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2012 New York Jets Fans Fiscal Year Report

After the events of today, the Jets have ended their season in glorious fashion.  Jon Gruden said it best on the Jets final play against the Titans.  It was just ugly.  Their season was ugly and how fitting that their season should end on a fumble by Mark Sanchez.  The Jets have 50 turnovers over the past two seasons, the most of any NFL team.

Ugly, huh?

2012 has truly not been a banner year for the Jets organization.  For the fans, it has been even worse.  Year after year of promises, free agent signings, and supposed surprises, the fans have really had enough.  The Gang Green Piper needs to change his tune in order to get the fans back on board.  At a point fans were energized about the team’s future, investing in PSL‘s.  After this season, many are looking for a loophole to get out of their commitments or sell them outright.

This is not every fan.  Many dedicated Jets faithful will be back for another season next year.  Sending out their payments in mid 2013 to make sure they are in attendance for the start of another roller coaster ride.  Others I talk to have had enough and want off.  They have had enough of the ups and downs and just want to be a casual observer from their couch.

I know you may be shaking your head in regards to a fiscal year when it comes to the New York Jets.  They are not a public company.  No records to show on sales or growth.  Not even on which Jets season ticket holders have been with them for years and which ones are first time PSL holders.  There is little to no information on what true numbers the Jets organization has on their books by the end of the 2012 fiscal year.

The PSL is the stock Certificate and tickets are options.

You need to view this from a different perspective.  From the outlook of the fan investor.  The one who takes his hard earned money and decides each year that this recreational activity is worth the time and the investment.  Was the money laid out received back in a way that could rival a stock split or dividend.  Did you get full entertainment value for that dollar? 

In essence, the Jets fans fiscal year begins and ends with the NFL season.  Sixteen weeks, four months, four quarters to analyze the product and its value by the fans.  Their investment into a franchise that needs ticket income in order  to survive.  Just ask the Jacksonville Jaguars how important ticket sales are.

Every investor varies.  There are those with enough disposable income where this can be afforded as a luxury and necessity.  The choice to indulge in one’s favorite pastime as football is a life source of socializing and networking for a certain ticket holding investor.

Then you have those who have to save for a bit to enjoy days tailgating and getting frenzied up hard-nosed action.  The investor who puts years in and sees no ROI.  Each time seeing their hard-earned money, being invested in a product that raises expectations and then lowers their future outlook.  Somehow, to a few of these fans held over from Shea Stadium, “New and Improved” always feels like “Old and Inferior”.

Before the season even started, the Jets made their presence known with the signing of Tim Tebow.  We do not gave to go into a back story on his signing, activity, and his on field play.  It has been well documented by the media since the start of the season.  Expectations were high on Tim Tebow.  The Wildcat talk and much else kept his stock and overall use high. 

But as we all know, his on field play and use angered many and overall value made fans sigh with disappointment.  Weather his acquisition was because of Woody Johnson wanting to sell tickets or because Tony Sporano wanted him to help the Wildcat, it did not sell tickets.  But it did sell quite a bit of Jets merchandise & focus quite a bit of cameras on Gang Green.  In a way, Woody got a little of what he wanted.

Bottom line, the investment in Tebow did not equal the output expected by the team and the fans.  This added to  Jets fans having a bad fiscal year.

It seemed the Jets suffered more injuries than Evel Knievel.  Sorry Travis Pastrana fans, he still has a way to go to catch Evel! But from the start of the season when Darelle Revis went down then Santonio Homes, it seemed more and more kept piling up on the IR or PUP lists.  The revolving doors affected the Jets all season.  Dustin Keller could not find his groove with Mark Sanchez as in seasons passed to put points on the board. 

A sure sign of a Jets down economy

Jets performance in the first and second quarter were volatile.  There was no indication of a strong rebound to bring certain investors back to MetLife Stadium.  Projections for the second half remained optimistic, but with a team built more like a fantasy team than a NFL franchise with depth, many annalists were projecting a Wild Card at best.

Once the second half of the Jets fans fiscal year came about there was a slight climb in their value.  Once Thanksgiving showed its head, the team fell back into a slide.  Mark Sanchez and his play made that stock almost seem worthless.  His removal felt like a company taking out its CEO and getting someone in their fast to turn the ship around.  Greg McElroy stepped up in a loss to only receive a concussion which brings Sanchez back to a chorus of boos.  S

Stub Hub, the NFL Ticket Exchange, and other third-party ticket websites offer a certain market for season ticket holders.  A “stock exchange” of sorts where fans will sell their tickets for a certain value.  During the month of December, Jets tickets were being sold for less than $10.  The Jets received face value for those tickets.  The Jets season ticket holder would be considered lucky to even get 25% of face value in the month of December.  A month where fans might hope to make a profit on their tickets, can not.

What Woody Johnson has done to the season ticket holders  is beyond reproach.. The Jets have the highest average, non-premium ticket price in the league at $117.94, according to Team Marketing Report’s Fan Cost Index. That is on top of personal seat licenses for all of those except the upper deck. 

If you look at the individual average per PSL holder assuming a minimum of two seats and a parking pass, the average season ticket holder is laying out an average of 275 per game, based on the above numbers,  before they even get to the stadium.  Lump in their PSL payment for the year  and APR if they decided not to pay for their PSL in full. 

The Jets are handling the financing of their PSL’s.  So that 6.5% or 8% that you pay to finance your PSL’s, goes right to the Jets as well.  Getting their little extra.

What exactly have Jets fans received back as ROI for that?

A preseason with no touchdowns. Regular-season losses by 34, 30 and 21 points. Parking aggravation. Cursing in the stands being seen on YouTube. And the biggest distraction in the league at backup quarterback.  None of this did anything to raise the value of on field play for fans to get behind the performance.

Not to mention Johnson begging the NFL to give the Jets a home game on Thanksgiving, ruining the holiday for his fans.   It is no wonder the Jets have been pushing advertising and commercials all over every piece of media they could to sell tickets.  Radio, television, websites, and more try to get fans interested in being a season ticket holder investor.

To the long time season ticket holder who gave their seats up to be armchair quarterbacks, the lure of penny stock  seats in the 300 section was not enough to make them venture out and be a part of what they once loved to do in the blazing heat and freezing cold.  To them, the tide changed, it is not the same.  It will never be the same and they did not want to move ahead with the change.  Instead opting to watch from a distance and spend their hard money elsewhere.

The Jets were 3-5 at home.  37.5% of their games were won at home.  Not a far return given the product on the field and the layout fans make each year in the country’s top market.  This with the highest ticket rates per average does not add up to a worthwhile venture. 

To the grizzled, tough skinned, dedicated fan, it still is though.  Still going so they can say they were there in the bad and the good.  The ones willing to pay any price to support their team in the flesh.  Patiently standing on the sidelines, in the hopes this turnaround happens in their lifetime.

It will, just a matter of when.  Do not make us wait longer than Rangers fans.

In today’s final game of the season, Mark Sanchez looked like a man with no confidence.  How could one make the best decisions in clutch situations in that frame of mind?

 Is that the kind of individual one would want leading a public company while the company’s stock is plummeting?  Someone not up to the task to the best of the ability needed to hold such a position?

I think not.

Do not let this happen, Woody.

Then the fans who have invested time and hard-earned money year after year should not put up with it.  At least stockholders have a voice in who should be leading that company.  It is time Woody Johnson had an open forum to listen to his stockholders.

The Jets have a large mountain to climb to turn this franchise around for the better.  It will not happen overnight, but more correct decisions sooner rather than later.  For the sake of your fan investor and the ones who hold off investing, do what is right for them.  Maybe then, that on field product might be enough to attract those fans rather than the blast style marketing. 

Jets fans were good this year.  They deserve a great gift to be proud of.  One that they will remember receiving the rest of their life.  Not a big shiny, well decorated, ornamental, box that it all comes in.

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What Ride Are We On As Football Fans

There seems to be a connection between professional sports and a certain euphoria we get from our teams.  Sometimes we experience the highs and some times, the lows.  We experience this rush of adrenaline, emotion, and endorphins that work us up into a frenzy not seen since Bruce Banner and The Incredible Hulk

Call it what you will.  But we all pay some amount to maintain this feeling on a weekly basis.  Some pay to enjoy it in the safety of their home while various others dish out numerous amounts at the stadium to get their fix.  During tailgating and the game.

And just because one lays out more from their wallet does not mean their high is any better.  We all experience the same roller coaster ride of emotions equally no matter we each pay out.

We as fans get a rush from attending a game.   Sometimes the drug kicks in at tailgating.  Firing into a frenzy before the fireworks go off in the stadium. By the time inside, the high is contagious it spreads to everyone. When the action starts, its phase two.  Riding its ups and downs like a bad acid trip. Not knowing if it will end in a high or low.

But we come back for more.  They always know we will.  Every time.  At times we know the disappointment but we want to be surprised.  Let the win sneak up on us.  The rush is better that way instead of being fed it slowly through an IV.

For a long time it seemed the fans mattered.  The teams seem to know our pulse and at times, act accordingly.  The NFL treats the rest like addicts, knowing no matter their urge they will always tune in and be sucked into another Sunday vortex of advertising and football.

We all have a vice.  That one item that draws us in like a vacuum and we let it take us to our own personal state of euphoria.  But those who know what their audiences vice is, they exploit it to no end.  No matter the bad trip they throw at you, you keep focused wondering when the ride will get better.  Chasing the dragon in hopes of catching it.

Eventually we do, we grasp it hard and take pride in the accomplishment.  Knowing that our hard work and dedication to not only our team, but the sport we love will pay off.  Pumping our endorphins to heights we rarely see.  Rejoicing with others while sporting our warriors victorious colors.

There was a time when the fans voice really mattered.  When we could be heard before the marketing and advertising became louder and more dominant.  When it was the AFL against the NFL, they did everything they could to keep their fans.  The same needs to be done now.

We can see past the blinders they choose to acknowledge.  We know the difference between a quality product and when someone is trying to sell us a bill of goods.  The NFL is selling us baby powder instead of the high quality product they usually serve us each week.

We had a chance.  The fans and the critics had a chance to make a mark on the NFL.  But they knew their mistake long after we saw it pass us weeks ago.  Even with a deal made, reputations in the NFL are tarnished.  The NFL needs the Army as a clean up crew.  They re lazied it one blown call too late.  Ask Green Bay.

The fans collective conscious will never let the NFL forget the mistakes they made.  Not just to them, but to the players as well for creating havoc and stress in the workplace.  It seems the NFL offices are up just high enough in NYC where screams only come across as faint whispers, making it hard to hear the problems until it is too late.

And that, I think, was the handle – that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of old and evil.  Not in any mean or military sense; we as fans never look towards that.  The referees only wanted to work.  Our energy would simply prevail. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.  Using social media to voice displeasure and create a wave of force to be heard.

But now, driving on Route 3 East towards NYC, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark, that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back allowing the NFL to remain dominant and make all the right calls.

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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.

Fans Message To Jets & Rex Ryan: Shut Up & Play

This past Sunday night, the Jets had an opportunity.  An opportunity to show not just their fans, but everyone who follows football that they should be taken seriously.  That the Jets are a team who not only want to go back to the AFC Championship for a third straight year, but win and go on to the Super Bowl.  The Jets and Patriots both stood at 5-3.  All they needed to do was win in convincing fashion against their AFC rivals.

But they didn’t

The Jets lost 37-16 and now sit wondering if they can still make the playoffs.  Albeit there are seven games left in the season, but which Jets will show up the rest of the year.  The Jets who claim they are Super Bowl contenders who defeated the Cowboys, Chargers, and Bills in convincing fashion?  Or will it be the same old Jets the fans are used to seeing from years past.  Only the players can determine which version of them will be ready at game time.

The fans are salivating for a championship.  Rex Ryan has made predictions, guarantees, and comments about how this is the Jets year and the team that will bring home a championship.  Maybe it is time for Rex to stop talking and come through on his promises.  Everyone loves how outspoken and confident he is.  But all that bravado does not win game or transfer that attitude to the players.  The players need to believe in themselves and show that on the field, not Rex Ryan.

For the past few season, Rex has reached out to the fans for support.  Season ticket holders get a pre recorded call at the beginning of the season as well as pleas throughout the season.  The fans are always there for the team.  But Rex has not delivered back to the fans.  Rex Ryan also took the opportunity in his postgame press conference to apologize to Jets fans after he challenged them earlier in the week to make this past Sunday’s game difficult for the Patriots.

“I thought we’d play a lot better. I thought we had really improved, I really did. I think we did improve, but when you make those types of mistakes – you fumble a punt, you have a poor timeout … time management was an absolutely critical error. That’s my responsibility. I own that one. You make that many mistakes against that team, there’s no chance. “

The playoffs are not coming up soon, for sure, so the Jets aren’t eliminating themselves from the AFC playoff picture by any means but Rex Ryan recognized, whether it was in jest or not, that the Jets division title chances took a big hit on Sunday night.

“It looks doubtful right now. What am I going to say? Maybe I should guarantee the fact that we’re out of it. The last time I did that, we made the playoffs. Yeah, we don’t have a chance.”

Maybe Rex should not guarantee anything.  Maybe Rex should impose a media blackout on himself.  Maybe he should just coach and let his actions speak louder than any words he can say.  But once again, his words this past Sunday seemed to get him in trouble…..again.  This time, getting caught on tape using profanities at a fan during halftime.

On the video, Ryan and the Jets’ players and staff are seen walking into the tunnel. A fan yells out to Ryan, “Belichick’s better than you,” and Ryan tells him to shut up, adding an expletive for good measure.

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This team and their coaches need to resolve any issues they have to make their play playoff worthy.  The fans are tired of the talk and empty promises.  Please back up that talk with convincing play on the field every game.  Show the fans that you REALLY want to go and win a Super Bowl.  Not just say it.  The Jets show flashes of brilliance, but not often enough.  Is this the players fault, or the coaches?

The fans have heard enough.  It is time for the Jets to live up to expectations.  It is time for Mark Sanchez and Darelle Revis to lead the team convincingly.  To show they are a Super Bowl caliber team and not just a playoff contender, which they do not look presently.  If they could not beat the Patriots and the worst ranked defense in the NFL, now do they expect to make it to the playoffs?

Impose a media blackout on yourselves.  Focus on winning and not talking.  Rex Ryan may be a great coach.  But he needs to show everyone he can back those words up with actions.  Will three times be the charm?  Rex said they were going to win even before the season started.  Actions speak louder than words.  Show us you can win, do not tell us.

Shut up and play.

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.

New York Jets Fans Cope After Another Super Bowl

The past two weeks I have not been as excited for the Super Bowl I guess as I should be.  Even a fellow fan John Allen passed along the same comment.  He was thinking that for some reason his favorite team should be playing this past Sunday, but for some reason, they ended up losing to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers won his first Super Bowl and it is tough to believe he can’t win another.

The Steelers jumped out to a quick 24-0 lead over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship, but fell behind a quick 21-3 to the Packers on Sunday night. At the end of the night, Clay Matthews was throwing a WWE championship belt over Rodgers’ shoulder.  Ric Flair is taking credit for having the WWE send the belt to him, as told to ESPN,  to use if they won the Super Bowl.

How do us Jets fans feel now?

No one can really say what the result would have been on Sunday night had the Jets been playing in the Steelers’ place. Jet fans may feel like they definitely would have won the game, but again, we cannot say for sure. It’s hard not to feel disappointed these last few nights.  One never know what their team would do if they were never in that situation.

Credit: bettor.com

The Super Bowl was right there; it was in our grasp. The Canyon of Heroes was ready for the parade that should have been filled with streamers and fans jammed in to see Gang Green. Everything was going as planned, just for it all to come crashing down.

Just imagine: Rex Ryan could have been saying “I told you all we were going to do it, AND WE DID IT!” on that podium Sunday night standing next to owner Woody Johnson, GM Mike Tannenbaum and Mark Sanchez.

Bart Scott could have been having another postgame interview that would go viral on the Internet. “WORTH THE WAIT,” he could be yelling in Sal Paolantonio’s face.  Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery could be running all over Cowboys Stadium with their arms outstretched like airplanes while wearing their “New York Jets Super Bowl Champions” caps and t-shirts.

Credit: Gang Green Nation

Credit: Gang Green Nation

Nick Mangold and Dustin Keller could be racing to their cell phones to be the first Jets to tweet about the win.  Antonio Cromartie’s kids could be dogpiling him in the end zone.

Shaun Ellis would then join the team on the podium to get his fingerprints on his Lombardi Trophy and press his lips against its mirror-like surface.  He has waited long enough to get his hands on that trophy after being with the team the longest.

To me Super Bowl Sunday was just another day of football.  I did not put on my Jets jersey.  No Jets shirt or hat to be worn.  Not even my trusty Jets boxers I wore every Sunday the team played.  Two teams were playing that were not my team.

The Jets were deserving of a Super Bowl this season. Anyone who is not a Jets fan will instantly contest this, because everyone else HATES the Jets. I can’t blame them. The Jets have a bunch of big mouths and a coach who has no filter. But the fans take on the personality of the team, and I can safely say we had a lot more fun than many others did.  Even the Jet fans who are haters enjoyed themselves this season.

Gang Green fought through all the criticism this season. After a bunch of close games that should not have been close and after some bad losses, the Jets showed everyone who they really are in the playoffs.  It does not matter how you finish the season, it is how you finish in the playoffs.

They took down Peyton Manning after he made them look bad in last year’s postseason. They took down the Patriots who were already being crowned champions. They forgot to show up for the first half against the Steelers, but almost pulled off one of the greatest playoff comebacks in history.

I am not trying to take anything away from the Packers or the Steelers by saying this. Both were much more deserving of a championship after the way they have played in the playoffs. Just because the Jets were a worthy candidate does not mean other teams were any less deserving.

Credit: SportsNewscaster.com

Things get even harder knowing there might be a lockout on the horizon. Knowing that there is a possibility the Jets will not get a chance to play in the Super Bowl in 2012, nor will any other team, is a tough reality to face.

I could go on about this, but all football fans are feeling the same way about this except maybe Packers fans that have the privilege of enjoying a championship for two years if there is a strike, but I am sure even they would rather lose than not have football.

Knowing that we will all be at least a year older before the Jets get another shot at a Super Bowl run is a feeling that I have felt time and time again. I have always hated the offseason because of how long I have to wait for Week 1. I hate the offseason because of how long I have to wait for the AFC Championship. Again, no guarantees that they will make it again, but it’s tough to feel like the Jets would fall short again.

It seems as Jets fans we are always waiting.  Always waiting until next season hoping that will be the season the Jets win it all.  If there is no next season, we just have to wait longer.  Easier said than done.

Jets Fans Love To Hate Their Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giants Stadium Demolition: Stairway To Heaven

I guess this is the last week to take pictures of the Giants Stadium demolition.  All that seems to be left are half the spirals and escalators from Gate C and little from Gate D.  I went over on Monday June 28th and today July 1st.  There was only one section remaining Monday in front of gate C.  Funny how my seats were right in that section too, Section 226.  As soon as you went up the Mezzanine escalators it was to the slight right.  Took the Section 226/227 entrance to get to Row 8, Seats 7 and 8.  Kind of a strange feeling knowing the section I was in was the last section to go.  Yes the seats and floors were taken out but the structure was there.

My father Gerald Levy passed in August of 2002.  He died at the age of 67 from complications related to smoking, emphysema. Eventually, an aortic aneurysm got him.  He may have done better if he was n better health.  That is why I hate to see people my age, kids, or anyone for that matter smoking.  I know what it can do to someone.  It may take pressure off, relax you, but it can also shorten your life.  If you are a mother or a father just know what you are doing to your kids.  May tell me to F off but I know first hand what smoking can do to someone.  I was my father’s caretaker in the end.  I did not live with him.  But I took him to the doctor’s, hospital, dealt with the doctor’s, his prescriptions, and more.  He carried a small oxygen tank with him towards the end.  He died two months after I was married.  He carried the oxygen tank with him as he and my mother Susan brought me down the aisle.

It is hard not to think about going to games at Giants Stadium without thinking about my father.  It has been close to eight years and it still feels like yesterday.  I do not think I am over his loss still.  I was not prepared for him to go yet.  I still have a lot of things I want to talk to him about.  As I write this I am fighting the urge to cry.  It pains me and makes me so upset to think of his death.  I was so not ready to let him go.  I miss him so much.  I may not get along with my mother all the time but I want her to be around for as long as possible.  I can’t fight the tears.  Even grown men have to cry now and then, it cleanses the soul.

So many of us have memories of going to any sporting events with our father, or mother depending on your situation.  My brother and I split games to go to with my dad every season.  We always fought over the Miami Dolphins game, New England Patriots was second.  When my brother Ean started driving then he and I would go to games.  When I wrestled as a kid in independent tournaments, it was my dad who drove me to them and did what he could coaching from the edge of the mat.  He may not have known very much, but it was that encouragement that made me want to keep entering them.  It was time like that that made our relationship special.  Going to the football games was the same really.  Talking about the players, hearing him try to coach all the way up in our section.  Every game I would get a new banner to put up on my wall.  Tried to collect all the teams.

I am dedicating my documentary to his memory.  Without him, the Jets would never have been the only team I have truly loved to watch.  Al Toon will always remain my all time favorite player.  Took me until high school to get his 88 jersey.  I always think of the games we went to.  Every time I have gone back to take pictures of Giants Stadium I think of him.  I know he would love every second of what I am doing now.  He would have been in the car with me several times when I was up and close.  He would have tried to talk to the Skanska guys if he was there to get me out of trouble.  He would have BS’d for me, he was good at that.  He would have taken the heat or anything else to get the situation resolved.  Then would would laugh about it in the car after we left.

I have a couple shirts from Belmar, NJ, where my dad was from.  I wore them a lot when I would go over to the stadium.  My mom is from Queen’s NY.  No shirts from there.  They met on Fire Island.  My brother and I have joked and said the bar must have been dark.  That is our family’s sense of humor.  When they were married, my father had both New York Jets and New York Rangers season tickets.  He was going to keep only one set and asked my mother which ones he should keep  He was trying to be fair.  My mother says she was a hockey fan and wanted the Rangers tickets.  He Kept the Jets tickets instead.  One decision I stand behind to this day.

Many of us had the parental figure or are that figure to someone we went to our early games with.  In football, the memories stand out if you are a season ticket holder .  There are only eight games, 10 with preseason.  Easier to remember specific memories to me.  Every game was an adventure.  We didn’t tailgate but there was the drive from Parsippany I can remember.  When an ADP was where Clifton Commons on Route 3 in Clifton is now was standing, traffic was always back to there.  I can recall a car of about five guys parking out from by these huge bushes.  The place was feet from Route 3.  All five in less than a minute were out of the car and self watering the bushes.  Hoses attached. We never laughed so hard and anything before.  My brother was there too, we went to the 1985 AFC Wild Card game against the Patriots that day.

My father was a great friend to me.  We had those father/son moments that I remember like they were yesterday.  I do have memories about my mother too.  One’s from summer camp, trips to NYC, Holidays, and countless other memorable moments.  But those football games was male bonding, a sacred ground to guys.  Guess when I saw a piece of the stadium come down each time more memories came back and got harder to see it go. Anyone can pick their own stadium that brings back memories for them.  My father and I shared Giants Stadium.  Seeing it go just just brings back memories of my dad.

Below are what remains of the old stadium.  Best angles I could get.  Glad I had the times I did with my dad there.  Made being a New York Jets fan that much better.  Something we shared for a long time.  With everything the team has gone through after he passed it would have made for great conversation.  Glad I have those memories to look back on.  Going to seem weird to not see anything of the old stadium remaining.  Have some great first time and last times memories there.  See if I get some in the new stadium.  Not looking forward to paying, even on Stub Hub.

June 28
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July1
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Not Your Father’s Jets

The past few days I have been thinking about the Jets season, as improbable as it may have been to some.  I have been thinking about Mark Sanchez as a rookie QB leading the team.  Darelle Revis coming into his own as CB, being the shadow of many great Wide Receivers and shutting them down.  Three great running backs in Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene, and Leon Washington when healthy.  All three of these guys are capable of 100 yard games when they step out onto the field.  Nick Mangold and the offensive line have given Sanchez time to throw and opened holes for the running game.  The Defense, ranked Number One in the NFL, has been a stand out all year thanks to Rex Ryan.  Braylon Edwards is due for a breakout year.  The Jets have the right pieces and the puzzle finally came together at the end of the season.  I am only 35 and I saw a different Jets team than I ever have.  This is no longer my father’s Jets.  They are no longer the team that plays second fiddle to the Giants in the New York market.  The Jets have finally got their due and respect.

I have sat in the stand and even at home listened to my father say “same old Jets” everytime a game or play would not go their way.  When the Jets would fall behind or not even make the playoffs every Jets fan was used to that.  For so long we put up with losing seasons, injured players, bad coaching, etc.  Yes, bad coaching.  From Bruce Coslet, Joe Walton, Rich Kotite, Lou Holtz, former USC and now Seahawks’ Pete Carroll, Mangini, Charley Winner, and hell, even Lou Holtz!  Bill Parcells, Al Groh, and Rex Ryan are the only coaches in New York Jets and Titans history with winning records.  Even the great Weeb Ewbank had a 71-77-6 records while coaching the Jets.  Rex Ryan has given new life to a team that had to escape its own stigma of losing.

Woody Johnson has spent enough money on this team, including the $12 million on Brett Favre, to create a team worth watching.  It took years to find a QB that was right at the helm.  It took time to get a balanced receiving core & land a potential star in Edwards.  Even Dustin Keller hs shown the Jets can have an outstanding Tight End.  The pieces are coming together and the Jets just need to complete the puzzle.  The draft has been key the pst few years as the young guys are the ones making the team better than it has been.  For the first time I look at the Jets and see a team that doe not resemble the teams I saw when I was growing up.  The teams in 1998 and 1982 that made the AFC Championship though gave the Jets fans hope that their team would not just been seen differently, but play differently from now on.  They didn’t after those seasons.  I think this might be the first year the team we saw play the Colts will be the same team that starts the 2010 season.

I guess what I am trying to say is I am finally looking forward to a Jets season where we all know they can win and have a true shot at making the Super Bowl.  This past year though has been tough because of the documentary.  As a Jets fan I was hoping they would beat the Colts.  My heart was pojnding during the game hoping they would maintain the lead and win the game.  Asa filmmaker, I was looking for the Jets to sputter and show Jets fans they were the same old JEts.  Even though they lost the game they are not the same old Jets and proved me wrong.  I can not wai to see what the Jets do in the off season and hope Kerry Rhodes is ready for the 2010 season.  I think everyone is finally proud to be a Jets fan.  I know my father is happy, smiling, and watching everything from the best seat in the house.  Maybe screaming at the TV in heaven when Sanchez throws an interception.  That is my dad.