Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- New York Jets owner Woody Johnson says helping Mitt Romney win the U.S. presidential election is more important to him than his team finishing the National Football League season with a winning record.
Johnson, New York chairman for the Romney campaign, said yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers” that if forced to choose he’d pick a win by the Republican challenger against President Barack Obama on Nov. 6.
“Well, I think you always have to put country first,” Johnson said. “So I think it’s very, very important, not only for us, but in particular for our kids and grandkids that this election come off with Mitt Romney and Ryan as president and vice president.”
Johnson also backed quarterback Mark Sanchez a day after the team slipped to 2-2 this season with a 34-0 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Johnson, 65, said that Sanchez wasn’t the biggest problem for a team that played poorly on offense, defense and special teams against the 49ers. Sanchez completed 13 of 29 passes for 103 yards, an interception and a fumble.
“Mark is our starting quarterback,” Johnson said in the interview. “It was just one of those games where we didn’t play well in all three phases. Every season has a game like that. I just feel badly for our fans that it happened on a day when we had a full stadium.”
That game left some fans at MetLife Stadium calling for Sanchez’s backup, Tim Tebow, who was acquired in a March trade with Denver after the Broncos signed free agent Peyton Manning. The Broncos began last season 1-4 before starting Tebow, who helped them reach the playoffs at 8-8 and win their first postseason game in six years.
Tebow’s late-game heroics for the Broncos helped him increase an already large fan base that followed him from his days at the University of Florida, where he won two national titles and a Heisman Trophy as college football’s top player in 2007.
Tebow was named America’s favorite pro athlete in an ESPN poll this year and his jersey was the second-best seller from April 2011 to March behind Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It was the fifth-most popular jersey the previous year, in which Tebow started three games.
Coach Rex Ryan also supported Sanchez after the loss to the 49ers, telling reporters “I think Mark’s the answer at quarterback.”
Johnson said the whole team has to play better, not just Sanchez. The Jets rushed for 45 yards against the 49ers. The defense allowed 379 yards. Injuries have sidelined players including All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who’s out for the season with a torn knee ligament.
The Jets host the Houston Texans (4-0) on Oct. 8.
“You do your best,” Johnson said. “You cannot replace Revis so you have to use the players you have a little differently.”
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