There is no dysfunction quite like that Jet dysfunction. There are no shit rosters quite like Jet shit rosters (anyone besides myself recall a wide receiver tandem of the little engine that could, Wayne Chrebet, and Arena football player Kevin Swayne?). There are no blown second rounders like Jet blown second rounders (Browning Nagle, Mike Nugent, Vlad Ducasse, etc.). Don’t even talk about the 1st round, where the Jets passed on Warren Sapp and once drafted Bryan Thomas over sure Hall of Famer Ed Reed. But understand this: former owner Leon Hess, while not a football man, was an excellent businessman, was kind and benevolent, and oversaw the drafting of the team’s only franchise quarterback, Joe Namath, in its now 50+ year history, and subsequently, the Jets only Superbowl victory, the historic first ever Superbowl win for the American Football League, which helped force the merger that led to the formation of the NFL.
Did he make mistakes? Too many to count. Rich Kotite, anyone? But Hess also hired Big Bill who led the organization to its most successful decade, sans the Superbowl, in its history. Mr. Hess, which we call him out of respect, an earned title, was a self made man with courage and character, who, to carve out an empire in oil, had to negotiate with a gun barrel to his nose, and who cared so much for his employees that when Dennis Byrd was paralyzed during play, Hess paid out the rest of Byrd’s contract in full, immediately, and took an enormous personal interest in Byrd’s recovery. Mr. Hess ensured Byrd would receive the very best medical care, essentially bequeathed him his personal aircraft, and sat with Byrd in the hospital every day for a year.
Once when asked of it, a candid Hess told a reporter that if he knew that a player could get injured so seriously in football, he “would have never bought the team.” Upon Byrd’s recovery, at the press conference when he was released from the hospital, the former player uttered that most famous line, probably the most pride inspiring line associated with the Jets in all history, when he said, “I came to New York from Oklahoma a young Christian man. Today I return to Oklahoma a young Christian man and a New York Jet.”
The current owner, Woody Johnson, who gets no respectful moniker from us, should not be viewed by anyone, most especially himself, through the illusory prism that wealth and power equate to success. Johnson & Johnson had made billions long before Woody came to be. Unlike Mr. Hess, Woody inherited his billions, gained his various titles through nepotism, and whatever honors bestowed upon him through cronyism, the spoils of privilege. He’s not much of a business man, so far as we can tell. Let’s be frank. Billions beget billions. He’s not much of a family man either, so far as we can tell. Johnson, when divorcing ex Sale Johnson, soon after purchasing the team, told reporters of the break up that he was looking forward to ‘spending more time with his team.’ It hasn’t worked out for the Johnson family or the team.
As you may or may not know, Woody’s eldest daughter, Casey Johnson, who once famously became embroiled in a public dispute with her own aunt over a paramour, died alone due to questionable circumstances at the age of 30. She had been described in the press as a “reckless wildchild”, a “wayward heiress”, etc. Tragedy strikes and is blind to bank accounts. Do we feel bad about raising a spectre of questionability around Johnson’s personal life? No. And for that matter, the spectre was there long before we raised it. He’s a public figure and is therefore subject to it, as was Joe Philbin, when his low life, rapist son drowned to death and Tony Dungy, whose son committed suicide, and we haven’t blinked once in criticizing those men, whether they were just absentee football lifer fathers, hypocrites (like Dungy, who perhaps was too wrapped up in Jesus and the scourge that is foul language to worry about his own son), or both.
Is it overly simplistic to blame an absentee, disinterested parent for his child’s lack of mental well being? Is it? You tell us. In this case, we have discerned with Woody a pattern of failure, from his ownership of the team, to his marriage, to his family, and of course, his politics. Woody, a staunch Republican, was heavily invested in both recent Bush campaigns, and also served as Mitt Romney’s New York campaign manager. Do we have to ask how that went? For all his billions, Johnson is a dimwitted loser. Anyone with even remedial knowledge of politics knew that Romeny’s chances at claiming NY’s slice of the electoral pie were dead even before arrival. On that bus, there are still plenty of great seats available. What about the doomsday quotes from Woody about how he feared for America if Obama was re-elected?
“Well I think you always have to put country first,” Johnson said. “So I think it’s very, very important that for – not only us – but in particular for our kids and grandkids that this election come off with Mitt Romney and (Paul) Ryan as President and vice president.”
You know, America seems perfectly fine to me under Obama. I haven’t really noticed the pervasive spread of socialism and am rather glad that the war mongering ways of Bush’s patrician fantasy world are for now past. But I am not a billionaire being taxed at a rate I deem too high. I’m just a Crackbillionair is all. And if Woody was such a patriot, pardon the pun, why try to cheat his beloved US Gov’t out of a cool $100M in taxes? That’s what he agreed to pay back the gov’t, plus interest, in 2001, but in actuality, law enforcement believes it to be a great deal more.
So many superrich Americans evade taxes using offshore accounts that law enforcement cannot control the growing misconduct, according to a Senate report that provides the most detailed look ever at high-level tax schemes.
Among the billionaires cited in the report are the owner of the New York Jets football team, Robert Wood Johnson IV; the producer of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” children’s show, Haim Saban; and two Texas businessmen, Charles and Sam Wyly, who the Center for Public Integrity found in 2000 were the ninth-largest contributors to President Bush.
When Woody bought the team, he had supposedly done so to impress his billionaire buddies. He was gonna win the big game and then flash the big bling at Tavern on the Green. How’s that working out so far? You think his buddies are are impressed? Do you think they were impressed when Mark Sanchez was found to be entertaining an underage girl at his home? Or when Rex’s wife’s swinger profile hit on http://www.deadspin.com?
Woody was also gonna build that Jets’ mecca on the Westside, which, we’ll acknowledge would have elevated the Jets’ status from 2nd to 1st class citizens, which would’ve rebranded the team and provided Dallas Cowboy like revenue streams. See, we think Woody cares way more about money than football and that the Jets’ Westside development project was what was really attractive to him, and not so much the Jets, despite the man’s obvious love of green Oxford ties. We suspect little Bill knew as much, and is why he hastily tendered his resignation, scrawled on a napkin when Johnson took over (“I resign as HC of the NYJ”).
While no one doubts that Woody put a lot of energy into the Westside project at considerable costs, should we commend a man for spending $1B on a failure? Instead, we’ll add it to the ever expanding list of Johnson failures–a failure from which the franchise has never recovered that has conscripted the team to permanent second class status by settling for another joint stadium. Johnson blew that billion and has been penny wise and dollar foolish ever since. Especially, his practice of forcing unwanted players and coaches on the organization. Brett Favre, forced on Mangini, for the promotional value. Disaster. Mangini holdover Brian Schottenheimer, who when he was considered a hot coaching commodity, was given a big new contract by the Jets, forced on Rex Ryan. Disaster. Made Schottenheimer a media scapegoat and ruined his reputation. Tebow, forced on Ryan. Disaster. Not our words either, or rather, ours and Special Teams Coordinator Mike Westhoff’s, who went on talk radio in Miami today to call the Tebow situation, among other things, “an absolute mess” and a “distraction” and said he doesn’t understand the rationale behind the acquisition and that he doesn’t think anyone does.
We though the new personnel guy was gonna be Tom Gamble for a minute, or Dave Caldwell. Hoped it would be Giants’ executive Marc Ross, all guys the Jets have courted. and by the Jets, we of course mean the outside consulting firm the Jets have hired to run their GM search, because despite Johnson owning his own near billion dollar football organization, he has not one reasonably knowledgeable football man trustworthy enough to make a solid hire.
Originally, the Jets hoped to have a hire in place by the time Rex and ihaveprettyfeet returned from their Bahamas jaunt, someone to begin to spin the stench off the joke, the perennial catastrophe that is the Jets, and to divert attention away from the fact that the Jets organization was so unprepared to face the media that they ignored their compulsory obligation to make the coach and owner available to the press within 7 days of their season’s end.
So last week it was the Caldwells and Gambles, and then this week they have supposedly interviewed six people in the last 2 days alone. Including the Dolphins Assistant GM, who we’re certain is underqualified. But a qualified GM would never accept preconditions on the job, such as the shot gun marriage with Rex which Johnson is forcing whomever the new fool to accept.
The expanded search, which now includes way more interviewees than what is a normal when replacing a GM for other teams, is representative of the fact that the Jets are grossly incompetent, clueless, and fucked. I mean, who but the Jets, would have a hiring search that included Tom Heckert, the GM of a club that lost 40+ games in 3 years in Cleveland, or even worse, personnel people from the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL? Now I don’t like Wes Welker at all, but when he said that shit about the Patriots “putting their best foot forward” against the Jets, ‘toe the line’ or whatever, we can’t blame him. The Jets are a joke, continually perpetuated by their own organization, so how can anyone be angry when people joke about them? In fact, we are pretty sure that the only reason that Belichik came down so hard on Welker was because he feared not doing so would provide the Jets extra motivation. In short, he fined Welker in order to have a better shot at success in a football game.
The original title for this piece was to be, “NYJ: Woody Johnson, Billionaire Moron, Despicable Human Being, and Gross Incompetent, Should Sell the NYJ”. But since all of that is dreadfully obvious, truths we hold self evident, we instead opted for a Welkerism.
Same old Jets? We wish we could somehow return to such a comfortable level of incompetence, one we had come to accept. Instead, we are mired in incompetence that we can only describe as mind boggling, prolific, and sublime. After Dennis Byrd returned to Oklahoma, the Jets, as a kindness to their fans, should have disbanded, letting us all root for the Giants.
In loving memory of Dr. Jet. Now if he would only stop haunting my house.