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New York Jets General Manager Search: In Praise of Woody Johnson

Jeff Zelevansky

Woody Johnson has not received much praise in this space recently so I want to take the chance to give him some while I can. Scott gave you the information before on the headhunting firm the Jets have hired to help with their general manager search. I want to express my pleasure that Woody has turned to them.

You see, Woody Johnson is not a football guy. He knows he is not a football guy. He does not have a ton of connections with front office types in the league. Bill Parcells helped a lot with his first general manager search while Parcells was still with the team. His second general manager was an internal hire. To hire somebody from outside the organization, as is necessary, Woody was going to need to find somebody connected to give him an idea on qualified candidates.

He could have turned to somebody he knows in the game like Parcells, but that would have been a mistake. There is a large degree of nepotism in the NFL. Anybody in the league he went to would probably recommend friends and people they get along with. Maybe they would be qualified. Maybe they would not be. Parcells in particular is very loyal to people he knows. The problem is the game seems to have passed him by. Look at his tenure running the Miami Dolphins. He didn't make smart personnel decisions. His coaching hire was somebody familiar, Tony Sparano. Parcells also helped bring in a lot of the people who have been with the organization too long like Mike Tannenbaum and Terry Bradway. The Jets need a clean break.

Woody instead went with a headhunting firm. The people in charge are also connected, but their entire reputation depends on producing the best possible candidates, regardless of personal relationships they have. We will have to wait to see how good the candidates they produce will be or whether Woody makes the right hire, but it feels like this organization is using a sound process to make a major decision for the first time in quite a while.