until 2011, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ majority owner was Wayne Weaver. The team was then purchased by Pakistani-born businessman Shahid Khan for an estimated $770 million. In 2015, Forbes estimated the team value at $1.48 billion.
In 1989, the prospective ownership group Touchdown Jacksonville! was organized. The group initially included future Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Jacksonville developer Tom Petway, and came to be led by shoe magnate Wayne Weaver, founder of Nine West. In 1991, the NFL announced plans to add two expansion teams in 1994 (later delayed until 1995), its first expansion since the 1976 addition of the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Touchdown Jacksonville! announced its bid for a team, and Jacksonville was ultimately chosen as one of five finalists, along with Charlotte, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Memphis.
In January 1994 Wayne Weaver chose Tom Coughlin as the first-ever head coach of the Jaguars. Coughlin had worked in the NFL as a position coach, but he had been neither a head coach nor a coordinator in the NFL.
Since his introduction in 1996, Jaxson de Ville has served as the Jaguars’ mascot. Jaxson entertains the crowd before and during games with his antics. The mascot has established a reputation for making dramatic entrances including bungee jumping off the stadium lights, sliding down a rope from the scoreboard and parachuting into the stadium. Jaxson’s antics got him into trouble in 1998 and stemmed the changing of the NFL’s mascot rules, and also caused him to calm down. However, Jaxson was still seen, by some, as a mascot that gets in the way during the game. After the October 22, 2007 game against Indianapolis, Colts President Bill Polian complained to the NFL, and Jaxson was reprimanded again.
Jaxson’s first appearance was on August 18, 1996 and was played by Curtis Dvorak from his inception until his retirement in June 2015.