The Specter of a Mitt Romney-Tim Tebow Comeback Looms Large

Woody Johnson said he'd rather see Romney win the election than the Jets win the season – how will this play out?

Mitt Romney and Tim Tebow.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images; Joe Robbins/Getty Images
October 3, 2012 3:30 PM ET

Disclaimer: I grew up in the Boston area and am a diehard Patriots fan, so everything I'm about to express has to be viewed through that admittedly curved lens.

But note has to be taken of the raging river of negative karma that has been emanating from the New York Jets organization in the last year or so, culminating in this week's ultimate karmic suicide shot – owner Woody Johnson's announcement that he'd rather see Mitt Romney win the election than see his Jets have a winning season.  

Tossed this rhetorical hand-grenade by some smartass reporter, who asked him whether Romney winning was more important to him than the Jets, Johnson, instead of stepping to the side or taking cover, caught the grenade with both hands and jammed it in his mouth:

"Well I think you always have to put country first," Johnson said. "So I think it's very, very important that for – not only us – but in particular for our kids and grandkids that this election come off with Mitt Romney and (Paul) Ryan as President and vice president."

Wow – really? Talk about a confusing message to send to your players. If I'm running an NFL team, it's debatable whether I even want my players knowing there is a president, much less hearing that such a person's career prospects might be more important than winning a football game. Once you give an NFL player permission to have thoughts, you invite all kinds of mischief.

That's exaggerating, but if you're counting at home, Johnson's comments are about the fifteenth or sixteenth, "Wow, how's that going to go over in the locker room?" move or transaction that's rained down on the players from either the Jets coaching staff or the front office in just the last calendar year. (And before you interrupt, yes, Jets fans, I saw grieving widower Bob Kraft's incredibly creepy screen-test video with his smoking hot barely-eighteen-looking "occasional actress" girlfriend Ricki Noel Lander. I've seen it and I'm definitely wigged out by it. But forget about that for now, we're focusing on your misery today, not mine.)

Between Rex Ryan's ongoing drama with Super Bowl guarantees, the crazy decision to make Santonio Holmes a captain last year (this was like putting Helmut Kohl in a bikini), the public lusting after Peyton Manning (whom they never had a shot at signing) followed by the overcompensating panic-move contract extension for Mark Sanchez, which in turn was followed by the panic-move trade for the most distracting backup quarterback in history – the team has done everything possible to keep their players' brains scrambled and also terrified, in the keenly superstitious way unique to professional athletes, of what new horrors each next day will bring. The right kind of coach – somebody of the John Madden ilk – could probably take all of that negative energy and convert it into strings of fear-rampage victories. Ryan actually might still be able to pull that off, but it's going to take his best voodoo to reverse-curse this latest thing with Woody Johnson and Romney.

I want to say it would have been just as bad if Johnson said the same thing about Obama, but it just isn't quite true. You have your gazillionaire child-of-privilege owner telling his players, who mostly come from poor backgrounds, that electing another gazillionaire child-of-privilege aristocrat is more important to him than winning football games.

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Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. He’s the author of five books and a winner of the National Magazine Award for commentary. Please direct all media requests to taibbimedia@yahoo.com.