NFL Draft Prospects at NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival

This past Wednesday I had the opportunity to join Dr. Bill Chackes, Zennie Abraham, Julie Buehler, and others at the NFL Draft Media day event which was held during the NFL Play 60 Youth Festival at Chelsea Waterside Park.  It was a busy morning with every member of the press looking to get some words from Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

DSC_2515The Play 60 event was enjoyed by all the kids who participated and their families who watched.  Before the event, the kids had a chance to play Xbox 360 Kinnect games.  It got the kids going so they had energy for the real field.  All the players interacted with them in every capacity.  From throwing them passes to handing off the ball for running plays.  The kids ran combine drills and played small heads up games.

While the press flocked around RG3 and Andrew Luck for interviews, many of the other players stood waiting for their opportunity to be interviewed.  It took a while but every draft prospect did get their chance to answer questions.  It was hard to see some players just standing there with no one talking to them.  In the end, everyone had their quotes and every player was able to give their thoughts.

DSC_2499Roger Goodell thanked everyone for being there and the importance of the Play 60 program.  Mike Mayock of the NFL Network gave his opinions on the draft and where he thought the teams would find their best draft prospects.  It seemed more of a strategy session than an interview.

But in the end it was a success.  Not just for the NFL or the draft picks, but for the kids who participated.  The more interaction the players have with the youth of America, the more these kids will realize how important physical fitness is.

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2012 NFL Draft: The Season Begins Here

The NFL Draft means something to everyone, in their own way.

For the teams, it is a chance to obtain those missing pieces of a puzzle that was the Super Bowl last season.  Others looking for fresh, young blood to rejuvenate a team to push its way back into contention.  But to everyone involved in football, it is four days that could change the course of a teams season.
To the fans, everyone takes it differently.  To the casual football fan, it is a couple of days where teams pick college players in order to fill positions on their team.  To the frenzied fan of a team, the opportunity to retool and find some fresh faces to add to the veterans who can get the job done.  But to the die hard fan of the draft, it is a lot more.

The die hard fan plays out the draft the same way Robert Byrne and Bobby Fischer play a chess match.  All the players are lined up by position.  Moves thought out carefully.  Reacting to your opponent.  Thinking ahead to gain an advantage.  Studding statistics.  Know the advantage before a move is made.  The die hard fan knows these moves.

But to everyone, it is a look into what could be the future of a franchise or someone looking to keep their dream alive.

The draft is a magical time.  A time where any fan can see a potential hall of famer be named to their team of destiny.  A moment in time where a fan stops to imagine hearing their own name announced as a draft selection.  Draft day brings us one step closer to seeing how these new gladiators of the gridiron match up to their veteran counterparts.

Maybe its fitting the draft takes place in New York. A city where people come to from all over the globe to capture their dream. They come to see where their future lies. A city that has delivered to so many can now deliver to them.

Football fans will converge at Radio City Music Hall for four days to not just see who gets drafted, but to immerse themselves in the NFL experience.  Fan events, player interaction, and bickering between other fans makes this a precursor of a season to come.  Groundwork to be laid as to whose fans will have bragging rights next year.

You can ask any fan how they feel about the draft.  Everyone will mention at least one great signing and complain about 99 others.  Those are fans, that is what they do.  Fans are the best market research to let a sports franchise know how it is doing.  You can hear them loud and clear after each and every draft selection.  The teams conscience.

Every fan has some part of the NFL calendar they look forward to.  Some wait all year for the draft.  Why?  It is the official day where collegiate athletes become professional football players.  The NCAA to the NFL.  A transition.  The new breed that pushes the progression of football just one more notch on the game’s time-line.

The start of the 2012 season begins on Thursday.  The first major event on the NFL calendar for the new season.  Every franchise waiting, patient for their turn to select that next great player to represent their franchise.  The new face of the team marketing machine that entices fans like a circus ringleader.  To get you to cheer for the greatest game on earth.

And we do.

Not just because of that.  It’s the memories.  Being able to share that experience with others to smile and laugh about later.  Giving that next generation the lesson needed to stay educated on how the NFL draft works.  The Draft has become an event onto itself.  The Draft at Radio City is like the Allman Brothers coming to the Beacon Theater.  You know it is coming every year.  Planning ahead to make the necessary arrangements.

This is a big week for those players looking to be selected by the professional team of their choice.  Some fans looking to see if they predicted the same selection as their favorite team.  The anticipation could be a little more than some can bear.  But with fans from every team in attendance this week, it will be a week those players looking for a new home will not forget.  If the teams make a bad move, the fans will never let them forget.  So, are you ready?

New York Jets & Their Fans In Giants Shadow Once Again

Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan, and the rest of the New York Jets organization were likely turned off by the New York Giants celebrations.   The Jets always take a backseat to the Giants, and Tuesday they watched the Giants roar through Manhattan and return back to MetLife Stadium to continue the celebration.

Approximately 35,000  Giants fans welcomed home to MetLife Stadium their new Super Bowl Champions.  The crowd boomed as the Giants came through the tunnel and onto the field, and as they did, Justin Tuck took a moment to soak in the color. Everywhere he looked, in this stadium that two teams call home, all he could see was blue.

“Last time we did this it was in Giants Stadium,” Tuck said, as he stood on a stage at midfield, behind the Lombardi trophy. “Now we’re in MetLife Stadium.  “But one thing you can be sure of is whose house this is.”  The whole scene made it seem even more crazy to Giants co-owner Steve Tisch that people once thought New York would soon belong to the Jets.

With those words, the Giants put to rest once and for all the question of who really owns New York — a question that dominated the conversation when the 2011 season began. The entire city has been painted blue since the Giants beat the Patriots, 21-17, in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday night, from the Empire State Building to the Canyon of Heroes, all the way to City Hall.

President and CEO of the Giants, John Mara, spoke at the ceremony at MetLife stadium Tuesday afternoon. He said, “there’s no place like home.”  Justin Tuck ended his speech saying, “One thing you can be sure of is whose house it is.”

Woody Johnson and the Jets might have been sick when they heard these comments.  It is the last thing the Jets franchise wanted to hear.  MetLife Stadium was supposed to be their home as well, and they had to watch the Giants christen the stadium with the first championship in the new building.

If the Giants had any lingering doubts about fan support, they were erased when the Giants’ parade of buses came off the New Jersey Turnpike and drove through a parking lot full of tailgaters at the Meadowlands. It’s a sight Giants co-owner John Mara has seen often since his team began playing here in 1976.  A sight Jets fans are not used.  Being able to tailgate before a rally.

In some ways, seeing it on Tuesday afternoon meant even more to Mara than the parade.  “We just had an incredible experience going through the Canyon of Heroes,” Mara told the crowd. “But I have to tell you, when you pull into the stadium and see all these fans here, you know there’s no place like home.”

Justin Tuck giving fans a chance with the Lombardi Trophy

“To see this kind of fan support when you come out here, it’s hard to put into words,” an emotional Mara added after the ceremony was over. “The whole day is unbelievable. To watch these players come back here to our home (MetLife Stadium) and see this kind of enthusiasm is really the icing on the cake.”

The crowd went crazy when Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning carried the Lombardi Trophy into the stadium, and then Tuck carried it up onto the stage. They all intensely watched their own highlight video on the four scoreboards, before Tom Coughlin thanked them for their unwavering support.

The Jets organization and their fans looked forward to giving the new stadium its first championship.  Mark Sanchez would have carried the Lombardi trophy instead of Eli Manning.  Now, MetLife stadium will be know as the home of the 2012 Super Bowl Champion Giants.  Jet fans will see that distinction every time they visit MetLife Stadium.  There may not be a banner or mural, but it will be emblazoned in their minds.  Jet fans wanted to upstage their “big brother” and show they are one of the NFL’s eite

The Jets started the Giants’ championship run after a Christmas Eve embarrassment. The Jets thought this was their season. They thought that at the end of the year they would be New York’s team.  But once again, they are an afterthought to the World Champion Giants.

What now for the Jets? How does the Giants’ Super Bowl win impact the Jets?  The Jets were already looking to make changes this offseason. They took the first step when they parted ways with Brian Schottenheimer after their season ended.  Now they need to do right by their fans and gain their support rather than losing it.

That will not be enough. The Jets need to stop lying to the public about what their intentions are for the organization. For months we heard the Schottenheimer would be with the Jets in 2012 when everyone knew what the outcome would be.  Jet fans are tired of being looked down upon by the Jets and treated differently than Giants fans.

It is time for the Jets to try to steal the spotlight away from the Giants. What better way than to sign Peyton Manning?  The Jets have already been spoken of as a contender to land Manning, but after they watched Eli Manning parade around with the Super Bowl MVP trophy, it will make the Jets more serious contenders.

Peyton Manning will bring tremendous excitement to the Jets next season. If they don’t sign Manning, they will not have attention on them and will not have made any moves worthy of hype in New York.  Just think of the Brett Favre signing.  The Jets best press seems to come from off the field moves rather than on the field play.

Peyton would provide stories, speculation and expectations for the Jets going in to next season. Without him, the Jets are miles behind the Giants going into next season.  Peyton would be able to close the gap before the 2012 season.  Just the type of press coverage the Jets enjoy.

If the Jets do not have success with Sanchez next season, they will be looking for a change at quarterback anyways. They might consider making the change this season and take a gamble on Eli’s big brother.  Otherwise, MetLife Stadium will forever be known for the Giants championship victory and the Jets looking on as usual.

Giants quotes courtesy of the NY Post, WNBC, & WFAN.

This Sunday, Jets Fans Must Make Tough Decision

Super Bowl XLVI is here. We can’t avoid it, Jets fans.  Regardless of all the promises made and past AFC Championship appearances, we need to get through this Sunday.

Super Bowl 42, the Giants’ historic upset of the then undefeated Patriots was a bit easier to swallow for Jets fans.  I don’t recall many Jets fans, if any at all, cheering the Patriots to cap off the first unbeaten season since the ’72 Dolphins.  Especially since Eric Mangini selling out his former boss in the Spygate scandal sent the Pats on the destroy everything and take no names streak that brought them to the precipice of 19-0. If it took our city rival Giants to knock them off?  So be it, I guess.  Would have been better if it was the Jets, huh?

I may not have been one of the only Jets fans who wasn’t exactly enamored with the fact that the Giants won that game. Here was my rationale: by about Week 14 or so when the Patriots were steamrolling the NFL, I kind of made up my mind that the Pats were going undefeated and winning the Super Bowl. Who thought the Giants, or any NFC contender for that matter,  had a chance?  I had plenty of time to digest it so that when it happened, it wouldn’t have really mattered all that much.  And then when Plaxico Burress caught that pass in the end zone, I thought to myself “Now I have to hear about this from Giants fans the rest of my life.”  The fact the Giants defeated the undefeated Patriots instead of the Jets.

But this year isn’t as clear cut. After the Giants won that Super Bowl, it kind of became a Jet town. I know, I know, the Giants WILL ALWAYS OWN NEW YORK YOU STUPID JET FAN. But, the Jets signed Brett Favre for one weird season (they were Super Bowl faves at 8-3, then collapsed) and the Giants lost in their first playoff game after a great regular season. Then the Jets hired Rex Ryan, drafted Mark Sanchez and made two straight AFC Title games while Big Blue missed the playoffs.  Not your typical New Y0rk football seasons, huh?

And while the Jets have no one to blame but themselves for this most recent debacle of a season, everything was made worse by the Giants making the Super Bowl. Not only have the Giants made it again, their run started by essentially ending the Jets’ season in Week 16. Victor Cruz’s 99-yard touchdown reception sent the Jets one way and the Giants the other. The Giants two Super Bowl appearances basically takes everything a Jets fan could hang their hat on these past few seasons and demolishes it.

Then of course there are the Patriots. The last thing I want, as a New York sports fan, is for another Boston team to win a championship. Any agony of the Red Sox’ hilarious September implosion would be softened with another Patriots Super Bowl win. The Pats are the Jets’ chief rival, no matter if they share a city with the Giants. Had the Jets beaten the Patriots in both of their meetings this season, the Jets would have made the playoffs, so they have no one to blame but themselves for not knocking off New England (as Rex Ryan pleaded for the rest of the league to do). And what makes New England being back in the Super Bowl so unbearable for Jets fans is that the Patriots were so beatable this year.

The breaks both the Giants and the Patriots got on Championship Sunday are breaks that us Jets fans seem to never be on the right side of.  Ask any Jets fan and they’ll tell you that if Tynes was wearing green and white, he would have Cundiff’d it. Billy Cundiff is the new Ray Finkle.   Had Ahmad Bradshaw been a Jet, they would have never called his forward progress stopped, and that surely would have been a fumble. There’s no way a punt returner is muffing a kick and fumbling another one against the Jets in a title game. Of course it sounds like sour grapes because that’s exactly what it is. That’s what us Jets fans have been used to for so long.

There are millions and millions of people who would never not watch a Super Bowl, no matter what. For those fans of the Jets who will still watch on Sunday, who do you root for? There’s no such thing as watching a game just to watch it. Sports fans, no matter what they say, have a rooting interest in every game they watch. You either get a pit in your stomach when you watch a player celebrate a victory or your stomach turns. When Sunday’s game is over and either Tom Brady or Eli Manning is raising the Lombardi trophy, you’ll either wish it was the other guy or you won’t. So who do you cheer for?

If you hate all things Boston no matter what, you root for the Giants. If you have nothing but annoying Giant fan friends who you just want to shut up, you pull for the Pats. Maybe you want former Jets Shaun Ellis & Danny Woodhead to win a title.  Maybe you want Eli to win a second Super Bowl so that Peyton can’t stand the idea that anyone will think Eli is better than him, so he decides to come to the Jets to try to upstage his little brother. Maybe you’ll throw some money down and root for that — totally acceptable.

Either way, if you watch Sunday’s game, you’ll have a rooting interest. It’s a no-win situation for Jets fans. I will cheering on the Giants since my wife and her family are Giants fans.  Plus, I’d rather see a team from New York beat a team from New England.  Or you can be like some and not watch. That’s also acceptable.

New York’s Power Struggle Shifts From The Jets Back To Giants

The New York Jets controlled the big apple during the post season over the last two years. In fact, Jets fans like myself anticipated that the team would finally be the Kings of New York instead of the Giants. After all, since 2008 the Giants hadn’t come close to returning to the Super Bowl, while their former weak sisters nearly went there twice.  The Jets had control for once in New York.

But a whole new season can make a really big difference, considering where New York’s two teams are right now. Not only have the Jets free fallen into the murky abyss, they may have lost their chance to seize control of New York permanently at this rate while the Giants approach another Super Bowl.  Both teams were in control of their destiny this season.  The Giants took control while the Jets let control slide from their hands.

The beginning of the end can be traced back to the Jets-Giants showdown on Christmas Eve, when both teams were battling for the playoff fate.  A win for the Jets would have put them back on track for a postseason berth and another road run towards the AFC championship – while the Giants would have been doomed with a loss and probably cost Tom Tom Coughlin his job.

But the second that the Giants wrapped up a 29-14 victory, the two haven’t stopped going in the opposite direction. The NFC’s New York team won the NFC Championship & a win away from another Super Bowl victory that would give the Giants control of New York.  Meanwhile, the AFC’s New York squad has been revealed as the most dysfunctional in the NFL and is staying home during its utter collapse.

While the Giants prepared to face the San Francisco 49ers for  the NFC championship on Jan. 22, the Jets were dealing with yet another headline on their horrific chemistry in less than two weeks time. This time LaDainian Tomlinson, who already is halfway out the door, told Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” that the Jets had as bad a locker room as he’d ever seen and put the fault on both Rex Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum.  It seems Rex is not the only one who wants to let their voice be heard.

Now, Giants fans proudly wear their NFC Championship merchandise.  One more win and they have their Super Bowl merchandise as well.  Giants fans proudly support their NFC Champs while Jets fans have been waiting too long to be able to wear any form of championship merchandise.  Promises have been made but no delivery date has been set for Jets fans.  Somewhere in Kenya people are wearing Jets AFC Championship merchandise from 2010 and 2011.

Fortunately for them, New York is getting numb to all these ramblings about how bad the Jets were behind the scenes and it has the Giants to focus on. Right now, the Jets are the weak sibling and virtually irrelevant as anything but gossip fodder and a punch line – just like they have been for most of the last few decades. Ryan looked ready to finally turn it all around in the last two years, but now he is imploding right as Tom Coughlin and the Giants have rescued themselves from the brink.  Something the Jets have tried to do but never accomplished.

The Giants had no rally before their first post season game, which was a home game.  Something the Jets have done the past two seasons.  The media hype for the Giants was not as prolific as it has been for the Jets the past few seasons.  The Giants know their mission and what they need to accomplish on the field.  Big Blue didn’t need as much media hype or public events like the Jets have had in order to rally fan support.

The Jets made a nice run at New York supremacy, but it is a Giants town because it actually delivers championships and doesn’t fall to pieces quite like their cross-town rivals do. Right now, the only thing that can turn it around for the other New York team is if they actually land Peyton Manning (Vegas odds have it astronomical), or if the Giants get blown out by the Patriots. Other than that, it seems like the natural order is right back into place in the Big Apple.

Why Is New Jersey Ignored By Its Own Professional Football Teams?

Long ago, the Jets and Giants once played in New York.  Not anymore.

They play in New Jersey. Their training facilities are in New Jersey.  Their offices are also located in New Jersey.

If the Jets or Giants don’t want to acknowledge New Jersey in their names, then they should combine their efforts once again and move back to the Big Apple. The West Side Stadium project was a bust so the Jets had no choice but to partner with the Giants.  There is no team that plays in one state with the name of another in front of their name.

After the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, co-owner Steve Tisch proclaimed, “We play for the City of New York.”  Needless to say, that did not go over well with many people in New Jersey.  The past two seasons the Jets made the playoffs.  They held post season rallies in New York both years.  Why not hold those in New Jersey at the stadium they play in?

When the Giants won the Super Bowl, the parade is in New York City.  The Philadelphia Phillies didn’t have a parade in Trenton where many Philly fans reside.

Both the Jets and Giants play in New Jersey, a good percentage of their players live in New Jersey and many of their fans come from New Jersey.

They get subsidies and benefits from New Jersey.  The money made at MetLife Stadium benefits New Jersey, not New York.  The players have events and functions in New York more often than n New Jersey.

The Giants have have called New Jersey home for 36 years. The Jets, who don’t even have their own stadium, have been in New Jersey since 1984.  New Jersey is the second wealthiest state in the country.

Some of the most affluent people in the United States live here.  You don’t really think those millionaire athletes from New York, or Philadelphia live in those places, do you?  Maybe if you play for the Yankees, Mets, or Knicks.

I realize most people in the country don’t care. I don’t blame you, but you are not looked upon as New York’s little brother. Additionally, in obscurity and the misrepresentation that shows like “Jersey Shore”, “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, and “Jerseylicious” cast on us.

For someone who has lived in New Jersey all their life, I would like the state to be looked on favorably as two top NFL teams make their home here even though their name doesn’t show it.

The Giants have a rich tradition and history. The Jets, not so much.

New Jersey gave both teams the best deal, the best tax breaks and the worst possible method of getting to a stadium imaginable. At least along with the new stadium, and $15,000 PSL, they built a train station.

In 2012, the New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn. Something tells me they will not keep the New Jersey Nets name.  When the Devils came to New Jersey in the early 80’s, they did not keep the Colorado Avalanche name.

Look back at any sport and every professional sports team.  There has never been a team that kept their original place of origin as their name.  Even the Oakland Raiders changed to the Los Angeles Raiders when they moved.  They did not become the California Raiders just because they remained in the same state.

Lastly, the Statue of Liberty? It’s in New Jersey, not New York.

Sunday’s Jets/Patriots Game Critical For Team & Fans

For the past year and a half, New Meadowlands Stadium now MetLife Stadium has been home of the New York Jets. But Sunday will feel like their first game in the new billion dollar stadium.

When the Patriots come to East Rutherford in a gigantic AFC East match against Gang Green,  it will be a test to see if all those years of waiting will make this stadium be home to the Jets and their fans or just another upscale VIP event.

To date, this will be the Jets biggest game they will play in the new stadium.  But to the fans and everyone watching, will it feel like it. More importantly, will the Jets play as it is their biggest game played in MetLife Stadium.

For as long as I have been filming at MetLife, the former New Meadowlands Stadium, no one has enjoyed it.  Fans have had reason to hate the PSLs.  The fans hate the way it looks like a prison from the outside.  It has no life.  The stadium feels like a shell of something that could be grander.

The Jets want fans at MetLife Stadium on Sunday vs. the Patriots to give Gang Green an advantage they have yet to see at home.  They want the fans to be louder than they have ever been.  To show that the Jets can defeat their AFC rivals with confidence and certainty.  The Jets biggest opponent are themselves, and that needs to be defeated easily before they can defeat the Patriots.

But maybe this game is what the new stadium has been waiting for. Maybe Brady, Billichik, Ochocinco, and the rest of the Pats walking into the Jets home is what has been needed. The sight of the Justin Bieber wannabe has done it time and time again. The most memorable home game of Jets coach Rex Ryan’s tenure was his first. On that Sunday back in September of 2009, Giants Stadium vibrated as the Jets defeated the Patriots in an opening day battle.

The past three years has been a period of change for many sports fans, and not just of football. We’ve seen Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium torn down. Rising in their place have been buildings that seem to be more about profits than the roar of the fans, that prefer the upscale, casual sports viewer than the outspoken die-hard fan.

Since I started filming, I have heard stories & watched fans who saw Joe Namath play at Shea leave overpriced seats behind where they could have watched Mark Sanchez in a new stadium . Tales of longtime season-ticket holders fuming and forced out in droves have seen masses not come back to watch all their local sports teams.

For the Jets, MetLife Stadium was supposed to represent their first real home. The franchise has wandered like gypsies from other peoples home stadiums beginning with the Polo Grounds. MetLife is shared with the Giants, but the franchise does everything possible to make the stadium feel like home by making it look green on game day.  So fans feel like it belongs to them, not the Giants.

Like the new homes of the Mets and Yankees, though, the Jets are limited in how they can make MetLife stadium feel like home. Most of it has to do with what’s happening on the field & the green colors outside on game day. Yankee Stadium felt like doppelganger to some until they had their series with the Boston Red Sox during the opening season. Citi Field needs a Mets makeover before it becomes a tough ticket.  It has yet to feel warm and inviting to Mets fans.

On Sunday, it is zero hour for Gang Green and their fans. The Jets have a chance to see what their home field can truly sound and feel like. They have played 12 games at MetLife Stadium to date. Brett Favre’s return last year had the place shaking. The season opener with the Cowboys this year got loud when Joe McKnight blocked a punt in the fourth quarter.  But that is nothing compared to what the fans can truly sound like.

Nothing compares to the present, though. Bill Belichick and Brady enter this game vulnerable. With both teams at 5-3, this feels like an AFC Title game. It could determine whether the Jets bring a playoff game to MetLife this year.  Something the fans have demanded for years.  The ability to watch their team at home in the playoffs.  To give their Jets a home field advantage the likes the team has not seen.

Is that enough for those in the VIP boxes and Coaches Club sections to put down their over priced drinks and prime rib? Maybe Woody Johnson needs to sit with the real fans to find out what it truly feels like to be at a home Jets game.  At about 8:30 Sunday night come kick off, we’ll find out.

No Monopoly On Free Parking Around MetLife Stadium

Ever since I gave up my season tickets I have not been able to park by the stadium when I film my documentary.  One needs to obtain a parking pass to park on the premises.  For a PSL or season ticket holder, the offer is there when you buy your tickets.  Those who buy tickets for single games can buy a parking pass on Stub Hub, Craigslist, NFL Ticket Exchange, or other areas.  You may have to pay a little more than the season ticket holder but at least you get to park at the stadium.  For someone like me who is trying to save a couple bucks, trying to find a close place to park for free is not that easy.  Now it is almost impossible.

Last year I did some scouting of nearby locations and found one.  The Sheraton hotel right across Route 3.  It was close enough and provided free parking.  The one problem was the walk across Route 3.  It reminded me of the Activision game Freeway for the Atari 2600.  I was glad there was an overpass to use to walk right onto the stadium lot to make that rip easy.  Still had to watch out for cars, but it was a good walk.  Sometimes good things do not last long.

The second game of the season saw Stub Hub control the parking at the Sheraton.  They were charging $25 per vehicle to park there plus an additional cost for transportation to and from the stadium.  I told the attendant I was only going to the hotel.  He let me in so I was able to park for free.  That was the only time last season Stub Hub controlled the parking at the Sheraton.

Stub Hub Rates At The Sheraton

Other businesses around the stadium were charging for parking at various point during the season.  So those who tried to do what I did had no choice but to pay for parking wherever they parked.

The rest of the season no one controlled the parking at the Sheraton.  It was really the only place one could park close by for free and get over to the stadium.  I didn’t see too many other Jets fans there.  It made going to the game easy and hassle free.  The only issue was a long walk.  I did not mind that.  I thought I could rely on using the Sheraton parking as the place to park close for free in the future.  Was I wrong.

This season it appears every local business is charging for off site parking.  Stub Hub still charges $25 per vehicle at the Sheraton.  They also charge $5 to get over to the stadium and $5 to get back to the Sheraton per person.  Nice little program they have.  Homestead Suites next door charges $30 per vehicle.  It seems $25-$30 is the going rate for non stadium parking.  Many provide transportation but few still do not.

It seems every local business is that has a parking lot is trying to make extra money off the fans.  What seemed to be a way to keep some cash in the pocket is now a business venture for those looking to take that cash back out of the fans pocket.

From Redd’s Restaurant on Route 120 to others on Paterson Plank Rd, it seems many are off site parking for Jets and Giants fans.  If one has a residence close enough to MetLife Stadium, that individual could even charge for parking.  How could someone with a home do this? Easily.

Just do what the rest of the businesses do.  Apply for a permit through your town to provide the parking.  Albeit you should have sufficient space & offer transportation to and from the facility, but it can be done.  That is all these other businesses do.  They get a permit from the NJMC to be able to have permission to charge for parking.

To find out some of this information was not hard at all.  But I felt I was being deceived.  Last Sunday I was told from a Carlstadt officer to talk to a representative in the Parking & Concessions department at MetLife Stadium and a Lieutenant in the NJ State Police.   The officer said these people would have the information I was looking for.

So I started out by calling MetLife Stadium and instantly found the individual I was looking for.  The representative was very candid and spoke off the record so I will not be giving their name.  They said the stadium has no dealings or business with any outside party looking to charge or provide off-site parking for Jets or Giants games.  These parties have to go through the Meadowlands C Commission to get permission to charge for parking.

The Meadowlands Commission serves and the zoning and planning agency for a 30.4 square mile area along the Hackensack River covering parts of 14 municipalities in Bergen and Hudson Counties.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) issues a Certificate of Approval for an Outdoor Event (The outdoor event in this case is off-site parking for patrons attending events at NJSEA facilities).  The NJMC does not charge an application fee.

An application for an outdoor event is submitted to the NJMC for review with one copy of a site plan indicating the location of event areas.  The application is accompanied by copies of notification letters to Municipal Police and Fire Departments.  The NJMC must receive approval letters from both the Police and Fire Departments before issuing any approval.  Outdoor events shall not exceed a total of 14 days per property per year.

Applications must be submitted a minimum of 15 business days prior to the event. So far ten applications have been approved this year.  The NJMC only deals with the property management companies and not the business tenants.

Due to safety concerns regarding pedestrian traffic between the off-site parking locations and the NJSEA facilities, the municipal police departments require that pedestrians and vehicles be directed in a safe and orderly manner and that shuttle buses be provided continuously throughout the course of the events to prevent pedestrians from walking between the site and the NJSEA facilities.

The MetLife Stadium official endorses the use of shuttles from off-site parking facilities.  They do not wish to see people walking over Route 3 or other major highways to get to the stadium.  They also encourage the use of public transportation.  They prefer fans take buses or trains from the Secaucus Junction to get to the stadium.

So in the case of Stub Hub, they deal with the Sheraton directly.  The cost for their shuttle is optional as some opt to walk over to the stadium.  So one could drive to see what businesses are not charging for p[parking.  But one would have to consider their car might be ticketed or towed for parking illegally.  But some fans will take that risk just to save a couple bucks.

If you are one of many who purchase single game tickets and prefer to drive, look into a parking permit first.  You might end up paying face value for it of a few dollars more  It is better than the other options of giving your money to an off site lot and risk having a shuttle or not.  In my opinion, get the parking permit.  Parking at the stadium is more fun as it enables you to be able to tailgate.  Do not be the chicken who crossed the road.

New York Jets, Met Life Revel in Last Week’s Accomplishments

With MetLife purchasing the naming rights to New Meadowlands Stadium, the Jets got the first win in “The House That Snoopy Built” on Monday night, a 17-3 preseason win over the Giants.
Deemed the “MetLife Bowl,” the insurance company presented the Jets a trophy with Snoopy in leatherhead gear, holding a football in a Heisman pose.

Ryan grinned awkwardly, trying to look poised as he held a trophy for a preseason win.  It was a rare moment in the life of Rex Ryan. The Jets head coach didn’t know what to say.  Not too often Rex is at a loss for words.  Perhaps he is rehearsing in case he gets to hold the Lombardi trophy.  Then again, holding that trophy may not keep him quiet.

Now the Jets and Giants can take part in a Bowl, exclusive only to them, to battle for New York bragging rights.  The MetLife bowl sounds more suited for college than the NFL.  To some players, this could be the only bowl they get to play in.
This past Friday, players from the New York Giants and New York Jets rushed Manhattan’s Bryant Park in an unprecedented event that brought both teams together to celebrate MetLife Stadium with fans of all ages. The event was hosted by 1050 ESPN’s Mike Golic and numerous New York Jets and New York Giants were in attendance.

The New York Giants were represented by Head Coach Tom Coughlin with Eli Manning, Antrel Rolle, Brandon Jacobs, Chris Smee, Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks, Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, David Diehl, Kenny Phillips, Jason-Pierre-Paul, and Will Beatty.
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New York Jets had as their contingent Head Coach Rex Ryan, with Mark Sanchez, Darrelle Revis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Nick Mangold, Shonn Greene, Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, Bart Scott, D’Brickshaw Ferguson, Eric Smith, Sione Pouha, and David Harris

The event was held to commemorate the signing of a 25-year deal with the Jets and  Giants to name the East Rutherford, N.J. sports and entertainment complex. Game tickets and MetLife Stadium-branded hats, t-shirts and mini-footballs were distributed to the loyal and passionate fans who attended the event.  They did have green and blue shirts so fans from both sides felt equal.

The MetLife bowl was not just about a trophy, the Giants and Jets also battled for charity in their annual preseason game. The winning team received the MetLife Trophy as well as $40,000 for the charity of their choice, while the other team will be awarded $10,000. The Jets donated their share to The Trust for Public Land and the Giants donated their proceeds to KaBOOM!

“We had a great time bringing the fans and teams together in Bryant Park,” said Beth Hirschhorn, chief marketing officer of MetLife. “This is just one example of the exciting opportunities coming for fans in the months ahead, and we look forward to welcoming them at the new MetLife Stadium.”

At the event, New York and New Jersey fans interacted with active and retired Giants and Jets players and had multiple autograph opportunities. Vinny Testaverde, Wayne Chrebet, & oe Klecko were the veteran contingent for Gang Green.   Otis Anderson, Carl Banks, and Armani Toomer were there for the Giants.

Kids had a chance to participate in a “football handoff” from  Jets RB Shonn Greene or Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and had their very own Kids’ Zone where they could get close to players, have autographs signed and interact with the Peanuts gang.  It was a kids dream come true where there were no lines to wait on and all their favorite players around them. 

To those fans in attendance who could only stand by and watch the festivities, the players walked the perimeter and signed autographs for anyone who wanted.  The merchandise MetLife handed out proved to be great for capturing autographs.

Nick Mangold, who is a die hard fan of the fast casual chain Chipotle, was asked to comment on how great the food is.  His response was they already have enough positive attention and he did not need to add to it.

Through the naming rights sponsorship, MetLife plans to significantly expand the unique experiences available to fans, including tickets to big games, the opportunity to play on MetLife Stadium turf, face-to-face meetings with star players, field passes, trips to away games, signed memorabilia and much more.

Even though Monday nights win over the Giants was sloppy, it was a win.  Both teams will meet on December 24th during the regular season.  It will be a different story then.  No preseason bowl.  Just two teams looking to make a run at the playoffs and a true battle for New York supremacy.

If this past Monday night;s game is a precursor of how the teams will look this season, there is still a lot of work to be done.  With the regular season just 11 days away, both teams need to make big strides on both sides of the ball.  Even with MetLife on the new stadium, the Jets and Giants are in no ways insured they will be going to the Super Bowl.

Bing.com: Making Great Travel Decisions With Dhani Jones

Last Wednesday, I made the trip into New York City to attend an event sponsored by Bing.com.  Bing had as their special guest Cincinnati Bengals Linebacker Dhani Jones.  Dhani has pretty much seen it all when it comes to travel, and he has partnered with Bing Travel to provide his tips, recommendations and personal stories on traveling the world.  Go to www.bing.com/travel for video interviews and personal photo slideshows from Dhani’s travel, as well as more recommendations and his “Wish List” for future destinations.

Dhani Jones – NFL superstar, author of “The Sportsman: Unexpected Lessons from an Around-the-World Sports Odyssey” and former host of the Travel Channel’s “Dhani Tackles the Globe” – is not your average linebacker. Sure, he stands 6 foot 1 and weighs 235 pounds, but when he’s not on the field with the Cincinnati Bengals he is folding himself into an airplane seat and flying to wherever his abundance of curiosity takes him. Dhani began traveling at an early age with his parents; his father was in the military based in Southeast Asia, and they took family trips to Kenya, Thailand and Bermuda, among other places. It instilled a sense of wanderlust in Dhani that continues today.

Bing’s purpose was to let people know they could use Bing to find anything they needed when it comes to travel.  From choosing a destination to securing a hotel.  When it comes to travel, Bing will provide you information you need to answer any question to make your next vacation or day trip the most enjoyable.