Jacksonville was considered the least likely expansion candidate for several reasons. The Jacksonville metropolitan area and television market were smaller than those of nearly every team in the league. Although Jacksonville was the 15th largest city in the nation at the time It has since grown to become the 11th-largest, it has always been a medium-sized market because the surrounding suburbs and rural areas are far smaller than the city itself. There were 635,000 people in Jacksonville proper according to the 1990 census, but only 900,000 people in the metropolitan area. Additionally, the Gator Bowl was outdated, and the ownership group struggled to negotiate a lease with the city. The troubled negotiations over the Gator Bowl lease led the ownership group to withdraw from the NFL expansion bidding in July 1993.
Charlotte was awarded the first franchise – the Carolina Panthers – in October 1993. Surprisingly, the naming of the second expansion city was delayed a month. Most pundits speculated that the delay was made to allow St. Louis to shore up its bid. At the time, St. Louis was considered the favorite for the second franchise, with Baltimore's three bids also considered strong. However, in a surprising move, the NFL owners voted 26–2 in favor of awarding the 30th franchise to Jacksonville.
The current stadium opened in 1995 on the site of the old Gator Bowl Stadium, which had been erected in 1949. Located on the St. Johns River, it sits on 10 acres (4.0 ha) of land, including portions of the older stadium. At its opening, it had a total capacity of 73,000 and expansions over the past decade have since increased that to 76,867. The stadium hosted Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005 and has also held a number of college football games as well as concerts and other events.
Shahid Khan Ownership
Largest Scoreboards in the World
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2010 - present
Super Bowl: 0
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