(We are operating under the assumption that Johnson will eventually be confirmed to the role.)
First of all, Johnson will still own the Jets, as he has since January of 2000, when he purchased the team. That isn’t going to change while Johnson is stationed in London for (presumably) the next four years.
But somebody else will have to run the Jets’ day-to-day operations while Johnson is absent, since he can’t do both jobs at once.
And that somebody will be Christopher Wold Johnson, according to a Jets announcement Wednesday (shortly after Trump’s announcement). Christopher is Woody’s younger brother.
Christopher Johnson presumably will get some assistance from the Jets’ current president, Neil Glat, who has held that job since April of 2012. But the Jets’ release did not mention that.
Christopher issued this statement through the Jets on Wednesday:
“The New York Jets have been an integral part of our family since 2000, but this is a unique opportunity for Woody. His patriotism and commitment to our country have always been a passion of his. Over the years, we have learned that ownership of the New York Jets is a special responsibility. Personally, if Woody is nominated and confirmed, I would be honored to oversee the organization, continuing to build a team on and off the field that our fans are proud of and deserve.”
Surely, Woody will remain in contact with Christopher while overseas. His younger brother isn’t going to unilaterally fire coach Todd Bowles after next season. Big decisions like that will still be made by Woody Johnson, not his brother (at least not alone).
As the Jets prepare for the 2017 season, Woody’s impending absence shouldn’t have too much impact on the daily work routines of Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan. It’s not like Johnson was out scouting players. He’s not a Jerry Jones type in that regard.
Still, a change atop the Jets’ power structure is a big deal, even if Woody Johnson isn’t completely disappearing. So here are five things to know about Christopher Wold Johnson:
* Not a green man: He is 12 years younger than Woody, who turns 70 in April, according to a 2004 New York Times story. So we’re not talking about a 40-year-old inexperienced guy here, someone who has never been around the Jets. Christopher has been. He knows his way around the franchise, though he obviously hasn’t been its owner for 17 years, like Woody has.
* Only living brother: He was one of Woody’s four siblings. Two are dead. According to that Times story, younger brothers Keith (cocaine overdose) and Billy (motorcycle accident) died in 1975. Christopher is one of Woody’s two remaining siblings, along with sister Elizabeth (Libet) Ross Johnson, who is three years younger than Woody. All three siblings have an ungodly amount of money.
* Hasn’t worked for the family company: Of Bobby Johnson’s five children (Woody and his siblings), none has ever worked for Johnson & Johnson, the family’s business, which Bobby’s grandfather co-founded. This, according to a 2013 Daily Beast story, which also noted Bobby is the last Johnson family member to work for the business. He died in 1970.
* At least somewhat involved in politics: Christopher isn’t as visible in the Republican political landscape as Woody. But check out this 2008 John McCain presidential campaign event document published by The Washington Post. Woody is listed as the event’s chairman, while Mr. and Mrs. Christopher W. Johnson are listed as the event’s co-chairmen, along with many others.
* A taste for culture: Manhattan’s Morgan Library & Museum showcases the former study and library of J.P. Morgan. It houses culture artifacts from a wide range of eras. This news item from the museum notes that an illustration from the first edition of the 1925 novel “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” was “purchased as the gift of Christopher Wold Johnson,” and thus, acquired by the museum.