Football is right around the corner

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When the NFL Record and Fact Book lands on my desk every year in early July, I can't help but take a moment and dream about what lies ahead.  It's a sign that another NFL season is near and we are 17 days away from the Jaguars players and coaches reporting to EverBank Field for the beginning of the 2012 season.

For the second time in five years, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning graces the cover of the book.  The 688-page book features information about all 32 teams along with historical records, numbers and rules of the game. 

As I do each year, I thought I would take a look at some of the important information and where the Jaguars are mentioned throughout the book.  Let's get to it.

Roster cuts
All teams must cut their roster to a minimum of 75 players on August 27 and 53 players on August 31. 

2012 top television markets
The Jacksonville area ranks as the 50th-largest television market, 27th among NFL teams, with 669,840 households.  The three NFL teams below Jacksonville are Buffalo, New Orleans and Green Bay.

The top 10 television markets are New York (7,837,810), Los Angeles (5,569,780), Chicago (3,493,480), Philadelphia (2,993,370), Dallas-Ft. Worth (2,571,310), San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (2,506,510), Boston (2,379,690), Washington, DC (2,360,180), Atlanta (2,292,640) and Houston (2,185,260).

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (1,583,800) ranks 16th while Orlando-Daytona Beach (1,465,460) holds down the 19th spot.

2013 Jaguars Schedule
The Jaguars will host Kansas City, San Diego, Arizona, San Francisco and an AFC East team at EverBank Field in 2013.  Road games include Denver, Oakland, St. Louis, Seattle and an AFC North team. 

Future Super Bowls
The 2013 Super Bowl will be played on February 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.  MetLife Stadium in New York-New Jersey will host the 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2 and the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona will host Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015.

Jones-Drew gets plenty of mentions
Maurice Jones-Drew, the 2011 NFL rushing leader, ranks fifth in the NFL among active players in rushing yards (6,854), fourth in touchdowns (74), 14th in yards from scrimmage (9,327) and tied for sixth in kickoff return average (26.0).

Jones-Drew leads the NFL with 954 rushes over the last three seasons and trails only Chris Johnson (4,417) in rushing yards with 4,321.  Jones-Drew's 48 touchdowns over the last four seasons are the third-most in the NFL.  He was the only player in the NFL to score four touchdowns in a 2011 game as he accomplished the feat on December 11 against Tampa Bay. 

Is preseason an indicator for success?
Of the 12 playoff teams in 2011, only Cincinnati (1-3) and Atlanta (0-4) had a losing record in the preseason.  The Super Bowl participants, New York Giants and New England, both finished 2-2.

Young lineup
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert and guard Will Rackley were the youngest NFL players to start at least eight games at their respective positions in 2011.  Gabbert, born Oct. 15, 1989, started the final 14 games of the season.  Rackley, born Oct. 11, 1989, also made 14 starts.

Notable tidbits:

  • Kicker Josh Scobee enters the 2012 season with 755 career points which ranks 21st among active players.  Jason Hanson leads the NFL with 2,016 points during his 20 seasons.
  • Rashean Mathis' 30 career interceptions are tied for 11th among active players.  Baltimore's Ed Reeds leads all active players with 57 career interceptions.
  • The Jaguars rank seventh in the AFC and 13th in the NFL with a .507 winning percentage, 138-134, since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Pittsburgh holds the top spot with a .613 winning percentage, an overall mark of 396-250-2.  In addition, the Jaguars rank sixth in the AFC, tied for 10th in the NFL, during that same span with an 83-53 home record (.610).
  • The Jaguars lead the AFC and rank second in the NFL with an 11-6 mark (.647) on Kickoff Weekend including wins in their last two games. 
  • There were 390 total replay reviews in 2011, 209 challenges and 172 reversals.
  • The Jaguars have posted a 76-84 record in the last 10 seasons (2002-11) with a 46-34 mark at home and 30-50 record on the road.  The club's month-by-month records during that span are 16-16 in September, 18-22 in October, 21-18 in November and 21-28 in December/January.
  • The Jaguars' 375 rushing yards against Indianapolis on December 10, 2006 remains the second-highest single-game total in the last 10 seasons.  The Vikings produced 378 rushing yards against San Diego in 2007.

Jaguars in the NFL record books:

  • The Jaguars are one of only two teams to score 60 or more points in a postseason game with their 62-7 win over Miami on January 15, 2000.  The Chicago Bears defeated the Washington Redskins 73-0 on December 8, 1940.
  • The Jaguars join Baltimore, Houston, Oakland and Dallas as the only teams without a retired uniform number.
  • The Jaguars have played in only 11 overtime games in their 17-year history and own a 7-4 record.  Since 1974, 18 NFL overtime games have been decided by an interception return for a touchdown including a 41-yard interception return by Rashean Mathis at Pittsburgh on October 16, 2005. 
  • Josh Scobee's three field goals of 50-plus yards against Baltimore in 2011 are tied for the most in NFL history.  Scobee connected from 54 yards twice and added a 51-yarder in the fourth quarter.
  • Fred Taylor ranks 15th in NFL history with 11,695 rushing yards.  Taylor is tied for third with the most touchdowns by a rookie as he had 17 in 1998.
  • Taylor owns the longest run in postseason history with his 90-yard touchdown run against Miami in the 1999 AFC Divisional Playoff game.
  • Former Jaguar running back James Stewart is one of only six players with five or more rushing touchdowns in a game.  Stewart accomplished the feat on October 12, 1997 against Philadelphia.
  • Former Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith is tied for third with nine seasons of 1,000 or more receiving yards. Smith ranks 16th in career receiving yards (12,287) and is tied with Reggie Wayne in 15th place with 862 career receptions.
  • Former Jaguars punter Bryan Barker ranks second with 878 consecutive punts without a block and is tied with Mark Royals (Pittsburgh) with the most punts inside the 20 in a single game with eight against Baltimore on November 14, 1999.
  • Barker ranks second in Monday Night Football history with an 83-yard punt on October 11, 1999 against the New York Jets.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew ranks third with the most combined yards by a rookie with 2,250. 
  • The Jaguars rank second for most points scored with 62 against Miami in 1999 AFC Divisional Playoff game and the club's 41 points in the first half are the tied for the most in a postseason game. 
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