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200 Miles From the Citi


August 10, 2010 3:34 PM

Buzz From Woody

I have been really happy with Woody Johnson's ownership of the Jets.

And, generally, I enjoy Mets' SNY broadcasts, especially when it's just Gary Cohen and Ron Darling in the booth.

So you would think I would have really enjoyed when Woody joined Gary and Ron in the booth on Tuesday night, primarily to promote the 'Hard Knocks' premiere.

I suppose I would have, if the interview wasn't so halting.

Let me fill you in on what you may have missed.


Let me put this out there to start - I like the transparency of the organization right now.  I like that Woody Johnson is out there as a visible representation of the Jets.  I like that he buys into and allows Rex Ryan to be so transparent.  (More on their relationship below.)  There are certain aspects I'm less comfortable with, like the business end of the new stadium, for example, but overall the fact that Woody Johnson even has the Jets on HBO, and the fact that he appeared on SNY in this capacity Tuesday night are examples of why he has been good for the Jets.

That said, though, the interview was weird.  Maybe it's because Woody took offense to Gary Cohen's first comment, which was, "It's nice to have the Jets back in Queens for one day...it's been a long time."  Woody laughed, but it wasn't exactly a hearty laugh - more like a "Let's move on" laugh.

Anyway, he recovered well, talked about the rally in Times Square for Jets fans leading up to 'Hard Knocks', and then pulled out a newscaster side and referenced the video SNY showed.  (But he didn't do a very good job of it.)  Thus began the awkward starts and stops of the interview - which is just as much Gary and Ron's fault as it is Woody's...but it contributed to the weird vibe flowing through the booth.

Gary asked about the Jets' decision to be on 'Hard Knocks', and Woody answered that his decision took "about 2 and a half seconds."  Also, I thought it was quite telling that he said about being on the show that he expects the team to be embarrassed a bit.  Nice that he's going in eyes wide open.

Gary brought up the fact that Woody has become more visible as owner of the Jets, and Woody answered that it was the collapse of the West Side Stadium deal that made him realize he needed to be out there even more.  Gary followed up by asking how much of an influence Rex Ryan has been on Johnson and though he was awkward answering the question at first, Woody ended up saying, "Everyone wants to play for him.  I'd want to play for him if I had any talent."  The awkwardness at first made me think there was friction between the two...but maybe Johnson was just being a boss and watching what he said.

Gary asked the inevitable question about Darrelle Revis and Johnson had nothing new to say - they're still too far apart and his "confidence is low" that Revis will play this year.  It was interesting that Johnson referred to Revis as 'the player', and when he said his name once, he kind of swallowed it.  

Ron asked about the new stadium, and the most insight Woody offered as far as what fans had to look forward to is the fact that there is train access and there are walls in the end zones that supposedly make it intimidating for opponents.

It got a little businessy when Gary asked about the PSLs (personal seat licenses) - if Woody was surprised at how tough they were to sell.  Woody answered by saying he was surprised at how well they're selling.  (The Jets have had to lower prices after ticket sales were slow because of the PSLs.)  Woody now says they'll be sold out within five weeks (in other words, by the opener - I wonder how much of that bill he'll have to swallow).

They talked about living up to the Super Bowl expectations the team carries into this year, the difference in Mark Sanchez from his rookie year to this year, and then it was weird that Johnson turned the tables and asked Gary and Ron what they thought of Sanchez, and his leadership.

Gary tried to ask who the most unlikely star of 'Hard Knocks' would end up being near the end of the half-inning, but a play distracted the conversation, and after Ron's analysis, Woody turned analyst. He asked Ron, "How hard is that play?", then after the answer asked, "Who would make that play - would anyone make that play?"  It's like the time for being open and honest was up, and he was ready to stop having questions asked of him.  The inning ended while Johnson was asking his question.

I would have liked to have known who Woody Johnson thought the most unlikely star would be.  Overall, though, there were a couple of nuggets buried in there out of Woody.  And good for him for being on the broadcast in the first place...despite the awkward stops and starts.

I think now what I'd really like to see from SNY is an interview in the booth with Mets' ownership...but I'm not holding my breath.

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