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Shahid Khan: From Pakistan to pro-football

The following is a script from "Face of the Franchise" which aired on Oct. 28, 2012. Byron Pitts is the correspondent. Clem Taylor, producer.

Last November, Shahid Khan, a 62-year-old Pakistani-born billionaire, bought pro football's Jacksonville Jaguars for $770 million. That deal made Khan the first ethnic minority to own a team in the NFL.

And that may be the least interesting thing about him.

With his engaging personality and unflagging optimism, Khan has taken the city of Jacksonville by storm. He's become the town's leading cheerleader and has plans to turn the Jaguars into an international brand.

Shad, as he prefers to be called, came to the U.S. at age 16 with $500 to his name. Within two decades, he built a successful auto parts business and amassed a fortune.

The Jaguars haven't had a winning season in four years, have never been to the Super Bowl. They are also a team short on big-name players. That's put Shad Khan in a unique position for a rookie owner. He is the face of the franchise.

[Fan: I love you guy, I love you!

Shahid Khan: Who has the bigger mustache?

Shahid Khan: There's a good-looking woman! ]

Ninety minutes to kickoff and the Jaguars most popular personality wasn't in the locker room or warming up on the field. He was in the stadium parking lot, drawing a crowd.

Shahid Khan: So, Byron, it's probably a really humbling day for 60 Minutes. You know, nobody cares about 60 Minutes. Everybody cares about the Jaguars. Isn't that amazing?

Less than a year into his tenure, Shad Khan is a phenomenon. His rakish mustache has become a "must have" accessory for any self-respecting Jags fan.

[Fan: We are so happy that you're here with us!

Shahid Khan: Oh! Thank you so much.]

He has an approval rating any politician would envy: 78 percent. He's his team's advertising spokesman...

[Shahid Khan: I'm Jaguars owner Shad Khan, and I'm all in.]

...and pokes fun at himself in this music video spoof...

[Shahid Khan: Oopa! Gangnam style!]

Byron Pitts: There's a part of you that is a salesman.

Shahid Khan: I think its human interaction. I mean, they're already here, they bought tickets, there's very little to sell. If anything, selling hope.

[Fan: Are we going to cover the spread?

Khan: I don't even know what it is.

Khan: Thank you.]

While Khan enjoys rock star status today, news that a Muslim from Pakistan had bought the Jaguars did not go over well with everyone in this conservative corner of northeast Florida. In comments quoted in online media, Khan was called, among other things, a "terrorist from Pakistan," a "sand monkey." One person asked, "If you buy a Jags season ticket, does it come with a prayer rug?"

Byron Pitts: How'd you react to that?

Shahid Khan: Ahh, well you know, the way I reacted most of my life which is: it's not really my problem. It's their problem.

Shahid Khan: It was not Jacksonville's finest moment.

Byron Pitts: So it's true that the former owner, Wayne Weaver, was so embarrassed that he offered you a chance to get outta the deal?

Shahid Khan: Well, please, I wouldn't characterize it that way. I think he was surprised. And he wanted to just make sure that, you know, it wasn't giving me pause.

Byron Pitts: And it gave you none at all?

Shahid Khan: None whatsoever. As a matter of fact, if it was possible for me to be more determined, it, you know, gave me more determination.

That determination can be traced back to a childhood half a world away, in the hot, dusty streets of Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city.

Shahid Khan: This is the Lahore Fort.

Last spring, we went to Lahore with Khan to visit his family. He took us to his boyhood home where we met his 89-year-old mother, Zakia, a retired math professor, and his younger brother, Faran, a businessman.

Byron Pitts: How do you explain it? Your son, your boy, is one of the richest men in the world. How do you explain that?

Zakia: Well, it's his hard work. And luck also.

Faran: As his friends say, he always knew about his destiny. He had that entrepreneur, I would say, instincts which made him succeed like this.

Khan's late father, Rafiq, sold surveying equipment. He preached humility and frugality and encouraged his son's early business ventures. As a child, Khan built and sold radios and made his friends pay to borrow his comic books.

And this is where the future owner of an American pro football team spent many afternoons as a boy: the city's cricket stadium, home to Pakistan's national team.

Shahid Khan: This is where, you know, the big sports events happen.

Byron Pitts: So this is your Yankee Stadium, your Soldier Field?

Shahid Khan: Absolutely.

Shahid Khan: We would walk over and, you know, get here after tea time so we could walk in free.

Byron Pitts: That was big because your dad wasn't big on spending money on tickets.

Shahid Khan: Never bought a ticket ever.

Byron Pitts: And proud of that?

Shahid Khan: And proud of that.

That evening, chatting over tea above Lahore's Royal Mosque, we were treated to a regular feature of Pakistani life, a cut in power.

Byron Pitts: Now that happens a lot in Pakistan I've noticed.

Shahid Khan: Yes.

When the lights came back on, we talked about coming home.

Byron Pitts: When many people come home they revel in being at home again. They wax nostalgic about what it means to be back. But you're not that way. Why?

Shahid Khan: Because, oh my God, I mean you know, you've been here. See how hard things are? You know, power's going out, it's 108 degrees. It's tough. But I think this is physical things. I think the biggest impediment here is that hope, and you know, getting to the next stage. It doesn't matter how hard you work, there are forces that kind of prevent you from being the best you can be.

In January 1967, with $500 dollars in his pocket, Shad Khan set out for America. He was 16 years old. He'd been accepted at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana to study mechanical engineering. He spent his first night at the local YMCA.

Byron Pitts: So your room was on this side of the building?

Shahid Khan: It was, dormitory, I believe it was this side right here.

His room at the Y set him back just two dollars. But Khan was so afraid of running out of money, he headed out the next morning to find a job.

Shahid Khan: Got up and walked up on Wright Street and they were hiring dishwashers - a buck 20 an hour. I was, "Wow, I think I'm gonna make it. This is my liberation. I control my destiny and -

Byron Pitts: A job washing dishes...

Shahid Khan: Yes.

Byron Pitts: ...would allow you to control your own destiny.

Shahid Khan: A buck 20 an hour, that's big money, I mean, more than what 99 percent of the people in Pakistan were making. I can control my destiny, I control my life.

The teenager from Pakistan adapted easily to life on the Illinois campus. He was invited to join the highly selective - and all-white -- Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

Byron Pitts: Why do you think they accepted you? Were you a novelty to them?

Shahid Khan: I think it was definitely a novelty for them.

Byron Pitts: Sure, John Smith from Cleveland, Michael Thompson from Chicago and, oh, Shahid Khan from Pakistan.

Shahid Khan: Exactly. So it was kind of fun for them to see what this is going to turn out to be.

It turned out well for Khan. Through a frat brother, he met fellow student Ann Carlson. After dating for 11 years as Khan built his business, he and Ann married at a Las Vegas wedding chapel. They have two grown children.

Byron Pitts: Gets awfully loud in here.

Shahid Khan: Yeah, it's loud in here. It's the sound of money.

Shad Khan made his fortune in -- of all things -- truck bumpers. Right out of college, he went to work for a small company called Flex-N-Gate, where he helped perfect the first one piece truck bumper. It was revolutionary, lightweight and didn't rust. Khan bought the company in 1980 for $800,000.

Byron Pitts: So today you make bumpers for how many different kinds of cars and trucks?

Shahid Khan: A lot, a lot (laugh).

Flex-N-Gate parts are on two-thirds of all the cars and trucks sold in America. Last year, it had sales of $3.5 billion. And all those bumpers landed Khan on the Forbes list of the 400 richest people in America.

[Shahid Khan on phone: Just keep me posted and then I think we'll figure out what to do.]

He has been living the American dream for 45 years and has been a citizen since 1991. But Khan's ethnic background has made him a victim of racial profiling. In the aftermath of 9/11, he says traveling back to the U.S. became a humiliating ordeal. There were endless questions and searches by immigration. On one occasion, he was detained while crossing the bridge between Canada and Detroit.

Shahid Khan: Got thrown in the brig.

Byron Pitts: Thrown in jail?

Shahid Khan: Well, they had a little holding pen in the bridge.

Byron Pitts: How long were you there?

Shahid Khan: Maybe five, six hours. But you know what's disturbing is they take your passport, they take the phone, they take everything. So you are just sitting there helpless for hours.

Byron Pitts: You're a successful businessman. You've done nothing wrong.

Shahid Khan: Yeah, yeah, but you know, it's like their intentions are good.

Byron Pitts: Come on, now, you're the most generous man, you're always willing to make excuses for people for the things they do.

Shahid Khan: Well you know, I gotta be honest with you, that's about the only thing that kind of made me a little bit angry.

While he enjoys returning to Pakistan to see his family, Khan says he's concerned by the radical shift in political attitudes there.

Byron Pitts: When we were with you in Lahore, one of the shop owners, and we asked him, when did things begin to change in Pakistan, and he said, went like this (gestures to beard), when the long beards took over.

Shahid Khan: Yeah, yeah, and he's absolutely right. I think it's not religion itself. I mean, it's the baggage that comes with it, frankly, that's in the name of religion, people are doing horrible things.

Byron Pitts: And in the Pakistan of your youth, you could, whatever your faith was, was acceptable.

Shahid Khan: Absolutely, and not only was it acceptable, it was respected.

The man who grew up on cricket in Pakistan says his passion for American football began at the University of Illinois, cheering on the Fighting Illini.

With financial success came the opportunity to buy into the game at the highest level. Khan says he leaves the football side of the business to others, but expects the best from his players. So one of his first moves was to provide them with what's said to be the best locker room in the NFL.

Shahid Khan: This is about comfort. This is about recognition. This is about setting standards.

And in a strategy he hopes will pay dividends for the team and Jacksonville, he announced plans for the Jaguars to play one home game in London for the next four seasons. But Shad Khan's biggest challenge will be fielding a more competitive team.

[Marv Albert: The Jacksonville Jaguars a disaster!]

The Jaguars appear headed for a fifth straight losing season; bad news for a team that's already the least valuable, least popular franchise in the NFL.

Byron Pitts: Why did you buy this team? Why not buy one of the - for the lack of a better phrasing - marquee NFL teams?

Khan: Well, because you buy what's available for sale. So, this isn't like going on Craigslist and picking up an NFL team, OK? It is developing relationships to find out when something might be available. And, you know, for me it's been like fate. It's just like saying, "You know I'm from Pakistan, you are 16, why go to Champaign-Urbana? Why not go to New York or go someplace else? Well because it was Champaign-Urbana, it was fate, it was destiny, it was kismet. Same thing here.

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