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Thread: Woody is obsessed with winning the Super Bowl- Cimini

  1. #1
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    Woody is obsessed with winning the Super Bowl- Cimini

    Updated: May 14, 2010, 1:27 PM ET
    Woody: Gang is headed to Super BowlIn Part I of our two-part Q&A, Jets owner says he's 'obsessed' with winning it By Rich Cimini
    ESPNNewYork.com


    FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Woody Johnson looked tired. He had spent a good part of Thursday in damage-control mode, trying to calm an angry fan base. There was a newspaper story about thousands of unsold PSLs in the new stadium and potential TV blackouts in the New York market -- the fandom equivalent to Armageddon -- and the Jets' owner spoke with several media outlets, attempting to clean up the mess.

    Now it was quiet in a glass-enclosed conference room at the Jets' sparkling headquarters, where Johnson sat down with ESPNNewYork.com -- and a cup of hot tea -- to discuss an anniversary of sorts: Ten years as the team's owner.

    On Jan. 18, 2000, Johnson's purchase of the Jets -- for a cool $635 million -- was unanimously approved by the NFL owners. He walked into turmoil -- Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick had just quit on consecutive days -- and now he's in the middle of another firestorm. Never a dull moment in Gotham.



    After a decade of ownership, Woody Johnson says he's ready to finally take the Jets -- and their fans -- to the promised land.
    Johnson, known mostly in high society and the financial world when he took control of the Jets, was a newcomer to the local sports landscape. He was so unaccustomed to the spotlight that he actually phoned a friend, actor Michael Douglas, for advice on how to handle his first news conference as owner.

    "Just be yourself, Woody," Douglas told him.

    Initially, Johnson was perceived as a mild-mannered, almost meek boss, but his voice -- inside and outside the organization -- has become louder.

    Example: In his sitdown with ESPNNewYork.com, Johnson said he expects to reach the Super Bowl this season, claiming the Jets' talent is as good as any other team in the league. The expectations, already high, just climbed another notch. But, at the same time, he admitted that, even with no salary cap in the NFL, the Jets are operating on an internal budget.

    In 10 seasons under Johnson, the Jets have been the quintessential middle-of-the-pack team -- an 80-80 record, 16th in the league. But Johnson, 63, said he's obsessed with winning a Super Bowl, and he vowed to make it happen. In the first of a two-part interview, he discusses the team and the upcoming season.

    Q: You've made a lot of splashy moves this offseason -- LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Cromartie, Jason Taylor and Santonio Holmes. A lot of people think the moves were made to drive PSL sales. What do you say to that?

    WJ: The thing that drives us is getting to a Super Bowl and winning that. Every one of these moves, if you look at the design of them, is to take last year's team, make it better and drive us to that Super Bowl. I mean, look what happened to us at the end. We played the Colts [in the AFC Championship Game] and we were weak at corner. We broke down at corner, so we changed that. Who was the best corner on the market? Cromartie. Who's better than Cromartie? Are we doing that for flash? I think that's called good team-building myself. We're probably going to face them again and we'll be ready for it.

    Q: How disappointing would it be if you don't make the Super Bowl?

    WJ: I'm not going to speculate. I think we're going to make it.

    Q: You sound like Rex Ryan. Has he rubbed off on you?

    WJ: A little bit, yeah. It's very refreshing to be able to tell your players and your fans what you want to do and not have to hide it. I like that. It's liberating. You can actually tell people where you want to take them, where they want to go. Do you want to jump aboard a team that comes in 15th? That's not what we're shooting for. That isn't why we're here.

    Q: Why so many moves after coming so close to a championship last season?

    WJ: Every move we made was well thought-out ... you don't like to lose someone like Thomas Jones or [Alan] Faneca, but we have to make tough choices in this environment, in this business.



    Q: There is no salary cap this year, but you got rid of Jones and Faneca, two team leaders, and you played hardball with Jay Feely over maybe $500,000 -- and lost him. It looks like you're cutting payroll in a year where that shouldn't be a concern. Are you trying to save money?

    WJ: No, we got everybody we wanted. It's just that the rules make it more difficult to spend. We had a budget; it's still a pretty hardy budget in the NFL. I don't know if it's the highest, but we're spending quite a large chunk.

    Q: You were criticized for acquiring players with off-field issues, namely Cromartie and Holmes. It's a 180-degree shift in philosophy from a few years ago. Why the sudden change?

    WJ: We looked at those two as young men that had what we thought was manageable risk. Yes, they made mistakes. We've all made mistakes -- maybe they've made a few more -- but the coach and the security people looked at it. It was a group decision that, yes, this is a manageable risk. These are very young men. We talked to them, and we believed them that they wanted to make a change. We're doing everything we can to help them along. We feel both of those players ... will make us a better team.

    Q: What about signing Jason Taylor, a former rival hated by Jets fans? Did you consider how your fans might react before making that move?

    WJ: The fans are going to react if he sacks a couple of quarterbacks. What do you think the reaction will be when he comes out and sacks three or four quarterbacks in a row? He's a high-character guy, and we're happy to have him with us.

    Q: You've taken an active role in recruiting free agents, especially Taylor. Some people around the building call you "The Closer." Are you The Closer?

    WJ: No, Mike [Tannenbaum] is The Closer, but I'm part of the process because you want to give the athlete a sense of where he's going. You're Jason Taylor and you're coming into enemy territory. He had trepidations. How do you make him feel he's welcome here? We want to embrace Jason Taylor when he comes up here. We can't wait until he gets here, and make him immediately part of the family. A lot of people let him know what the deal is here: 'You're one of us now.'

    Q: Were you that involved in your early years as the owner?

    WJ: No, it was a different situation. This is much better. There are a lot more ways you can make a player feel welcome. That's very important. That's why we're getting all these guys. Everybody wants to play here now.

    Q: You have a lot of players at the end of their contracts, some of whom you acquired this offseason -- Holmes and Cromartie. It has created the perception, even among some of your own players, that it's all-or-nothing in 2010. Is it?


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    WJ: That could be the perception, but it's not true. We're in a strange kind of cap situation, where we're very, very limited [by the "Final Eight Rule"]. The fact that Mike and his team put this together is pretty much a miracle. We got four major players, so it's, "How in the heck did you do that?" It was threading the needle.

    Q: Tannenbaum often says it's his charge to win the Super Bowl. How often do you remind him of that?

    WJ: We talk about it every day. We talk about what it takes to build a team and how to build sustainable success. You've got to manage your financial resources. ... You have to be careful. It's part talent and part balance sheet. And bookkeeping; you have to be good bookkeepers. You have to really understand how to place assets in the portfolio to give you the highest probability of success.

    Q: Is winning a Super Bowl an obsession?

    WJ: Yes, that's what I'm obsessed about. We talk about it, we plan for it. It's going to happen at some point, hopefully this year.

    Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

    More from ESPNNewYork.com

  2. #2
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    Woodi is the F&%ING man! I'm so glad he owns the Jets. I can't wait to see him accepting the Lombardi trophy.

  3. #3
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    I like an aggressive owner, so long as he puts his money where his mouth is......like JJ, no recent trophy, but I like everything he does except when he goes down to the field early.

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    I hope that he gets obseessed like Steinbrenner - Bronx Zoo atmosphere aside (first person to complain about the FO turnover is the first person not read my comment about not wanting Bronx Zoo atmosphere). Being obsessed seems to have worked for The Boss.

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    Too Bad he was not obsessed with building his own NEW YORK JETS std.in NY!

    Both the Giants & Jets owners are double dipping their Fans with PSLs

    Nice to see Woody wake up after 10yrs & try to get a SB!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DieHard JETfan View Post
    Too Bad he was not obsessed with building his own NEW YORK JETS std.in NY!

    Both the Giants & Jets owners are double dipping their Fans with PSLs

    Nice to see Woody wake up after 10yrs & try to get a SB!
    zzzzzzzzzzz


    I guess you weren't a diehard when Sheldon "the Grafting Crook" Silver pocketed millions from the Dolans and Cablevision to kill the already approved proposal that Johnson pushed to build a stadium in NY.

    Of course, had that 1.4 billion dollar proposal been approved those PSL's you find so evil would have been something around double what they are in the new stadium.

    But what are a few facts when you have an agenda to push

  7. #7
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    So is Ralph Wilson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    So is Ralph Wilson.
    ...in the three hours a day he is awake.

  9. #9
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    Woody Johnson is obsessed with winning

    FF2 is obsessed with doughnuts

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    Wow, I love what he has to say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kentucky Jet View Post


    Q: Tannenbaum often says it's his charge to win the Super Bowl. How often do you remind him of that?

    WJ: We talk about it every day.
    Hell Yeah!

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    Too bad he's not "obsessed" with signing our best players...

  13. #13
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    like whom?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sg3 View Post
    zzzzzzzzzzz


    I guess you weren't a diehard when Sheldon "the Grafting Crook" Silver pocketed millions from the Dolans and Cablevision to kill the already approved proposal that Johnson pushed to build a stadium in NY.

    Of course, had that 1.4 billion dollar proposal been approved those PSL's you find so evil would have been something around double what they are in the new stadium.

    But what are a few facts when you have an agenda to push
    These are Facts?

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    R.I.P Leon Hess (I loved the guy) GOD BLESS Woody Johnson! THE MAN!

    GO JETS!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sg3 View Post
    like whom?
    Revis, Brick, Mangold, Harris, I'll stop there for now.

    When Revis is mentioning a holdout, that is a HORRIBLE thing to hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitman Harris View Post
    Revis, Brick, Mangold, Harris, I'll stop there for now.

    When Revis is mentioning a holdout, that is a HORRIBLE thing to hear.
    Tannenbaum is a genius, if you think for one second that Revis will miss one play over money... I don't know what to tell you. For me, I have 100%, full confidence in what this front office does... I have no doubt that Revis, Harris, Mangold, Brick and either Edwards or Holmes will be extended. Rhodes, Jones, Faneca and Leon were let go to save future $'s. The man has a plan and it will work.

    You people have to get off that ledge already... this isn't the days of Herm and Bradway sinking the ship anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jman21 View Post
    These are Facts?
    well, yes. actually

    Woody wanted to move the team to a stadium in NY... Sheldon took graft from Cablevision and killed the deal

    AND

    had that stadium been built at its original budget of 1.4 B or so, PSL's would have been much higher than those needed for a stadium that cost 800M in NJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitman Harris View Post
    When Revis is mentioning a holdout, that is a HORRIBLE thing to hear.
    Revis has THREE YEARS left on his contract.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starkweather View Post
    Tannenbaum is a genius, if you think for one second that Revis will miss one play over money... I don't know what to tell you. For me, I have 100%, full confidence in what this front office does... I have no doubt that Revis, Harris, Mangold, Brick and either Edwards or Holmes will be extended. Rhodes, Jones, Faneca and Leon were let go to save future $'s. The man has a plan and it will work.

    You people have to get off that ledge already... this isn't the days of Herm and Bradway sinking the ship anymore.
    Excellent post Stark and dead on.

    I interviewed Woody Johnson for this site six years ago and he said the same exact thing to me. Great scoop though ESPN. Lots of people cursed Woody even though he got back doored on the WSS, but his quest for a SB ring has been priority one since day one.

    I understand this. Woody has had to have spent over a billion by now on the Vinny Chase. Ironically it's the one piece of bling that is almost impossible to buy. A championship has to be won by a bunch of 21 to 42 (if U count Favre) year old guys on a field playing football. And luck. You have to be lucky like David Tyree lucky to win a SuperBowl.

    Good luck Woody I've always been a fan of you.

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