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Chris Johnson Needs to Follow Mike Maccagnan Out the Door

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He was never qualified as the Jets CEO

There are numerous things that can destroy a new business, which is why you see new companies come and go. There is a corner in every town in America that has a building where a business came in to a grand hoopla and failed in a short period of time; only to see another similar business take its place and also fail. This happens over and over. You shake your head and feel sorry for the people involved.

Businesses who are more established have a much better chance at survival as long as they can adapt to change because change is going to happen. Banks are a business that are so foolproof that it’s almost like they can print their own money. Any bad decision they make can be rectified by the FDIC which is the government backing of their loans. Banks don’t usually fail. They are bought out by other banks.

The NFL is a monopoly and has a business model that is hard to beat. They have a built in fan bases with cities giving them sweetheart deals because they employ many people, bring notoriety to the city, and serve as a source of pride for a community. People love their sports teams, and cities that have them want to keep them. Cities who don’t have a team want one. Teams can have great runs of success when they have the right combination of great players and coaching. San Francisco, New England, Pittsburgh, Dallas and a long time ago Chicago and Cleveland come to mind.

Some teams are perennial losers, but they can find success and turn around decades of poor performance. Pittsburgh and New Orleans come to mind. Success comes to the teams that do the best all around job. The owner hires the right GM, who hires the right coach. They draft the right players, and all of a sudden they are Super Bowl contenders.

Teams are built from the top down in an organization. The worst thing a team can have is someone at the top who is inept at his job. If the guy who hires the GM is not on top of his team, seeing how everything is working, and making sound decisions then you are doomed.

How could that possibly happen? You are an owner of the team. You have a huge financial stake in the team. You are a billionaire and want to hold your head up high in the most exclusive billionaires club in the world, the NFL.

There is a word that has destroyed great businesses and organizations for centuries. That word is nepotism.

When you allow a family member or close friend to run a business he has no clue how to run, disaster is on the horizon. This is doubly acute when the owner himself is a dim bulb and has the business trending down to begin with.

When Woody Johnson bought the Jets back in 2000 he had to be approved by the other members of the exclusive NFL billionaires club. He was probably allowed to buy the team for three reasons: 1) He had no legal problems so his pedigree looked good to most owners. 2) His money was green and clean. 3) He is a veritable dolt when it comes to sports. I’m sure Jerry Jones (played football at Arkansas) and Jerry Richardson (played for the Baltimore Colts) were thrilled to have someone like this join the fraternity.

All of Woody’s dealings and businesses had nothing to do with sports. He has shown a vague knowledge of football at best. When Woody introduced John Idzik as our new General manager he stated, “I introduced John to everybody here. I didn’t realize how big the organization is, when you see them altogether.” This should give you a clue to how often he actually went to the Jets facility and met with the people running his team.

On why he choose John Idzik as GM Woody stated, “John stood head and shoulders above the rest.” This would have been comical (I’m sure it was to the rest of the NFL owners) if it didn’t reek of idiocy. The reference to head and shoulders was a plug for the family business at Johnson & Johnson. People in the know knew Idzik was a cap guy in the Seattle brain trust and had no influence or knowledge whatsoever of scouting, team building, or acquiring players. He also had no knowledge of coaches or coaching philosophies so he had no clue on which styles would fit together, and which were incompatible.

When Woody choose Mike Maccagnan as GM he relied on the advice of Ron Wolf and Charley Casserly to basically make the choice for him. Remember, Woody was the front man in the search for the replacement of Mike Tannenbaum. This ended with Woody looking stupid for hiring a guy so unprepared to be an NFL GM like John Idzik. Wolf and Casserly were well established NFL professionals but were well past their prime and out of the football circle of influence for a long time.

They picked Maccagnan because he is someone Casserly had worked with in the distant past. Woody could not even work long enough to interview possible successors to lead his team, the most important position (if given full control) you can have on your multibillion dollar investment. He eschewed the power to hire his virtual replacement (because Woody would not be around) to a couple of out of the loop old guys.

So when Woody took a position as the Ambassador to the United Kingdom he left the reins of the Jets to his brother, his much younger brother (12 years) who has probably never run anything his his life more complicated than a dishwasher, and I doubt he even ran one of those. To be honest I’m not sure that Chris Johnson has had to do much heavy lifting in his entire life.

If the CEO of a Fortune 500 company handled a news conference the way Chris Johnson handled his yesterday the stock would have plummeted due to lack of confidence in the leadership of that organization.

The man is the CEO of the Jets, he makes all the decisions when it comes to the Jets organization and management. He explained himself by saying, “Ah but it’s a process. Late this season I made the decision kind of deeply embedded in this organization more than I have in the past.” I know John B said it much better than I, but what the heck where you doing before? You had the #3 pick in the draft, $100 million to spend and a incredibly important Draft for your team, and later you decide to get more involved? Why would you let Mike Maccagnan make all of those decisions?

Chris Johnson said in his press conference when they fired Todd Bowles, “Mike and I have worked well together and well in sync and we have developed what I think is an excellent plan and that plan sort of really come together with Sam and that plan will include building around around Sam and our excellent young players and that plan now includes an excellent new coach.”

If you got more involved with the team late in the season, you must have confirmed that Mike Maccagnan was the pilot of your team for the near future. Remember you were in sync with him. How can that all change in a few months after you let him spend a historic amount of money that you had to approve and hire a coach that you had to approve?

It’s simple. Woody has to fire his incompetent brother and find someone (my hand is raised) to run this organization for the future (ok, John B and I will run it together). I wrote this in the past, and I believe it more now than when I wrote it. Jimmy Haslam (owner of the Cleveland Browns) once listened to a homeless man who told him to select Johnny Football (Johnny Manziel) in the first round. Haslam took this as an omen and directed his GM to select Johnny Football, which he did with the 22nd pick of the 2014 Draft. That turned out as a complete embarrassment and a disaster for the Browns. I would still take advice from that homeless man over Chris Johnson.

I have nothing against Chris Johnson personally other than the fact he is a detriment to the team I have loved since childhood. His replacement would only serve to get the Jets back into playoff consideration with new leadership. His tenure since he took over has been a disaster, and that needs to change.

I realize that Woody is not going to dump his brother on the street and embarrass the family. My only hope is he does the next best thing (or best thing altogether). I hope he hires a competent young, forward thinking GM like Joe Douglas (or someone better if you can find him), and both he and his brother just stay the #$@&^ out of the way and let that guy take us to the promised land.

What do you think?