Spoiled Decisions: A Problem That Won’t Go Away For New York Jets
Woody Johnson, along with his brother Christoper, purchased the New York Jets from fellow billionaire Leon Hess in 2000. For the first decade as NFL owners, the heirs to the Johnson & Johnson fortune enjoyed watching their investment go to the playoffs in six times. However, the Band Aid brothers wanted more. Their stadium partners, the New York Giants had won two Super Bowls in that same decade. The Johnsons, rightfully so, wanted a Lombardi Trophy of their own and trust me, so did their fans.
Here is where the problem with the Johnson ownership era began. On New Year's Eve in 2012, after the Jets had missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season, Woody Johnson fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum but inexplicably kept head coach Rex Ryan. Instead of giving the new general manager free riegn to build their own staff, Johnson completely decimated his potential pool candidates by saddling the new GM with the larger than life head coach. It was an ownership decision that has haunted this franchise to this day. Those types of decisions have not stopped.
From there, Woody Johnson and his hired search firm chose John Idzik as general manager. Early in his second season at the helm, fans purchased billboards and flew planes with signs: Fire John Idzik. Johnson quickly dismissed Ryan and Idzik following a 4-12 season in 2014. Johnson's next disappointment was general manager Mike Mccaggnan and his head coach Todd Bowles. The following sequence was when you really knew the wheels came off of the Johnson brother's bus.
In one of the most stunningly dumb moves in sports ownership history, Christopher Johnson, filling in for ambassador to the United Kingdom, brother Woody as CEO of the team, allowed Mike Maccagnan to fire Bowles and lead the Jets' coaching search for the worst head coach in franchise history, Adam Gase. Then he watched Gase and Mccagnan spend huge money in free agency and oversee the team's draft in April. Less than one month later, Christopher Johnson, enamored by Gase's "genius" without even coaching a game, fired Mccagnan and allowed Gase to pick his own new general manager, current GM Joe Douglas. Wow. Fast forward a few disappointing seasons and on Wednesday, the spoiled decisions continued.
Any outsider could tell that Robert Saleh wanted to keep offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur by the comments made by the head coach on January 2nd. “Yeah, I’ve been in LaFleur’s shoes,” Saleh told the media and ESPN.com. “I told you guys the story. In 2018, second year as a coordinator on defense, and it would’ve been very easy for Kyle to fire me — very easy just to say, ‘You know what, we went 4-12. You’re the scapegoat. Get the heck out of the building,’ but to his credit, he sat down. He went over the weeks following the season and committed to me, and the rest is history. You got to have the discipline to be able to go back and make sure you’re telling the truth about what’s happening in the building and not coming away with knee-jerk reactions that could derail what could be a pretty damn good football coach or a good player for that matter.”
It's pure speculation but Robert Saleh did not want to fire Mike LaFleur for a myriad of reasons. It's certainly not LaFleur's fault quarterback Zach Wilson was an awful decision by Joe Douglas. However, "discipline" is not something that Woody or Christopher Johnson seem to understand. "Knee-jerk" consequences like making your head coach fire one of his staff that he obviously believes in, is not the way to win a Super Bowl. I am not sure if Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas will lead the Jets to a championship but they are certainly moving the team out of the bottom teir of the NFL. Woody Johnson wanted someone to blame for the Jets end of the season collapse. He got it in Mike LaFleur. That's what spoiled children want, someone to blame. Woody got it and long as he owns the Jets, he'll continue to find someone to blame for his own failures. SOJ-same old Jets.