Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jets Owner May Regret Big Splash

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jets Owner May Regret Big Splash

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson will never be compared with flamboyant owner Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins.

Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, is a laid-back type who likes to stay in the background.

Yet Johnson seems to be stealing a page out of the Snyder playbook by trying to buy a championship.

He gave the approval for a $140 million spending spree in the offseason for free agents Alan Faneca, Damien Woody and Calvin Pace and top draft pick Vernon Gholston, who was given $21 million in guaranteed money. That contract is one of the reasons why Derrick Harvey of the Jaguars is still holding out.

Then Johnson decided to jump into the Brett Favre soap opera, giving the team the green light to trade for the Green Bay quarterback last week.

This has brought the Favre saga to a bigger stage, but it's the kind of short-term thinking that rarely benefits a franchise.

Favre is 38 and was last seen throwing a terrible interception in overtime in the NFC title game against New York that sent the Giants to the Super Bowl.

As Snyder has learned in Washington, the quick fix doesn't usually work. Johnson might be soon learning the same lesson, although the trade created a big splash and bigger expectations.

A New York columnist wrote, "This is a 38-year-old football legend riding into town on a white horse to take a cursed franchise on the back of his saddle for a ride down the Canyon of Heroes."

But in his first news conference as a Jet on Thursday, Favre didn't seem very enthusiastic about playing for the Jets. Maybe he was tired, but he was less than ebullient.

Perhaps Favre was still in shock after he found out the Packers had tired of his act. He's become a diva. When Mike Holmgren was coaching him at Green Bay, Holmgren had some control because he had mentored Favre.

But Favre has been coddled since Mike Sherman, who was replaced by Mike McCarthy in 2007, took over in 2000.

With the Jets, Favre's a year older than coach Eric Mangini and will be able to do what he wants. Johnson even invited him to hunt and fish on his 1,000-acre spread in New Jersey.

But Favre also faces a dilemma with the Jets. In Green Bay, he was in a weak division with quarterbacks Jon Kitna, Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton and Tavaris Jackson. With the Jets, he'll go against Tom Brady and the Patriots twice a year.

OTHERS IN FAVRE SAGA

There's an old saying in sports that you never want to replace a legend. You want to replace the guy who replaced the legend.

That's why Aaron Rodgers has the toughest job in the NFL this year. If Rodgers doesn't lead the Packers to the playoffs, he'll be virtually booed out of town.

Another quarterback affected by the Favre saga is Tampa Bay's Jeff Garcia. …

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