TaxSlayer Bowl

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TaxSlayer Bowl
"Gator Bowl"
TaxSlayer Bowl logo.png
Stadium EverBank Field
Location Jacksonville, Florida
Previous stadiums Gator Bowl Stadium (1946–1993)
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (1994)
Previous locations Gainesville, Florida (1994)
Operated 1946–present
Conference tie-ins SEC, Big Ten, ACC
Previous conference tie-ins Southern (1946–52)
SEC (1953–75, 1992–94)
ACC (1996–2010)
Big East (1996–2010)
Big 12 (2006–10)
Notre Dame (2006–10)
Payout US$3,500,000 (As of 2014)
Mazda (1986–91)
Outback Steakhouse (1992–94)
Toyota (1995–2007)
Konica Minolta (2008–10)
Progressive Insurance (2011) (2012–present)
Former names
Gator Bowl (1946–85)
Mazda Gator Bowl (1986–91)
Outback Gator Bowl (1992–94)
Toyota Gator Bowl (1995–2007)
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl (2008–10)
Progressive Gator Bowl (2011) Gator Bowl (2012–13)
2016 matchup
Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky (Georgia Tech 33–18)
2017 matchup
TBD (December 30, 2017)

The TaxSlayer Bowl is an annual college football bowl game played at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Originally named the Gator Bowl, it has been held continuously since 1946, making it the sixth oldest college bowl, as well as the first one ever televised nationally.[1] became the title sponsor in 2011 and the bowl took its current name in 2014 after a new contract.[2] The bowl is operated by Gator Bowl Sports.


According to writer Anthony C. DiMarco, Charles Hilty, Sr. first conceived of the event. Hilty, together with Ray McCarthy, Maurice Cherry, and W. C. Ivey, put up $10,000 to underwrite the first game, which was held at Jacksonville's football stadium, Fairfield Stadium, on January 1, 1946. The first two years of the event did not sell out the small capacity stadium, drawing only 7,362 to the 1946 match when the Wake Forest Demon Deacons defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks, 26–14. The stadium was expanded in 1948 and renamed the Gator Bowl Stadium in honor of the event. However, it was not until the 1949 match-up between the Clemson Tigers and the Missouri Tigers that the future of the Gator Bowl was assured. The 1948 attendance of 16,666 for a 20–20 tie between Maryland and Georgia, was nearly doubled with 32,939 watching Clemson squeak by Missouri, 24–23, on a late field goal by Jack Miller. By the 1970s, the attendance regularly reached 60,000–70,000.[3]

Hotel Roosevelt fire in 1963[edit]

The Gator Bowl is one of Jacksonville's annual sports highlights. However, the event was once associated with a tragedy. In 1963, the Hotel Roosevelt in downtown Jacksonville caught fire after a post-Gator Bowl party in the ballroom. It was later determined that the party was not the cause of the fire, and that the timing was a tragic coincidence. The fire resulted in 22 deaths.

Woody Hayes incident in 1978[edit]

In the 1978 game between Ohio State and Clemson, Ohio State coach Woody Hayes lost his temper after a late game interception by Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman, who stepped in front of the receiver on a pass from quarterback Art Schlichter. Bauman ran the ball out of bounds on the Ohio State sideline where Hayes struck Bauman with his right forearm. The play sealed the Tigers' 17–15 win over the Buckeyes and Hayes was fired the next day before leaving Jacksonville.[4]

Bowden's Last Stand in 2010[edit]

In the 2010 game between Florida State and West Virginia, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden (who previously coached at West Virginia) coached the final game of a legendary career. Bowden had been the head coach at Florida State since 1976 and had won two national championships, thirteen ACC championships, and had a fourteen-year streak of top five finishes during that time. A record crowd of over 84,000 people attended,[5] the majority in Florida State Garnet and Gold,[citation needed] to witness Bowden being carried off the field[6] after a 33–21 Florida State victory.

TaxSlayer Bowl[edit]

In 2014, Gator Bowl Sports announced the bowl would be renamed the TaxSlayer Bowl following a new six-year deal with tax preparation company As a result of the deal, the bowl increased its payout and moved to a new time slot on January 2 for 2015 and 2016.[7] A new logo was released on April 3, 2014.


The 1946 and 1947 games were played in Fairfield Stadium, which had a seating capacity of 7,600. The stadium was expanded to 16,000 seats in 1948, and the structure was renamed the Gator Bowl. Prior to the 1949 game, the seating capacity was expanded to 36,058, at which it remained until 1957.[8] That stadium hosted the game through 1993, when it was almost completely demolished for the construction of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (now EverBank Field) on the same site. During the construction, the 1994 Gator Bowl was played instead at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida; the game following the 1995 season and all subsequent games were moved to January 1.


The game and associated activities are overseen by Gator Bowl Sports. Founded as the Gator Bowl Association in 1945, the organization expanded in 2013 to branch into other sports and events and increase its charity wing.[9]

The association comprises 225 Gator Bowl Committee members, 84 Chairman's Club members and sponsors, more than 700 volunteers, plus over a dozen paid staff members. In addition to the Gator Bowl, the GBA has also coordinated other events. It hosted the ACC Championship Game from 2005 to 2007 and the River City Showdown, a neutral site game between the Florida State Seminoles and another team, in 2007 and 2008.[10]

Teams typically featured[edit]

In the early years of the bowl, from 1946–1952, it featured a team from the Southern Conference against an at-large opponent. Beginning with the 1953 game, it switched to generally featuring a Southeastern Conference (SEC) team against an at-large opponent. From 1953 to the 1975 game, at least one SEC team appeared in 20 out of the 24 games, and in three of those games, both teams were from the SEC. The games from 1976 to 1995 usually, but not always, involved a team from the southeastern United States against a team from another part of the country. Teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) played in 10 of these 20 games.

From 1996–2006, the Gator Bowl traditionally hosted the second-place ACC team against the second-place Big East Conference team. With the 2007 game, the ACC runner-up became contractually tied to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Gator Bowl began hosting the third-place ACC team versus a team from either the Big East (still the conference's #2 team unless they qualified for the Bowl Championship Series), the Big 12 Conference, or the unaffiliated Notre Dame Fighting Irish (who would take the Big East's spot in this game). The contract, which ran for four years, was held in conjunction with the Sun Bowl, with the Gator Bowl receiving first choice of teams, and required both bowls to take Big East teams twice and Big 12 teams twice. Since the previous two Gator Bowls featured the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Nebraska Cornhuskers, both Big 12 teams, a Big East team or Notre Dame would play in the 2010 Gator Bowl per the terms of the contract (West Virginia lost to Florida State in this game).

The conference alignment changed again in 2010, as the Big East and Notre Dame moved their hybrid arrangement to the Champs Sports Bowl for 2010, while the Gator Bowl declined to renew its contract with the Big 12. The Gator Bowl would feature the SEC and the Big Ten Conference starting with the 2010 season, joining the Capital One Bowl and the Outback Bowl as the third Big Ten-SEC bowl matchup on New Year's Day.[11] Starting in 2015, the bowl returned to a hybrid arrangement for a six-year period, with SEC teams playing ACC teams for three years and Big Ten teams the other three years; the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are also eligible during ACC years.[7]

Of the 66 editions of the Gator Bowl, 38 have been between ranked opponents.

1973 Gator Bowl Game Program

Media coverage[edit]

The longtime broadcaster of the game was ABC, which showed the game in prime time from 1974 through 1985. Turner Sports bought the rights to the game after the 1991 match-up and TBS became the home of the Gator Bowl for the next four years, moving back to a late December date. The game returned to New Year's Day after NBC bought the rights to the Gator Bowl in 1996. CBS Sports took over the television contract in 2007 and held the rights for four years. ESPN purchased the rights to the game following its 2010 playing and the 2011 Gator Bowl aired on ESPN2; with the acquisition of the Gator Bowl the ESPN family of networks became the home of every New Year's Day bowl game (the network already had the rights to the Outback, Capital One, and Rose bowls and acquired the rights to the TicketCity Bowl and the remainder of the BCS games).

Title sponsors[edit]

Mazda was the first title sponsor, beginning in 1986 and lasting for five years. Outback Steakhouse sponsored the Gator Bowl for three years beginning in 1992, prior to obtaining their own Outback Bowl held in Tampa, Florida. From 1996–2006, the title sponsor was Toyota. Konica Minolta then became the sponsor from 2007 to 2010.[12] On December 14, 2010, the Gator Bowl Association announced that Progressive Insurance would become the title sponsor for the 2011 Gator Bowl.[13] On September 1, 2011, GBA announced a multi-year title sponsorship deal with

Game results[edit]

Italics denotes a tie game. All rankings are taken from the AP Poll prior to the game being played.

^β1 Venue renamed Gator Bowl.
^β2 Game held at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville due to renovation.


Most Valuable Players
Date Played MVP Team Position MVP Team Position
January 1, 1946 Nick Sacrinty Wake Forest QB
January 1, 1947 Joe Golding Oklahoma HB
January 1, 1948 Lu Gambino Maryland HB
January 1, 1949 Bobby Gage Clemson HB
January 2, 1950 Bob Ward Maryland G
January 1, 1951 Eddie Talboom Wyoming HB
January 1, 1952 Jim Dooley Miami (Florida) HB
January 1, 1953 John Hall Florida RB Marv Matuszak Tulsa T
January 1, 1954 Bobby Cavazos Texas Tech RB Vince Dooley Auburn QB
December 31, 1954 Joe Childress Auburn FB Billy Hooper Baylor QB
December 31, 1955 Don Orr Vanderbilt QB Joe Childress Auburn FB
December 29, 1956 Wade Mitchell Georgia Tech QB Corny Salvaterra Pittsburgh QB
December 28, 1957 Bobby Gordon Tennessee TB John David Crow Texas A&M HB
December 27, 1958 Bobby Franklin Mississippi QB Dave Hudson Florida E
January 2, 1960 Jim Mooty Arkansas HB Maxie Baughan Georgia Tech LB
December 31, 1960 Larry Libertore Florida QB Bobby Ply Baylor QB
December 30, 1961 Galen Hall Penn State QB Joe Auer Georgia Tech HB
December 29, 1962 Tom Shannon Florida QB Dave Robinson Penn State E
December 28, 1963 Ken Willard North Carolina RB David Sicks Air Force C
January 2, 1965 Fred Biletnikoff Florida State SE Steve Tensi Florida State QB
Carl McAdams Oklahoma LB
December 31, 1965 Lenny Snow Georgia Tech TB Donny Anderson Texas Tech RB
December 31, 1966 Dewey Warren Tennessee QB Floyd Little Syracuse HB
December 30, 1967 Kim Hammond Florida State QB Tom Sherman Penn State QB
December 28, 1968 Terry McMillan Missouri QB Mike Hall Alabama LB
December 27, 1969 Mike Kelley Florida LB Curt Watson Tennessee FB
January 2, 1971 Pat Sullivan Auburn QB Archie Manning Ole' Miss QB
December 31, 1971 Jimmy Poulos Georgia TB James Webster North Carolina LB
December 30, 1972 Wade Whatley Auburn QB Mark Cooney Colorado LB
December 29, 1973 Joe Barnes Texas Tech QB Haskel Stanback Tennessee TB
December 30, 1974 Phil Gargis Auburn QB Earl Campbell Texas RB
December 29, 1975 Steve Atkins Maryland TB Sammy Green Florida LB
December 27, 1976 Al Hunter Notre Dame HB Jimmy Cefalo Penn State WR
December 30, 1977 Matt Cavanaugh Pittsburgh QB Jerry Butler Clemson SE
December 29, 1978 Steve Fuller Clemson QB Art Schlichter Ohio State QB
December 28, 1979 Matt Kupec North Carolina QB Amos Lawrence North Carolina RB
John Wangler Michigan QB Anthony Carter Michigan WR
December 29, 1980 Rick Trocano Pittsburgh QB George Rogers South Carolina RB
December 28, 1981 Kelvin Bryant North Carolina TB Ethan Horton North Carolina TB
Gary Anderson Arkansas RB
December 30, 1982 Greg Allen Florida State TB Paul Woodside West Virginia K
December 30, 1983 Tony Lilly Florida S Owen Gill Iowa FB
December 28, 1984 Thurman Thomas Oklahoma State RB Mike Hold South Carolina QB
December 30, 1985 Chip Ferguson Florida State QB Thurman Thomas Oklahoma State RB
December 27, 1986 Rodney Williams Clemson QB Brad Muster Stanford RB
December 31, 1987 Wendell Davis LSU SE Harold Green South Carolina RB
January 1, 1989 Wayne Johnson Georgia QB Andre Rison Michigan State WR
December 30, 1989 Levon Kirkland Clemson LB Mike Fox West Virginia DT
January 1, 1991 Offensive Line Michigan N/A Tyrone Ashley Mississippi DB
December 29, 1991 Cale Gundy Oklahoma QB Tyrone Davis Virginia DB
December 31, 1992 Errict Rhett Florida RB Reggie Lawrence North Carolina State WR
December 31, 1993 Brian Burgdorf Alabama QB Corey Holliday North Carolina WR
December 30, 1994 James Stewart Tennessee TB Maurice DeShazo Virginia Tech QB
January 1, 1996 Donovan McNabb Syracuse QB Peter Ford Clemson CB
January 1, 1997 Oscar Davenport North Carolina QB David Saunders West Virginia WR
January 1, 1998 Chris Keldorf North Carolina QB Nick Sorensen Virginia Tech QB
January 1, 1999 Dez White Georgia Tech WR Joe Hamilton Georgia Tech QB
Autry Denson Notre Dame RB
January 1, 2000 Nate Webster Miami (Florida) LB Joe Hamilton Georgia Tech QB
January 1, 2001 Michael Vick Virginia Tech QB Rod Gardner Clemson WR
January 1, 2002 Javon Walker Florida State WR André Davis Virginia Tech WR
January 1, 2003 Philip Rivers North Carolina State QB Cedric Hillard Notre Dame NG
January 1, 2004 Scott McBrien Maryland QB Brian King West Virginia DB
January 1, 2005 Leon Washington Florida State RB Kay-Jay Harris West Virginia RB
January 2, 2006 Cedric Humes Virginia Tech RB Hunter Cantwell Louisville QB
January 1, 2007 Pat White West Virginia QB Calvin Johnson Georgia Tech WR
January 1, 2008[14] Graham Harrell Texas Tech QB Mikell Simpson Virginia RB
January 1, 2009 Joe Ganz Nebraska QB Cullen Harper Clemson QB
January 1, 2010 EJ Manuel Florida State QB Noel Devine West Virginia HB
January 1, 2011 Chris Relf Mississippi State QB
January 2, 2012 Andre Debose Florida WR
January 1, 2013 Jared Carpenter Northwestern S
January 1, 2014 Quincy Enunwa Nebraska WR
January 2, 2015 Joshua Dobbs Tennessee QB
January 2, 2016 Terry Godwin Georgia WR
December 31, 2016 Dedrick Mills Georgia Tech RB Stephen Johnson II Kentucky QB

Most appearances[edit]

Only teams with at least three appearances are listed.

Gator Bowl Hall of Fame[edit]

Inductees by season:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gator Bowl website: About us-Tradition
  2. ^ " announces new sponsorship" (PDF). TaxSlayer Bowl. 
  3. ^ DiMarco, Anthony C. (1976). The Big Bowl Football Guide. G. P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN 0-399-11800-4
  4. ^ "Gator Bowl: 30th anniversary punch". Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Barney, Justin (April 4, 2014). "Gator Bowl becomes Taxslayer Bowl with new 6-year deal". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ The Jacksonville Story by Carolina Rawls; Jacksonville's Fifty Years of Progress Association-1950
  9. ^ Smits, Gary (November 5, 2013). "'Gator Bowl Sports' wants to promote more events, boost charity in region". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ Jacksonville Transportation Authority: River City Showdown Stadium Shuttle
  11. ^ "Gator Bowl to pair Big Ten with SEC, not ACC". ESPN. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  12. ^ Garry Smits. "Gator Bowl lands deal for new title sponsor –". Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  13. ^ "Progressive sponsors Gator Bowl". Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  14. ^ Texas Tech Red Raiders, NCAA Football, Virginia Cavaliers –

External links[edit]