Tebow 'Forced' On Owner Woody Johnson? Who Was Really Responsible for Jets Trade?
Woody Johnson reportedly told one GM candidate that he was not responsible for the Tim Tebow trade. (Photo: Reuters)
Ever since the polarizing player came to the Jets last offseason, many assumed that the owner came up with the plan to bring him to New York. After all, the quarterback would certainly have sold thousands of tickets in the Jets' expensive new stadium.
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However, a report on ESPN New York this weekend indicates that this might not be the case. Rich Cimini spoke to Ted Sunquist, a candidate for the Jets general manager job, last week. Cimini reports that Sundquist was told during his interview that the Tebow trade was "forced" on the Jets owner. However, Johnson did "jump on board" with the idea rather quickly.
"They realized it was divisive and hard on the locker room, and they wanted an exit strategy," Sunquist said, referring to the Jets owner along with team president Neil Glat.
If Johnson does believe that Tebow was "forced" on him, he apparently did not let every candidate know, however. According to the New York Daily News, another person who interviewed for the Jets GM job claims that the quarterback was not even brought up.
It is unclear exactly who Johnson blames for the Tebow fiasco, but it's likely that this played into the owner's firing of former general manager Mike Tannenbaum last December.
Several media outlets, including the New York Post, reported that the trade was in fact the brainchild of both Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan. The two supposedly came up with the idea while sharing ice cream at the Newark Airport. They then talked to Johnson and then-offensive coordinator Tony Sparano about it and all four agreed that Tebow could help the Jets win games, per the Associated Press. New York would know, having lost to Tebow's Broncos the prior season.
Thus, it does seem like Johnson was at least part of the process. While Sundquist told Cimini that Johnson deferred to his football people in supporting the Tebow trade, that still does not mean the player was "forced" on him.
A league executive for a different AFC team agreed with this sentiment.
"I'm not sure if, with all due respect, that what Mr. Johnson is saying adds up," the executive told Metro. "He's saying that a general manager and members of player personnel are forcing a player on him -- that being Tebow. But isn't that what a general manager does? Why would it be forced? To me, that's where it doesn't add up, unless he's saying that he feels all player movements should be run by him. If that's the case, he's truly meddling to Jerry Jones and Al Davis proportions."
Thus, while Johnson may think Tebow was "forced" on him, in reality the entire organization is responsible for the trade and its failure. Obviously Tannenbaum and Ryan should shoulder some of the blame for coming up with the idea without giving it much thought, but Johnson should take some flack for hiring employees so willing to make rash decisions in the first place.