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78 days until kickoff: Let’s talk about Tony Boselli dominating Bruce Smith

Jaguars V Bills

With just 78 days until kickoff, let’s talk about Tony Boselli, one of the greatest players in Jacksonville Jaguars history, dominating arguably the best No. 78 in NFL history.

December 28, 1996

After racking up five straight wins to close out the regular season — including the season finale where Morten Andersen missed a chip shot of a field goal with his Atlanta Falcons down just two points — the upstart Jaguars traveled to play the Buffalo Bills.

Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas... this was the core that had gone to four Super Bowls in a row just years earlier. They’d lost all four, but going to four Super Bowls in a row is a feat all unto itself.

Bruce Smith was on the other side of the ball and he was having another career year in 1996 — 68 tackles, 13.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, even a pass batted away at the line of scrimmage.

And it was second-year offensive tackle Tony Boselli going up against him that day.

In the end, the back-and-forth game went the Jaguars way after Mike Hollis hit a 45-yard field goal to put the Jaguars up 30-27 for good. And a big part of that victory was Boselli’s absolute domination of Smith on this day — holding the Hall of Fame pass rusher to just three tackles, zero sacks, and barely any impact on the game.

Smith made the playoffs 10 times in his career. He finished three of them without a sack.

1996 was one of them.