‘I want to do the right thing for the city’: Shad Khan reflects on 10 years as owner

Patient Khan says no quick decision on Urban Meyer

FILE - This file Sept. 24, 2017 file photo shows Shad Khan at Wembley Stadium in London. The Jacksonville Jaguars will play two home games in London next season, strengthening the franchises foothold in an overseas market the NFL is eager to expand. The Jaguars will play back-to-back games at historic Wembley Stadium, giving them a potential home-field advantage in the second one since they wont have to travel that week. Specific dates were not announced.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE) (Matt Dunham, Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It has been 10 years since Jaguars owner Shad Khan was approved by NFL owners to become just the second person to own the Jaguars.

It has been quite the journey for Khan since then.

Since purchasing the team from Wayne Weaver and getting approval from the NFL owners on Dec. 14, 2011, Khan has seen only one winning season, the unexpected run to the AFC championship game in the 2017 season. Despite the struggles over the last decade, Khan remains committed to building a winner in Jacksonville.

During a small meeting Monday afternoon with a local media aboard his yacht, Kismet, Khan reflected on his 10 years of ownership, the highs, the lows, the future of the Jaguars in town and the status of his coach, Urban Meyer.

This season, the team welcomed Meyer and Trevor Lawrence and Khan hoped the big additions would bring early dividends. Thus far, it has been a significant disappointment. The Jaguars are 2-11, mired in a five-game losing streak and been dinged by one public relations nightmare after another.

The immediate expectation of success for Lawrence, Meyer and Co. hasn’t materialized quite like Khan had hoped for.

“To me, that was very, very important to me when we hired this year. When somebody comes in and say, ‘I have this four-year plan,’ or something like that,” he said. “No, the plan is, you need to start winning now, OK. And tell me what you need. And, that’s what we’re going to do. Because that is absolutely a trap I don’t believe falling in.”

Thirteen games into the season the Jaguars have doubled their win total from 2020, but remain inconsistent and in an offensive funk.

Compounding the on-field struggles is the scrutiny the team has faced off the field. There’s far more attention on the Jaguars now with both Meyer and Lawrence here.

“What’s different about this thing is you have losses, and you have drama,” Khan said. “In the past, it was like, you know, you were, quote, like the lowly Jaguars and everyone left you alone. I mean, now, you know, the scrutiny we have is really something different.”

Meyer has been at the center of much of the controversy around the team this year, from the bar video to reports of dysfunction inside the building. Khan has been as patient of an NFL owner as there is. He stuck with Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell longer than most teams probably would have. And he’s not the type of man who makes a knee-jerk decision to up and fire a coach he hand-picked to lead a massive rebuild.

Khan said that he has an “open line with the players,” and that he’s not “living in a vacuum” like some may assume when it comes to the Jaguars. He said that his decision on moves like coaching changes are tied to what is the absolute best choice for Jacksonville.

“I think I want to do the right thing for the team. I want to do the right thing for the city,” Khan said of making any coaching changes. “That, to me is way more important than, you know, just acting helter-skelter on emotion.”

The only coach Khan has fired after just one season was Mike Mularkey. He said that move was a decision made by Caldwell.

“I learned that a long time ago with anything that’s this important,” Khan said. “You don’t want to be impulsive. You want to look at exactly what I know firsthand, or, you know, people are telling me and then collect that and do the right thing.”

Off the football field, Khan remains committed to Jacksonville. Khan has multiple projects in mind for downtown Jacksonville, from the Shipyards project to a renovation of the stadium.

Khan wants to see Jacksonville’s downtown thrive and be able to attract larger events to the city.

“The college playoff is going to be expanding, we got to have a stadium that qualifies for that,” he said. “There’s no reason, you know, we can’t have Jacksonville get into the mix.”


About the Author:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.