New York Jets most hated: The top 20 villains in Gang Green history – Part 2 (10-6)

Andre Reed, Buffalo Bills. James Hasty, New York Jets. (Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart)
Andre Reed, Buffalo Bills. James Hasty, New York Jets. (Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart) /
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New York Jets
James L. Dolan, New York Knicks. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) /

7. James Dolan

Jets fans could (and probably do) hate Dolan for ruining the New York Knicks into the ground, but that’s not why he made on the list. This one is very personal.

Back in the early 2000’s New York Jets wanted a stadium of their own. The hot place to put their new building was on the west side of Manhattan at the rail yards between West 30th and 33rd streets from 11th Avenue to 12th Avenue. Jets owner Woody Johnson wanted to erect a $1.7B domed stadium on the property next to the Hudson River.

Unfortunately for him, there was a well-funded, well-connected party squarely against putting a football stadium at that location, Cablevision owner James Dolan. These were the days before The YES Network and SNY. The MSG Network was just starting up, but it was owned by Cablevision, who owned the cable rights to the area’s major sports teams.

Also, the owner of the Knicks, Rangers, MSG, and Radio City Music Hall, Dolan thought the property was the ideal spot for a new residential/commercial project. Dolan put his considerable financial might into blocking any efforts by Johnson to build in that location.

It was nasty too. Johnson sent a $100M bid to New York State to buy the property. Dolan followed that up with a $600M bid. It almost sounds crazy to bid that much more for the same parcel of land.

There was a reason for Dolan’s madness. MSG and RCMH were the only two venues in Manhattan with over 6,000 seats. In an interview, Dolan confessed that a new domed stadium just blocks away from the established sites that would cripple his concert business.

The Jets went as far as filing an anti-trust lawsuit against Cablevision. Part of it had to do with the fact that Cablevision (the only game in town for cable sports) refused to air any pro-stadium commercials.

The stadium project didn’t get the necessary approvals to go forward, and Dolan was the reason why. On a historical note, the lack of a state-of-the-art stadium in Manhattan killed New York City’s bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.