Jets owner says Tebow trade was all football

Jets owner says Tebow trade was all football
March 25, 2012, 8:43 pm
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PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The bump the Jets will get from Tebowmania? An ancillary benefit, according to owner Woody Johnson.

Speaking at the NFL Owners Meeting Sunday at The Breakers, Johnson fielded questions about the most discussed trade for a soon-to-be-backup quarterback in NFL history.

"Lemme be really clear about this: We work for the fans and the fans want us to win games, so all of the decisions we make regarding the team are just for football," said Johnson.

Seemingly segueing to Tebow's popularity (Johnson has a meandering speaking style), the owner added, "It's hard to predict other things. If you get confused as to what your mission is, you're not gonna accomplish your mission. Our mission is to win games, pure and simple. We think Tim Tebow has been a winner all his life. If you look back to his high school career, maybe when he was a little kid, I don't know."

The Jets -- ever concerned about making sure Mark Sanchez is propped up -- have been careful about making it known Tebow is a backup.

"I think Tim Tebow will be a good addition to the team," said Johnson. "From a football standpoint he adds flexibility, versatility, he's a great athlete -- he's a big athlete. He can do a lot of things besides being quarterback -- besides being the backup quarterback.

Asked if he's concerned about how the sometimes jittery Sanchez responds to having a full-fledged cultural phenomenon ready to take over for him, Johnson pooh-poohed.

"I'm really not (concerned)," he said. "Being an NFL quarterback is among the toughest jobs you can have from a pressure standpoint. From an athletic standpoint, etc. Pressure is something Mark doesn't have a problem with. Either does Tim Tebow from what I gather, I don't know him very well. But Mark is very, very good. We've all seen in the fourth quarter. Wish he'd get better in the first quarter perhaps, but in the fourth quarter. . .

"He realizes he's got to make some improvements," Johnson added, referring to Sanchez. "And the reason we signed him to the extension that we did is that we have so much confidence in Mark and the body of work that he's given to us and the fans I think made it seem meritorious to us to extend him. So we did."

There's been a fair amount of eye-rolling already about Tebow holding a press conference Monday. Johnson pinned it on media interest and said the Jets were only trying to be accommodating to the media.

"It really was driven by you guys, not by us," he said, somewhat dubiously. "The press conference will be tomorrow and will be large but it's basically in response to the news media that wants to follow it. It's an interesting story I guess and they want to do that.
If you asked us to have a news conference for every one of our players, we'd probably do it."

And that, perhaps, is just another of the Jets' problems.