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Friday, April 12, 2024

In an effort to jettison the mediocrity fans have endured since the Jacksonville Jaguars last made the playoffs in 2007, owner Shahid Khan is changing everything.

Khan is making revolutionary moves in Jacksonville, and I like it.

Scratch that. I love it.

Gone is former general manager Gene Smith, whose propensity to take chances on small-school project players in the NFL draft each year was half-hipster, half-freakish.

Also shown the door was former coach Mike Mularkey, a sacrificial lamb tasked with leading an overmatched, undermanned group of players against far superior competition during a trying and tumultuous season.

In a flurry of changes since Jacksonville ended its worst season in franchise history, Khan replaced Smith with former Atlanta Falcons Director of Player Personnel David Caldwell, who promptly fired Mularkey and tabbed former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as the new guy in charge.

After last season’s 2-14 debacle, Khan is bringing the Jaguars back from the dead.

The changes bring hope to the fan base of a franchise with only two postseason appearances since losing the AFC Championship Game to the Tennessee Titans following the 1999 season.

As a Jaguars fan, I am smitten with the recent moves. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I have confidence in the people running the Jaguars.

However, Khan is doing more than simply making personnel changes. Every NFL team makes some kind of coaching or front office hire every year.

In fact, Jacksonville is one of four teams that fired both its coach and general manager following the 2012 season.

Khan is enacting wholesale changes, completely gutting the Jaguars and starting over.

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He spent millions to implement state-of-the-art renovations at Jacksonville’s facilities. He scheduled one game in London for each of the next four seasons to help grow the 

franchise’s brand internationally.

Some say playing in Europe is not worth the trouble, but for a team looking to rebrand itself, just about any exposure is good exposure.

He even ditched the Jaguars’ signature home teal jerseys, making black the team’s new primary color. 

On Tuesday, Khan continued his demolition project by unveiling a new logo, the first change since Jacksonville officially joined the league in 1995. The franchise is expected to introduce new uniforms in April.

I’m not sure how to describe the new logo without sounding stupid, but here goes nothing. The jaguar looks more fearsome. The cat is aggressive and opportunistic, much like Mr. Khan. Frankly, I think the new logo is kind of badass. Teal nose and all.

With an owner as business-savvy and forward thinking as Khan, I won’t be surprised to learn of more changes down the road. The ‘stache will not stand pat.

Khan has made something out of nothing before.

He came to the United States from Pakistan at age 16 with only $500 in his pocket. His first job was washing dishes at an hourly rate of $1.20.

Now, Khan owns auto parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate and the NFL’s Jaguars and is worth more than $2.5 billion.

Khan is an innovator who will stop at nothing to achieve what he wants. He seized an opportunity in Jacksonville and is methodically bringing his vision for the Jaguars to life.

Khan is a man that strives to be ahead of the curve, and as he continually becomes more accustomed to the NFL, Jacksonville’s prospects will only improve.

He is bold, he is a risk-taker and he is the only guy I want running the Jaguars.

Contact Joe Morgan at joemorgan@alligator.org.


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