When Shad Khan arrived in Texas Wednesday morning, he was the star attraction. His every move at the NFL owners meeting was documented and then some. There were nearly a dozen photographers catching glimpses of Khan as he moved through the halls of the Four Seasons hotel. The celebrity of being an NFL owner is something new for most of the men who move into that club. I’m not sure Khan was used to having his picture taken as he exited the men’s room.
Wayne Weaver’s arrival signaled the beginning of the final chapter of his ownership of the Jaguars. If he was with mixed emotions about selling the team he had settled that back home. But that doesn’t mean selling the team wasn’t bittersweet. “I’ve used that word a lot this week,” Weaver told me in the hallway outside the banquet room where his fellow owners would soon approve the sale to Shad Khan. “It’s hard to give up the NFL, but it’s time. And I’ve found the right family to continue the Jaguars legacy in Jacksonville.”
As the rest of the owners convened for their regular meeting, the first slot on the agenda was the sale of the Jaguars and approving Khan as the new owner. It didn’t take long.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell introduced Weaver and Khan at a mid-day press conference after Khan’s confirmation. He related that when Khan’s application was presented to the full membership he opened the floor to questions. “And there were none,” the commissioner outlined.
So they voted, 32-0 in favor or the sale.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had nothing but high praise for both Wayne Weaver the Shad Khan. “Anytime would be too soon for me” Jones said when asked about Weaver’s planned departure. “Wayne has been a great partner both as an owner in the room and for the Jaguars. We’ll miss him, for sure.” Having said that, Jones was quick to praise Shad Khan as an owner calling him a “significant owner when you think of his financial strength.”
The interaction between Weaver and Khan shows a mutual respect for each other’s accomplishments and a gratitude to have found each other for this deal: Weaver to exit with his legacy intact, Khan to take over with a commitment to the same values Weaver brought to the table as the Jaguars owner 18 years ago.
“I want the fans in Jacksonville to know I’m here, reporting for duty,” Khan said during his prepared remarks. “Let the fun begin.”
He’s saying the right things and seems to want to make it work in Jacksonville. He’s obviously excited about owning the team and getting started, assuring fans he’s in it for the long haul.
“It should be a virtuous circle,” the new Jaguars owner told me during our interview on the six o’clock news. “We support the fans and the fans support us. Everybody wins.”
Sure sounds great.