Richard Moore takes an in depth statistical preview of the upcoming Wembley fixture.
With the 8th instalment of the NFL’s ‘International Series’ nearly upon us, I thought I’d pay homage to the legend that is ‘Statto’ (For those of you not familiar with the man in question, he used to feature on the well-known television show ‘Fantasy Football’ and would often be seen standing in the corner of the set, providing facts and figures on each of the guests' fantasy football teams, whilst clad in pyjamas and a dressing gown. As you do…) and provide you with all the fun facts and figures ahead of the weekend’s big game.
January, 1994 - Two - time Super Bowl winning coach of the New York Giants Tom Coughlin was hired as the first official coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
1995 - A year of firsts - Along with the Carolina Panthers, the Jacksonville Jaguars entered the NFL as the first expansion teams in almost twenty years. Both teams participated in the 1995 NFL Expansion Draft, with the Jaguars taking Steve Beuerlein with the first pick. However, Beuerlein quickly lost his starting job to former Green Bay Packer backup Mark Brunell. The Jaguars finished their inaugural season with a 4-12 record.
7 - 9 - Both the Jaguars and the Panthers broke the previous record for most wins by an expansion team (3) set by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968.
2 - Offensive tackle Tony Boselli became the Jaguars very first draft pick, taken as the 2nd pick overall in the 1995 NFL Draft.
72,363 - The attendance for the Jaguars very first home game at ‘EverBank Field’ against the then Houston Oilers (remember them?), who ran out 10 - 3 winners.
1st of a 1st - The Jaguars secured their first ever regular season win on the 1st of October 1995, when they defeated the Houston Oilers 17-16, gaining revenge for their opening day defeat at home to the same opponents.
1996 - ‘Jacksonville, do you believe in miracles?’ - Jacksonville's 1996 season was a major triumph, as they won six of their last seven games of the season and finished with a record of 9-7, thus making the post-season. Quarterback Mark Brunell threw for over 4,000 yards and wide receivers Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith each accumulated over 1,000 receiving yards.
30 and in!! - Renowned Falcons kicker Morton Anderson missed a 30-yard field goal during the Jaguars final regular season game to hand Jacksonville it’s first ever playoff berth and the AFC fifth seed in the process.
Groundhog Day! – “It’s the same score, over and over…” - 30-27 was the final score when the Jags beat both the Bills, and the highly favoured Denver Broncos on route to the AFC Championship game, where they were eventually beaten by the New England Patriots in Foxboro.
1997-99 - The Glory years - In 1997, the franchise's third season, the Jaguars and the Steelers both finished the season with an 11-5 record, tops in the AFC Central Division. Though, Pittsburgh won the division in a tiebreaker as a result of having higher net in division games than Jacksonville.
However, with the Steelers having secured first place in the division, the Jaguars were forced to settle for 2nd place in the division, and a wild card berth that was to net them a showdown with the Denver Broncos (at Mile High Stadium), who proceeded to decimate the Jags to the tune of a 42-17 hiding. Denver would go on to win the Super Bowl.
11-5 x2 - In 1998, the Jaguars once again finished 11-5 and won their first AFC Central Division title. The team became the first NFL expansion team to make the playoffs three times in its first four seasons of play. In the wild card round, the Jaguars hosted their first home playoff game, a 25-10 win over the New England Patriots. The team's season ended the next week in the divisional round as the New York Jets defeated the Jaguars 34-24.
Party like its 1999!! - The Jaguars registered their best ever regular season record in 1999, finishing 14-2 and clinching the number one seed in the AFC.
55 - The margin of victory against Dan Marino and his Dolphins during the divisional round of the playoffs, where the Jags routed their celebrated opponents by a score line of 62-7. However, with the Super Bowl seemingly in sight, Jacksonville blew a 14-0 half time lead against the Tennessee Titans to lose the AFC Championship Game 33-14.
THREE-peat - All three of Jacksonville’s loses during the 1999-2000 campaign came against the Tennessee Titans.
End of an era - 2000-02 - This period represented somewhat of a struggle for the Jacksonville Jaguars, due in part to salary cap problems.  In the 2000 season, veteran quarterback Mark Brunell and young running back Fred Taylor led the team through a painful 7-9 season.
The Jaguars finished with records of 6-10 in both the 2001 and 2002 seasons. After the 2002 season, head coach Tom Coughlin was fired.
68-60 - Tom Coughlin’s record as head coach of the Jaguars.
4 - The number of times Coughlin took Jacksonville to the Playoffs.
The 2002 season also marked the last full season for Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell, who was benched in the third game of 2003 in favour of Byron Leftwich. Brunell accumulated approximately 25,000 yards as a Jaguar and earned three trips to the Pro Bowl.
2003–05- Return to the playoffs - Though the first two years of the Jack Del Rio era ended in disappointment, with the team finishing 5-11 and 9-7, 2005 painted an entirely different picture as the Jags would return to the playoff’s following an impressive 12-4 finish (though it is worth noting that nine of their final ten games came against teams with losing records). However, playoff aspirations were emphatically ended at the hands of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who ran out 28-3 winners during the wild card round.
2006 - ‘They’ve got high hopes’ - The Jaguars would get off to a strong start winning their opener 24-17 over the Dallas Cowboys, before blanking the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers 9-0 on Monday Night. However, the Jaguars would suffer two agonising road loses, losing to division rivals Indianapolis, and then suffering a 36-30 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins. A defeat made all the more painful as it came at the hands of former Jaguar Quarterback Mark Brunell.
The Jaguars would return home and bounce back with a 41-0 thumping of the New York Jets. However the following week the Jaguars would be stunned again on the road losing to the Houston Texans 27-7. That loss would mark the end of Quarterback Byron Leftwich's season as an ankle injury forced him to miss the last 10 games.
With back-up Quarterback David Garrard the Jaguars would win three of their next four games. Following a 27-24 heart breaking loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Jaguars played their best two games of the season beating the Miami Dolphins 24-10, before turning the table on the Colts, subjecting Peyton Manning and co to a 44-17 drubbing which was also significant because it saw a breakout performance from rookie Running Back Maurice Jones-Drew who scored two rushing touchdowns on 166-yards rushing, while adding a 93-yard kick-off return for a Touchdown, as the Jaguars rushed for 375 yards as a team.
At 8-5 the Jaguars were all set for another playoff run, only it would go on to lose its last three games as injuries eventually took their tool, resulting in an 8-8 finish.
2007-08 - Lightning strikes twice - For the second time in three years, New England ended Super Bowl aspirations in South Florida, this time at the divisional round, winning 31-20.
2008-09 - Great Expectations - Despite many, including ESPN’s Kevin Seifert predicting a potential Super Bowl run, the Jags fell way short of those lofty expectations, finishing with a dismal 5-11 record.
The 2008 season also marked and end of an era in the backfield, as running back Fred Taylor's eleven-year career as a Jaguar came to a close. Taylor, who is considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise, rushed for over 10,000 yards during his tenure with Jacksonville and earned one trip to the Pro Bowl. In 2009, he signed with the New England Patriots. Taylor's departure opened up the door for Maurice Jones-Drew to become the team's feature running back. In 2011, Taylor signed a one-day contract so he could retire as a Jaguar.
2009-10 - Blackout!! - Despite wholesale changes both from an organizational standpoint, the hiring of a new General Manager in the form of Gene Smith, and the recruitment of talent in the form of Eugene Monroe, Terrance Knighton, Derek Cox, Eben Britton and Mike Thomas, Jacksonville finished the 2009-10 season with a disappointing 7-9 record.
To compound matters further, 2009 also saw the team's attendance numbers plummet dramatically to the point where seven of Jacksonville’s home games were blacked out, sparking strong rumours about a sale or even re-location, leading NFL Chief Commissioner Roger Goodell to address the issue with owner Wayne Weaver.
Contributing to this decline in ticket sales is the fact that Jacksonville is one of the league's smallest markets, though its stadium is relatively large; since 2005 the team has covered nearly 10,000 of the stadium's 73,000 total seats with tarp in order to lower the stadium's official capacity to a more typical size and reduce blackouts. 73,000 total seats still ranks as one of the largest in the NFL.
To address this issue, in 2010 the team and the City of Jacksonville undertook several measures aimed at ensuring the franchise's continued viability in Jacksonville. Supporters began the "Team Teal" drive to drum up ticket sales. The city negotiated a five-year, $16.6 million naming rights deal with Jacksonville-based EverBank to rename the stadium EverBank Field. As a result the Jaguars' attendance increased dramatically in 2010. While attendance figures were stagnant for most of the NFL, Jacksonville saw an increase of 36.5%, by far the highest in the league, and had none of their home games blacked out.
The 2010 season proved a big year for the Jaguars on the field as well. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew emerged as second in the league in rushing yards and David Garrard threw for 23 touchdowns, a franchise record. Marcedes Lewis went to his first pro bowl and the Jags had one of the best young defensive tackle duos in Terrance Knighton and rookie Tyson Alualu.
Heading into December, Jacksonville was at the top of the AFC South and in playoff contention. In Week 15, they lost to Indianapolis, 34–24, which placed the Colts back atop the AFC South. The Jaguars lost their last two games, placing themselves out of playoff contention. They finished the season with disappointing record of 8–8.
2011 - All Change - In the 2011 NFL draft, the Jaguars traded a first and a second-round pick in order to move up to the 10th pick and select Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
On September 6, 2011, quarterback David Garrard was cut from the team just days before the start of the season; Luke McCown was named starter. The move was similar to the one that named Garrard himself the starter over Byron Leftwich in 2007. McCown started two games until he threw four interceptions in a lopsided loss to the New York Jets and Blaine Gabbert was named the starter the following week. The Jaguars offense would continue to struggle under the rookie quarterback, losing the next four games in a row, until a highly unlikely victory over the Baltimore Ravens at home on Monday Night Football.
On November 29, 2011, owner Wayne Weaver announced the firing of head coach Jack Del Rio, whose record had been 3-8 through the first 12 weeks of the season and 68-71 over his nine-year tenure. Del Rio was succeeded by defensive coordinator Mel Tucker on an interim basis. Weaver also announced that General Manager Gene Smith had been given a three-year extension of his contract.
2-14 - Despite the broom of change sweeping in a new era, Jacksonville under new Ownership in the form of Illinois businessman Shahid Khan, and a new coach by the name of Mike Mularkey, the Jaguars finished 2012-13 with their worst record in franchise history, going 2-14, ending the ill-fated Mularkey era after just one year.
2013 - ‘The Legion of Boom’ - On January 17, 2013, hot on the heels of David Caldwell’s unveiling as new General Manager on the 8th of January, the Jaguars formally announced the signing of former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as new head coach.
68 - Tackles recorded by linebacker Paul Posluszny, the 4th most in the league.
204 - Yards-per-game for quarterback Chad Henne throughout the course of 2013-14.
10.9 - Average points recorded per game.
31.7 - Average volume of points conceded through 2013-14.
238 - Passing yards conceded on average.
32 - Ranking of Jaguars rushing attack.
7 - The Jaguars have won only seven of their last 38 games dating back to a victory over Oakland in Week 14 of the 2010 season.
30 - Jacksonville’s ranking on 1st and 3rd down conversions, tied second last with Dallas.
28 - Ranking in total defense.
15.4 - Yards-per-catch for receiver Justin Blackmon.
219 - Average pass yards-per-game.
140-155-0 - Jacksonville Jaguars all-time Regular season record.
6 - Playoff appearances - NFL: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2007.
San Francisco 49ers
1946 - The year the San Francisco 49ers were anointed charter members of the All-America Football Conference.
Had it not been for the Browns, who won four championships and lost only four games in the league's four years of operation, the 49ers would have been the AAFC's dominant team. Their cumulative record was an excellent 39-15-2. They handed the Browns two of their four defeats but finished second each year. Even in attendance, the 49ers were second best in the AAFC next to Cleveland.
1950 - The year the 49ers moved to the NFL, following the collapse of the AAFC, their original management team - co-owners Anthony J. Morabito and Victor P. Morabito and general manager Louis Spadia - remained intact. In the 1950’s, San Francisco boasted some of the game's great individual stars: quarterbacks Frankie Albert and Y. A. Tittle, running backs Hugh McElhenny, Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson, tackle Bob St. Clair and defensive tackle Leo Nomellini.
But the closest they came to a championship in their first two decades of NFL play was in 1957, when they tied Detroit for the NFL Western division crown but lost in a playoff.
1970, 1971 and 1972 - San Francisco won three straight NFC Western division titles. Unfortunately they were subjected to a hat-trick of loses at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys they were eliminated by the Dallas Cowboys, twice in the NFC championship game - 1970 and 1971, and once in the first round and in 1972.
1971 - San Francisco re-locates from its original home, Kezar Stadium, to the 68,491 capacity Candlestick Park.
March 31, 1977, a new Era - Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. became the new team owner. He dedicated himself to transforming a team that never won a league championship into a pro football power. In 1979, DeBartolo selected Bill Walsh, renowned as an offensive specialist, as the 49ers head coach. It took Walsh just three seasons to bring San Francisco its first-ever league championship with a 26-21 win over Cincinnati in Super Bowl XVI.
Best of the West - San Francisco also won the NFC West in 1983 and did even better in 1984 with 18 wins in 19 games and a 38-16 Super Bowl XIX victory over the Miami Dolphins. Walsh concluded his pro coaching career after a last-second 20-16 victory over Cincinnati in Super Bowl XXIII. In 10 years, Walsh compiled a 102-62-1 record and won six NFC West titles and three Super Bowls.
The Super stars - The 49ers of the 1980s were loaded with a group of young superstars including quarterback Joe Montana, receivers Dwight Clark and Jerry Rice, running back Roger Craig and defensive back Ronnie Lott. George Seifert, who replaced Walsh, continued to take full advantage of the existing talent.
Careful personnel planning paid off as capable new players were on hand when veteran stars retired. A perfect example is the quarterback position where Steve Young was on hand to replace Montana, who battled a series of injuries before leaving the 49ers for the Kansas City Chiefs, who he’d lead to the AFC Championship game at the end of the 1993-94 season.
Seifert's record as the 49ers head man was incredible, with two Super Bowl wins - a 55-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV and a 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.
Return to relevance, January 4, 2011 - Jed York promoted interim General Manager Trent Baalke to be the permanent General Manager.
Baalke had taken over the role after former GM Scot McCloughan was relieved of his duties the year before. Two days later, on January 7, 2011, former head coach of Stanford University Jim Harbaugh was named the 49ers new head coach.
In the 2011 NFL Draft, the 49ers selected defensive end/linebacker Aldon Smith from the University of Missouri with the seventh pick of the first round.
The 49ers also selected quarterback Colin Kaepernick from the University of Nevada, Reno with the 36th overall pick in the second round.
After the end of a labour dispute that nearly threatened to postpone or cancel the 2011 season the 49ers made a controversial decision to re-sign Alex Smith to a one-year $4.8 million contract. When factoring in both the retention of Smith, and a shortened offseason with an entirely new coaching staff, the team was expected to be among the league's worst performers.
Despite this, Harbaugh's 49ers exceeded expectations, posting a superlative 13-3 record, securing the division title in the process; earning the second overall seed in the NFC Playoffs.
In the Divisional Playoffs they defeated the New Orleans Saints 36-32 after a touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis in the closing seconds of the game. The team reached the NFC Championship for the first time since 1997, and faced the New York Giants. They would go on to lose 20-17 in overtime after two critical fumbles by back up return man Kyle Williams, ending their 2011-2012 season with disappointment but great promise.
In 2012, the 49ers were widely predicted to, at the very least, return to the playoffs, and at best, make a run to the Super Bowl.
Starting the season 6-2, the 49ers went on to face division rival’s St. Louis Rams in Week 10, a game that finished in a 24-24 tie. Alex Smith suffered a concussion in the second quarter and exited the game.
The following week, Kaepernick and the 49ers blew out the Chicago Bears 32-7, prompting Harbaugh to officially announce Kaepernick as the starter prior to the following weeks clash with the Saints at the Mercedes Benz Dome, despite Smith being medically clear to play.
A quarterback controversy then began, as despite Kaepernick’s perceived greater capacity for playmaking, Smith led the league in completion percentage (70%) and passer rating (104.1). Regardless, Kaepernick finished the season 5-2, and set the record for rushing yards for a quarterback in the playoffs with 168-yards against the Green Bay Packers.
The 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs and advanced to Super Bowl XLVII, but were denied their sixth Super Bowl win against the Baltimore Ravens, who were coached by John Harbaugh, 34–31.
5 - Super Bowl Championships - 1981 (XVI), 1984 (XIX), 1988 (XXIII), 1989 (XXIV), 1994 (XXIX).
6 - Conference championships - NFC: 1981, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1994, 2012.
19 - Division Championships - NFC West: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2011, 2012.
25 - Playoff appearances - AAFC: 1949, NFL: 1957, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2011, 2012.
29-9-1- Jim Harbaugh’s record as 49ers coach.
33.2 - Average volume of points put up by the 49ers in 5 wins so far through 2013.
166 - Total points scored.
46 - Aggregate margin of defeat against both the Seahawks, and Colts, respectively.
1,420 - Colin Kaepernick’s total yardage through 2013.
9 - Number of receptions of 20-yards or more for San Francisco’s leading receiver Anquan Boldin.
6 - Most touchdowns from a San Francisco receiver, scored by Vernon Davis.
15 - Number of defensive takeaways, a differential of 4.
14 - Ranking in total defense.
127 - Total of 1st down conversions, 13th in the league.
192 - Average pass yards-per-game.
Jaguars v 49ers, Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
San Francisco 1 (Nov 29, 2009, SF 20 - JAC 3)
Jacksonville Jaguars 1 (Dec 18, 2005, SF 9, - JAC 10)
Can the 0-7 Jags find a way to win?
image: © joeshlabotnik