Jacksonville surprised NFL fans by beating out Memphis, Baltimore, Charlotte and St. Louis to become the first new expansion franchise since the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the league in 1976. Part of this coup was the proposed reconstruction of the old Gator Bowl stadium, which was initially proposed to keep college football teams from migrating elsewhere. This facility is located in the stadium district of the downtown core.
After the destruction of the Gator Bowl, ground broke for the new facility on January 3rd, 1994, which was ready to open on August 18th, 1995. The quick rise of the new stadium meant that the Jaguars were the first expansion team in the NFL to play their first game in a brand-new facility. The cost of this project ended up totaling $121 million, despite the fact that only the upper deck on the west side of the stadium and the ramps were left behind from the old structure. Jacksonville covered $60 million of the cost.
The City of Jacksonville went through a series of negotiations to raise the necessary funds for this massive rebuild, which was essentially the creation of a new stadium. This facility was called Jacksonville Municipal Stadium with Alltel purchasing naming rights between 1997-2006. The latest name, EverBank Field, was negotiated in 2010, named after the largest private bank in the United States.
Jacksonville Jaguars Stadium
Lately, there hasn't been much of a home field advantage for the Jacksonville Jaguars, as the team has gone 14-26 over the past five years, resulting in a paltry .350 winning percentage over that span. This is a reversal of their first seasons in the NFL, in which they were dominant at home. In fact, the fan base has appeared to become somewhat disinterested, leading to large sections of EverBank Field being cordoned off by tarp in an effort to avoid TV blackouts that revolve around how many fans show up to a game. Despite these efforts, the team still goes through TV blackouts and some observers around the NFL believe that the attendance numbers showed that the city wasn't able to support a franchise after all.
The turf at EverBank Field has consistently placed in the top five in terms of the best natural grass playing surfaces in the NFL. However, in the most recent NFLPA survey of 2010, they fell out of the top five, dropping to eighth best playing surface in the league. The type of natural turf used is Tifway 419 Bermuda Grass.
Date Opened: August 18th, 1995
Construction Cost: $121 million
Capacity Attendance: 76,876
Playing Surface: Tifway 419 Bermuda Grass
Previous Jacksonville Jaguar Stadiums
Other Major Events
Super Bowl XXXIX
On February 6th, 2005, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles battled throughout four quarters, with neither team being ahead by more than a touchdown throughout the game. Ultimately, the Patriots won 24-21, cementing their reputation as one of the best teams of the new century.
Originally called the Gator Bowl, the rights to name this iconic college football event were secured by TaxSlayer.com. This event has been running since 1946, and is one of the reasons why Jacksonville was able to secure an NFL franchise.