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.
After a disastrous 2016 Jets season, going 5 -12 and not reaching the playoffs since 2010, one would think that letting go of general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles would be the right thing to do?
The only thing is; they’ve been with the organization for only two years.
I know the team did fire former general manager John Idzik after only two years (2013 – 2014) while at the helm but that was because they sent Coach Rex Ryan walking at the time, too, but this was a different circumstance. Normally, if you fire the general manager, the coach needs to be relieved of his duties. The reason for their early firing was: the team started to decline after the 2010 season losing more games under Ryan. The belief was; you are what your record says you are, so they had to make a change.
Now, Johnson has a plan and he did not listen to the fans outrage but stood by what he believes was right for his football team in order to bring long-term success to the franchise. That is the name of the game. The team doesn’t want to be a one-hit wonder.
Bowles should be kept due to keeping to his belief that consistency helps to bring about success in the NFL. There are a lot of things that go into winning NFL games and the talent of the roster tops the list. You certainly need a good quarterback to win consistently, which the team hasn’t had in a while. You also do not need constant change because it doesn’t help. It just makes it more difficult.
I think Johnson has confidence in Bowles, who has a chance to improve on the team’s performance and to make them better in 2017 with a young crop of players mixed in with a few veterans in what they are terming it as a rebuild year. Both can judge performance in their own way each year, instead of embracing change.
So, it makes tons of sense for them not preaching reaching playoffs or Super Bowl this year. It just puts more pressure on the players and it distracts them, even though some may still think and believe that. With this idea in place, if the team starts out 0 – 4, there shouldn’t be no talk of firing the coach since Johnson said the team will not be judged by wins and losses but by the growth of their young players.
Maccagnan and Bowles were hired in the same year and two years is certainly not enough time to determine whether they are right for the job. Woody Johnson’s belief is that they will get it done together. We will see about that.
The Johnson & Johnson heir and New York Jets owner, Woody Johnson, has a net worth of $4.2 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index following an analysis of his financial disclosure to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics as part of his nomination. Other billionaires in Trump’s administration include Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Linda McMahon, who heads the Small Business Administration. Johnson, 70, is awaiting Senate confirmation.
So Johnson now ranks among the world’s 500 richest people.
Johnson’s disclosure, dated March 7 and certified by the ethics office on June 27, lists more than 1,100 stocks, bonds and other securities, including more than $50 million in cash in a Bank United Inc. account, a stake in the All Weather fund run by billionaire Ray Dallo and dozens of personal trusts and holding companies.
Based on the midpoint of value ranges indicated for each asset, Johnson probably has more than $1.7 billion in assets unrelated to his ownership of the Jets and about $233 million in liabilities. He also lists more than $50 million in shares of New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J, the health-care products company co-founded by his great-grandfather. Based on listed dividend income from the past 12 months of “over $5 million,” Johnson would have at least 1.56 million shares in the company. That holding is worth more than $205 million at Monday’s closing price.
The majority of his wealth is tied to the Jets, though, his National Football League franchise, which the billionaire purchased for $635 million from the estate of Leon Hess in 2000. Today the team is conservatively valued at $2.7 billion, according to a July valuation opinion by Peter J. Schwartz, a consultant with Anderson Economic Group. The team and its stadium interest are both listed in the disclosure as being worth “over $50 million” — the highest value field required by the document.
Although football had a down year in 2016 compared to its own lofty standards, the value of teams still rose generally across the board based on increased revenue generation and the power of the NFL-branded media deals,” Schwartz said in a phone interview. Johnson earned more than $81 million in income in the past year from the team and its ownership stake in Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which it shares with the NFL’s New York Giants.
Information provided by Bloomberg.com.
There are many professional sports team that are worth lots of money and according to Forbes recent valuations of all sports teams, the New York Jets are the 13th most valuable team, currently worth $2.75 billion.
Is this due to Woody Johnson being the owner of the team?
Well, Johnson is assisted by New York being a very marketable state. It’s the 3rd largest state population-wise, having over nineteen million people residing and with football being the most popular sport now, always helps. The stadium where the Jets play is MetLife Stadium is fairly new and actually located in New Jersey, does increase the valuation much more. Due to the high ticket prices for games and concession stand prices being astronomically high. Johnson was the owner in 2010 and he played a large part in getting a new stadium built for the state and the fans not only in New York and New Jersey but across the United States.
It certainly looks good for Mr. Johnson now being that the Jets are worth $2.75 billion when he bought the team for only $635 million. He can make a pretty penny on it if he does sell the team. Most of the time, billionaires like Johnson make purchases like this for investment purposes only and just to say, I own a NFL team. Right now, it certainly does look like a good investment.
Teams that are currently rated as more valuable than the Jets are the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, New England Patriots, New York Knicks, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Redskins, and Los Angeles Rams.
Woody Johnson says fans should judge the 2017 season not so much on wins and losses, but rather, on how younger players improve throughout the season. Look at each individual on the team and see if they’re getting better. Improving is a sign of progress. That’s what they’re looking for. The biggest thing is for them to be patient.
The concentration on younger players and making sure the coaching staff is capable of teaching those players and getting them better is what has to happen. So, it’s a good sign, if the team is getting improving. To me, that means the team will end up having more wins than expected. Right?
They’ll be headed in the right direction with a chance of reaching the playoffs sooner than later. Fans shouldn’t be disappointed with this. But their patience could be running on fumes at this time. The ones that did, should be delighted because they hung in there for a long period of time.
Johnson’s comment doesn’t sound like it’s coming from an owner of a team. Certainly not from a businessman that he is. More like, someone who doesn’t understand the concept of a team trying to gel. That’s what really is happening in this case. So, it might be a good thing that Johnson will be far away from the team this year.
As for Coach Todd Bowles, his expectations are high for the 2017 season. How high you might ask? His goal is to get to the Super Bowl and he was being realistic about this comment. He knows they have to take steps being that there are a lot of guys that have to get acclimated chemistry wise right away. Progress for him is being a lot better than last year.
Every team in the NFL has that type of goal going into the season but for Bowles to expect that to happen with a different roster with younger guys is a bit off. First, they’d have to learn the systems which aren’t easy. What happens sometimes is the team cannot grasp the regular systems that are in place and have to take a step back. It would mean that they would have to use less complicated plays (vanilla packages) but that would be easier for teams to read and see. So, if this does occur, the Jets can find themselves having a very similar season to 2016 or even worse which they wouldn’t want. If not, they could end up winning more games than they did in 2016 but not go to the playoffs.
It turns out that when the Jets cut veteran players Eric Decker and David Harris it was solely due to Woody Johnson wanting to cut payroll in what seems to be a rebuilding season in 2017. The team slashed $13.75 million in cash payroll by letting them go. They were pretty much, the last of the veteran players on the roster that were primarily good.
One can say that Decker and Harris wouldn’t fit the mold with the current young roster and it probably wouldn’t have made a difference anyway by having Decker and Harris on the team because they won’t be close to reaching the playoffs.
Fans might think the team should’ve kept them because they needed some type of veteran leadership and to also have some sort of mix with young and somewhat older players. Many NFL coaches take that approach but the Jets changed that in 2017.
So by Johnson stripping the roster down, it certainly puts pressure on the younger players to step up and find a permanent spot. This is the right way to go now. The team is basically sacrificing the 2017 season and is already setting up a foundation through next year’s Draft and beyond.
You might be wondering now, why would Johnson decide to do this while still spending plenty of money during Free Agency and on other existing contracts? This question might sound insignificant but under the new CBA, the cap (max) for 2017 was $167 M per team. So each team must average around $158M. This requirement literally explains the Jets spending.
As a fan, I’d like to see the Jets take the field on Sunday, with always having a good chance to win. In 2017, there will be some doubt in games, with fans expecting them to play hard which is fine but it’ll still be hard to produce wins, especially when the Jets play the Patriots, Raiders and Chiefs this year.
Johnson has the right intentions in making such moves even if the team won’t be very competitive in 2017. Whether he made the right decision still has to be seen.