When Jets owner Woody Johnson hired Neil Glat to serve as team president in April 2012, it wasn’t clear whether G.M. Mike Tannenbaum should worry.
It’s now clear that Tannenbaum should worry.
Of course, Tannenbaum publicly has said he’s not worried about his job. Privately, it would be reasonable to wonder what may happen when the season ends.
It’s reasonable because Glat’s presence at the meeting called by owner Woody Johnson with Tannenbaum, coach Rex Ryan, and the team’s three coordinators suggests that Glat will be involved in more than the business side of the business, and that Glat has Johnson’s ear. And there’s no one more dangerous to anyone in the football operation than a non-football person who is in position to influence the owner.
Previously, there had been no buffer between Tannenbaum and Johnson, putting Tannenbaum in prime position to become Johnson’s primary football adviser and confidant. That dynamic may have saved Tannenbaum after a free fall in 2008, when 8-3 resulted in a 1-4 finish and no postseason appearance. During the decline, Johnson said Tannenbaum and former coach Eric Mangini would be back the following season. And the day after the season ended, Mangini was fired.
Tannenbaum still reports directly to Johnson, not to Glat. But the fact that Glat can’t fire Tannenbaum doesn’t mean Glat can’t try to get Tannenbaum fired, either by finding ways to suggest to Johnson that the team’s best interests could be served by cleaning house or by offering an honest answer to a simple question from Johnson: “What should I do, Neil?”
That’s the problem for Tannenbaum. Before Glat arrived, the question was, “What should I do, Mike?”
And with everyone presumably running for cover regarding the failed Tim Tebow trade and with Johnson saying he didn’t order it, Glat is the only guy at the top of the overpriced stadium food chain who can truly say, “It was like that when I got here.”