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The Jacksonville Jaguars are a professional American football team based in Jacksonville, Florida. They are members of the South Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Jaguars, along with the Carolina Panthers, joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1995.
The club plays all of their home games at EverBank Field, located near the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville. The team headquarters is also located in the stadium. The Jaguars hold training camp and practice during the season in the stadium and on adjoining practice fields. They are the only team in the "big four" sports leagues to play in the city of Jacksonville. Since their inception the Jaguars have won two division championships and have made six playoff appearances.
Since 1933, Jacksonville has been the site of the annual Florida vs. Georgia Football Classic, a major college football rivalry game between the University of Florida Gators and the University of Georgia Bulldogs, and since 1946, the city has hosted the Gator Bowl, one of the oldest annual college football bowl games. Until 1994, these games were played in the Gator Bowl Stadium, a structure originally built in 1927. Over the years, the stadium was expanded several times to accommodate larger crowds.
With a football-hungry population, Jacksonville's civic leaders craved something more than just two games a year for their large stadium. The city hosted the American Football League All Star Game in 1967 and 1968, but after the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, Jacksonville was shut out. When new professional leagues started up to challenge the NFL's post-merger monopoly on professional football, Jacksonville was ready to join. First, in the 1970s, there were the Jacksonville Sharks of the World Football League. Then, in the 1980s, the Jacksonville Bulls of the United States Football League took the field. The USFL Bulls were one of that league's more well-attended teams, benefiting from the Gator Bowl's last expansion in 1982. The success of the Bulls reinforced the belief that the city could support an NFL franchise.
December 26th, 2013
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