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30 Day Challenge: The Jaguars Coach Who Got Away

For the month of June we'll ask a different Jacksonville Jaguars related question to our readers. It’s the dead season and this will help us all get to know each other a little better.

Jacksonville Jaguars v New York Giants Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

There have been two great head coaches in Jacksonville Jaguars history — Tom Coughlin and Jack Del Rio. When they left the team, it felt like the right thing to do both times. And then there were pangs of regret with both, either because of success and Super Bowl titles with another team years later or because we fumbled through a series of inferior substitutes.

Tom Coughlin (1995-2002)

Coughlin was a young, successful head coach at Boston College in the early 1990’s — success that led to the Jaguars making him their inaugural head coach. And over eight seasons, he coached the most successful expansion team in NFL history, winning 49 games in their first five years.

During Coughlin's time as head coach, the Jaguars made four consecutive playoff appearances and went to the AFC Championship Game twice.

But after the early success, the Jaguars' record from 2000-2002 was only 19–29, and after a 6–10 finish in 2002, Coughlin was fired. He finished his eight-year career in Jacksonville with a 68–60 regular season record and a 4–4 playoff record.

In 2011 (after selling the Jaguars to Shahid Khan), former owner Wayne Weaver said when looking back on his tenure as owner, one of his biggest regrets was firing Coughlin.

Jack Del Rio (2003-2011)

Del Rio came to the Jaguars in 2013 after Coughlin’s dismissal and led a talent-depleted roster to a 5–11 record and (somehow) one of the best defenses in the NFL. In 2004, the Jaguars barely missed the playoffs with a 9–7 record, but it was the first winning record in five seasons. The following season, the team made the playoffs for the first time since 1999 but were completely outmatched by the New England Patriots and lost 28-3.

The Jaguars didn’t make the playoffs in 2006 and in 2007, Del Rio made his important decision — late in the preseason he cut Byron Leftwich and named David Garrard the starting quarterback. The Jaguars went on to have their best season under Del Rio, winning their first playoff game since 1999 and going toe-to-toe the next week with Tom Brady and the Patriots in New England.

After that year, things went downhill. The Jaguars never again went to the playoffs, Del Rio was offered the USC head coaching job (or he wasn’t?) and then he was fired in the middle of the season in 2011.

He finished with a regular season record of 68–71 and a 1–2 record in two playoff appearances over his nine years.


Which former Jaguars head coach do you regret being fired more?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Tom Coughlin
    (413 votes)
  • 16%
    Jack Del Rio
    (79 votes)
492 votes total Vote Now