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Will NY Jets owner’s dream bring team back to the Big Apple?

Woody Johnson, NY Jets, Owner, MetLife Stadium
Woody Johnson, New York Jets, Getty Images

Could New York Jets owner Woody Johnson bring the team back to New York?

The New York Jets have never had a stadium to call their own. Since being founded in 1960, the Jets have been stuck in a timeshare, whether with the New York Mets or their NFC rivals, the New York Giants.

Even with Jets owner Woody Johnson contributing $800 million to the construction of MetLife Stadium, it hardly feels like home to fans of the team. After all, the general theme of the stadium is lush with gray features in an attempt to be “neutral” to the two teams that play there. It doesn’t help that Gang Green has been embedded with the “little brother” stigma for years.

However, could there be a chance that the Jets find their way back to New York?

A billionaire’s dream unfulfilled?

It’s hard to believe that a billionaire has a dream they’ve yet to achieve. Yet when Johnson purchased the Jets, one of his unfulfilled dreams was to build his own stadium. It’s something he’s wanted to do for years.

While Johnson played a large part in the creation of MetLife Stadium, the public forum has hardly given him credit for the project. And it seems as if Johnson is aware of that, too.

After all, Johnson attempted to move the Jets into their own stadium in Manhattan in what would be dubbed the “West Side Stadium” when he first bought the team. New York lawmakers axed the stadium proposal in 2005. Some of that may have been due to the aftermath of 9/11 and efforts to rebuild the city through various other means. However, there’s some hope that the Jets may find themselves back in New York sooner than later.

A politician’s backing, a call for initiative

Last year, Jets fan and Queens senator Joseph Addabbo outlined a proposal that could bring the team back to the Big Apple.

“They’re the New York Jets. They should be here,” said Addabbo during a segment on CBS2. “I think their fan base is still in New York,” Addabbo continued. “I think their fan base grows exponentially if they come back to New York. There are so many Jet fans out there who want to see them come home. Bring the Jets home. Make that NY on the side of the helmet really mean New York.”

Addabbo’s plan consists of adding on to a soccer stadium in Willets Point, increasing the seating capacity from 25,000 to 80,000. The senator suggests that the opportunity is there, and all that’s needed is “initiative.” That is something that the Jets owner has in spades.

When the Jets and Giants were petitioning to host a Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium, Giants owner John Mara suggested that the credit be given to Johnson for his relentless pursuit.

“I give him credit,” Mara said. “He was relentless. Once we started talking to owners and talked to the commissioner and talked to people in the league office and people on the Super Bowl committee, we started to gain some momentum. We started to think, ‘Why not?'”

There’s little reason to believe that the Jets owner won’t have that initiative again.

An open opportunity for the New York Jets?

From the outside looking in, it seems like Johnson may have fulfilled his goals since purchasing the Jets. However, there’s an opportunity for the Jets to find themselves back in New York.

The Jets can opt out of their 25-year lease with MetLife Stadium every five years, as long as they give a one-year notice. Their next opportunity is in 2025, which means Johnson would have to hand in that notice this year. Otherwise, the next opportunity would come in 2030.

Given fan perception of MetLife Stadium, it seems increasingly unlikely that Johnson and the Jets will see the completion of that 25-year lease. After all, Johnson desires a stadium to call his own and the home of the Jets. With the Giants winning a Super Bowl in 2012 while the Jets have been playoff-less for 13 years, it’s tough to sincerely consider MetLife Stadium a split-ownership stadium.

Johnson understands the importance of a team having their own stadium. If his hand wasn’t forced, there’s little reason to believe the team would be sharing a stadium with the Giants. When attempting to build the West Side Stadium, Johnson noted that importance.

“We stated that one of our goals would be to obtain a separate stadium for the Jets, so that they could enjoy a true home-field advantage that all the other NFL teams have,” Johnson said.

As for Jets fans, all they can do is wait and hope. Whether the team moves back to New York or stays in New Jersey, it’s safe to say every fan is clamoring for a true home to house Jets Nation.

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Dorian Lopez
Dorian Lopez
1 day ago

Build it in Newark Ironbound or in Harrison close to Red Bull Arena. I’d love to see a waterfront stadium somewhere in Hoboken or perhaps in the Newport section of Jersey City.

Robert Sabo
Robert Sabo
2 days ago

This would be both tremendous and painful (from a personal, geographical perspective). Oh, the pain.