Jets owner Woody Johnson is such a card. When asked about a source in the Jets organization saying the rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg couldn’t hit the ocean, he responded with this quip.
“I guess it depends which ocean,” he said. “Maybe it was a small ocean. EPA describes that as an ocean. Anyway, no that’s not funny. You’ve got to ask Todd Bowles about Christian because he’s got some opinions about Christian Hackenberg. I think he has maybe a little bit (of a) higher opinion than that.”
Remember, that was about the team’s second round pick and the owner is making jokes.
Yes, Johnson is a card and he has to be dealt with and it’s probably a safe bet he used that one at a cocktail party or two over the past few weeks, which slayed his right friends, unlike the uneasy chuckles he got yesterday.
We don’t know if he did or not, but maybe that sums up the type of owner he has been. Johnson is a rich guy, who bought the team and used it as his play toy for his last 16 years. Sure, he wants to win – who doesn’t – but the heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune doesn’t have the football skills and know-how to have any hand in his team.
Think about this. Since he bought the team back in 2000 from the estate of Leon Hess, his Jets made the playoffs a few times, but at no time did you think this was a championship caliber club. Even the two seasons Rex Ryan led the franchise to the AFC Championship game, those felt like flukes rather than destiny.
Instead, Johnson introduced the wonderful world of the Personal Seat License to the New York area – snookering the Giants John Mara with him – giving his fans the right to buy season tickets for a large fee.
And let’s not forget moving the Jets from their home and fanbase in Long Island to their new headquarters in Florham Park.
What a legacy.
A half a century ago, John Mara’s dad Wellington put league over personal profit by agreeing to evenly splitting the television contract to all the teams throughout the league. Besides helping clubs like Green Bay stay afloat, it allowed the league to become the powerhouse it is today.
That’s the type of owner you hoped Johnson could be as he took over the club at the turn of the century, but instead of becoming Wellington Mara the visionary, Johnson has become the 1978 version of Mara, whose team had to be saved by then commissioner Pete Roselle.
At his press conference yesterday, he said nothing to make the fans feel like the team is in good hand. His answers were so cookie cutter that if you took Jets out and put in Cleveland Browns or Jacksonville Jaguars, you wouldn’t notice the difference.
Look, Johnson did the right thing by keeping general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles. They deserved another season. However, this is the risk you take when you hire from the outside. The fans don’t have any connection to these two men. They are just faces in the crowd, so the only thing that will save them is winning.
And when they don’t, the fans will want blood, because it’s not like you are firing Joe Namath.
So we will see what happens next year and there’s a good chance they will do it without Johnson, who may give up control of the team to represent the United States to the good people of Great Britain.
Wouldn’t that be ironic if the Jets turn it around as Johnson is across the pond? Maybe getting appointed by Donald Trump is the best thing happen to this franchise. Now the football men can do their work and we will see if Bowles and Maccagnan can really rebuild this franchise.
All the while Johnson can tell his lame jokes to the Queen.