Is Woody Johnson a top-10 owner? Yes, according to the ESPN power rankings, released Tuesday. In fact, he's No. 10, based on a poll of ESPN's NFL writers and bloggers.
Is Johnson worthy? The feeling here is yes.
He's in the winning business and, in 11 seasons as the Jets' owner, Johnson has presided over a consistent winner -- six playoff appearances and eight winning seasons. Two of the three losing seasons came when they suffered major injuries at quarterback (2003 and 2005).
For the most part, Johnson supplies his football czars with the resources needed to be active in the free agency and trade markets. He made a brilliant move by dumping Eric Mangini and hiring Rex Ryan, who, in addition to being a very good coach, has helped raise the profile of the organization.
Johnson also built a state-of-the-art practice facility for his team and didn't blink when Ryan said he preferred to having training camp at an off-site location (Cortland, N.Y.) instead of Florham Park. Johnson also was instrumental in convincing his fellow owners into bringing the Super Bowl to New York/New Jersey in 2014.
No, he's not the perfect owner. A good chunk of the fan base is upset with the steep PSL prices (but the Giants have them, too) and there are diehard, New York-based fans that wanted him to build in Queens instead of co-owning in New Jersey with the Giants. It also didn't help his image when it was reported recently that Jets coaches and everybody in the football operation had to take a 25-percent pay cut during the lockout. (The Giants, by contrast, announced no immediate pay cuts.) The money will be recouped if no games are lost, but it's still money out of pocket and there are no guarantees.
That said, it's a bottom-line business, and Johnson has built a winning organization that has emerged as a force in the NFL marketplace. (See five prime-time games in 2011.) That's why he deserves his top-10 ranking. What do you think? Does he belong? Is he over-rated?
Here is the ESPN top 10:
1. Rooney Family, Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Robert Kraft, New England Patriots
3. Packers Executive Committee
4. Mara/Tisch, New York Giants
5. Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles
6. Steve Bisciotti, Baltimore Ravens
7. Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts
8. Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
9. Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons
10. Woody Johnson, New York Jets