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.”
“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.