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The Jacksonville Jaguars are an American professional football franchise based in Jacksonville, Florida. They are members of the South Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) of the National Football League (NFL). Their home stadium is EverBank Field.
The Jaguars and the Carolina Panthers became active NFL teams in 1995. 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.
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.
Jacksonville was considered the least likely expansion candidate for several reasons. The Jacksonville metropolitan area and television market were smaller than those of nearly every team in the league. Although Jacksonville was the 15th largest city in the nation at the time (It has since grown to become the 11th-largest), it has always been a medium-sized market because the surrounding suburbs and rural areas are far smaller than the city itself. There were 635,000 people in Jacksonville proper according to the 1990 census, but only 900,000 people in the metropolitan area. Additionally, the Gator Bowl was outdated, and the ownership group struggled to negotiate a lease with the city. The troubled negotiations over the Gator Bowl lease led the ownership group to withdraw from the NFL expansion bidding in July 1993.