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100 moments in 100 days: Bottlegate

Jaguars v Browns X

This year marks the 25th season for the Jacksonville Jaguars. To celebrate, we’re counting down 100 days from our regular season kickoff with the top 100 moments in franchise history.


Today? Bottlegate.

The Jaguars have an interesting history with the Cleveland Browns — they were the last team the original Browns played before leaving for Baltimore, they played in the game in which Orlando Brown was hit in the eye with a flag, and the Browns’ miracle Hail Mary to beat the Jaguars in 2002 was probably the final nail in Tom Coughlin’s coffin.

However, no game matches the insanity of the one played in December of 2001.

The Jaguars limped into Cleveland at 4-8 while the Browns were 6-6 and in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race.

Mark Brunell was sacked a franchise record eight times and a Mike Hollis extra point was blocked — but somehow the Browns offense was even worse. The Jaguars had a 15-10 lead in the fourth quarter.

Tim Couch began to drive the offense down the field late in the fourth quarter. The Browns had a fourth-and-two with just over a minute left in the game. Couch apparently connected with wide receiver Quincy Morgan down near the goal line and subsequently spiked the ball with 48 seconds left.

However, after the ball was spiked, the referees whistled that the previous play was under review. Not the spike, but the fourth down.

Needless to say, both teams were puzzled.

The Browns vehemently protested as NFL rules stated that a previous play could not be reviewed once another play was ran. However, the officials still proceeded to review the Morgan catch and ruled that it was an incomplete pass. After the game, the officials said the booth had buzzed in before the spike of the ball but the officials did not respond quickly enough.

The events that followed that call are indescribable. Immediately following the reversal, Browns fans pelted the field with beer bottles and other debris — including a portable CD player. Several Jaguars players said they were scared for their lives with Keenan McCardell comparing it to the riot that Browns fans had in their final home game before moving to Baltimore.

A Browns coach was injured during the downpour and referee Terry McAulay declared the game over despite the minute still left to be played.

Over a dozen fans were arrested before NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue ordered the game to be completed. More bottles and debris were thrown once the Jaguars returned to the field amid a chorus of boos.

After the game, Cleveland no longer sold beer in bottles, along with several other stadiums. The Jaguars would finish the year 6-10 with the Browns limping to a 7-9 finish and firmly out of the AFC playoff picture.

You can watch the full CBS broadcast here — complete with Gus Johnson as color commentator!

Send us your favorite moments and we’ll dig into each one until the Jaguars kick off on September 8th — including whatever video, audio, or stories we can find.

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