NFF Announces 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class

From the national ballot of 76 and a pool of hundreds of eligible nominees, Archie Manning, chairman of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, announced last Tuesday May, 15th the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision Class, which includes the names of 14 first team All-American players and three legendary coaches.

  • Charles Alexander-TB, LSU (75-78)
  • Otis Armstrong-HB, Purdue (70-72)
  • Steve Bartkowski-QB, California (72-74)
  • Hal Bledsoe-SE, Southern California (61-63)
  • Dave Casper-TE, Notre Dame (71+73)
  • Ty Detmer-QB, BYU (88-91)
  • Tommy Kramer-QB, Rice (73-76)
  • Art Monk-WR, Syracuse (76-79)
  • Greg Myers-DB, Colorado State (92-95)
  • Johnathan Ogden-OT, UCLA (92-95)
  • Gabe Rivera-DT, Texas Tech (79-82)
  • Mark Simoneau-LB, Kansas State (96-99)
  • Scott Thomas-S, Air Force (82-85)
  • John Wooten-OG, Colorado (56-58) – selected from the FBS Veterans Committee
  • Phillip Fulmer- 152-52-0 (74.5%) Tennessee (1992-2008)
  • Jimmy Johnson- 81-34-3 (70.0%) Oklahoma State (79-83) & Miami (Fl.) (84-88)
  • R.C. Slocum- 123-47-2 (72.1%) Texas A&M (1989-2002)

“We are extremely proud to announce the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Manning, a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Ole Miss.  “Each year the selection process becomes increasingly more difficult, but George Corrigan and the Honors Court do an amazing job of selecting a diverse group of the most amazing players and coaches in our sport’s rich history.  This class is certainly no exception, and we look forward to honoring them and celebrating their achievements throughout the year ahead.”

The 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Subdivision (FBS) Class will be inducted at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December, 2012 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.  They will be honored guests at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2, 2013 and officially enshrined in the summer of 2013.

The announcement was made from the NASDAQ OMX Marketsite in Time Square, which has hosted the event the past four consecutive years.  XOS Digital produced the NFF web streams for the second consecutive year.  Enjoy video for the years inductions into this year’s College Football Hall of Fame.

Jets, Dolphins Rivalry: Always A Battle For The Ages

This past Sunday was a day Jets fans will never forget.  A lopsided loss to one of their biggest rivals, the New England Patriots.  But if there is one other team the Jets fans hate as much as the Pats, it is the Miami Dolphins.  This Sunday the Jets place at the Meadowlnds to redeem themselves not just to themselves, but to their fans.  For as long as I could remember, this way always a home game I looked forward to.  When my brother and I were younger, my father would take us to four home games each.  We both battled over who would go to the Dolphins game.  Just like the Patriots, facing the Dolphins just brings out the inner warrior in every Jets fan.

One my of earliest Jets game memories was from a Dolphins game.  I was about 7.  A few rows in front of us were some Dolphins fans.  They were talking up a storm.  The Jets fans around us were saying stuff back and the banter kept going.  I was quiet the whole time.  The minute everyone around was quiet you hear a tiny voice scream out”Miami sucks!”. The Miami fans turn around puzzled what diminutive voice could have said that.  The fellow Jets fans around told them to turn around and not to care where it came from.  I was getting pats on my back, fans around telling me good job and way to go.  My father could not stop laughing.  I will always feel that way.

They have often competed for divisional supremacy, and have played a number of classic, memorable games. Currently, the Jets hold the advantage in the all-time series with a record of 47-42-1, while the Dolphins have won the lone postseason meeting, defeating the Jets in the 1982 AFC Championship.

The Jets were established in 1960 and the Dolphins in 1966; both as members of the now defunct American Football League.  After the merger of the AFL and NFL in 1970 the Dolphins and the Jets were placed in the AFC East, guaranteeing that they would meet twice a year annually.  The rivalry has stayed intense through the years as both teams are always competitive against one another no matter what the standings indicate.  The rivalry also keeps a high intensity because of the large amount of transplanted New York Jets fans that retire to South Florida.

Prior to the New England Patriots rise to dominance in the early 2000s, the Jets and Dolphins regularly contested for the AFC East title (along with the Buffalo Bills in the early 1990s).  Upon the Dolphin’s joining of the AFL in 1966, the Jets were laying the seeds for their 1968 Super Bowl III victory. After the Jets Super Bowl victory in 1968, the Dolphins began their ascension to the top of the NFL, culminating back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1972 and 1973. The 1972 season also Miami finish with a 17-0 record; the only NFL team to finish the regular season and post-season without a loss or tie.

When the Dolphins joined the AFL in 1966, the Jets were ascending the ranks of the AFL powerhouses on the arm of quarterback Joe Namath. The Jets won the first eight contests against the Dolphins. When the Dolphins finally posted their first winning record in 1970, injuries plagued Namath and the Jets stumbled to a 4-10 record. Thanks to Namath’s inability to consistently stay healthy, the Jets never posted a record above .500 in the 1970s. Meanwhile, the Dolphins quickly surged to the NFL’s elite after the AFL-NFL merger, peaking with one the first and so far only undefeated season in NFL History 1972 and back-to-back Super Bowl wins in Super Bowls VII and VIII.

The 1978 season began a string of Jets success against the Dolphins that ran into the early 1980s. Entering the 1980 season, the Dolphins were aiming toward another playoff run, while the Jets were struggling. The Jets won a total of only four games. Two of those games were wins over Miami:17-14 in New York on October 27, and 24-17 in Miami on December 20. Miami went on to finish with a record of 8-8, but it was the season sweep by the Jets that largely cost them their chances of a playoff berth.

The mid-1980s saw both teams become simultaneously competitive for the first time, beginning with a battle for the AFC East in 1981. That season also saw the only tie in the series, a 28-28 stalemate in Miami. The game lead tied or changed on every score; in the first half Jet leads of 7-0 and 14-7 were answered by Miami touchdowns. Miami took a 21-14 lead in the third but in the fourth touchdowns by Wesley Walker and a Richard Todd pass to Bobby Jones offset a Don Strock touchdown to Nat Moore. In overtime neither team could advance the ball, ending the game deadlocked.

The tie became crucial in the final standings; had the Jets won the game, combined with their 16-15 home victory during the season, they would’ve clinched the division on a tiebreaker. Instead, Miami won the division by one game. Still, the Jets’ 10-5-1 record allowed them to clinch their first postseason berth in twelve seasons. but they lost to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round, 31-27, while Miami lost a 41-38 overtime epic to the San Diego Chargers.

With the conclusion of the 1981 season the Jets had won seven of the previous eight meetings with the Dolphins with the one tie. Miami, however, returned to the rivalry’s fore in 1982, a season that saw the apex of the rivalry, coming in the 1982 AFC Championship on January 23, 1983, more appropriately known as “The Mud Bowl.”

After the Dolphins swept the Jets during the strike- shortened regular season, the two teams met again, this time with a trip to Super Bowl XVII on the line. The tarp was left off the field of the Orange Bowl during a 72 hour rainstorm leading up to the game, which resulted in a sloppy field covered in mud which kept both teams scoreless in the first half. The game was a classic defensive battle that featured ten turnovers, eight of them on quarterback interceptions. The star of the game was undoubtedly Dolphins linebacker A.J. Duhe who picked off three of Jets quarterback Richard Todd’s five interceptions, returning one 35 yards for a touchdown to help seal the 14–0 win and send the Dolphins to Super Bowl XVII. To this day, former Jets coach Walt Michaels believes that Miami coach Don Shula ordered to keep the tarp off the field, to neutralize New York’s superior team speed.

Two of the most memorable contests between the teams occurred in 1986. On September 21, Jets quarterback Ken O’Brien and Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino put on a legendary offensive performance. The two quarterbacks combined set NFL single game records of 884 net passing yards and ten touchdown passes, records that still stand to this day. Dan Marino completed 30 of 50 passes for 448 yards and six touchdown passes.  Ken O’Brien threw for 479 yards and four touchdown passes.

In 1994, the Jets found themselves one game back of the Dolphins for the AFC East division lead heading into their November 27 match at the Meadowlands. In a game with first place on the line, the Jets held a 24-6 lead, outplaying the Dolphins for three quarters. However, Dan Marino led the Dolphins back with two touchdowns, cutting the score to 24-21. Marino got the ball one last time and drove the Dolphins down the field to within the Jets’ five-yard line. With thirty seconds remaining, and the clock continuing to wind down, it appeared Marino was going to spike the ball to stop the clock and send out the field goal unit to tie the game. Instead, Marino took the snap from center, and after motioning as if he would spike the ball, fired the ball in the corner of the end zone past Aaron Glenn and into the hands of Mark Ingram.  The touchdown gave the Dolphins a 28-24 victory, and Miami went on to win the division. The Jets went into a spiral after that play, losing all of their remaining games. Indeed, the game marked the beginning of a period of ignominy for the Jets as they compiled a record of 4-33 from that game to the end of the 1996 season.

After 1996, the Jets made several changes to turn things around, the most significant of which was the hiring of Bill Parcells from the New England Patriots. The turnaround was immediate, and by 1998 the team once again was a serious division contender. Both teams were 9-4 on December 13, 1998 when they met on Sunday Night Football with the division lead, and possibly the division title, on the line. Very similar to this past Sunday.  The Jets led 14-10 when Jets defender Chad Cascadden picked up a Marino fumble and returned it for a touchdown with just under two minutes to play to put the Jets ahead 21-10. The Dolphins were able to score a quick touchdown to come close, but it was not enough, and the Jets won 21-16, and they went on to win their first post-merger division title the following Saturday at Buffalo.

Both the Jets and Dolphins started the 2000 season 5-1 when they met on Monday Night Football on October 23, 2000, to determine control of the AFC East. What looked to be an exciting match between two of the top teams in the NFL at the time was anything but for the first three quarters. The Dolphins held a 23-7 lead at halftime that grew to 30-7 at the end of the third quarter. Vinny Testaverde threw three interceptions, running back Curtis Martin was limited to 30 yards on the ground, and the Jets offense could only manage two first downs in the first half. So great was the 23-point advantage that Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler was heard on the sidelines telling defensive end Jason Taylor, “They ain’t coming back on us!” to which Taylor replied, “Hell no! You kidding? C’mon now.”

However, the Jets looked to prove that statement wrong. Touchdowns from Testaverde to Laveranues Coles and Jermaine Wiggins cut the lead to 30-20. After a field goal by John Hall, Testaverde fired a touchdown pass to Wayne Chrebet to tie the game 30-30 with 3:55 left. Fans who had left the stadium when the game looked to be a rout suddenly piled back in wanting to see the Jets’ comeback. Still, it took only two plays for Miami to respond.  Nonetheless, Testaverde marched the Jets down field and, with 42 seconds left, found eligible Jumbo Elliott on a three-yard touchdown (which Elliott memorably bobbled as he fell to the ground) to tie the game at 37-37 and sent it to overtime. In the fourth quarter, Testaverde was 18 for 26 for 235 yards and four touchdowns, and the offense converted twenty first downs in the quarter, after managing just five beforehand.

In overtime, Fiedler was intercepted for the third time, setting up the dramatic finish. At 1:08 AM EDT, Hall nailed a 40-yard field goal to win the game for the Jets, 40-37. The game came to be known in NFL lore as The Monday Night Miracle. When Monday Night Football celebrated its 500th telecast on November 11, 2002, fans picked the game as the greatest in the series’ history. It was also the largest comeback from a fourth quarter deficit in NFL history.

The teams have seen players go back and forth between the teams over the years.  Chad Pennington and Jason Taylor being the most notable recently.  Even Rex Ryan flashing an obscene gesture towards heckling Dolphins fans during a Strikeforce mixed martial arts event at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.  It does not matter if it is the fans, players, or coaches, everyone gets caught up in the rivalry.  I am sure this Sunday will be no different.  Every Jet fan grew up waiting for the Dolphins to come to town.  It was a game to look forward to.  A game you would sit and watch in zero degree weather.  A game where every fan no matter the age, wants to say “Miami sucks!”.

Do PSL’s Really Make Football Better? Or Worse For Fans

Since August of 2008, I have been filming a documentary about the New York Jets PSL situation and how the fans have had their ups and downs with it.  Over this past season, many fans have kind of settled into new positions in the new parking structure.  Set up like the hierarchy of rings that used to exist in medieval times.  Where the royalty would be in the middle close to the castle and the further you went out, the lower in class it became.  The higher priced parking passes are closer to the stadium.  Ones with non PSL seats have to park over by the Izod Center.  You tell me what type of message the Jets are sending to their fans.

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Many long time season ticket holders who have had tailgating groups for years feel cheated by not just the new parking system, but from the PSL’s as well.  Many were not able to get seats next to friends like they have in years past.  Those with cheaper PSL’s or NON PSL seats can not sit with those in the lower bowl.  Also, Mary Lou Wilson who parks in the Green parking said some long time friends they tailgated with in old section 13A have the non PL seats do not want to bring all their gear over to the green parking.  Even though Mary Lou and her kids can park over there, they still have friends in the green parking to tailgate with.  Who wants to lug all that gear and waste time just to have to drag it all back early?

Bruce Speight, Senior Director of Media Relations, told me they did what they could to appease fans.  But you can not please them all.  I wonder what true steps they took to find out what the fans wanted.  I know they did send a survey out via e mail two years ago.  But did anyone from the Jets organization act like the Census and go from tailgate to tailgate to get the fans opinions.  Probably not.  They do not mind sending face painters out there to charge for face painting.  Maybe if the team spent time walking through the lots talking to fans and truly got to know what they wanted, sales could have gone faster.

This is something sports writers do not cover, especially sports beat writers.  there is always a focus on the players, coaches, on and off the field events, and even trades.  There are not many sports writers that cover the business decisions teams makes, how it affects the fans, or even the fans in general.  Occasionally, there are stories that appear about fans.  But not too often.  They mainly come about during the season, after a team or player has already made news about an issue.  It may not be front page news, but is it news nonetheless.  If there were no paying fans to show up, it would just be a bunch of guys playing ball.  I guess while filming my documentary I had to take it upon myself to cover them and tell their side so they feel they have a voice.  Fans care about news regarding the teams and their players.  So the teams and players should care about what is going on with their fans.

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Many long time tailgating groups have crumbled and become a shadow of its former self.  I have talked about the Jets Pack a few times, but I have yet to talk about the Jets Nuts.  The Jet Nuts have been coming just as long as the Jets Pack.  You can always tell where the Jet Nuts are by their huge bus they always have.  They are on their fourth bus right now.  They have had hundreds over the years.  But according to the organizers, it has dwindled down significantly.  It is coming to a point where they are laying out more money than they are receiving from fans wanting to share in their tailgate.  Many tailgate set ups charge a small fee to eat and drink at their tailgate.  Rather than shrink it down they just might call it quits by years end.  PSL’s have not just separated fans in the stadium, but even in tailgating as well.

PSL’s, for some, are a necessary evil.  The Jets and Giants never said what other financing options they looked into before settling on the PSL’s as a final option.  If the New England Patriots can do it then any team can.  Even though their stadium is in the middle of nowhere, small screen, no escalators, they still managed to do it all without PSL’s.  Sometimes I wonder if the new stadium was built for the fans or for the teams owners friends to enjoy a lavish place to watch football games and network for more business.  Make it their own upscale country club.  The Jets and Giants had no idea how much they tore their fan base apart.

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Sports teams need to wake up and realize that bigger and better is not necessarily the way to go.  There has to be a happy medium.  The Jets have already doe this and is evident every time I film in the parking lot.  I am here for the fans to be their voice.  Hoping to show other sports franchises what PSL’s can to do their own fan base.  I know some fans do not care, they are willing to spend their money and do what the team says to do to keep going to games.  Others have the kind of disposable income where they can afford to spend and do not care about what other fans think.  It is this kind of thinking that shows team owners win and can do what they want.

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The fans have the real power.  If the fans were all on the same page then the teams would have to change how they set their prices and policies.  The Jets learned this already with the PSL’s and lowered prices.  If the fans kept showing that solidarity, then we all win in the end.  Not just the ones with deep pockets.   Some will agree, others will disagree.  But we all want to enjoy our game day experience with our friends and have that bond for years.  Not to lose it because some friends who used to be able to afford tickets now can not.  Makes me proud to be a reporter of the fans.  Not just because I care, but because I am one of the ones who could not afford to keep my tickets.  The fans are a story and I am the only one who sees it.

Meadowlands Stadium: I Kept On Knocking & They Let Me In

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Yesterday was the day the New York Jets had their mini camp inside the new Meadowlands Stadium.  I had gotten my tickets last week after seeing Erik Manassy posted they were free through Ticket Master.  My friend Anthony Quintano was supposed to go but business meetings come first.  By the time I arrived around 10:30 AM the parking lot was filled as if today was the season opener.  So many people must have taken off from work just to see the Jets practice for two hours and get to be inside the new stadium.  Was packed with fans, more than the Giants had yesterday.

ES{N1050 had a booth and football throwing game there. You won an ESPN T shirt if you answering a Jets trivia question correctly. They had the kids inflatable play areas they usually have at all Jets events. Seemed some were also tailgating before going in.  Was a great day for it too.  Not too sunny and not too warm.

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As many know, I have been told i could no longer take pictures of the old stadium.  The Skanska supervisor said there were too many pictures on the internet.  I am sure the past few days were beyond their control and I do not think they said anything to anyone.  Especially not with the masses that showed up.  So I blended right in and took over 320 pictures today of the new stadium, old stadium, and practice.  Not like they could pick me out of the crowd.  Was an easy day to get the shots I needed from the inside of the new stadium.  I walked around and found some great areas to get some great overview shots.  No one said anything, what could they say?  The old stadium should be completely down in less than 2 weeks.  Then there is just the clean up of what has fallen.

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Everyone wanted to get the best seats along the 50 yard line.  There is even a big 50 right outside one entrance to let people know exactly where the 50 yard line is.  You can tell it is there for those who paid for the most expensive PSL’s.  I guarantee they will be able to park right across from it too.  So they can get in, get out, no F’n about.  They practiced from 11:30-1:30.  Seemed more like a PR session with sales reps all over the place.  They had tables outside the stadium inside the stadium, sales reps up and down the aisles, almost anywhere you walked. Now your standard PSL sales reps were in collared shirts, easy to spot.  The ones selling the luxury suites were in suits and ties.  I was walking next to a sales rep and someone looking into the luxury suites.  The luxury suite rep told the guy they would get the treatment Woody Johnson would get.  Must have to spend a lot of money to get that kind of treatment.

Outside the stadium and inside had sales reps scattered all over the place.  Standing by their table to answer questions and some even walking up and down the aisles.  I was sitting in one of the lower corner sections listening to one sales reps pitch.  He was giving prices and figures out left and right.  Talking about financing the PSLs, when ticket money is due, and everything else one would need to know about buying a PSL.  He even talked about getting tickets to other events.  Say for Bruce Springsteen.  You would be on a pre sale listbut not guaranteed to sit in your own seat.  Just the opportunity to get seats before going on sale to the general public.  The team only gets allotted a certain amount.  American Express card members also get the same option so holding a PSL for other events is not really a perk.

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This sales rep was doing what is known as the “hard sell”.  Trying to convince the buyer of everything they need to know, even saying you could finance the seats for less than a dollar a day.  Any objection the buyer had the sales rep had an answer for.  Even saying that although he works fo the Jets, he has purchased two PSLs.  Now I was in sales before.  I have said things that were not true just to get the sale.  How does the buyer know for sure this sales rep actually bought the PSLs or is saying it to help close the sale?  Once he and I started talking he was giving me the price points.  I told him do not even try to sell me.  It would not work.  You can not sell to a better salesman.  Once I explained my situation and he knew there was no sales opportunity, he walked away.  My friend Brian, who is a Jets sales rep, said he does not do the hard sell.  he only offers up the information and lets the buyer make their own decision.  He is just there to answer their questions and make the buying process easier.

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There was a moment where a female fan had fallen down the stairs. She had some bruises and cuts on her knees. They got her a chair and stadium personnel came over in about five minutes. An EMT came over and cleaned the woulds. It was good to see them react to a situation like this now rather than into the season. I am sure they have done tests and drills. But there is nothing like a real experience.

Sometimes you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.  Lowering the prices may have brought some fans back.  Many still have a bad taste in their mouth and are done, they will not continue on as a season ticket holder.  Myself and a few others know that even though PSL prices were reduced, they have to make that money back somehow.  You will see ticket prices g up over the next few years, parking prices, and whatever else they can do to make back that lost income.  Plus, by financing your PSL you are giving the team more money that one should.  It is better to pay in full that take the 5 or 15 year payment plans.  Do you want to pay more for your PSL than you really have to?  By financing it you will.

I am not out to see the Jets fail here, do not get me wrong.  I just want the organization to realize they should not paint their fans into a corner.  They have seen what they are capable of doing, not submitting to ultimatums.  The fans spoke in masses about the high prices and the Jets had no choice but to lower those prices.  When the fan base bands together than can be stronger than the organization.  They underestimated the market.  The Jets thought they were going to dictate what the market value was.  But the fans told them what the market value should be.  I hope they do sell them so no fans are forced to sit home and suffer though blackouts.  Even I would be pissed at that.  But they should never underestimate their fans again.  Even the ones who do not have the deep pockets.

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Giants Stadium Demolition: Still Standing Around

Well, today I ventured back to the place I was told i could not go back to.  I could go back, just not take pictures.  But I did take pictures today.  I know what I said before.  I knew I could not go back onto the premises to take pictures.  But no one said anything about taking pictures from off the premises.  I just went to the same location s I went to when I first started taking pictures.  I had been thinking about it for a few weeks now.  Others found it ludicrous that someone could actually be told they could no longer take pictures.  There was no law being broken.  Just an unwritten one they put into place themselves.   Wanted to keep fans, especially people like me away.

I went over to a friend’s today to pick up the camera.  Billy Tooma has been gracious enough to lt me borrow it when I need it.  I was going to use it this Saturday for the NJ Revolutions vs Harrisburg Stampede indoor football game at the Sun Center in Trenton, NJ.  Kick off is 7:30.  But Billy and I had been mulling over the idea about going back and taking long distance shots with the telephoto lens.  I really did not think the Skanska supervisor was going to come all the way across Route 3 on his ATV.  I would be lying if I said my heart was not racing driving over.  The spots I was in on and off the highway made it easy not to be seen.  Except one location on Rte 120.  Hard not to be seen there.  I did not get out of the car though.  Flew a stealth mission so to speak.

The main structure is up between Gates D and C.  So are the spirals.  There is a big gaping hole where the Press Box elevators were.  Plus a few end zone sections came down.  The second of both jumbo-trons are now down as well.  If you drive past it each day you know what I am referring to.  Fireman Ed said he can not wait until it is all gone.  He thought they should have blown it up and did it all in one shot.  I have included pictures from previous shoots so you can see the progress.  Many can not wait until it is gone.  Many did not think it needed to go.  But everyone will share stories, say how much they miss it,  and enjoyed going to games there.

Taken May 17
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Taken May 23
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Taken June 10
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Taken May 19
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Taken May 20
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Taken June 10
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Giants Stadium: Now Without Walls

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Good morning again all.  Yesterday I set out to Giants Stadium once again.  Now, I did not know what to expect when I got there.  I started as I always do in Lot B.  The one that faces Route 3 and the Giants practice facility.  I snapped some pictures from that side and saw there was not much that had changed.  The minute I got to the side that faces 120, WOW!  There was not a small hole in it like last week, but a large gaping hole that is about 12% of the stadium’s facade.  You can see everything now.  Where the seats were, where you would walk along the inside, as well as right through the box seat windows.

I drove around on some roads I know I should not have been on, but did anyway.  All the press and media seem to cover is the new stadium and al its bells and whistles.  What about the old one so many memories still remain?  It is coming down right next to it and no one seems to care.  Texas Stadium had one last tailgate for their fans to show appreciation.  Did the New York Jets, Giants, or even the NJSEA offer that to the faithful Meadowlands Minions who came to the stadium every Sunday?  No, they didn’t.  Fact is all the attention is going to the new facility while the one just sits there waiting for its demise.  Pretty sad if you ask me.  I go back every week because I want everyone to remember what a great stadium it was.  It was the stadium for the fans.  The new one is more for friends of the teams, corporate groups, business partners, corporate sponsors, Woody’s friends, or anyone else with a disposable income.

I am not bitter, far from it.  I just feel the true blue collar fans got the short end of the stick.  If my father was alive, I would be taking him on every trip I make to the stadium.  He would sit there, gaze over and bring up all the stories of us at the stadium.  As I would be driving around looking for the perfect shot he would sit there smiling and laughing at our adventure together.  I keep my father in the back of my mind to remind me why I do this.  Everyone should see and know what is happening to the old stadium.  I will have more pictures up tonight once I water mark them.  Finally figured out how to do that.  For now, enjoy and remember.

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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.

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 negotiate return of summer training camp to SUNY Cortland

Credit   Mark Weiner / The Post-Standard

February 16, 2010, 9:15AM

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Gary Walts / The Post-Standard(Left to right) Brandon Renkart, Danny Woodhead and Eric Smith practice at New York Jets summer training camp Aug. 9 at SUNY Cortland.

Washington — The New York Jets want about $200,000 from state economic development agencies or other sources to offset the cost of bringing their training camp back to SUNY Cortland this summer, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Jets owner Richard “Woody” Johnson discussed the need for financial aid with Schumer in a recent phone conversation about the National Football League team’s plans for this year’s camp, the senator said.

Schumer said he talked to Johnson because the Jets and SUNY Cortland are in the middle of negotiating to bring the team back to Cortland this summer — and possibly for a long-term deal.

The senator said the success of last year’s training camp — which attracted 34,000 fans and pumped about $4.26 million into the local economy — convinced him to support a new agreement with the team that fell one playoff win shy of a trip to the Super Bowl.

“I’m committed to keeping the Jets training camp in Cortland,” Schumer said. “It’s a great economic boost to the community, and if this past season is any indication, then it’s obviously good for Jets football.”

The Jets moved their training camp from Florham Park, N.J., to SUNY Cortland last summer, in part to escape the glare and distractions of training in the New York City metropolitan area.

Schumer said he told Johnson he would urge the state Economic Development Corp. to provide the necessary aid this year, especially since most campus upgrades for the Jets have been completed.

The college spent $545,604 to improve facilities and host the team last summer. Most of the money, $410,000, was provided through an Empire Development Grant from the state.

The largest expense for the college was a $240,000 project to improve the entrance to the stadium complex and its parking lot. The Jets paid for the installation of a natural-grass practice field.

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Stephen D. Cannerelli / The Post-StandardNew York Jets fans crowd around the field at SUNY Cortland Aug. 6 for the annual Green and White scrimmage.

Schumer said the $200,000 requested by the Jets this year is for the operational costs of the camp. The Jets pay for their meals, transporting their equipment, players and other costs.

Neither the Jets nor SUNY Cortland officials would confirm the $200,000 figure.

“We have not elaborated beyond saying we definitely enjoyed our time in Cortland,” said Jets spokesman Bruce Speight.

SUNY Cortland spokesman Peter Koryzno also declined to discuss specific details of the negotiations, but said, “We’re looking to have something in place next month.”

“We’re just talking right now,” Koryzno said. “We are looking at things we provided and things they provided, and we’re seeing if we can improve things.”

He added, “Our goal from the very beginning was to provide a setting for the players and coaches and fans that would make for a successful experience for everyone.”

Koryzno said one minor complication this year is a rehabilitation project at the college’s Studio West, the building where the team had player meetings and offices for the coaches. He said the college will find a different building for the team to use during the one-year project.

State officials were not available to comment on the Jets’ request for additional aid.

New York’s two other professional football teams train Upstate, but neither one currently receives financial aid from state or local governments.

The Buffalo Bills, who have trained for the past 10 years at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, have never asked for public money for their summer camp, said Steve Salluzzo, the college’s director of auxiliary enterprises.

The New York Giants, who have trained at SUNY Albany for 14 years, initially benefited from a state investment of $2.3 million for renovations and permanent improvements to campus facilities. The money was from a SUNY construction fund.

For the first seven years until 2003, the Albany Times Union newspaper agreed to be a business sponsor of the Giants and paid most of the approximately $175,000 needed to operate the camp.

After the newspaper ended that arrangement, the Giants agreed to pick up the operational costs.

Karl Luntta, a spokesman for SUNY Albany, said the college is negotiating a new agreement with the Giants this year.

New York Jets perfect picture of mediocrity

We’ve been in this glorious new decade for two months now, but experts are just now releasing their NFL “team of the decade” lists.

What with the Super Bowl just ending and all, a list completed back in December would have been somewhat incomplete — though would have looked much, much better for the Colts.

The general consensus seems to be New England as the team of the decade, then Indianapolis or Pittsburgh in no particular order.

But where’s the fun in that?

And the worst team of the decade is always in this order — Detroit at the bottom, then Houston, then Cleveland. Not much debate there either.

No, as always the big debate is overlooked and in the middle. The real question is: What was the most mediocre team of the 2000s?

Immediately, there is one clear-cut front runner: The New York Jets. They were the only team to finish 80-80. They also had three playoff appearances, which would be very close to average.

But this isn’t an exact science, so let’s include Miami (79-81), Chicago (81-79), Tampa Bay (79-81) and Carolina (79-81).

So five candidates for the most mediocre, marginal, average team of the decade.

Average teams don’t win Super Bowls. So good bye Tampa Bay. Besides, five playoff appearances is too much.

This decade, 15 teams made the Super Bowl in a 32 team league. So both making it, and not making it, could be considered average. So we’re not going to eliminate Chicago and Carolina just yet.

Well, now we’re going to eliminate Carolina. Three playoff berths seems average enough, but they did make two conference championship games. That’s a little too good to be marginal. So good-bye Panthers.

So we’re down to the Bears, Dolphins and Jets. And as much as I didn’t want to crown the Jets, I think we’re going to have to. As much as I wanted to dismiss the Bears’ Super Bowl appearance, that — and their winning record — go against them.

And with the Dolphins, a team that had a 1-15 record in a season, and managed just one playoff win in a decade, is not mediocre. It’s bad. Plus, there’s the 37 head coaches, the Nick Saban fiasco, Dave Wandstedt’s mustache, Chad Pennington being a savior and Ricky Williams.

So I guess it is as simple as looking at a record. The Jets, at 80-80 are the most mediocre team of the decade. Getting a third playoff berth this year helps. So does having six quarterbacks lead the team in passing this decade — the aforementioned Pennington among them, along with the living legend Brooks Bollinger.

And let’s not overlook eight years under Eric Mangini and Herm Edwards — possibly the two most average coaches of the modern era, if not all time.

Let the Patriots be the team of the decade.

J-E-T-S! Average! Average! Average!