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NY Jets: Woody Johnson By the Numbers

We all have opinions on Woody Johnson as owner of the Jets. But is our perception skewed? How does he rank compared to other owners?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Woody Johnson purchased the Jets for 635 million dollars in January 2000 after the previous owner, Leon Hess, passed away in 1999. In the 15 years of Johnson's ownership, the Jets have had a few successful years, plenty of mediocre years, and also some really painful years. Putting aside personal feelings of how he has run the ship, this is simply looking at the stats his teams have posted since he became owner.

A few points to note:

Woody has been with the team since before the 2000-2001 season, so the stats of that team are included in this post.

Since Woody Johnson purchased the Jets, exactly half of the NFL teams have had new owners. Before Johnson, the last ownership changes in the NFL were Dan Snyder buying the Washington Redskins in 1999 and Al Lerner resurrecting the Browns franchise also in 1999. Around the same time the 49ers also traded hands in 2010, going to the York family.

Some franchises such as the Giants, which are included in the 16 teams, have passed down the ownership of the team to family members in the years since Woody Johnson arrived. I feel those teams should be noted with an asterisk as they did not officially go up for sale. Included in the list of teams that have changed owners within the owners' family are Oakland, Tennessee, San Francisco, Kansas City, and Detroit.

Subtracting those from the list that leaves a total of 6 teams having completely new owners since Woody Johnson took over the Jets. That's not a large number, and it shows that owners tend to keep teams for awhile.

Here are the stats of the Jets since Woody Johnson took over since the 2000-2001 campaign:

Regular Season record: 117-123. Winning percentage: (48.75%)

Years at or below .500: 9 seasons

Playoff Appearances: 6  ( 40% )

AFCD appearances: 4 (26.67 %)

AFCC: 2   (13.33%)

SuperBowls: 0

Longest Playoff Drought: 4 years (current)

Longest Playoff Win Drought (4 years twice 2005-2009, 2010-current)

Best record: 11-5 (2010)

Worst record 4-12 (2005, 2007, 2014)

Number of coaches: 4

Average Tenure: 3 years

Shortest Tenure: Al Groh (1 season)

Longest Tenure: Rex Ryan (6 seasons)

Number of GMs: 4*

Shortest Tenure: Parcells (1 year)

Longest Tenure: "Teflon" Terry Bradway (7 seasons)

*This include Bill Parcells who lasted only one year and shared the role of a traditional GM with Mike Tannenbaum. The Jets did not have an official GM that year. Since 2001, only 3 men have had the role of GM, with a fourth to be added to the list in 2015.


The Jets regular season record is just about the definition of mediocre under Woody Johnson. His teams average over 7 wins but under 9 losses. They just about average to 8-8 a year.

Interesting to note: more than half of his seasons are .500 or better. However, 3 times under his ownership the team has gone 4-12 including this last year. Only 4 times have the Jets won as many as 10 games. Needless to say this puts us smack dab in the middle of the NFL food chain and shows we are usually pretty much around the .500 mark under Woody.

Playoffs is a whole other beast. The Jets recent success in 2009 and 2010 makes for some interesting stats and figures that can be interpreted multiple ways. Before the two runs in 2009 and 2010, the Jets had a losing record in the playoffs, but  now it's exactly .500.

The Jets only made the divisional round twice before Rex Ryan's teams and never made it to the AFCG under any other coach. Twice the team was one and done in the playoffs. The Jets have averaged one win every time they make the playoffs under Woody.

League Comparison:

The regular season record speaks for itself. The most successful teams during this time: Patriots, Colts, Steelers and Packers. The least successful teams: Browns, Raiders and Lions. In a league of haves and have nots, the Jets are in the middle. I can't find any sortable data on exactly where the Jets fall but assume it's near the middle.

Playoffs in my opinion show the Jets have had consistent success under Johnson's ownership

Here's some food for thought. Since Woody Johnson has owned the team:

1 Team has never made the playoffs: the Bills

4 teams have playoff droughts lasting longer than 10 years.

7 teams have yet to win a single playoff game since 2000: the Dolphins, Lions, Browns, Raiders, Bills, Chiefs, and Bengals.

Nearly half the NFL has longer playoff win droughts than the Jets. The most recent team to break their playoff win drought: the Panthers (9 years)

More than half the NFL has not appeared in an AFC/ NFC Championship game since the Jets last did in 2010.

It's worth pointing out the Jets have had pretty consistent success getting in the playoffs under Woody, but have also had success winning games. Perhaps an example on the bad end would be the Lions, who have made playoffs, but have lost consistently every time they made it. The Jets have had two of four different coaches make the playoffs and win under Woody while all but one coach did not make the playoffs.

One thing that makes me wince is that nearly half of the NFL has played in a Super Bowl since 2000, a group that does not include the Jets. To me this suggests that while the Jets have had playoff success, they have not had the dream season a lot of teams do.

You can argue that in the 15 years Woody has owned the Jets, they have been better and more consistent than the Raiders, Bucs, Rams and Titans despite the fact all those teams have made the Super Bowl. Teams that have won it all since 2000 include the Buccaneers, Patriots, Giants, Steelers, Seahawks, Colts, Ravens and Packers. But if you measure success by championships the Jets lack even a conference crown. Teams that have made the big game but not won it include the Raiders, Cardinals, Rams, Bears and Eagles.

That's an interesting list to go through and figure out who would you consider more successful the last 15 years in it's entirety rather than based on one playoff run.

As for Woody Johnson's decisions in the front office and at head coaches, GM data is hard to come by and I would love to see someone take that ball and roll with it, but for coaches it's interesting. Only Bill Belichik has coached the same team since 2000. Since that time, teams have averaged around 5.5 head coaches. The Jets actually fall a little below average in terms of coaching changes.

The teams that have had two or less coaches: the Patriots, Broncos, Packers, Giants and Steelers. Perhaps also surprising considering the lack of recent success: the Titans have only had two coaches since 2000.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Raiders, Browns, and Redskins have hired 8 coaches. The Dolphins and Bills have had seven changes at the head coaching position. Needless to say those teams have not fared well.

As for things stats can't truly define, under Woody Johnson the Jets have had blunders with the famed concourse flashing incident, Miami tripping incident and PSL debacle. Additionally, the arrest record of the Jets is less than average of the NFL teams with 15 arrests prior to the 2014 season.

Looking over the data, I'd say Woody Johnson is about average as an owner. He's not great, and not awful. You can make the argument he can improve in several areas, but again he's run a pretty decent ship when looking across the NFL landscape.