McDonald: Changes To The Jets Need To Start With The Way Woody Johnson Runs Things

So it’s official. Both Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles will be returning in 2017.

For those hoping for blood in the water, Happy New Year Jet fans you didn’t get your wish.

However, it’s the right move. With 10-6 one year and 5-11 next, both men at the top of Woody Johnson’s payroll get a mulligan on 2016 and next season will be the rubber match.

Yes, the Jets went out on a high note today, but don’t let the score fool you. The Bills mailed it in and their performance was comparable to Mariah Carey’s last night so really this wasn’t about evaluation, instead it was a nice way to ring in the New Year after and awful 2016.

“We were just a better team today,” Bowles said. “We finished today on a high note. We’re happy today.  That doesn’t mean we are going to the playoffs next season because we won today.”

No, it does not.

However, for this the Jets to continue their resolution of winning, changes have to be made and according to Bowles, no coaching staff decisions have been made and said, “I’ll discuss that when we get forward in our process next week.”

That’s all find and dandy, but ways of doing business have to start at the top and Johnson needs to change the way he runs this organization.

Look, I’m not here to tell a billionaire how to do business, but I have been around the sports world long enough to know the two-headed monster of having both Bowles and Maccagnan answering directly to the owner just doesn’t work. You need a chain of command with the head coach answering to the general manager, who then reports to the owner.

This is how it works in almost every other team, even the most dysfunctional ones in the city. The Knicks have Jeff Hornacek answering to Phil Jackson, who then reports to James Dolan and the Mets have Terry Collins reporting to Sandy Alderson, who then has to answer to Jeff Wilpon. You get the idea It doesn’t always produce wins, but it produces an organizational accountability.

With this two headed monster, either man can blame the other for the team’s shortcomings. Bowles is the face of the organization, so he is out there taking the hits, but Maccagnan has plenty of blame too. When they go into the owner’s office, what’s stopping either of them from blaming the other? Not saying it’s happening here, but it could.

More importantly, Johnson has to realize he’s not John Mara and that’s a good thing. The Giants’ president was born into football and has a lifetime of knowledge. Johnson bought the Jets in 2000 after a lifetime in the pharmaceutical industry. He should let the football men run the franchise in the tried and true structure. What works for Johnson and Johnson does not work here.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to tell a billionaire what to do and Johnson will probably keep it the same at the top.

And that’s going to be the problem. Sure the Jets can win with this system, but outside of a couple of Rex Ryan runs his first two years any January football under Johnson has been rather quick.

Hopefully this move, though, turns out to be the right one. Bowles will need to make some severe changes on this team to make it competitive. Too many games this season were over at the coin toss and that has to change. We are not looking for miracles, but we need a solid effort every week.

“Going forward,” Bowles said, “we understand what we have with the 11 losses and what we played during the season. “

It’s not asking for much, but after a 2016 where the Jets have been maddening inconsistent, there needs to be change.

Are you listening Woody?  

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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