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Could see NFL games online in 2-5 years: Jets owner

Americans can't get enough football, and it only seems like a matter of time before some live NFL games are broadcast directly over Internet.

But not yet, New York Jets Owner Woody Johnson told CNBC on Friday.

Last fall, Netflix and Google were rumored to be interested in buying the rights to show some weekly games. It never game to pass, but the NFL was said to be considering the possibility of working with a digital-first company, in addition to the major TV networks and cable outlets, and DirecTV, which offers "Sunday Ticket" access to all the games.

The league is "not ready" to go digital, Johnson said in a "Squawk Box" interview, but predicted it be might in "two to five years."

Currently, football fans can watch the television broadcasts of NFL games online and on mobile, but only if they verify as a cable or satellite subscriber at their providers' website or app.

During the regular season, NFL games are among the most-watched programs on television. Even in the offseason, last week's live coverage of the draft on ESPN pulled in record-high TV ratings.

The NFL draft

Speaking of the NFL draft, the Jets used their first pick—No. 18 overall—to select Louisville safety Calvin Pryor, in hopes of bolstering a secondary that ranked 22nd in pass defense last season.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had been still available when New York was on the clock, but the Jets passed and the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner was picked No. 22 overall by the Cleveland Browns.

"[Manziel] was an exciting college player, that's for sure. But we went right down our board and Calvin was our guy," Johnson told CNBC. "We didn't think we'd get Pryor."

Meanwhile, the Jets seem to have a quarterback quandary of a different kind—whether to start Geno Smith or Michael Vick. "We're going to have a competition," said the New York Jets owner.

"Geno looks good. He's spinning it," Johnson continued, while saying that Vick is "pretty good to have in the room."

The Clippers controversy

Donald Sterling
Getty Images
Donald Sterling

As an owner of a professional franchise, the Jets boss commented briefly on the situation in the NBA with disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who's reportedly refusing to pay the $2.5 million fine levied by the league or recognize his lifetime ban for his racist remarks.

"It's a complicated issue for sure. I think the [NBA] commissioner did what he thought he had to do at that time," Johnson said on CNBC.

Asked of a similar situation were to arise in the NFL, he said: "We'd have to approach that when it came. There's a certain decorum that's in the rules, but it's up to the [NFL] commissioner and the league owners to determine the outcomes."

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—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere.

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