Super Bowl Eludes Jets, Off Season Holds Many Questions

Well, the Jets went down to the Steelers 24-19.  When the Jets decided to defer the toss at the kick off, that was their undoing.  The Steelers held the ball for an opening drive that consumed over nine minutes.  The Jets defense was put to the test early and had to endure Rashard Mendenhall.  The 5’11”. 225 lb running back was forcing the Jets to stop him on the way to an opening drive touchdown.  With that opening drive, it was amazing to see the Jets defense have anything left for the remainder of the game.  The fans were behind them the entire time.  But on Twitter, some were giving up on them the minute the first half was over.  One began to read the old saying: Same old Jets.

By the time the Jets got going in the second half time was not on their side.  Key calls in the red zone by Brian Schottenheimer did not help the Jets case to score.  On a Third and goal, they should have run the ball instead of pass.  They ended up running on fouth down but were held at the one yard line by the Steelers defense.  With minutes to go in the game one can see the Jets were getting into the groove, but it was too little too late.  Even after a 4-yard TD pass to Jerricho Cotchery made it 24-19 with 3:06 remaining. The Jets never got the ball back.

To Rex Ryan, Same Old Jets means Namath and Weeb Ewbank and those Super Bowl III champions, the ones that had his father Buddy coaching the linebackers. His approach to years of heartache and predestination’s of doom was to blow it over with bombast, overwhelm it with arrogance.  So when Rex hears same old Jets, he has a different thought in mind.

Since Bill Parcells finagled his way back to the Meadowlands in 1997, the Jets are 16 games over .500 — 120-104. In the last 14 seasons they’ve finished below .500 just three times, and two of those were crash-and-burn deals after injuries to Chad Pennington.

That leaves just one season, the 4-12 year in 2007, that the Jets flat-out stunk as built and planned. Think that’s a bad deal? Ask around the league. Start in Cleveland. Peek in on Detroit.

In the last 10 seasons, this was the sixth playoff trip for the Jets. Defensive end Sean Ellis, drafted in 2000, played his 12th Jets playoff game Sunday. How many other players around the league have played as many for one team in the last 10 years? Tom Brady? Petyon Manning? Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward?

The Patriots, Colts, Steelers and Eagles are the only franchises to have played in more playoff games over the last 10 years than the Jets.  The Giants have played in half as many.  Of course, the Giants went to the Super Bowl, and won it. So did the Patriots, Steelers and Colts. That’s seven of the last nine championships.  None for the Jets.

Failure is relative. The Philadelphia Eagles have been to five NFC Championship Games in the last decade, lost four of them, and still haven’t won a Super Bowl.

The Buffalo Bills once lost four Super Bowls in a row. Now they’ve gone 11 seasons without even making the playoffs. Which way do you think the folks upstate would rather have it?

Maybe this is small consolation, after Vinny Testaverde’s Achilles and Chad Pennington’s wrist and Chad Pennington’s shoulder, and all those almosts — from the Mud Bowl against the Dolphins to the collapse of ‘86 and to halftime leads vanished the last two times before Sunday the Jets got this far.

Will fans think the Jets can get this far next year is the question.  Many will boast and say next year is the year they win it all.  But coming up is an off season with a lot of uncertainty.  Will LT and Jason Taylor decide to stay with the team, retire, or go elsewhere?  Braylon Edwars is anotehr big question mark.  With free agency, contracts to negotiate, and a possible lock out, no one can tell where the Jets are headed next season.

Also, after not making the Super Bowl and the Jets still not sold out of PSL’s and no PSL seats, how will this help their case to get them sold.  I am sure many fans were on the fence and wanted to see how the season ended.  The Jets can not market the team as a Super Bowl team, but only as a playoff contender.  Two years in a row and this year was their second biggest game in the teams history does not bode well for sales.  They will get some hoping the Jets win their division and get at least one home playoff game.  But considering how strong New England is and will be, that is another uncertainty.

The fans had one hell of a ride though.  They followed the Jets no matter where they played to get to the Super Bowl.  Some Jets fans were happy they were on the road.  They had an opportunity to buy seats in lower parts of stadiums they would never have done in the PSL ridden seats at the Meadowlands.  That is one positive being able to see the Jets on the road.  Being able to purchase seats in any part of the stadium.  If the Jets had home playoff games, many single ticket buyers would be relegated to the upper bowl.  Makes sense to me why some would rather travel to see Gang green.

The Jets organization has a lot to do both on the field and off before next season.  Not only do they have their team to lock up, but their ticket holders as well.  With many open seats, they can consider some fans free agents.  What will the organization do to get those investors into those seats before next season.  What will the offers be.  How will they market those seats to the potential investors?

The Jets have been heavy on marketing over the years, the same way Jerry Jones has done with the Dallas Cowboys.  Will that marketing and the heavy calls their sales team makes be enough to convince investors to buy their share of the stadium?  No matter how well the Jets do and how excited the fans get, it always comes back to one old saying if the Jets never win that elusive Super Bowl.  Same Old Jets.

Jets Fans Love To Hate Their Team

Once again, this weekend the Jets proved many wrong, including their own fans.  Many had the Jets already losing even before they hit the field.  The Jets did their trash talking and backed up their words.  This was one game they knew they had to win.  Going back up to face New England on their home turf they could not have an outing like last time.  They outplayed and out-coached the Patriots.  They sacked Tom Brady for a record five times and shut down his passing game.  That was a big issue they needed to overcome from their last meeting.  An issue that was not a factor that is making them look to Pittsburgh and a 2nd AFC Championship game in two years.

Jets fans are on a high right now.  One they would like to ride all the way to the Super Bowl.  But some are not feeling the rush.  Some still feel they will blow it against the Steelers.  From the start of the season through the Patriots playoff game, many Jets fans always have doubt in the back of their minds.  For some reason, they feel they will return to the Jets team we have all grown accustomed to.  No matter how much they win we still have not gotten used to them as a franchise that wins.  I think maybe until they actually win a Super Bowl, then the fans might just think differently.

Many fans I have talked to always get behind the team.  But for some reason, when the team has one or two down games, then the bashing comes out.  Almost like Randy Quaid’s character in Major League 2.  He starts off the season as a die hard Cleveland Indians fan, but the minute things go south, so does he on the team.  By the end of the movie, he keeps saying how the team will blow the divisional series, blow the game in the ninth inning and so on.  But once Wild Thing Vaughn got his old haircut and attitude, he came back around.  Jet fans have the same demeanor.

We constantly think the Jets will blow whatever opportunity is presented them.  If they win, we say we knew they would win.  If they lose, we say the same old Jets showed up.  As it stands now, many fans are riding the high that are victories over New England and Indianapolis.  Something that has been done one other time in the past eight years.  Many sportscasters and commentators even though the Jets were going to lose.  Joe Benigno, a die hard Jets fan,  from WFAN even said the Jets were going to lose against New England.  As Jets fans,  we have a problem picking them to win in the biggest of games.

For as long as I can recall, many Jets fans have been doubters.  Season after season of disappointments.  Close calls in 1982 and 1996 AFC Championship games.  Even in previous seasons of great hype, the fans never believed it.  There has always been a collapse at the end of the season.  Or an early elimination in the playoffs.  But this year, there is a new spark.  A new fire that has been lit that seems to grow stronger with each game.  The fans keep feeding that fire.  For the first time I can recall, fans have one thing they have not had previous years, hope.  They believe in a team that believes in them.  That is what has driven this years team to where they are.

Jets fans will always be skeptical of what team shows up on the field.  Many are expecting the Jets to beat Pittsburgh and face destiny in the Super Bowl.  Others, will expect them to lose, blow the big game like the Jets always do.  But this is not your father’s New York Jets.  This is a new determined team.  One that is tired of the old labels the media has put on them.  A team that has shed the stigma of the losing seasons of old.  But some fans will never let them forget.  NEver let them go back to what they were, and what could be.  The fans, especially the management, do not want the same old Jets ever again.

Jets Fans Could Pay For Seats They May Not Sit In Next Season

For the second year in a row, Jets fans have to travel to support their team in the playoffs.  I know many would love to be able to drive to the Meadowlands to watch the Jets, but that can not always happen.  Some enjoy going from stadium to stadium to watch games.  Other care to stay at their home stadium because it is familiar and easy to get to.  But in my experience, I never minded going to an opposing teams stadium.  I find it a great experience to see games in other arenas or stadiums, no matter the modernization.  Some are not happy in an old style stadium and want the huge screens, lounges, and easy access from highways.

I have only been to other stadiums for baseball games and hockey games.  I have not ventured out and been to another stadium to see the Jets.  But from where I have been, they have been great experiences.  Just because a stadium is not state of the art does not make it a worse place to watch a game in that one that is.  I had an individual who is behind a Jets blog and message board try to tell me differently.  He believes the New MEadowlands Stadium is worth every penny he pays and would not have it any differently.

This individual proceeded to say how other stadiums do not compare to the New Meadowlands Stadium.  He prefers huge video screens, easy to find stadium, escalators, expensive food, and seating outside in the cold.  He said his Jets PSL and season tickets are his vice and is willing to spend as much as he can on them.  He does not care how much money he lays out.  From reading some of his columns and posts on his boards, he is a Jets sheep.  He does what the Jets want and doe not question their motives no matter how much they ask from their fans.  These are the consumers the Jets look for, ones who are willing to spend and not question it.

Myself, I love going to older stadiums to watch a game.  I already have vision loss so I need binoculars to see any video screen, no matter the size.  Half the fun of going to a game is in the travel.  When I went to Hartford and Rentschler Field, I loved the trip to a new area and different stadium.  As far as escalators and elevators, I prefer to walk.  After eating all that food at a tailgate it is great to walk it off however one can.  I also only buy coffee in the stadium, if it is a cold game.  Why pay such high prices on mediocre food?  Everyone has different opinions.  But why spend unnecessarily if one does not have to?  Just to show you have disposable income?

Some who have the money do want to spend it on football and other sports.  That is their vice.  Some might take vacations, have a timeshare, or invest in the market.  Others buy season tickets and PSLs.  It just amazes me though some people spend more than they have to.  I have not heard anyone rave about the food in the Coaches Club section.  The free food tastes like it was given to the stadium for free.  For the money people are paying, I am sure the stadium could have invested in a catering company that would treat their shareholders a little better.  So is the money some lay out really worth it?

With the potential of a lock out next season, many fans will be upset over no football.  Especially those financing their PSL’s.  They will put money down on tickets and not even get a chance to see any games.  Money well spent.  That is a drawback to those spending big money on the PSL’.  You have to keep paying installments even if there is no football season.  So sometimes being the one who pays for the non PSL seats in the upper deck can come out the winner.  The lockout may not even go on for the whole season.  No one knows at this point.

The downward economy, unemployment and job losses, NFL lockout, and other factors have not been kind to the Jets over the past few years.  With the Jets still not sold out of PSL and non PSL seats, how will a lock out help the sales?  Not just that, how will the fans feel about paying for seats they may not use for a season?  A lot of factors had lead to fans being disappointed in the past and not keeping their tickets.  How will a supposed lockout affect those who just became season ticket holders?  Lot of questions to be answered in the next few months.

Not many critics are giving the Jets a chance this Sunday.  They can pull out a sneaky win, but they have to be a team they have yet to be.  Fans are aching for Gang Green to pull out an upset against the Pats in Foxboro in the playoffs.  It would be bittersweet if they did.  This could be the last Jets game many see depending on the lockout situation.  Not many players will commit to an 18 game schedule if the owners want to pay them less.  So right now, they are far from an agreement.  Things are not looking good for next season.  So get your ticket and PSL money ready for a season one many not see.

Jets On The Road To Lead Fans To Super Bowl?

Well, it seems the Jets beat The Stomach.  It was their year to beat Peyton Manning and the Colts in the playoffs.  The Jets did what they needed to do.  The ran the ball and forced their defense to stop them on the ground.  Darelle Revis held Reggie Wayne to just one yard.  Revis Island was more like Revis Prison.  Even though Manning was not sacked, intercepted, or blocked in any way, his presence on the field did not deter the Jets from accomplishing the first step in their goal, going to the Super Bowl.  Most importantly, Nick Folk stepped up and kicked the Jets into the next round against New England.  He showed he wanted to be an integral part of the team.

So the Jets are rolling in the playoffs for the second year.  The only thing that can stop them is themselves.  Many fans, including Fireman Ed made they way out to support the Jets on the road.  The main drawback to playing all road games is no Jets season ticket holder gets a chance to get those tickets first.  One has to see how they can procure them on the open market.  For the second year in a row, the Jets are in the playoffs and no home games.  So as you invest in the team with your PSL’s, it does not guarantee you a dividend of playoff tickets unless there is a home game.  They can play on the road every year and no Jets season ticket holder will have first access.

For many, they can not make it to away games, especially playoff games.  Getting time off from work, family, and other commitments make it difficult for some.  Some love to go to away games and factor that into every season.  For some, they feel it i cheaper to go to an away game.  Tickets are less.  Yes one has to pay travel and hotel expenses, but that can cost less that investing in a PSL and season tickets.  Ken Pikowski is one of those fans.  He talks about how ticket prices are cheaper in other stadium he attends.  This coming form someone who used to have six season tickets along the 50 yard line in the old stadium.

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Foxboro is not as far as Indianapolis, so there might be more Jets fans willing to make the trip.  Always a good feeling for the away team to know their fans are in the stadium to cheer them on.  It is that little extra motivation that can help a team win away from their home.  For those who have the buses, Winnebago’s,   campers, trailers, and any party vehicle on wheels, it makes the tailgating experience a little easier.  One gets to bring a little bit of home with them to away games.  But nothing beats sitting in the seats you sit in every game at your home stadium.

Many fans are hoping the Jets can win their division or get at least one home game in in the future.  Getting those post season games as a season ticket holder makes the season bearable.  When many invested in the team, they were hoping the Jets would get some playoffs games in the New Meadowlands Stadium.  But when ones makes an investment and it pays no dividends, why keep that investment?  I have said many times, many keep it to pass down to their kids.  But what about the ones who hope to sell them.

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If the Jets were a team who had home playoff games and fans knew they could count on those tickets every year, people could sell the PSLs at a higher profit margin.  Fans would want those tickets more than the season tickets.  For some reason, the playoffs just bring out more in a team.  Playoff tickets go for big bucks on their own.  Imagine if the Jets were a team, who won their division several times like other teams, and someone sold the season tickets knowing he could up the price because they were a home playoff team?  Look at New England, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and other NFL teams.  Their fans know that when their team is strong, home playoff games are on the horizon.  Jets fans want the same thing.

So it seems this year is a year many fans will remember.  Not just because Rex Ryan made a promise to beat Peyton Manning and did, but because of a new era with a new stadium.  It was a new season that had many firsts, from designated parking to social media interaction.  The Jets stock price is slowly climbing.  But the parking stock has already skyrocketed.  Keep in mind, both the PSL’s and parking passes are investment.  They do not come together as an investment.  If you have them together, now you have a Jets portfolio.  Not easy to invest in a team in this new era of sports.

Not All Jets Shareholders Created Equal

This coming Saturday marks the second season in a row the Jets will face Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs.  It seems Rex Ryan and Peyton Manning have this little feud.  Rex tries to figure out Manning and Manning can figure Ryan out.  But this is different year. The Colts rank 29th in run defense and are riddled with injuries.  This is the Jets year to beat the Colts.  Much like it was the Fink’s year to beat The Stomach in Meatballs.  The tools are there for the Jets.  Now all they have to do is be the team that was on the field against Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

This was an up and down year for the Jets organization.  Even though the team is in the postseason, it does not mean sales and merchandising stops for the team.  This is where they hope to make a little extra.  The Jets are expecting sales of merchandise, Jets themed party favors, and other branded goods to be purchased so fans can show their Jets pride.  For some reason, some always feel the need to have something new.  Could be a hat, t shirt, jersey, or even a coffee mug.  There is that need to buy more and show how big of a fan you really are.  Not like the one who has the most Jets merchandise is the biggest fan.

This past week I spent time with many Jets season ticket holders, new and old.  Some I met for the first time and others I was catching up with.  Many agree that for the money they spent, or invest in their team they do not see much of a return on their investment.  Many still complain about the parking, the look of the stadium, the lines,and other small items that seem to range from tailgate to tailgate.  It just shows that no matter what the Jets do, they can not please everyone about everything.  They do try.  But depending on who you ask, they do not try hard enough.  That the team only tries to cater to those willing to spend major bucks on Coaches Club seats and suites.

Seems the more you invest in the team, the better your return.  When one invests in stock, no matter the amount, they always get the same dividend per share.  It does not matter how many shares you have.  Weather you have one share or a thousand, it is the same dividend per stock certificate.  The onlt difference is how many votes you have and say in company business.  With PSL’s, the more you spend, the better your experience.  So the guy upstairs get what he pays for, very little.  So even though you have a seat, the ones who paid more for theirs, have a better experience.  But according to some I talked to, they would rather sit upstairs that down stairs.

Some younger fans, the ones who are just happy to have season tickets are glad to be in the upper deck.  They have complete view of the field, screens, and everything that goes on.  Some of those fans also said that the downstairs seating has such a sloped seating structure that you can have obscured sight lines if there is a tall person in front of you, people stand, etc.  While upstairs, the seating is steeper so your view is not obstructed by anything.  They feel it makes for a greater experience and would never pay more for a lower seat.  Others are the opposite.  They want to be as close as possible to the game no matter who is in front of them, as long as they have a close seat.

Keep in mind, everyone will have a complaints no matter what stadium they go to.  They can not please everyone all of the time.  There will always be people saying how something is not fair, how prices are too steep, or how their coffee is too hot.  But when it comes to season ticket holders, they are the teams investors and they should all be listened to.  There really is no more waiting list, people can get seats and PSLs if they want to now.  So the demand is not there like in seasons past.  The team would be wise to listen to its stockholders from this point forward.  And not just the ones who stand 15 feet from the teams bench.

So with the Wild Card round coming up soon, Jets fans are salivating at getting revenge on the Colts from last year.  Those who go to Indy will have a grand time, just like they did last year.  Those or here at home, will be rooting from the comfort of our living room or local watering hole.  There is an advantage to not seeing a game at the Meadowlands, but rather at home, restaurant, or bar in New Jersey.  That would be cheaper beer prices, better food, and the ability to sit with your friends.  I know beer prices in New York can be steep.  IS the investment worth eight games a year, not counting preseason?  That is still up for debate.

Jets Tailgating: One Era Ends, Social Media Spawns Another

Sunday the Jets faced the Bills and defeated them with ease.  They also did it with their second and third string players.  Even though they faced the Bills, they showed they wanted to go into the playoffs with a head of steam and prove they can hang with the big boys.  Sometimes when your backs are against the wall and your critics doubt you, you have to prove them wrong.  All Jet faithful hope they can bring that same energy into the playoffs when they face Indianapolis.  They will need it against Manning and the Colts.

Out of the eight home games, the Jets had five games that had rain or other bad weather.  Luckily today, it ended before the game started.  As usual, I got there as early as possible.  They let tailgaters in at 8 AM.  With the fog and rain this morning, there were not too many people on line to get in.  Many arrived about 30 minutes to an hour before kick off.  You can tell who the die hard fans are.  They are the ones who will get there as early as possible and tailgate in any weather.  While trekking across the lots to get to the non PSL parking, one can see where they true fans were.  The Non PSL parking closest to the stadium had a decent amount of vehicles.  It seems the further out from the stadium you go, the more passionate the fans.

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Met up with a crew that saw its tailgating numbers drop form about twenty to six or so.  Two of those are newcomers who they met this season.  They all talked about how many lines they have to stand in.  From the minute they leave their parking are to the minute they have to get to their seats.  They have to cross two elevated bridges and stand in lines to get into them.  Then the lines to get into the stadium.  Lines again to get onto the escalators to get to their upper tier seats.  So no matter where they go in the stadium, they have to wait on lines.  From their parking spot to their seat it takes about thirty minutes.  And this is the non PSL parking section closest to the stadium.

Their belief is the real fans are the ones who will be there no matter what.  Not show up less than an hour to go before kick off, pull into their green parking spot, and walk right into the stadium.  The true fans are out there in any weather and make tailgating a part of the true game day experience.  These are fans who had lower level seats in the old stadium, but because their pockets are not so deep they had no choice but to move to the upper tier of the stadium.  Many share their sentiment, that the true fan was pushed upstairs to make way for the corporate or business ticket holder.

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My associate Sixto and I took the elevated bridges over to see what they were talking about.  I feel bad for those who have to wait on line like cattle moving through there.  I can see why it can take forever.  We walked across the green parking to the yellow side.  There were not too many cars in the green lots, and this was around 10 AM.  By the time we made it to the yellow parking we could see there were more people set up, still overcast and the occasional drops were falling.

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I had a chance to talk with Cesar and Mark from the Jet Pack.  They were established back in 1968 and had dozens upon dozens of people at every tailgate.  This year, it was just them and maybe a few others sporadically.  They have set up in a new location since their old one no longer exists.  Even if they do not have their many friends or fellow Jet Pack members with them, they will still be out there every game.  Their love of their team is what keeps them going.  It does not matter if the others do not have tickets, they will keep going to every home game.  After 40 plus years and countless organizational changes, these guys are the real fans.  They know who the true fans are.

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After Cesar, I met back with with David Fier.  I first interviewed David two years ago.  David tailgates in Lot L with Guyton, the Godfather of Lot L and the other tailgaters they bring.  Guyton is one of those long time fans that tells stories like you were listening to your own grandfather, or father depending on your age.  His story about meeting Joe Namath after being in the military is a great story.  David takes his own money and feeds everyone at his tailgate.  He spends around $1,000 per game on food, drinks, and much more to give his friends a good time not just before the game, but during as well.

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David is one of a rare type of Jets fan.  David used to have season tickets in the lower tier of the old stadium, not too far from the 50 yard line.  But once the PSLs came about, he decided not to spend his money.  The PSL’s for that area would have been $25000 per seat and he had four seats.  Add the $700 per ticket per game to those seats and you have a $128K price tag.  He did not want to move upstairs as he looks at that as a step backwards.  Why after so many years of making his way down to the lower section would he want to go back up again?  He would rather spend around $1000 per game tailgating and stay in the parking lot.  This is a generous person.  He feeds his friends and weary tailgaters for free and watches the game from an HDTV in the back of his truck.

Not too far from there was the L7 Tailgate crew who was started on Twitter. Yes, Twitter.  They set up under the L7 sign in, obviously, Lot L7.  It was an interesting tailgate.  If you mentioned your name, you got a look.  If you mentioned your Twitter handle, people knew who you were instantly.  The main guys behind this tailgate were @L7Tailgate and @Fear_The_Panda.  They met in college and seeing as they were both Jets fans, decided to get season tickets together.  When they decided to tailgate, they put it out across Twitter to anyone who wanted to join them.  Then the Twitter handle #L7Tailgate was created to make it more official.  From their start they have had as little as 10 people to as many as 50.

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The more they Tweeted about the tailgate, the more word got around.  Many Twitter users followed @L7Tailgate and everyone else helped to spread the word.  Tweeters like @laportal @greenlanternjet of CBSNewYork.com, @Fear_The_Panda, @e_man of JetsTwit, @LaurNYJ, @MikeCatNYJ, @Double_O_Six, @MissJtotheK, and many others.  This is the first time I have heard Twitter or social media be used to fuel a tailgate party.  I know there are a few blogs that talk tailgating, but those tailgates did not get started from social media or the internet.

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The L7 Tailgate is free as well.  They prepare food for everyone.  Plus, you can bring what you want and add to the festivities.  They have developed their own tailgate food, called the “Rex Ryan”.  I finally had a chance to sample this caloric overload.  It is a hot dog, wrapped in cheese, wrapped in a hamburger, wrapped in bacon.  Yes, it is just as tasty as it sound.  It is named the Rex Ryan because it is big, obnoxious, and they love it anyway.  It was a really fun and welcoming tailgate to be a part of.

From there we ventured over to the Jet Nuts.  These guys can be spotted by their bus, their third one for the past 21 years.  These guys may have to call it quits.  They are about $2500 in the hole as they charge at their tailgate.  They have seen numbers diminish this year due to, what else, the PSLs.  So they are not seeing the return on their investment like in previous years.  If they can make that money back before ticket money is due by raffles or auctioning off memorabilia, then the Jet Nuts will be back next season. The Jet Nuts mainly get their contingent from word of mouth.  They rely on others to spread the word to get people to come to their tailgate.

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My main reason seeing the Jet Nuts was to talk with William Born.  He is the main Jet Nut.  The patriarch if you will.  Bill has been going to games since the first days at Shea.  He reminds me of that father or grandfather who can captivate your attention with his recollection of previous seasons.  A very humble, likable guy.  A quiet type whose conversation speaks louder than his voice.  Bill watches the game from the bus.  He can not walk to the stadium.  The bus parking is too fair from the stadium.  He has never stepped foot in the new stadium.  A man of his years and mileage with the team can not even go inside to watch the team he loves.

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He lets his kids, grandkids, and other relatives go inside for him.  There is a family member or two that will stay with him as they watch the game in the comfort of their bus.  As I sat there talking with him, I felt like I wanted to carry him to the stadium.  I did what I could to keep the conversation going, it was just a great moment.  Bill even knows that the ones who are in the stadium now are not the real fans, but corporate ones.  People who have money to spend and not true Jets fans.  NO matter the age, there is a like minded pattern here amongst the true Jets fans.

It seems the veteran tailgate groups rely on word of mouth, friends bringing friends and family to help populate their tailgates.  The new younger fans know how to use social media to their advantage.  Plus, the Jets players interact with the fans via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets.  It helps create a more fan friendly environment between fans and players.  Plus, tailgate groups have websites and Twitter handles now.  The Jet Nuts have a website too.  So one can just send out a Tweet and let others pass it along to get people to come on by.  Word of mouth is still good, as many have relied on that for years.

But the torch has been passed to a new, younger, technically inclined fan.  When you see Jets players thanking Tweeters on the jumbotron during the games, you know there is a change in the air.  The younger fans still are not willing to part with money too fast.  Some from the L7 Tailgate will not buy tickets next year.  College comes first and money needs to go to that before any season tickets.  The newer fan is anxious to get their seats and see the games while the more veteran season ticket holders care more about being treated fairly by the organization.

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This season was very different from previous years.  Not just because of the new stadium, PSL’s, and rejuvenated team.  But for the first time, there was finally unity amongst many of the fans.  Jets fans held their head higher, than in previous years.  They see a difference in the team and it showed in the way they celebrated before every home game.  I see more fans wearing their green and white away from the game more than ever.  Then once tailgating, there is more pride.  I am sure in future seasons, that pride will be there.  Unless fans once again say, “Same old Jets”. Let us hope they do not return.  The fans will always let them know.  Especially in the parking lot.

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