SBD/November 16, 2012/Franchises

Woody Johnson Defends Jets' Trade For Tebow, Denies PSL Sales As Motivation

Johnson denounced Jets players anonymously commenting on the team
NFL Jets Owner Woody Johnson on Thursday “opted not to offer a vote of confidence” for GM Mike Tannenbaum, coach Rex Ryan, QB Mark Sanchez or “pretty much anyone connected to what is being widely portrayed as a dysfunctional team,” according to Tom Pedulla of the N.Y. TIMES. Johnson “denounced those who have suggested that the arrival” of backup QB Tim Tebow was “designed, at least in part, to help the team sell personal seat licenses.” Johnson said, “There’s this phony story about me being more concerned with PSL’s or cash. My job, one, two and three, is to win games. That’s why I got into football. My job is to win games. That’s what my passion is. That’s what I want to do. It’s not to sell PSL’s or hot dogs.” He also “distanced himself from the Tebow trade, saying that Tannenbaum and Ryan had the final say on all player transactions” (NYTIMES.com, 11/15). Johnson said, "I didn't sign up for a 3-6 season. We haven't had one of these in a while" (NEWSDAY, 11/16). In Newark, Conor Orr notes Johnson spoke “just a day after another one of his quarterbacks was anonymously ripped by his own players.” Johnson: "Anybody that's anonymous has no credibility and anonymous people don't speak for the New York Jets, they really don't. I'm out here every day talking to players and coaches, meeting with the coaches and players, and so I think I'm a reasonably good judge" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/16). In N.Y., Brian Costello notes Johnson “expressed disappointment over his team’s record, optimism about its future and defiance about his motivation.” He spoke to reporters who “regularly cover the team for the first time since the season began” (N.Y. POST, 11/16).

WHO HAS THE REINS?: WFAN-AM’s Joe Benigno said the Jets “have become now the laughingstock of the NFL and everybody is weighing in somewhere or the other on this Jets circus.” N.Y. Daily News’ Andy Martino said of Johnson speaking to the media, “He looked like a petulant rich guy who was irritated by the questions; who thought that we didn’t even have the right to be talking about this” (“Daily News Live,” SportsNet N.Y., 11/15). USA TODAY’s Mike Garafolo writes, “Who’s in control? It’s not owner Woody Johnson.” He is “more comfortable yukking it up with the stock-market guys at CNBC, who treat him like a celebrity, not a clueless owner of a mismanaged NFL organization” (USA TODAY, 11/16). In N.Y., Gary Myers writes, “I don’t think there is any way Johnson fires Ryan. GM Mike Tannenbaum, despite so many personnel mistakes, is probably safe as well” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/16). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS’ Bob Raissman writes the media’s “passion for, and fascination with, Tebow, is the only effective weapon the Jets have in their arsenal of pea shooters.” Tebow has “thrown six passes all season, yet he leads the National Football League in sucking more ink, air time and Internet space out of the ozone” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/16).
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