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Woody’s Inflation

Benjamin Franklin once said that only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes. I would like to mention a third: Inflation. Inflation is the perpetual rise in prices that results in depreciation over any length of time of purchasing power. By way of example, you would need about $1.82 in 2003 to purchase the same goods and service that 9 cents would cost in 1913. That’s an increase over the course of roughly one hundred years, of 1,922.2 percent. A normal, annual rate of inflation is somewhere between 2% and 3%. This is why the federal government tags a 3% cost of living adjustment onto the benefit that social security recipients receive. Total inflation from January 1999, to present is 23.20%. By way of comparison, Jets ticket prices since Woody Johnson purchased the team have increased over that same period of time by
45 %.

In January 1999, the face value of a Jets vs. Jaguars playoff ticket was $61.25. Anyone caught selling, or “scalping� a ticket in the parking lot for a price that exceeded twenty percent of face value would have been arrested. The ticket invoice for the 2007 season have the tickets listed at $80.00. Even if we discount for inflation, Woody has annually beat the percentage markup that lands ticket scalpers in jail by 2.3%. So why have the tickets increased so dramatically? What has Woody accomplished that he feels so entitled to mercilessly gouge the loyal fans of this franchise? Woody’s track record since purchasing the team in November of 2000, has been one of perpetual ineptness and indecisiveness.

Instead of reaching out to Bill Bellichik, Woody ingratiated himself with the HC who quit on the team, Bill Parcells. Woody went ahead and made Bill Parcells “Director of Football Operations�, which defacto made him dictator for life. Bellichik, still under contract, hired a lawyer and went to work for Bob Kraft. Woody’s only response was to have Steve Gutman do a smear job on him. The case went to league arbitration, and the Jets received two draft picks from New England.

For all of Woody’s loyalty and pandering, The Tuna quit on him almost a year to the day he was hired, along with HC Al Groh, who also was employed for only one year. On his way out the door, Parcells suggested to Woody that he hire Terry Bradway as general manager. Of course Woody obeyed and did just that. While Herman Edwards and Terry Bradway ran the Jets into the ground, Woody couldn’t be bothered; he was too busy orchestrating a deal to create a 75,000-seat football stadium on the west side of Manhattan. But special interests, unions, Albany legislators, James Dolan, and the City Council, to name but a few, all set out to derail the stadium and convention center project that was to be built over a rail yard. You can’t fault Woody for lack of trying; in 2001 and 2002, Johnson gave $27,500 to New York Governor George E. Pataki’s campaign. A calculated investment considering the fact that he was looking to reap at least 300 million dollars from New York taxpayers to help pay for his stadium. After all, the stadium was going to host the 2012 Olympics. When it all went up in smoke, Woody cut a deal with the Giants to remain in the Meadowlands, and moved the team operational headquarters to Florham Park, NJ.

An article in the New York Times revealed that Woody was cited in a 2006 Senate report on tax evasion schemes involving offshore accounts. Woody started singing the blues, telling the Senate investigators that to buy the Jets in 1999 he had to sell assets, incurring the 20 percent tax on long-term capital gains in effect at the time. Woody schemed with his accountants and his lawyers, creating a complex set of circular transactions using shell corporations. I think it’s pathetic and disgraceful, that this guy has the nerve to increase ticket prices, expect taxpayers to build him a stadium, and then get caught trying to avoid paying taxes himself. The thing that bugs me most about this guy is when he’s referred to as a philanthropist. Hey Woody, if you like charity cases so much, try and throw a little charity our way, and stop gouging us Jets fans.

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