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Jets Owner Woody Johnson: Is He the New George?

By Alan Schechter
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Sep 25, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson attends the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

When Woody Johnson bought the Jets from the Hess family years ago, we didn’t hear a lot from him. He let the football people run the football operations. From Bill Parcells, to Terry Bradway, to finally when Mike Tannenbaum started. We knew who Woody was, mainly because the Hess family owned the team for so long, and Woody Johnson’s companies were well known.

But, in the last few years, something has changed, have you noticed?

Woody Johnson likes seeing his name in the papers. He likes to go out and get the big name players. Brett Favre. Santonio Holmes. Ladainian Tomlinson. Plaxico Burress. All the way up to Tim Tebow.

He likes to have the Jets on TV. He comments about the team, more than he ever did before, especially recently. He likes to see his name in print, and he likes to see the Jets in print, even when the fact of the matter is that they are not relevant.

You can summarize the change in Woody Johnson this way, he likes to see himself, and his team, on the backpages. Whether or not his team is relevant, he likes it. Even if the team that cohabitates their stadium wins the Super Bowl, Woody likes the back pages.

Hmm…….Didn’t there used to be an owner in this town that loved the backpages? There was a guy that loved to hear himself talk, steal the headlines all the time, and make waves to be constantly on the backpages in NY. He used to sign all the big names to play on his team.

Remember this guy?

George Steinbrenner loved the headlines, just the way Woody Johnson seems to.

George Steinbrenner in many of the same ways, loved to hang onto the backpages. Be it by major signings such as Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Dave Winfield (to the first $1 million contract), Alex Rodriguez, the players are endless. George Steinbrenner always needed to bring in the big name.

He also liked to hear himself talk as well. whether he was needling managers, especially Billy Martin, firing and hiring him, as well as getting on players, we always heard his voice, on the airwaves or in the newspaper. He even went so far as to sending private investigators after Dave Winfield when their relationship went south.

George Steinbrenner loved the backpages. Woody Johnson loves the backpages. But, there is one major difference that separates the two.

What is it? George Steinbrenner backed up his mouth by winning rings.

Woody Johnson makes moves for business sake, and they accomplish nothing.

Let’s go back to 2008. The Jets go out and bring in Brett Favre. They got rid of the quarterback that leads everyone in the history of the sport in completion percentage, Chad Pennington. Whether he had a great arm or not, he led the sport’s history, in completing passes, a pretty important thing for a quarterback, wouldn’t you say? And what did we get?

A guy who was old, took two many chances with his throws, and the only reason he came to the Jets was to use them to get back at the Green Bay Packers. That is the only explanation for why he only played for one season. He knew he couldn’t get right to the Vikings, so he came to the Jets for one year to free himself up to head to Minnesota.

The Jets were used, for Woody Johnson’s need for headlines. Right after our hometown co-habitants won the Super Bowl.

Not even talking about the locker room, let’s call it situation, that has been created. That has been discussed at length. Let’s talk about the latest move, to continue the Jets three ring circus. You have a fragile quarterback, that doesn’t like criticism. So what do they do? Bring in the backup quarterback that has a wilder following than the Beatles! Mark Sanchez will now hear criticism every day. Every day. The fans will chant for his backup if he falters, and the media will have questions every day.

The only reason this was done was so Woody Johnson and the Jets could take over the backpages. Again, when their co-habitants won the Super Bowl.

Woody Johnson loves the headlines. He loves hearing himself talk, he loves seeing himself on the backpages. He likes making a splash. George Steinbrenner did too. The difference is George backed it up.

Woody has not. The Jets have won nothing. Woody Johnson had better back it up soon, because it’s beginning to get old.

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