NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
Foto©Staff Sgt. Bradley Lail, USAF
Commissioner Roger Goodell: I would like to announce that the NFL ownership has approved the transfer of the Jacksonville Jaguars to Shahid Khan from Wayne Weaver. I’ll tell a quick story. Shahid came in to meet with membership before the vote and we asked them if there were any questions and there were no questions. So I think that’s a good sign for Shahid and certainly an endorsement of his ownership of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Wayne Weaver. Many of you know I was working on the expansion process in 1993 when we selected Jacksonville and there was a tremendous focus on ownership and the quality of ownership and that certainly is Wayne Weaver. And he has done that throughout his 18 years of ownership. He has been an extraordinary owner not just for Jacksonville but for the NFL and we’re grateful to both he and Delores and his family for all they’ve done for the NFL. So Wayne, thank you.
Wayne Weaver: Thank you Commissioner. I’ll just make a brief remark. Obviously it’s been a great 18 years. If you can imagine it’s hard to break away from the National Football League. It’s bittersweet for me but it was the right time. And the most important thing is I’ve found a family in Shahid Khan and his family that is going to come in and continue to build the legacy in Jacksonville that we started 18 years ago and have continued. So I feel great about that and that was of primary importance to us and so I really feel great about handing over the stewardship of Jacksonville to Shahid and finishing the job of bringing a championship to Jacksonville. I know some of you will say we’ve had a tough season this year – we have – but I will tell you that we’re only a couple of drafts away from being a really competitive football team again and so Shahid, I’m leaving it in good hands.
Shahid Khan: Thank you very much. Thank you for trusting us with the legacy of Jacksonville. Roger, thank you very much really for your support and your guidance throughout the process. For me, this is kind of a humbling day. It is really a realization of a life-long American dream. I just want to share with you I am totally committed to Jacksonville. I will be spending obviously most of my time really relating to the fans and developing the relationships and rebirth of the franchise in Jacksonville, where we will win on and off the field. Basically, what I want to share with the Jacksonville fans is here I am reporting for duty and ready to serve the fans. Let the fun begin.
On if Khan slept at all the past week in anticipation of today:
Khan: Yes, I did, but obviously, this is a very exciting time and kind of a sobering time, too, because with this there is responsibility and there is accountability, but it is a very, very exciting time for me.
On a renewed commitment to Jacksonville:
Khan: It is my renewed commitment to the city and really to earn their trust and really to serve them and get engaged. This is a partnership really with the fans. They have to come and support the team, but I am committed obviously to the rebirth and reinvigoration, doing whatever it takes to put a winner on the field and really make Wayne and the rest of the Jacksonvillians proud.
On how long Khan has been interested in owning an NFL franchise:
Khan: I met Wayne about five years ago. I think I had been to the league office around that or before that. (NFL Executive Vice President of NFL Ventures and Business Operations) Eric (Grubman) had suggested I really get out and meet some of the owners and really understand what the league was about, what were some of the values and what were some of the economics, frankly, and how deals are structured.
When I met Wayne, it was really, frankly, to learn. I had heard from a number of people that Wayne with an expansion team had done a great job and was running a great team. He was one of the people I visited and met a lot of owners along the way.
On Khan expanding other private businesses in Jacksonville:
Khan: I am planning on going there this weekend. I would love to find out – I am a legal resident of Florida as you know – what some of the opportunities are. You know my history that my big break I got in business was in Jacksonville quite by accident with Toyota and some of the other importers. I am happy to and really excited to go back and visit with them, see what is going on and see what makes sense.
On selecting a new head coach:
Khan: Wayne is still the owner. I have had my training wheels on for 10 minutes now. They will come off on January 4. It is going to be an elaborative process at least until January 4. We have a pretty good idea. I will be meeting with Wayne and (Jaguars general manager) Gene (Smith) and really starting the process.
On Khan being the NFL’s first minority owner:
Khan: It was going to happen sooner or later. This is a very significant milestone, certainly. I feel this is the finest sports league in the world. To be associated with that is obviously very humbling, but having said that, accountability to the fans starts right now. Now, it is all going to be about performance on and off the field.
On earning ownership of the Jaguars as the ‘life-long American dream’ and when Khan first thought he wanted to own an NFL team:
Khan: In the basement of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house (laughter). We would see those and it would be, ‘What is involved in it?’ as an engineer. I’ve thought this is like three-dimensional chess with almost infinite variables. It is very simple but yet it is very complex. It is like somehow I have been drawn to it like a moth to a flame.
On focusing on his dream of NFL ownership while his other businesses excelled:
Khan: Yes, absolutely, but I think there has to be an opportunity and you have to be able to write the check. Both of those have to coincide at the right time.
On Weaver’s role following the sale:
Weaver: My role is only to offer advice where I am asked and where I can contribute. We have people – Gene Smith and (Jaguars Senior Vice President, Football Operations/General Counsel) Paul Vance – who will be involved in the process. We have done some research. Whether this came to pass or not, we were going to hire a new coach this year so we have done a lot of work and we are going to share that work with Shahid this weekend and start talking about the candidates and try to get out ahead of the market now, those who are available that we can talk to.
On if Weaver has come to a full realization that he has sold the team:
Weaver: It hit me a long time ago, honestly. Obviously, it is an emotional day because it was 18 great years in the National Football League. I’ve enjoyed every one of them. It is hard to break away, but it is the right time. Without being redundant, I found a great family that is going to continue this legacy we worked so hard to build.
More on Khan’s commitment to Jacksonville:
Khan: Yes, I think I stated that very clearly. Time is going to show that I am committed to Jacksonville. Obviously, what we need to do is do whatever it takes to get the fans engaged.
On Khan’s personality as a football fan:
Khan: I am fanatical enough that I know what my weaknesses are, what I can do and what I shouldn’t be doing. When it comes to some of the X’s and O’s, there are a lot more people out there who are much better than I am. This is really a combination of business acumen and love for football. I am such a fanatical fan that I know somebody else should be managing certain parts of the business.
On Khan’s plans this weekend and if it was his first visit to the Jaguars stadium:
Khan: I’ve been to the stadium before. We have an agenda that you will probably get exhausted reading (laughter). Wayne put that together. Obviously, we want to meet the sponsors. This is no different than, frankly, any other business. You’ve got the sponsors and the fans, the customers listening to them, and getting them engaged is absolutely vital. Meeting the key employees, one-on-one, that is very important. Meeting some of the city leaders, they have an interest as to where we are headed. Those are the primary areas this weekend.
On Khan hearing from the fans and seeing their support:
Khan: Absolutely, you would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to experience that. It’s absolutely been heart-warming and over the top. That’s one of the key building blocks. Jacksonville has a lot going for it, thanks to Wayne, having NFL football and fans who really want it. There are a lot of good people at the team to build on. All the building blocks are there to have a winner on the field.
On how active Khan’s family will be in the Jacksonville community:
Khan: I think we’ve been active obviously in the community that we’ve lived in. This is business but I think it’s also civic asset and you have to participate in both. I think you have to run a competent business and you have to be engaged in the civic community. I think both go hand in hand. The Weavers have huge, big shoes to fill but Anne and I will do our best to do that. I think in Champaign Urbana (IL), which is a smaller town, we’ve made a difference so we would like to do that obviously in Jacksonville.
On how much time Khan plans to spend in Jacksonville:
Khan: As much as possible. What I’d like to do is spend a lot of time. Even though this is a virtual world, this is a business where meeting the people and the physical presence is really, really important. We want to really not only get the fans but also the sponsor aspect. That’s very, very important.
On finding a home in Jacksonville:
Khan: We will definitely have a residence there.
On Weaver’s initial meeting with Khan:
Weaver: It was just as Shahid characterized it. Shahid was going around visiting not just Wayne Weaver but a number of people in the National Football League because he had a curiosity about the league. Obviously, he had some thoughts about maybe one day owning a team. We had a nice visit. He came to Jacksonville. We spent a couple of hours together and just talked about the league and talked about the experiences we had as a start-up franchise and some of the hurdles and some of the great things that happened to us during the early years, that you can win in this league and you can win very quickly if you make the good decisions you need to make on a day-to-day basis. That is making sure we sign the right draft choices, the right free agents and some of the things that we have done well over the years and some of those things we did poorly over the years. We think we are now on a trajectory, though, that Shahid is going to be able to pick up the baton and take it to the next level.
On Khan’s mustache:
Khan: If I am to believe the Jacksonville fans, a mustache can leap tall buildings in a single bound. It can do things I didn’t know it could do (laughter). I just grew it, as a matter of fact, in ’72. It just stuck with me over time.