With just 77 days until kickoff, let’s talk about Fred Taylor and that time he took the opening play of the game 77 yards for a touchdown — on national television.
October 12, 1998
The Jaguars were at the peak of their franchise. They were firmly the team to beat in the AFC Central, their receiving tandem of Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith were growing into the best tandem in the league, Mark Brunell was a good quarterback who wasn’t going to lose you games (at least in the regular season), and their defense was getting better every year. All they needed was a rushing game.
Enter Fred Taylor.
Prior to the 1998 NFL Draft, the Jaguars traded promising backup quarterback Rob Johnson to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for the Bills' first and fourth round picks. That first round pick was the No. 9 overall selection and allowed head coach Tom Coughlin to select the potentially elite running back he’d craved for the past three seasons.
Taylor played off and on in the early part of the season, splitting time with James Stewart. But after the bye week, the Jaguars were hosting the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football and Taylor used the national spotlight to show why he deserved to be the unquestioned starter going forward — galloping 77 yards for a touchdown on the opening play of the game.
Love you, Fred.