Jets Woody Johnson is “Scooter” Johnson

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson with quarterback Mark Sanchez after the 2009 dra
By James Lang/US Presswire

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson has a reputation for being reclusive, but it turns out he’s out riding a scooter on the streets of New York on most business days. Johnson’s mode of transportation came to light in a lengthy interview with the New York Times. Said Johnson:

That’s how I go to work every day, when it’s not raining. It’s a kick scooter. Two wheels on the front, one on the back. It’s relatively safe. You only fall about, oh, what, every, maybe month and a half. I’d say it’s about a month and a half between spills. You wear gloves.

I don’t know if I get recognized. It’s such an easy way to go. I’m surprised people don’t do it. I can ride all the way to the East Village. It doesn’t take that long. You go on the sidewalk. You go on the street.

And I like this suggested innovation from Johnson:

I’m hoping to let the players come out of the tunnel without their helmets on. I’d like the fans to get to know the players. It’s hard to see a football player. When you look at his teeth, it looks like he’s missing teeth, when you look through the helmet. But yeah, when the fans get to know the players, they’ll be very impressed, as I am.

Hard Knock Life For Rex In The City

The New York Jets held a press conference yesterday to announce that they will be the featured team on this season’s edition of HBO’s Hard Knocks. This means that their controversial head coach, Rex Ryan, will be prominently featured on the program. Members of the sports media, bloggers in particular, are delighted by the news.

You might see New York Jets coach Rex Ryan cry on camera when  watching 'Hard Knocks' on HBO.

Antonelli/News

You might see New York Jets coach Rex Ryan cry on camera when watching ‘Hard Knocks’ on HBO.

First: for those unfamiliar with Hard Knocks, it’s a documentary-style show that follows an NFL team from training camp right up until the season begins. The main dramatic elements of the show revolve around up-and-coming players struggling to make the team, and star players and marquee personalities sometimes become an afterthought. Fans often find the lower-tier players, their personal lives, and their quest to make it to the NFL more interesting than getting a sneak peek at the daily goings-on of the star players and coaches.

That trend may be bucked this year, however. Rex Ryan is a darling of the New York sports media, mostly due to ability to drop entertaining sound bites during team press conferences, and his brash behavior is tailor made for the show.

Indeed, his bluntness and larger-than-life frame has made him popular among sports bloggers. In January, Ryan famously gave some rowdy fans the bird, and Deadspin mourned the upcoming loss of his gut after lap-band surgery two weeks ago. Blogger Drew Magary has a set of mini-screenplays where he portrays Ryan as a sort of sex-crazed oil tycoon who implores his players to eat a live Colt in preparation for their game against Indianapolis.

Although the symbolic eating of opponents is unlikely, expect plenty of this:

The Fall of Giants/Jets Stadium

I just got back from Giants Stadium.  I wanted to see how it looked over there, not because of the construction on the new stadium, but to see the razing of the old stadium.  The facility where many memories and moments will remain in peoples minds and hearts.  The grounds on the side where Gates C & D stand is no more.  All torn up so they can lay down a new parking lot.  Gate D has been completely removed from the escalators to the spirals.  The Giants Stadium signs on both sides have also been removed.  All that stands now is a nameless facade.  An old home to many great sports legends & teams.  Not just the Jets and Giants, but the Red Bulls, Metrostars, Knights, Cosmos, and other sports franchises.  Can not forget memorable performances from Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews, Pink Floyd, Genesis, and countless others.

Today, the stadium stands in the shadow of its younger brother.  A new stadium destined to outshine the old one.  Offer more and go beyond what any Jets or Giants fan could ask for.  But the old home will always have a special place for many.  It will always be the stadium where my father and I bonded.  Where we would cheer the great plays and curse out the bad ones.  I will always have a special place in my heart for Giants Stadium.  While driving around it today, I could not help but want to go inside one last time.  That will never happen, especially not now.  Only the faint echos of Jets and Giants chats can be heard, if you listen close enough.

Here are some pictures taken today.  I will have more in the coming weeks until the last brick has been removed.  Some before and after pictures that were taken today and from the beginning of the 2009 season.

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Xtra Point Football: NY Jets Fans Cornerstone Of Team & New Stadium

Hello football fans.  I figured that would be the best way to open up.  I would like to thank Xtra Point Football for allowing me the room to talk about a growing concern in this country.  The fact that professional sports has been changing and not for the better.  Professional teams are always looking for a way to increase profit.  Some increase ticket prices, some increase luxury seating, and others create a whole new stadium with state-of-the-art features & amenities.  It seems the PSL has been a viable alternative for some time now.  Organizations figure they can charge fans additional costs to help fund and pay for these new stadiums or renovations.

I am a life long New York Jets fan.  My father had our season tickets since the then New York Titans of the AFL first offered them.  My father and two friends were waiting for New York Giants season tickets but the wait was too long.  The minute the Titans offered them, the three of them got in at the first opportunity.  The tickets have been in my family forever.  Well, until now.  I have not purchased a PSL nor will I.  I cannot afford it.  I am not in favor of it.  Not too many are actually.  But that does not mean I will not cheer them on.  I will always be a die-hard Jets fan, it is in my blood.

Once I heard the Jets were going to use PSL’s to help finance the new stadium, I knew many others would be as outraged as I am.  What started out just creating viral videos turned into a documentary.  I started filming in August of 2008 during the preseason and have not stopped.  There is more to this story than two teams charging PSLs for a new stadium.  There are lifelong fans who followed this team everywhere, except into the new Meadowlands stadium.  The Jets fans themselves have their own stories, intertwined with the history that is the new York Jets.  From simple tailgating with friends to finding husband’s and wives.  Many stories have come to an end with the old stadium.  Many new chapters for some will be written this September.

newstadium2I am doing this documentary, for now titled Gang Greed, solely on the New York Jets.  I am not a full time filmmaker and do not have the time to cover the Giants as well.  I wish I could.  But when you are a two-man team & have other jobs, you have to use the time you can.  I say two-man team because one other individual is assisting me, another life long New York Jets season ticket holder Anthony Quintano.  I feel the fans have truly not been heard. They do have a voice & deserve to have their stories told. Some have followed the team longer than anyone has worked in the organization itself. I do not want to go into any details yet about the fans, Jets, or even the documentary.  I would rather give a history and overview first on what a PSL is and how it is used.

In the late 1980′s, America’s major league sports teams were caught between the need for newer and larger facilities and the public’s growing unwillingness to foot the bill. Fearful of raising ticket prices to the point of diminishing returns, teams looked for a way to raise more money without incurring more expense. Taking a cue from the options market, personal seat licenses turned out to be their ticket to easy street.  The Carolina Panthers were the first true NFL team to use PSLs to pay for a new stadium in 1996.

When you buy a personal seat license (PSL) for a stadium or arena, you buy the rights to a specific seat; say section 32, seat 3B. With this comes the right to buy the ticket for your seat for any public event that is held there. If you decline, the venue can still sell the ticket to someone else, and they don’t have to share the money with you.

If you do decide to attend an event, you still have to pay for the ticket. The PSL simply gives you the option to buy the ticket before it is offered to the public.

For fans, a PSL guarantees that they will never again miss a game of their beloved team, be it the Jets, Giants, Raptors, Cardinals or Maple Leafs. For an investor with a high tolerance for risk, the PSL is a product that can be resold, sometimes at a huge markup. For the teams and venues, the PSL is free money with an added bonus; anyone paying for a PSL is unlikely to let the seats go empty very often.

Even if they do, they still have the option of selling their tickets and making a profit.

Since its inception, PSL revenue has been a major source of income for many pro and amateur sports. The New York Giants and Jets are currently building a new stadium in the Meadowlands, and 20 percent of the $1.7 billion price tag will be covered by PSLs (to the dismay of longtime season ticket holders who suddenly have to come up with tens of thousands of dollars to secure their tickets in the new stadium.)

In 2004, Churchill Downs, home of The Kentucky Derby, sold 3,000+ 30-year PSLs for $18,000 -$75,000 each. Some colleges’ have even taken advantage of the income PSL’s can bring. Ohio State sold 40-year PSLs for its men’s basketball program for up to $15,000 each!

You can go to PSLMarketPlace.com and just pick the NFL team you want to buy a PSL for.  SeasonTicketRights.com even has Motor sports, NBA, NHL, and MLB teams in addition to the NFL.

Right now on SeasonTicketRights.com there is an auction for 4 Dallas Cowboys PSLs, Row 5, Section C136 for $250,000.  Oh, and no parking pass.  This is just for the PSLs, not the season tickets.

The resale market on PSLs is extremely volatile, and dependent largely on the success of the sports franchises that play in the venue. On eBay you could buy eight Dallas Cowboy PSLs for $160,000 or two for the Pittsburgh Steelers for $60,000. In contrast, two PSLs for the Cincinnati Bengals can be had for under $500.  Some Dallas Cowboys PSL costs are over $100,000 per seat.

newstadium3When it comes to a business model, how can you go wrong selling people the option to buy something you want them to buy anyway? Genius. Pure genius.  But for the fans, it may come at a bigger price and for some, a price many cannot afford.  We are still in a down economy and the New York Jets say they are selling PSLs and the economy is improving.  Considering they are a private company, they can say whatever they want.  The only reason they think the economy is getting better is because they are slowly selling the PSLs but nowhere close to selling all.  If my business were making a profit even I would think the economy is turning around.  Many Jets season ticket holders will not purchase a PSL and still believe the economy has not turned around yet.

This coming season will be an interesting one, not just for the Jets, but for the fans as well.  Like I have been doing the past two seasons, I will be there in the parking lot filming Gang Greed to see how many will continue on and follow a team in a place they can finally call home.  The fans there will know they helped to build the place, but at what cost? I will have more on not just the Jets, but the Jets fans and the PSLs as well.  You can go to my website at LevysBakeryProductions or QuintanoMedia for more information.

The Jets write their own story, the Jets fans write the checks for the option to have a story to tell. - David Levy

David Levy is a life long New York Jets fan. He is also a football documentary filmmaker giving Jets fans a voice in Gang Greed & sports blogger. David is also working on other various media & writing projects for others and himself, Levy’s Bakery Productions.

Jets To Play 1st Thanksgiving Game In New Stadium??

Though no official announcement has been made, by  process of elimination, all signs point to a Thanksgiving Day game featuring the Detroit Lions and the visiting New England Patriots.

From left, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Jets owner Woody  Johnson and Giants Co-Owner John Mara might have a few awkward moments  the next time they are all in the same room.

Giancarli for News

From left, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Jets owner Woody Johnson and Giants Co-Owner John Mara might have a few awkward moments the next time they are all in the same room.

With the New York Daily News’ report that the New York Jets will accept the NFL’s offer to host the Thanksgiving Day night game, the only other possible opponent for the Lions is New England.

As Mike Florio of NBC Sports explains, per network contracts, at least one AFC team must be playing in the Lions’  Thanksgiving game, to be broadcast on CBS. The only AFC opponents the Lions will play at home next season are the Patriots and the Jets, pointing to a Tom Brady-Matthew Stafford matchup at Ford Field on Nov. 25.

It will be the third Thanksgiving Day game between the two teams since 2000.  The Lions won the first meeting 34-9, with the Patriots evening the score by beating the Lions 20-12 in 2002.  The official announcement, including the Jets’ opponent on Thanksgiving, will be on Monday. The NFL will release the full regular season schedule in mid April.

Until then, here are the Lions’ 2010 opponents:

Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams

Away: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Giants To Jets: Heads We Win, Tails You Lose

The Coin Toss Heard ’Round the Meadowlands

From the time the Jets abandoned their plans for a stadium within the city proper and agreed to go halfsies with the Giants on a new facility at the Meadowlands, we’d assumed that their respective owners would be too busy jumping around in piles of money to quarrel over the logistics of their shared ownership arrangement. But that’s not quite how it’s playing out.

Technically, the current squabble over who gets to host the first regular-season game at the Meadowlands isn’t between the two teams, but between the Jets and the league over the coin toss the NFL used to give the game to the Giants. (To bring you up to speed, if you haven’t been following along: Both teams wanted to host the first game, so the Jets suggested a coin flip to decide who’d get it. The NFL told them no, then flipped a coin anyway, without representatives of either team present. The Giants won the coin toss and will host the first game, with the Jets playing at home on Monday Night Football the following day.) Woody Johnson’s irked over the process — and the Giants are predictably pleased — but Johnson knows that more than a coin flip was at stake.

The Jets want to establish early and often that the Giants aren’t the primary tenants in the new building, as they were often perceived to be in the old place. Hosting the first game would be symbolic more than anything — they’ll get plenty of exposure on the Monday-night game, after all — but it would give them a chance to celebrate having a stadium they can kind of call their own, and to remind people (in case they needed to be reminded) that this as-yet-unnamed venue is their home, too.

Jets Owner Woody Johnson 'Outraged' Over NFL Coin Flip for New Stadium OpenerNew York Jets owner Woody Johnson signs autographs for fans in Florham Park, N.J., Wednesday, May 17, 2006. Jets players and team executives were in Florham Park to celebrate the town’s being picked as the site for the Jets’ new training facility. (AP Photo / Mike Derer)

Giants Get Home Opener; Jets Get MNF Opener

The New York Giants and New York Jets will both host games at their new home, Meadowlands Stadium, on the opening weekend of the 2010 regular season.

The Giants will play Sunday afternoon, September 12, and the Jets will play the following day in the first nationally televised Monday Night Football game of the season. Opponents will be announced soon, as the league is still completing the 2010 schedule.

New York Jets players take to the field for their final regular  season game at Giant Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, January 3,  2010 file photo. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

After deciding to have both teams play at home on opening weekend, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell resolved the issue of which team plays first with a coin flip.  Woody  Johnson has long been trying to get the Super Bowl to come to New York and the New York Daily News is reporting that Johnson’s sudden public outrage at Goodell may put the possibility of the big game coming to the Big Apple in jeopardy.

Goodell flipped the coin last Friday with his staff at the NFL office, then notified both teams.  But shouldn’t there have been at least one representative from each team been there to witness it?

In addition, the NFL announced that the Jets will host the first NFL game at the new stadium during the preseason in August.  That still does not sit well with Jets fans.  Jets fans took a back seat to Giants fans in Giants Stadium and it seems it is happening all over again.

The Jets Have Their Own LT

The Jets have signed running back LaDainian Tomlinson to a two-year contract, adding an aging star to an offense that ranked No. 1 in rushing last season.

Tomlinson’s agent, Tom Condon, confirmed the deal Sunday night.

LaDainian Tomlinson acknowledged the crowd at Qualcomm Stadium in  November.

The Jets have signed running back LaDainian Tomlinson to a two-year contract, adding an aging star to an offense that ranked No. 1 in rushing last season.

Tomlinson’s agent, Tom Condon, confirmed the deal Sunday night.

“He wanted to go a team that he thought had a chance to compete for the championship,” Condon told the AP. “He wanted to go somewhere where he had a chance to have a significant role, and so with the Jets he also was going to be very familiar with the offensive system.”

The Jets reached the AFC championship game last season, eliminating Tomlinson and the Chargers along the way.

Tomlinson spent Friday with the Jets, capping it with dinner with coach Rex Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and other team officials.

The 2006 NFL MVP was cut last month by San Diego. He chose New York over Minnesota after visiting the Vikings on Thursday.  Even after leaving Minnesota with a jerey under his arm, he chose the bright lights of Broadway.  More like the swamps of the Meadowlands.

The Jets went after Tomlinson hard even though he turns 31 in June and is coming off his least productive season.

Tomlinson ran for 730 yards and 3.3 per carry. He scored 12 touchdowns.  He’s expected to back up Shonn Greene, who became the starter after leading-rusher Thomas Jones was released last week.  Tomlinson ranks eighth on the NFL’s career rushing list with 12,490 yards.

LT and Jets Close To Signing, But Not Close Enough

LaDainian Tomlinson, the sixth-leading rusher in NFL history, is talking to the New York Jets about the future after nothing came of his talks with the Vikings.

What happens to running backs when they turn 30?  That’s a rhetorical question if there ever was one but do their skills erode to such a degree that they are no longer serviceable?  Was there a game, a quarter, or even a play that stole their magic and turned them from a god of the gridiron into a mere mortal?

LaDainian TomlinsonPhysically, they look the same.  The number on their jersey hasn’t changed nor does a red cross mysteriously materialize on their helmet.  Intellectually, we must assume they are sound and their faculties are still intact.  So what actually happens?  The simple answer is, their body can no longer execute the split second commands that their brain demands.

Nostalgia aside, does LaDainian Tomlinson have anything left in the tank?  As a starting running back the answer is no.  However, can he be the difference between you winning and losing your paycheck on the ticket you bought on the Jets to win the AFC East?  You can bet on it!

The Jets are a team that is on the rise but they’ve got those pesky Patriots always standing in their way.  They continue to retool a team that was about as good as it has been in years but if they get Tomlinson, they add a whole new dimension to a team that led the NFL in rushing last year.  Tomlinson can not only spell rookie sensation Shonn Greene but more importantly allows Mark Sanchez a safety valve coming out of the backfield as Tomlinson is a superb route runner and still has the soft hands to catch anything thrown his way.

Defenses around the NFL will have to take note and the AFC East crown may just change hands if Tomlinson decides green and white are now his favorite colors.

Ladanian Tomlinson  is the latest example of pure natural talent and God given ability succumbing to the merciless hand of Father Time.  When superstars are in their prime they have no equal.  Superlatives abound and the hero worship of both the fans and the media spirals so out of control it becomes commonplace to rank the newest big thing as the best of his generation if not among the greatest who ever played the game.

The coronation isn’t complete until the media begins reporting how smart, savvy, funny, generous, kind or any other adjective that further adds to the mystique.  Naturally this creates the illusion that this man is not only gifted athletically but spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and there’s a better than even money chance he calls his mother every day.

Only a few stand the test of time after the cheers have faded and their face no longer routinely graces the covers of magazines and newspapers.  Running backs like Jim Brown, Walter “Sweetness” Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmit Smith and the reviled but nonetheless supremely talented O.J. Simpson are universally acknowledged to be in anyone’s top ten list.

Today, many would say no but once his shadow fades and he hangs up his cleats for good, only then will we really know where Tomlinson sits among the pantheon of the greatest ever to juke, jive and steamroll their way into the endzones of the NFL and the hearts of football fans everywhere.  Until then, did you hear that Adrian Peterson reads a book everyday and donates his entire paycheck to the United Way?

Vikings fans who want LT on board will be happy to see NFLshop.com is leaning their way. The site already is selling LT jerseys with a yet-to-be-determined number. For a mere $80 bucks, you can get one. What’s unclear is whether the NFL site is jumping the gun or breaking news.

LT: Minnesota Down, Heading To NY & The Jets

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As it turns out, L.T. could be returning to the Meadowlands.

Not the original L.T., who played for the Giants.  The new L.T., the nine-year veteran tailback and 2006 NFL MVP who is perched at eighth place on the all-time rushing list.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Tomlinson is scheduled to visit the Jets on Friday, if no deal is consummated in Minnesota.   L.T. was last seen leaving Minnesota with a Vikings jersey.

But if the Jets weren’t willing to pay Thomas Jones $5.8 million for 2010, they likely won’t cough up big money for L.T.  (It’s also possible that the Jets had a chance to pay Jones the same two-year, $5 million package he received from the Chiefs; if they opted not to do so, it’s unlikely that they would make a similar offer to Tomlinson.)  Have to love the Jets.

Apart from the money, Tomlinson wouldn’t be overshadowed by any of the team’s other running backs in New York, and he possibly could set himself up to make a bunch of extra cash in the many off-field opportunities that the Big Apple presents.  Think about L.T.’s face all over Times Square?  Will it still be Revis Island or LaDainian Square?  Also, the Jets climbed as far as the Vikings did in 2009 — and there’s every reason to believe they’ll be right in the thick of things in 2010.

And if playing the Chargers is a factor, it’s a wash in either city; both the Jets and the Vikings are next scheduled to play San Diego in 2011.  (Of course, either or both teams could play the Chargers in the 2010 postseason.)

Either way, the Vikings have gotten the first crack at signing L.T. — and the key factors remain price tag and buy-in by L.T. regarding his second-fiddle role to Adrian Peterson.