Christopher Johnson, the new man in charge of the New York Jets, took to the podium Wednesday for his first public appearance since being handed the keys to the franchise from his brother, Woody, who left the organization to become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Christopher Johnson isn’t new to football or the Jets. He admitted Wednesday he’s been involved in the background for almost all of the team’s football decisions.
“I’ve been very much in the background, but I’ve been part of almost all of the major decisions,” Christopher Johnson said. “I’ve been in the room for pretty much all of the big changes and, even when I wasn’t, Woody was calling me up to ask me what I thought of things. To tell you the truth, that has made this transition a little bit easier because it’s not like I’m a neophyte in this building. There is still a lot for me to learn. I’m still working through my own progression here, but I think things are going pretty well.”
Jets fans have been clamoring for years for Woody Johnson to sell the team, especially after the team spiraled back into a laughable state during the 2016 season. It’s an unrealistic request from Jets fans, but maybe they got the next best thing.
Christopher explained Wednesday that his brother is too consumed in his new full-time job and won’t be involved in any of the decisions for the near future.
“Over the years, he always bounced things off of me and it would be great if I could do that with him, but he really has a full time job over there,” Christopher Johnson said. “We are not discussing football. He’s out of it.”
This means the team’s future is in Christopher’s hands. We’ll never know how involved Christopher was in Woody’s past decisions. We’ll never know which players or coaches he lobbied for behind the scenes. Christopher even stuck with Woody’s mantra that he would evaluate the season based on the team’s progress more than its record Wednesday. He actually gave coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan endorsements during his press conference.
“My brother said early in the spring to not judge the team on wins and losses, but it’s progression and I agree with that,” Christopher Johnson said. “I think it’s going to be obvious to all if this team is progressing. There are so many young guys who, just because they aren’t bold-faced names, doesn’t mean they aren’t really talented.
“I think that we have a group of coaches, including Todd, who are really good at building those players up and teaching the roles these young players have to fill. I think you’re going to see a lot of progression, but it’s going to be obvious. You guys will probably let me know, but I think it will be obvious to all.”
Maybe nothing will change and the Jets will continue to toil in mediocrity. But maybe a fresh perspective thanks to unique circumstances gets the team moving in the right direction. This isn’t a guarantee that Christopher will lead the Jets to prominence. But maybe the little brother can get it right in this unique opportunity.