Fortune took a look at the business backgrounds of the NFL owners and ranked Woody Johnson seventeenth in the aspects of being a businessperson.
Johnson’s great-grandfather founded the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson so he’s never been wanting for money.
He’s also a friend of President Donald Trump, who named the New York Jets owner as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom this summer (his brother has taken over day-to-day operation of the team). That appointment required Johnson to submit financial disclosures to the government that revealed a net worth of roughly $4.2 billion, according to Bloomberg.
A large chunk of that fortune comes from the Jets, which Johnson bought for $635 million in 2000. The NFL team’s value is now estimated at $2.75 billion, though the NFL team’s recent run of futility hasn’t made Johnson any more popular with Jets fans. The Jets are worth an estimated $550 million less than the Giants despite sharing the same lucrative market and New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, which is one of the highest-grossing stadiums in the world.
If Woody Johnson wasn’t a business person, he would’ve never bought the New York Jets but this purchase was just another investment to add to his portfolio. I can say this because the team would’ve fared better over the years if he was a spending-type of owner. Little does he know, if the team won a couple of Super Bowls while he was at the helm, his investment would be worth even more than it is today.
Billionaires normally make these type of investments due to their net worth value and have some type of long-term plan for their purchase. I’ve seen this from other wealthy business people with other types of businesses, too.
So far, it looks like his brother Christopher has already made a stand on the 2017 season saying; the team is not tanking. This basically says to me that the team wants to produce wins and they have already won one game and have a shot going 3-2 (playing the Jaguars and Browns next) after five games. Just remember, the NFL is a week-to-week thing. That would be a big accomplishment for the team.
If Christopher has a different mindset (and he seems like he does) than his brother, as far as the Jets team is concerned, he could be what the fans have wanted for a long time now. Maybe one day he will find himself as the number one businessperson on this list.
For starters, in 17 years under Woody Johnson’s ownership, the Jets are eight games under .500. This, by all means states inadequacy.
What caused this?
Johnson hasn’t shown much dedication to football matters regarding the team like other NFL team owners (Jerry Jones) do. The first item that comes to mind is the idea of spending money to obtain better talent. He has sometimes gone on spending sprees while in other years, he has backed off from that philosophy for some unknown reason. Johnson hasn’t been consistent in this area which disappoints the fan base immensely. Successful teams stand by this type of methodology creating a pattern of indistinguishability and culture that fans can get used to for a long time but not the Jets fans, thus far.
The last three general managers under Johnson all had different management approaches. First was Mike Tannenbaum who was a very aggressive deal-maker but he always gave too much guaranteed money in contracts which put the team in cap hell for a number of years. Then there was John Idzik who was a slow-builder. He didn’t last long, either, and you can probably guess why? It wasn’t a good marriage with him and Coach Ryan and they really didn’t have anything in common, either. Mike Maccagnan is the current general manager who possesses both predecessors’ traits.
See what I’m getting at now?
Then the coaches Johnson hired all had different styles. First, there was Herm Edwards who was basically a players’ coach which is not exactly what the team needed at the time. Eric Mangini followed who many fans liked, including me. He had some good seasons and had the team going in the right direction. He drafted nice players but losing four of five games towards the end of the 2008 season dashed any playoffs hope, so the team fired him. Then the Jets went back to another players coach in Rex Ryan. He also started off good, took the team to two AFC Championship games in the first two years. Then, like the prior coaches, the team began to lose. Bowles is the current coach who is a disciplinarian, just like Mangini was. Most likely, he will be given another two more years, to see if he can right the ship. The only thing all the coaches had in common was that they were defensive-minded coaches. As you probably know, they didn’t get the team to the Super Bowl. This probably also explains why the Jets haven’t had a good quarterback in a while with these type of coaches. Another common thing amongst them was none had prior coaching experience, either. That would explain the struggles the team had during their tenure.
In 2015 and 2016, the Jets had the third largest cash payroll using the win-now approach but they had an older roster then. They ended up missing the playoffs again and again. This probably is the reason why they went with the youth movement in 2017 letting go of the last two veteran players on the roster in Eric Decker and David Harris which signified commitment to one plan. It was a plan that was never instituted by the New York Jets since the other strategies weren’t successful. Let’s see if this one is, because they are certainly running out of plans.