In case you missed it, the New York Jets were one of six NFL franchises that were “granted access to market themselves and grow their respective fan bases in the United Kingdom,” per Neil Reynolds of Sky Sports.
The Jets also announced the news on social media on December 15.
“We’ve been awarded the international marketing rights to the United Kingdom as part of the NFL’s International Home Marketing Area initiative,” the franchise’s official Twitter account stated.
Along with Gang Green, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings were given exclusive “home” access to the UK as the NFL divvied up different foreign countries as part of its expansion.
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Craig Carton’s Bold Prediction
“Lots cooking today,” Carton began, “of course the Steph Curry last night, the Travis Hunter stuff, and the New York Jets taking their very first step towards secretly moving the franchise out to England.”
Co-host Evan Roberts questioned the bold claim by his partner, which only caused Carton to double down, replying: “What do you think he’s doing?”
Carton elaborated: “Big surprise there, that’s where Woody [Johnson] lived for the four years when he was the ambassador to England, right? So play this out — you’re Woody Johnson, the fanbase can’t stand you, you’re tone-deaf to their needs and wants and emotions, correct?… You don’t need the Jets for your bottom line because you make all your money from Johnson & Johnson, right? So the New York Jets as an entity is not an important piece of your financial empire — it’s an expensive one, it’s a successful one, but if you have the Jets, don’t have the Jets, Jets win, Jets lose — at the end of the day, it’s not where your wealth comes from… So, if you’re that guy and you recognize because of conversations that the NFL owners have had, that have been building up and building up and building up, that there’s going to be European expansion one day — it’s not happening tomorrow but one day — the NFL hasn’t hid from this either, they want to have a team in London… I think, whether we like it or not, it makes more sense [that] they’re going to move an existing franchise.”
Roberts suggested the Jaguars instead, but Carton countered that their owner Shad Khan claimed he’d never permanently move his team out of Jacksonville.
It’s not all bad though, the popular NYC host explained the silver lining.
“So you’re taking a team that we’re pissed at more than we’re happy with, and you’re saying to Jets fans — listen, we’re moving the Jets over to England, we’re giving you a brand new [expansion] team, it ain’t gonna be any worse. The Jets have won nothing in 50 years, we hate the owner, we share a stadium with the New York Giants, we’re the little brother! We have a chance now, new franchise — and by the way, we retain the rights to the name, the New York Jets — and we put that new stadium somewhere in the five boroughs and we’re all happy about it. The [original] Jets go to London, they change their name like the Browns did when they became the Ravens, and five years later, nobody gives a rat’s ass,” he outlined.
At this point, Roberts (a diehard Jets fan) actually started to agree with Carton saying that he might have “sold him” on it.
It does sound somewhat enticing:
- No Johnson ownership.
- A new stadium in Queens.
- And the same Jets name.
Unfortunately, the roster with any of the team’s fan favorites would journey over to the United Kingdom. That may not mean much to some, but for those that believe in Joe Douglas’ rebuild, tantalizing prospects like Zach Wilson, Elijah Moore, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Bryce Hall and Michael Carter among others would vanish.
And as Roberts pointed out later on — knowing the Jets luck, Johnson would move the team right on the cusp of the epic turnaround we’ve all been waiting for.
“To me, it’s so transparent,” Carton emphasized, “Woody Johnson wants to change his home address back to London.”
As I said, it’s a scary thought, but it’s also one that many fans were probably thinking.
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Details on ‘Second Home’
Jets President, Hymie Elhai, spoke on the deal: “International marketing clearly represents an enormous growth opportunity for both the NFL and the Jets. We are excited to showcase our players and coaches and their personalities in the United Kingdom. Through grassroots programs, unique in-market activations and strategic partnerships we are excited to build upon our fanbase in the UK and look forward to establishing longstanding relationships.”
To be clear, many teams bid for international homes around the globe, and here is how it all shook out so far.
Reynolds (of Sky Sports) explained further: “As part of the International HMA program, clubs will have access to international markets for at least a five-year term, during which a club will have rights to pursue activities in that international market that are consistent with what they can do in their domestic HMA. This includes in-person and digital marketing, corporate sponsorship sales, fan events and activations, merchandise sales and co-marketing relationships with other sports and entertainment properties in the market.”
At this moment, this initiative appears to be nothing more than a money grab type of financial opportunity by the NFL and the owners but Carton does make some eerily valid points.
Johnson already has strong ties to London, so would it really shock anyone if he skipped town one day to make NFL history as the first franchise based in the UK?
Not us, but let me be clear — if it ever came to pass, a departure like that would be unforgivable. This loyal of a fanbase definitely deserves better than that.