Shad Khan: "It's unbelievable"

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JACKSONVILLE – Shad Khan summed up his feelings Sunday in two words.

"It's unbelievable," the Jaguars' owner said.

Khan, who has owned the team since January 2012, spoke in the hallway of EverBank Field late Sunday afternoon. He moments earlier watched the Jaguars clinch the first playoff appearance of his six-year tenure as owner with a 45-7 victory over the Houston Texans.

Khan called the moment "mind-blowing" and said he was "really, really grateful, obviously – and proud of the players, the football leadership and the fans."

Sunday was the second consecutive sellout at EverBank, with standing-room only tickets being sold for Sunday's game. The Jaguars have won their last five games at Everbank.

"It's been awesome; it's been awesome," Khan said. "We've had standing-room only tickets today, which certainly hasn't happened in the almost six years I've been here, so it's wonderful. The energy in this stadium, you can't replace that, and that's why we need the fans. …

"I think it's been a long time coming and I'm so grateful to be here and have the city support us."

Khan said the reality of making the postseason was "a lot better" than he imagined. The Jaguars went 17-63 from 2012-2016, including a 3-13 record last season.

"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," Khan said. "I'm very optimistic because we have the players, the right mix that's sustainable. It's not a flash in the pan."

Khan also was asked Sunday if being a "laughingstock" of the NFL in recent seasons had been difficult.

"Well, I had been through life when I was a laughingstock in whatever business I was in, auto parts or what have you," he said. "You have to stay in it and success comes. It's a story of perseverance."

Khan in January hired former Jaguars Head Coach Tom Coughlin as the team's Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Doug Marrone on the same day was announced as head coach after serving in an interim capacity in the final two games of last season.

"I'm always an optimistic guy, and, certainly, whatever I was hoping for, it's that and more," Khan said.

The Jaguars (10-4) have won seven of their last eight games, and their victory clinched their first playoff appearance since 2007. They also clinched their seventh playoff appearance in franchise history.

Khan also praised quarterback Blake Bortles, calling his play in recent weeks "incredible." Bortles is the NFL's highest-rated quarterback in December.

"I think the stats show that," Khan said of Bortles, who has thrown seven touchdowns with no interceptions in three December games. "He's been kind of a different, more confident person, and he's providing the leadership we all want out of him."

Khan was asked if he would jump in the EverBank pools to mark the playoff appearance.

"We've still got two games to go, okay?" he said. "We might have to have a special party here."

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