Jaguars–Titans rivalry

The Jaguars–Titans rivalry is a professional American football rivalry between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans in the National Football League (NFL)'s AFC South division.

The first game of the rivalry was played on September 3, 1995, at EverBank Field (then Jacksonville Municipal Stadium) in Jacksonville, Florida. In the first regular season game for Jacksonville's new expansion franchise, the Titans, then known as the Houston Oilers, defeated the Jaguars 10–3. The rivalry intensified during the 1999–2000 postseason, when the 14–2 Jaguars (both losses were against Tennessee), champions of the AFC Central division, hosted the newly named Titans, who were 13–3. The Titans erased a 14–10 halftime deficit to eventually win 33–14. The Titans then lost to the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. In recent years, the rivalry featured two of the most productive running backs in the NFL: Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville and Chris Johnson of Tennessee.

Tennessee Titans wordmark, 2018

History

Screenshot 2014-02-12-23-27-47
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans prepare to kickoff the first half at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sunday, November 10, 2013

1990s

In 1993, the NFL awarded expansion franchises to the cities of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Jacksonville, Florida. The Charlotte franchise would become the Carolina Panthers of the National Football Conference, and the Jacksonville franchise would become the Jacksonville Jaguars of the American Football Conference. The Jaguars would compete in the Central division of the AFC along with the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Oilers, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Since 1995, the Jaguars have played most of their home games at what was originally called Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (now named TIAA Bank Field) on the site of the original Gator Bowl stadium.

On September 3, 1995, the Jaguars played their first ever regular season game in Jacksonville against the Oilers, who had existed since the founding of the American Football League in 1960. Houston receiver Haywood Jeffries caught the game's only touchdown in a 10-3 Oilers victory. Four weeks later, the clubs met again in Houston. In the fourth quarter, Desmond Howard caught a 15-yard pass from Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell to lift Jacksonville to a 17-16 win. Following the 1995 season, Oilers owner Bud Adams confirmed that his team would relocate to Nashville, Tennessee in time for the 1998 season. The announcement resulted in low attendance at the Houston Astrodome and the loss of many of the Oilers' radio affiliates. In another meeting in Jacksonville on September 8, 1996, Brunell threw the Jaguars' game-winning touchdown to Keenan McCardell to secure a 34-27 victory. Three months later in front of an Astrodome crowd of only 20,196, Oilers quarterback Steve McNair collected 308 passing yards as he led Houston to a 23-17 victory. A year earlier than originally expected, the Oilers left Houston and moved their home games to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee. The Jaguars held off a second half rally by the Oilers to win in Memphis 30-24 on November 2, 1997. Two weeks later in Jacksonville, the Jaguars completed their sweep of the Oilers with a 17-9 win.

By the 1998 season, the Oilers were playing their home games in Nashville at Vanderbilt Stadium. In Nashville on September 27, 1998, two fourth quarter field goals by Jacksonville kicker Mike Hollis lifted the Jaguars to a 27-22 victory, their fourth straight against the Oilers. The streak ended on December 13 in Jacksonville when Al Del Greco's 41-yard field goal lifted the Oilers to a 16-13 win. The Jaguars won the AFC Central title in 1998 but lost in the playoffs to the New York Jets. For the 1999 season, the Oilers changed their name to the Tennessee Titans and began playing their home games at their new stadium, Adelphia Coliseum (now named Nissan Stadium). In Jacksonville on September 26, 1999, the Titans rallied from a 17-7 deficit to defeat the Jaguars 20-19. Three months later in Nashville the Titans dominated the Jaguars 41-14. Despite this result, Jacksonville won the AFC Central for a second consecutive season and finished the regular season with a 14-2 record, both losses to Tennessee. Jacksonville was the No. 1 seed in the AFC and had a first-round bye, but the No. 4 seed Tennessee, with a record of 13-3, hosted the Buffalo Bills in a wild card game. The Titans dramatically defeated the Bills 22-16 by means of the Music City Miracle play and traveled to Indianapolis the following weekend, where they defeated the Colts 19-16. Meanwhile, Jacksonville won its divisional round home game over the Miami Dolphins 62-7. On January 23, 2000, the Titans and Jaguars met for the third time in the 1999 season in Jacksonville for the AFC Championship Game. At halftime, the Jaguars led 14-10, but the Titans stormed back to win 33-14.[1] For the first time since 1961, the franchise had won the AFL/AFC title. The Titans faced the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV, only to lose 23-16 in a game that came down to the final play.

2000s

The Titans and Jaguars continued their late 90s success into the early 2000s and remained competitive with one another, staying in the same division when the NFL realigned its divisions. The Jaguars and Titans joined the Indianapolis Colts and the newly-formed Houston Texans to form the AFC South. Though Brunell and McNair eventually left for other teams, they were eventually replaced at quarterback by David Garrard and Vince Young. Running backs Maurice Jones Drew for the Jaguars and Chris Johnson for the Titans began playing in this decade, becoming two of the most dominant halfbacks in the league. However, the rise of the Colts led by Peyton Manning and a departure of talent from the Jaguars and Titans over the years led to a decline in the two teams' success towards the end of the 2000s. Until 2017, the Jaguars last made the playoffs in 2007 and the Titans last qualified in 2008.

2010s

The Jaguars and Titans began this decade without much success, both missing the playoffs each year until 2017. Jaguars quarterback David Garrard was released after the 2010 season and replaced by 2011 draft pick Blaine Gabbert, who was ultimately unsuccessful during his tenure with the team.[2] The Titans drafted quarterback Jake Locker in the same draft after releasing Vince Young due to offseason troubles, but injuries plagued Locker's career and he retired after only four years.[3]

On December 22, 2013, Maurice Jones-Drew and Chris Johnson faced each other one final time at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, where the Titans won over the Jaguars 20–16. Jones-Drew last played for the Oakland Raiders in 2014, while Johnson later played for the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals and is a free agent as of the end of 2017. On December 18, 2014, the 2–12 Jaguars defeated the 2–12 Titans 21–13 on Thursday Night Football in Jacksonville.[4] The Titans' and Jaguars' respective coaching staffs faced off in the Senior Bowl on January 24, 2015. Ken Whisenhunt's staff coached the North while Gus Bradley's staff directed the South.[5]

By 2015, Gabbert and Locker had been replaced by new quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Marcus Mariota on the Jaguars and Titans, respectively. After years of bottom feeding in the AFC South, the two teams took advantage of a Colts team missing their star quarterback Andrew Luck due to injury in 2017 and returned to the playoffs that year. Though the Jaguars had already clinched the AFC South, the Titans made it in by beating the Jaguars in week 17.[6]

References

  1. ^ AFC Championship - Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars - January 23rd, 2000 - Pro Football Reference
  2. ^ Michael DiRocco (March 12, 2014). "Jacksonville Jaguars trade Blaine Gabbert to San Francisco 49ers". ESPN.com.
  3. ^ Jake Locker announces retirement from NFL NFL.com (March 10, 2015)
  4. ^ "Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans Results". The Football Database. 2015. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  5. ^ "Titans Coaching Staff to Participate in Senior Bowl". The Tennessee Titans. December 30, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  6. ^ Adam Wells (December 31, 2017). "Tennessee Titans Clinch Playoff Berth with Win vs. Jaguars". Bleacher Report.

External links

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