Meadowlands Stadium Is Woody Johnson’s Country Club

It seems the closer it gets to the 2010 season the more the Jets do to lose their trusted fan base.  I am reading articles on NJ.com, Newsday, The Jets Report, ESPNNewYork.com, and so many other websites.  Woody Johnson promises all PSLs will be sold by the home opener.  Fans outraged by not just parking prices, but a hierarchy in parking as well.  Ben Gray, a 20-year season ticket holder of the team, reached his breaking point this week when he learned that the hierarchy in PSL class will be busting up his tailgate party.

As Steve Politi of the Newark Star-Ledger explains it, “Gray and his friends have been tailgating in lot 13-B for years.  Just like The Jets Pack, Sal & Carmine, Frank Conway, & others do in other sections around the stadium.  And as anyone who regularly attends NFL or college football games knows, the tailgating can even become bigger than the game itself, with carefully crafted menus and a unique brand of human bonding.  But because some of Gray’s friends didn’t buy PSLs, they can’t park in lot 13-B, which is reserved for those who paid for the right to pay for their tickets.

“We just feel like we’ve been taken to the woodshed again and again,” Gray said. “Going to a football game should be something you enjoy, but these guys just see dollars.”

But for Gray, his upgraded experience includes breaking up the group with which he had spent years tailgating.  And it’s possible that Gray has had enough.

“This was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Gray said. “I keep wondering, ‘How are they going to get us next?'”

Muke Florio of ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com reports:

“Though the Jets have a plausible explanation, fans who have a Rain Man-style obsession with their game-day routines don’t care about “plausible.”  They want things to stay the way they were.

“For those people who committed to the PSLs and the luxury suites, we want to do whatever we can to provide a much better experience,” Jets executive vice president for stadium development Thad Sheely told Politi.  “I don’t see it as a restriction,” Sheely said. “I see it as an upgraded experience for people who have paid for an upgraded experience.”

They consider it an upgraded experience.  Many consider it robbery.  I would love to know if any of the New York Jets employees personal family or friends have thought about opting into the PSLs.  Did the Jets employees try to use the corporate rhetoric on them to get them to purchase them or were they sympathetic if there were cost issues?  If they talked their family or friends into it then they should be ashamed to even be a business.  Thad Sheely is a paid employee of the Jets so of course he would defend the PSLs and those who bought them.  Get him alone away from the press and see if he changes his answer, as long as none of the Jets Management is around.

I know the Jets want everyone to think the more you pay, the more benefits you get.  But when does the New York jets Country Club stop basing membership on how much money someone should spend?  Do they only want those who will spend or those or just want tow atch a football game then leave?  They can not have it both ways.  They have turned off so many fans and have attracted so much bad press how much damage control can they do?  If prices keep going up and get too costly, who will afford to keep going?  Do they really expect their long time blue collar fan base or families to keep going to their games?  This season, take a good look at who will be sitting in those PSL seats.  You will see a younger crowd, less families, and those who made out on Wall Street while others lost their jobs or house.  The Jets do not care about those fans, just the paying ones.  They know even those at home will still buy merchandise.

The New York Jets are a private company and do not have to tell anyone how many PSLs are left.  All they want to do is sell every one, have sold one games, and make a profit every time.  That is it.  They can say they are sympathetic to the fans and want to give those who paid an upgraded experience.  Look at the NFL Draft Day party they had there.  If that is any indication of how they treat their loyal paying fans then the PSL holders are the only ones they care about.  The non PSL holders to them are basic peasants.  Charging $9 beers while Giants PSL and non PSL holders get everything for free.  It shows the New York Jets do not care about the non PSL paying fans, only their checkbook.  I am sure if they wanted to upgrade to a PSL seat then they would care.

I know I am ranting here but it gets me angry to see loyal fans for so many years get shafted only because they do not want to pay for a PSL.  It is like gambling at a casino.  The casino takes care of their high rollers while everyone else gets a free drink while they play.  But if the average Joe spends more and made more from them, then he gets taken care of.  They only care about the dollar coming in and keeping you there to spend hat you have.  Just like the new Meadowlands Stadium.  The Jets organization have better spin doctors working for them than the government.  They will try to make any bad situation into a good one just to sell seats.  But the fans know better.

I have had some in the Jets organization ask me to change the title of my documentary, “Gang Greed”.  They think I will paint them in a bad light.  I do not have to do any of that.  They create their own press and how much of it has been good for the Jets?  Not much.  Even Fireman Ed quoted that term when talking about the Jets organization.  They write their own story.  If they wanted to be seen is a positive light then they are the ones who need to change their image.  Change it with the fans and understand they are the ones who support them, not sponsors or celebrities.  The gang is greedy and how much is enough?  Only time will tell.

I hope Woody Johnson is proud of what he did to a loyal fan base who stood by the team for over 45 years.  At least Leon Hess had Hess oil as an advertiser and supported the fans.  I never saw a Johnson & Johnson ad or sponsorship for the Jets.  Maybe he should come out of his box once in a while and sit where they loyal fans are to really get to know what the fans want.   Not just walk around the parking lot during tailgating for a photo op to show fans that “he cares”.  Even in Rich Cimini’s interview he skirted around the PSL issue.  He knows they are in trouble and does not want to admit it.  Not a good poker face Woody.

I think that is enough for tonight.  The more that comes out the more I will have to say about this issue.  I am glad more fans are coming out and talking about their issues with the Jets.  We will not go quietly into the night.  More fans need to speak up about this.  Show you have a voice that will not be silenced.  The Jets will say the PSLs were a great idea, fans are on board, the economy is not affecting the sales(which they later detracted), and whatever it takes to get them sold.  I will finish with this.  In September of 2008, Woody Johnson was quoted by News 12 New jersey that if the Jets charged more for the PSLs, the fans would pay it.  I hope he likes how his foot tastes.  Here is what remains of the Jets former home.

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