Moments after the brief, ridiculous flap about whether or not the Jets or Giants played the first home game at the new football stadium at the Meadowlands was settled, Jets owner Woody Johnson assured that it would live to breathe another day by releasing one of the crazier press releases to pass through inboxes in quite some time:
An NFL coin toss has a few fundamental elements that are missing here, most notably the presence of the teams involved. That's how it's always done in the League, whether it’s determining the order of the draft or deciding who’s going to kick off the game. When the issue of which team would be hosting the first regular season game could not be resolved on the merits, I suggested a coin toss as the fairest way to resolve this issue. The League rejected that idea. Then, I was told on Friday that a coin toss had taken place at the League office and that the Jets had lost. We rejected a process in which neither team was present. The League departed from our time-honored tradition and declined the opportunity to set the matter straight with a transparent process.
You'll notice that the news was broken to the teams on Friday, one day before Johnson okayed an article on the team's website campaigning for a public coin toss in front of fans of both teams at the new stadium. There's transparency for you. Wait, transparency isn't the right word. Petty's a much better fit for a billionaire's whines about wanting a do-over because things didn't work out the way he wanted.
Should there have been a team representative at the coin toss? Sure, but you have to pick your battles in life and this isn't one of the ones worth fighting. The Jets have the first preseason game and the first Monday night game, which hardly seems like a loser's bounty in the general scheme of things. On top of that, they had the final home game in a stadium that bore another team's name. The Jets are making out just fine, no matter how much they want to make you think they are being treated like the victims of a vast global conspiracy to keep the Giants on top of the football food chain.
The whole impetus for this fight was the fact that this is the first time that the Jets have been at least co-owners of their home instead of tenants. They didn't want to be seen as the extra party, they wanted to be viewed as being on equal footing. It's hard to look at them that way when it is clear they don't even look at themselves that way.
If they did, Johnson would have released a statement trumpeting the things the Jets did walk away with and ignoring the regionally televised Sunday afternoon game that the Giants got via the league. Heck, he could have even tweaked the Giants and said that he was glad another team would have a chance to work out any kinks in the building before it's true prime time debut on Monday night in front of a national audience.
He went another route, though, with a statement directed to those who angrily call WFAN at all hours of the day to register their thoughts in the coherent manner unique to sports talk radio. Judging by the commentson various stories about the whole mess, he accomplished that mission with great success.
In the end, we're left with a thought that puts a twist on an old saying. Better to be thought a red-headed stepchild than to open your mouth and admit it.