Steelers Looking To Exorcise Demons Past And Present In Decades-Long Jacksonville Rivalry

If you’ve read Bob Labriola’s work long enough, especially over the past year or two, you probably have come to realize that he is no fan of bloggers, and perhaps even a special place in his heart specifically for contempt of our little niche of the internet here.

While he may hate what we do, and perhaps even the way that we go about doing it, I do respect the work that he does, the insight that he brings, and, particularly, the humility with which he readily acknowledges the extent to which his success in the field and knowledge is based upon the help he has received from others, often sought for specifically.

I particularly like to read his Asked and Answered segments on occasion, and one question and response specifically piqued my interest from yesterday, pertaining to the history that exists between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars franchises.

Many may not realize or remember this, but the two teams were in the same division together for seven seasons, from the Jaguars’ founding in 1995 through 2001, the final season of the old divisional alignments. Both teams were in the AFC Center. Post-alignment, the Steelers were moved to the North (which didn’t previously exist) and the Jaguars to the South (which, also, previously didn’t exist).

But during that time, as Labriola points out, Jacksonville under then-head coach Tom Coughlin knew that the Steelers were the team that he had to worry about. Coughlin, who later had success with the Giants and is now back in Jacksonville in a front office role, is well-known for his emphasis on divisional play.

And he took that principle to a fever pitch in dealing with the Steelers. As Labriola writes, “the Jaguars regularly overpaid during free agency to acquire Steelers players, and Coughlin was famous for adding Steelers castoffs or practice squad players shortly before one of the teams’ home-and-home matchups”.

He added that this practice of signing and cutting marginal players from opponents is what “led to the NFL passing the rule requiring a team hold onto a player for three weeks on its 53-man roster after taking him off another team’s practice squad”.

With the Browns becoming the Ravens, the Oilers becoming the Titans, and the Browns being the Browns, it’s no surprise that the Jaguars paid especial attention to Pittsburgh, who after all in 1995 had just gone to the Super Bowl.

Believe it or not, during the AFC Central era, the Steelers actually had a losing record to the Jaguars, going 6-8 from 1995 through 2001. The Jaguars’ win earlier this season swung the overall regular season head-to-head matchup back in their favor as well, 11-12.

Of course, Jacksonville also owns the win in the teams’ only playoff game against one another, a late win in the Wildcard Round of the 2007 season. They are the only team to have beaten the Steelers in Pittsburgh twice in one season, and are looking to do it again, while Pittsburgh is looking to exorcise its Jacksonville demons past and present, en route to greater ambitions.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • francesco

    You win by playing inch by inch until you can pound it. After all it’s a game of inches.

  • Ring4Shaz

    Fred Taylor used to annually come to Pittsburgh and run for 200+ yards. He loved our field even more than our backs. I remember all too well.

  • FATCAT716

    I used to love Fred Taylor until he would murder us like that I couldn’t root for him but respect him alot

  • Jack Hambert

    This is not a game to look past to the Patriots. Even in the past when they stank, they played the Steelers close, and we tend to sleepwalk through those games. Frankly this game should be 44-6 with this roster.

  • Chris

    Just hope they do better against a running QB in this game than in 07. Sometimes, for all the good things that they do, Tomlin’s teams miss on the obvious. If I could tell Garrard was going to run a QB draw on 4th and 2 in that game, then the Steelers should have been ready for it too.

  • Cwallace

    Matthew Marczi thank you for that article and history review of our Jacksonville jaguar history because i was born and have lived in Jacksonville the majority of my life and grew up literally across the expressway from the ‘Gator Bowl’ now Everbank. I have deep roots in Pittsburgh with uncles ,aunts and cousins etc still living in the area so when i grew up i was not like most Floridians…a Dolphins fan because i didn’t like anything about the 70s’ dolphins believe it or not…mainly because everyone else was. For two and a half decades of my Steelers fandom there was nothing but Florida-Georgia tilts to go see locally until 1995 when the Jags were founded and immediately i literally had an enemy in my own bbackyard and i did not need anymore rivalry hatred with the oilers/titans, ravens/ browns. I can remember going to the first Steelers-Jags game and thinking now i can see my team with a walk across the street at least once a year and i was ecstatic with my #95 Greg Lloyd jersey on sitting proudly to to boos with front row seat….and then it happened…the jagoffs beat my defending AFC champs steelers 20-16. Of course i had to haul azz outa there quickly because those fans didnt just get nasty in the ’17 Seattle game..they still are. And they have been a thorn in my side every since. There is no team that annoys me more. Anyways i said all that to say it is time for an exorcism of this team for good. Ignorant fairweather fanbase team who have been using our Steelers to create a name for themselves. We are and always have been their Superbowl. Well im saying to all jagofs fans straight from dooodoovaaal. .. BEN WANTS YA …I SIMPLY WANT YOU TO RETURN WITH THAT AZZWHUPPED! GO STEELERS!!!!!!!

  • Doogie

    They have a great Defense so 44 might be high, but 6 for them is about right.. My guess is 24-9 maybe 30-10 but comfortable win if they dont turn the football over.