In Sunday’s 45-7 drubbing of the Houston Texans, the Jacksonville Jaguars clinched their first playoff berth since the 2007 season. It was an electric atmosphere at EverBank Field, even though the game was over with by the middle of the second quarter and the team headed into halftime with a 31-0 lead. There was standing room only on Sunday and fans stayed until after the clock struck zero to cheer the team’s accomplishment.
“It’s unbelievable. To win it and win it the way we did today, mind-blowing,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said after the game when he was asked what it was like to clinch the playoffs at home. “Really, really grateful, obviously, and proud of the players, the football leadership and the fans. Especially, the last two games, have given us the energy, put it over the top. It’s been awesome.”
When Khan bought the Jaguars in 2012, he made mention that the goal was not only to win football games, but make the Jaguars the “hottest ticket in town”. While it’s not there yet, the Jaguars did have back-to-back sellouts the past two weeks, selling standing room only tickets for this past week’s game.
“I think it’s a lot better,” Khan said when asked if the reality matched his dream. “Reality is, it’s a lot better. You know, it’s been a challenge, but it’s so wonderful now to see a young team come through with the veteran leadership, which gives us sustainability and hope for the future.”
In the first five years of Khan’s ownership, the Jaguars won a combined 17 games. With two games to go in the 2017 season, the Jaguars have won 10 and could host their first home playoff game since the 1999 season. The Jaguars had been a laughing stock, even at parts early in this season, but Khan says he didn’t really let it get under his skin.
“Well, I had been through life when I was a laughingstock in whatever business I was in, auto parts or what have you,” Khan said. “You have to stay in it and success comes. It’s a story of perseverance.”
It’s definitely been a story of perseverance for a lot of the players on the Jaguars roster and for Jaguars fans.