In Florida, the NFL has a particularly strong presence. Only California and New York rival Florida and technically two New York teams play in New Jersey. What started as a franchise in Miami has seen a steady growth but also ups and downs for all its teams. The Dolphins are still the only team that can boast a perfect season and up until 2008, the Bucs had the worst season in NFL history. The teams are located in Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa. This article will be looking at each team.
First, the new kid on the block. The Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars started in 1995 and are the most recent city to receive a team that either wasn’t moved from another city, the Baltimore Ravens were started from the Cleveland Browns, or granted another team after their initial team left. The Houston Texans were enfranchised after the original team left to become the now Tennessee Titans. Jacksonville has only known modest success and recently taken a downturn in the standings. However much like the maligned Bucs fans before them, the Jaguar fans are hanging in there and with the newest addition of QB Blake Bortles from UCF, there looks to be a new day dawning in Ever bank Field.
Secondly, the most recent Florida Super bowl winner, the Bucs. The Bucs epitomize the highest of highs and lowest of lows in this football narrative. The team was named in a vote, presumably in honor of the pirates that would visit Tampa’s shores. The term Tampa Bay is used to show that the team belongs to an entire section of Florida, not just St. Peters burg or Tampa itself. The team lost its first 26 games after its enfranchisement, winning only two of its games one season. Both of these wins would result in the firings of head coaches of the opposing teams. The Bucs would also undergo a dramatic uniform change in the late 90s and would be rid of their winking buccaneer mascot to be replaced with a pirate flag. Around this same time the Bucs would win the Super bowl. They haven’t quite reached that pinnacle in the following years but remain in the play off hunt. The canons that fire from the ship in Raymond James Stadium are always at the ready!
Finally we have the team with the most prestige and longest history, the Dolphins. Not only are they still the only team with a perfect season, they are also one of the few to have back to back Super Bowl championships. They would return to the Super Bowl twice in the early 80s but would fall victim to the Team of 80s the San Francisco 49ers. Not to be deterred by this, the Dolphins remained a favorite under the leadership of Dan Marino. He would lead them to several division titles and to America always wondering when one of the greats QBs of all time would get his elusive ring.
This article has only scratched the surface of these teams and their histories and NFL links. Florida continues to grow and the fans to root on their various team. Who knows? Perhaps there’s a professional team in Orlando’s future!