It looks like the New York Jets and Boston Red Sox have a striking connection. Their owners both care more about winning headlines than winning the games.
In former Red Sox manager Terry Francona’s new book “Francona: The Red Sox Years” set to be published on January 22nd, former Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein is quoted as saying about team ownership, “They told us we didn’t have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle, we need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We’d become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be,” he said. The book also says that Red Sox ownership pressured Epstein to acquire “sexy players” that included Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
This reminds me a lot of another owner in professional sports, and his name is Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets. Johnson is known for, especially in the past few years, of being more interested in winning headlines than winning games. How else do you explain the trade for Tim Tebow, keeping Rex Ryan as the head coach, and giving essentially giving Ryan complete control of every aspect of the team? Tim Tebow is the unintentional king of player headlines, and Rex Ryan is the king of coaching headlines. The Jets and the Red Sox may currently be the two most dysfunctional teams in their respective sports. Being dysfunctional seems to be the result of wanting to win the headlines as opposed to the games. It also tears the team apart. Look at the past 2 seasons for the Jets and the Red Sox. They are strikingly similar. They both collapsed at the end of the 2011 season after looking like sure playoff teams, and were both a complete mess in 2012 not even coming close to the postseason. An “absurdist comedy” is the best way I can describe what has happened to the Jets in 2012 and is continuing into this year.
There were lots of reports out of Boston that Francona lost his locker room. With Boston, you had the beer and fried chicken in the clubhouse. Rex Ryan also lost his locker room with the likes of Greg McElroy, LaDanian Tomlinson, and Plaxico Burress all ripping the team after the season. Maybe if the owners cared more about the actual games, these embarressing incidents wouldn’t have happened. Thankfully for the Red Sox, Magic Johnson and the Dodgers gave Boston a complete mulligan by taking in all of their horrible contracts. Their future actually looks kind of bright. The Jets on the other hand, look like a complete disaster with no end in sight.
Follow the writer of this article Lucas Frankel on twitter @lucasfrankel