JACKSONVILLE – It was unexpected.
It was unreal.
It was history.
On November 30, 1993, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced that the city of Jacksonville had been awarded what at the time was the league's 30th franchise. The franchise's name: the Jaguars. The official announcement came at 4:12 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30.
Exactly 25 years ago.
The announcement, considered a surprise by national observers, came five weeks after the league had announced the Carolina Panthers as the 29th franchise.
Wayne Weaver, who would remain the Jaguars' majority owner until selling the team to current owner Shad Khan late in 2011, called the announcement "a win for the Jacksonville community."
Jacksonville beat out bids from Baltimore, St. Louis and Memphis. Jacksonville's ownership group had dropped out of the bidding the previous summer because of troubles negotiating a stadium lease with the city for the then-outdated Gator Bowl.
But the city sold 10,000 "preferred seat licenses" in 10 days, rejoining the bidding for an announcement that came several months later at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Chicago, Ill.
NFL owners voted for Jacksonville, 26-2.
The team would begin play in the 1995 season in the renovated stadium that became what is now known as TIAA Bank Field, with Tom Coughlin being hired as the franchise's first head coach in January 1994. The team went 4-12 in 1995 before advancing to the AFC Championship game in 1996.