- Rich Cimini, ESPN New York Jets reporter
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets legend Joe Namath, relatively quiet in recent weeks on his former team's disappointing season, unloaded Wednesday on the front office and owner Woody Johnson.
Namath accused the Jets of putting ticket sales ahead of winning. He also claimed management is lying to the fans, pointing to Tim Tebow's lack of involvement as the prime example.
"I think that the fans haven't been given a fair shake," Namath said on a SportsNet New York podcast. "I don't think they get a straight story, often enough, from the powers that be. I think it's kind of condescending talk a bunch of times, telling us how they're developing and who they're getting.
"I think he's been disrespectful. We can go right to the Tebow thing. I mean, come on. If you're bringing him in to play, where's he been? Are you bringing him in to make other people practice longer? Excuse me. Are you bringing him in, trying to get media headlines?"
Tebow, whom the Jets hyped in the preseason as a dynamic weapon, has played only 55 snaps on offense. The ballyhooed wildcat package has been a dud. Tebow hasn't complained about his role, but admitted Wednesday that "at times, it definitely hasn't been as effective as I would've liked."
Namath, a frequent critic of the Jets and Johnson, said the organization changed its approach about four years ago, when it started selling personal seat licenses for MetLife Stadium, which opened in 2010.
"I think the focus is changed, subtly," Namath said. "It's more toward grabbing headlines, and everything starts at the top. And you can go back to when the seat licenses were initiated, how we started conducting things. I don't think winning has been put at the top of the board. Winning headlines has replaced that."
Since reaching back-to-back AFC Championship games, the Jets are only 11-13, including 3-5 this season. General manager Mike Tannenbaum, who compiled the talent for playoff teams in 2006, '09 and '10, has come under fire. Namath said the Jets' talent base has eroded, an indirect shot at Tannenbaum.
"We seem to have regressed with talent, the last two years at least, the last three years," he said. "I don't know who's picking the player ... I'm disappointed in the talent we have, and I think you have to start looking at who's doing the picking and why."
Asked why the Jets can't find talent, and if there needs to be a change in the front office, Namath said: "If you use 'can't' in your vocabulary when it comes to football, you won't. I don't want to hear about can't find the talent. How do the other teams around the league, that are so consistent, continually find the talent?"
New York Jets legend Joe Namath, relatively quiet in recent weeks on his former team's disappointing season, unloaded Wednesday on the front office and owner Woody Johnson.