Former Voice of Jets Fanbase Rips Owners, Coaches for Worst Belichick Loss

Woody Johnson

Getty New York Jets owner Woody Johnson walks the sidelines during pregame warmups on September 26, 2021.

For the WFAN listeners out there, remember long-time radio show personality and diehard New York Jets fan, Joe Benigno?

The famed mid-day host of the NYC airwaves was known for his strong connection with the Jets and Mets fanbase — a bond that was forged from 25 years of pain and agony watching both franchises.

Since his retirement in 2020, there has been a void where Benigno’s rants once helped us all commiserate together. Fortunately, the radio voice is beginning to enter the realm of podcasting, and he recently joined the “Gang’s All Here” podcast for a guest spot on October 28.

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Benigno Lets Loose on Woody Johnson

In case you missed it, Woody Johnson spoke out in support of Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh this week. Sure, it was a nice gesture from the Jets owner but it’s nothing we haven’t heard from the Johnsons before.

“I have unwavering, steadfast confidence in Joe, Robert and the coaching staff,” Woody told reporters, “I’ve been around for going on 22 years — with my little absence that I had recently — and this is a good group. We will get it right.”

Johnson said the same thing about Todd Bowles and other recent head coaches, and his brother Christopher Johnson sang a similar tune about Adam Gase in his absence. It’s owner-speak rather than coachspeak and whether you agree with it or not, it does nothing to make the fanbase believe that this leadership core is any different than the others.

Benigno reprised his former role as the voice of the fanbase speaking with Jake Brown and Brian Costello on the podcast, attacking Johnson for being spineless after a 54-13 defeat in New England. Here’s his “Gang’s All Here” rant that we all needed this week:

Obviously there’s plenty to be aggravated about with this absolutely disgraceful franchise, and the wonderful owner, he had no problem with the Patriots just sticking it up their rear-end and embarrassing the hell out of them last week. No, not all, don’t worry! We love Douglas, we love Saleh! They’re doing a great job… How does this owner — how is he not livid?

You know let me say this about John Mara. If this was the [New York] Giants and this was John Mara, and his team had just done what the Jets had done, and had been what they’ve been now for how many — for certainly the last 10 years with no playoff appearances and one winning season, coming off of 2-14 may I add, he’d be going nuts! He’d be screaming! And what’s going to happen when there [are] no people in the building? As it is they can’t sell the place out now. Who wants to go see this crap? Tell me. How many more years of this? And this year they can even lose more games, with the extra game… I’m just so disgusted.

That’s the Benigno I remember. He always seemed to hit on the focal points of frustration for this fanbase better than anyone else, and that’s exactly what he did with Brown and Costello. Most of us liked Saleh when he was hired, or the Zach Wilson draft pick. Most of us were even satisfied with Mike LaFleur and Douglas’ rebuild.

What we can’t stand is the lack of heart and the cyclical nature of this organization. When Johnson, Douglas and Saleh repeat that empty phrase: trust us, things will improve — it’s really hard to follow blindly based on the Jets history under these owners.

We all want Saleh and Wilson to succeed, but the nervous pit in the bottom of our stomachs stems from a simple question — will they? Will things ever change and as Benigno voices, “how many more years of this” must we endure? And if we are going to get annihilated by our bitter rival, let’s at least be pissed off about it.

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Saleh Must Hold Players Accountable

Benigno also touched on Saleh and the coaching staff during his tirade. “Let’s be real, this head coach and this staff, they look like they’re [in] over their heads… They’re clueless, [with] what they’re doing out there.”

The former radio host admitted that he was “100%” excited about the Saleh hire back in the spring when Costello asked why his opinion has changed.

He responded: “Well first of all like two games into [the season], I was already getting the sense that [Saleh] is much too nice a guy. There’s no life on the sideline at all and sometimes that’s overrated, but he just looks like he’s too nice. He’s always talking about [the players] making money, and that’s great and all of that, but how about some accountability here? How do you let what happened last week [occur]? I mean [how] you are not just ripping your team for what that effort was last week [when] they had two weeks to prepare for the Patriots… I didn’t see Tom Brady out there, or Rob Gronkowski, or Julian Edelman, I didn’t see any of these guys out there and they still got destroyed worse than they ever did by the Patriots. This was worse than the butt fumble, this was worse than the ghost game, this was the worst — I have to say this — in the Belichick era, I can’t think of… this was the worst of any of the losses to Belichick that I can remember. I mean this was just unbelievable with two weeks to prepare.”

One of the few Jets that Benigno actually complimented was Wilson, saying he thinks “they really have something in this kid,” although he’s nervous the coaching staff might “ruin” his future. It’s a fair doubt and while we personally still believe in Saleh and this core, it’s growing more and more difficult to defend their performances.

We need to see some sort of passion and pride throughout the second half, and it all starts at the top.

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