Woody Johnson’s new words of “embracing the youth movement” simply prove the New York Jets have found their newest marketing campaign.
He’s no dummy.
Upon first glance at New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, the casual onlooker may believe he’s a bit of a goof. This guy, the son of Betty and Robert Wood Johnson III, was basically handed his fortune. Once Leon Hess passed, he then threw himself into the rough and tumble world of the National Football League.
Seventeen years later, Johnson is still considered an NFL “outsider.” Perhaps this is why many think of him as one of the duller tools in the shed.
He isn’t a football man. This much can’t be debated. He does care about his team’s fortunes, and this is an extremely admirable trait.
There’s one important thing to remember while praising him for his caring attitude. As unintelligent as he is with the game of football, he’s no dummy when it comes to business.
Last week, he met with the media after his football guy, Mike Maccagnan, polished off a nine-pick NFL Draft featuring safety Jamal Adams. His words through each media source remained constant.
“Really, the way I want to be judged, hopefully from the fans’ standpoint, is just watch how we improve during the year,” Johnson said Tuesday on the Hahn, Humpty & Canty Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM during a charity event in Manhattan. “Look at each individual on the team, and if they’re getting better, that’s a mark of progress. That’s what we’re looking for.”
“Embrace the youth movement.” This was the overall sentiment Johnson felt compelled to get across to his fanbase through each media stop.
While the overall sentiment holds true — fans and Jets employees alike must and should embrace the movement — the slogan is just one in a line of many Jets “hope” marketing campaigns.
Johnson added that this will be the first time in 17 years they are going this route.
“If you want to go to the promised land, you have to go in a certain direction,” he said. “I think this is a direction we’ve never tried in the 17 years I’ve been associated with the Jets. We’ve never gone this way.”
When Johnson ripped Eric Mangini away from Bill Belichick and New England in 2006 and allowed him to possess the keys along with Mike Tannenbaum, the regime went through this very same youth movement.
Players such as Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Jerricho Cotchery, Shonn Greene, Brad Smith, Dustin Keller, Danny Woodhead, Kerry Rhodes, Leon Washington, Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and a host of others were drafted, cultivated and developed. The duo did such a tremendous job that their roster led the Jets to two consecutive AFC Championship Games (2009 and 2010) under the sideline leadership of Rex Ryan.
It was Mangini and Mikey T. who brought on the youth movement over a decade ago. Mangini’s fundamental beliefs in building from the trenches out and developing from within were evident from the word “go.”
Day 1 of minicamp ✔️ pic.twitter.com/O2KhLmTjcA
— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 5, 2017
"If they’re getting better, that’s a mark of progress. That’s what we’re looking for."
— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 3, 2017
Obviously, veterans were sprinkled in and added along the way. The likes of Brett Favre, Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca were added and blended into a mix of relatively young personnel. But the major theme that the Jets possessed a strong corps. of youngsters was evident.
Even Mark Sanchez, a young USC signal-caller was snagged in 2009 with the hopes of developing a franchise quarterback.
Those successful teams weren’t built on veteran leadership. They were built just like every other winning NFL team can be built: with a strong young core surrounded by vets here and there to compliment it.
So when you pick up the paper in a couple of months and read the next perfectly crafted Woody comments pushing that 2017 slogan of “embracing the youth” movement, please, do embrace it, but don’t think for one second that this is a new concept within the organization.
They have tried it before, and it worked.
The reason why the organization’s personnel hasn’t worked since is because the wrong people have been picking the players, not because of a certain strategy.
This isn’t the NBA. All NFL teams are built with a strong young nucleus and vets sprinkled in.
While Eric Mangini certainly didn’t do himself any favors within the organization, finally, Woody Johnson may be muttering to himself, “Boy, the kid was right all along.”