When Woody Johnson announced Eric Mangini's firing, he spent a lot of time praising Brett Favre and very little time discussing why Mangini was fired. That made it seem like the team chose Favre over Mangini, a curious choice given how poorly the quarterback played across the final five weeks of the season.
In an interview on WFAN Thursday afternoon, the Jets owner finally offered some more insight into the decision to pull the plug on the Mangini era. Johnson admitted that Mangini's dispassionate appearance and stoic sideline performances were factors in his dismissal, two areas he certainly addressed by hiring the energetic Rex Ryan.
Mangini is old news, however. Favre is still very much in the picture and will remain so if Johnson has his druthers. Johnson said he'd be happy if Favre returned to the team, although he wouldn't be the one ultimately making the call. That will fall on Ryan and G.M. Mike Tannenbaum.
Hopefully Johnson's being honest about taking a back seat in the decision making, and hopefully he's being honest when he says that the decision will only be determined by on-field performance.
"I don’t care about selling jerseys," Johnson said. "I’m only looking at it from a football standpoint and that’s really all I’m interested in. I want to win games...He’s here to win games. Period. End of discussion."
You can say that Johnson was interested in raising the team's profile so he could sell PSL's and tickets when he traded for Favre and signed a slew of free agents last offseason. You also have to admit that those moves helped the team win five more games than it did the year before and bolstered a roster that was desperate for talent at the end of the 2007 season. It didn't work out exactly as hoped, especially the Favre move, but it wasn't because the team wasn't trying.