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After pathetic season, Woody Johnson will leave Jets to serve as ambassador to United Kingdom

01.19.17 at 3:12 pm ET
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After a pathetic showing this season, Jets owner Woody Johnson is ditching his team to live in the United Kingdom. According to CNBC, he’s been called to serve as Donald Trump’s ambassador to the U.K. The jokes write themselves:

Johnson, 69, is a longtime Republican donor and served as the vice chairman of Trump’s victory committee. Ironically, he first supported Trump nemesis Jeb Bush in the GOP primary, but quickly shifted his allegiance after the former governor dropped out.

Earlier this month, Pro Football Talk reported Johnson would hand over day-to-day control of the Jets to his younger brother, Christopher Wold Johnson, if he were to be awarded an ambassadorship.

Like many of Trump’s appointments, Johnson has never previously held a job in government. But it’s not surprising he’s been named an ambassador. It’s political tradition to reward big-money donors with cushy overseas posts. Steelers owner Dan Rooney, for example, served as U.S. ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012.

When Patriots owner Robert Kraft visited Trump Tower in November, there was some speculation he was lobbying to be named ambassador to Israel (the job went to bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman). Though Kraft wasn’t a prominent Trump supporter during the campaign, he did call the President-elect a “good friend” before the Massachusetts primary. On Tuesday, Kraft was photographed with senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway at a pre-inauguration dinner.

Given the NFL’s interest in relocating a team to the United Kingdom and Kraft’s role on several league boards, it’s possible he could work closely with Johnson on international expansion over the next several years.

But in order for Johnson to help the NFL make further inroads in the U.K., he’ll have to be a better ambassador than owner. Since he purchased the Jets in 2000, they’ve gone 132-140 and cycled through five different head coaches.

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