Woody Johnson says he's surprised by Tim Tebow coverage

Tim Tebow carries the ball while taking part Tim Tebow carries the ball while taking part in a team scrimmage during training camp. (Aug. 7, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Woody Johnson, meet Tebowmania.

The Jets' owner, who watched his first full training camp practice this offseason, said Tuesday that he was surprised by the "enormity" of the Tim Tebow coverage.

"Well I knew there would be press, there would be interest, but even by our standards, this is pretty amazing," he said of the national media coverage surrounding the Jets. "I don't like it or not like it. It is what it is. You [reporters] are deciding that that's important for you and your audience, so you're making that decision and emphasizing that more, than maybe look into some of the other stuff on what's happening with the team."

Tebow, however, made national news when President Barack Obama expressed concern last week on a sports radio show about the potential quarterback controversy that could develop between Tebow and starter Mark Sanchez. Then, within the past few days, former Jets quarterbacks Boomer Esiason and Joe Namath ripped the March trade for Tebow.

Johnson didn't seem too bothered by his detractors. In fact, the Jets' owner -- who is a staunch Republican and Mitt Romney supporter -- took Obama's critique in stride. "The fact that he's a Jets fan, he cares, and he's passionate about the New York Jets, obviously, I think it's a positive," Johnson said.

Asked in jest, whether he and Romney would craft a response to Obama, Johnson laughed and said, "No, Romney has been to some games."

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Johnson, of course, disagreed with Esiason's assessment that the Jets should cut Tebow. "I think Tebow's going to be a very valuable part of this team going forward," the owner said.

Through their interactions, Johnson said he's found Tebow to be well-spoken, hardworking and a "man of convictions." But Johnson added that the backup quarterback's arrival isn't the source of spiking ticket sales. "I don't think it's one player or another player," he said. "It's basically the excitement about the season and the timing of how close we are to the opening of the season."

Channeling his inner Namath, Johnson said of ticket sales: "We will be sold out, guaranteed."

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