- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter
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This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in team history. In the next two days we'll feature: Mark Brunell's touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith to clinch the 1996 AFC Divisional playoff game over the Broncos; and David Garrard's fourth-down scramble to set up Josh Scobee's game-winning field goal in the 2007 AFC Wildcard game. Please vote for your choice as the Jaguars' most memorable play.
Score: Jaguars 19, Falcons 17
Date: Dec. 22, 1996 Site: Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
Four consecutive victories -- all by seven or fewer points -- put the Jaguars on the cusp of their first playoff appearance in just the franchise's second season. All they needed to do was beat the 3-12 Falcons at home.
It looked like it would happen too. The Jaguars led 16-3 midway through the third quarter, thanks to Brunell's touchdown run and Mike Hollis' three field goals . But the Falcons sandwiched touchdowns around another Hollis field goal and cut the Jaguars' lead to 19-17.
Atlanta then put together what should have been a game-winning drive and set up kicker Morten Andersen with a short 30-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds. Anderson had made 59 consecutive field goals from 30 yards or closer dating back to 1989, so the Jaguars were going to be cleaning out their lockers the next day.
But the left-footed Andersen slipped when he planted his right foot, and the ball squirted left of the upright. The remaining Jaguars fans went crazy, but on the home team sideline there was a moment of disbelief.
"It almost renders me speechless," coach Tom Coughlin said after the game. "We're in the playoffs."
And boy did they make the most of that early Christmas present.
The Jaguars went to Buffalo the following week and upset the Bills in a wild-card game and then produced what is arguably the greatest victory in franchise history. The Jaguars were 14-point underdogs but upset the top-seeded Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium.
Suddenly, they were in the AFC Championship Game.
It wouldn't have been possible without Andersen's shocking miss. To this day, Andersen still holds a place of reverence among Jaguars fans.
Surprisingly, Andersen has embraced his piece of franchise history. He served as a surprise presenter at the Florida Sports Awards show that was held in Jacksonville the summer of 1997. Andersen even pretended to slip as he was announced and made his way on stage.
The award he presented: The Jaguars' MVP, of course.
— Sean (@JvilleJags) June 11, 2014
This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in team history. In the next two days we'll feature: Mark Brunell's touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith to clinch the 1996 AFC Divisional playoff game over the Broncos; and David Garrard's fourth-down scramble to set up Josh Scobee's game-winning field goal in the 2007 AFC Wildcard game.