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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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NFL Lockout Not The Worst In Sports, Yet

With NFL labor talks in a standstill, it’s quite possible that there will be no football played in the states this coming September.  If you think you’d get a bad case of football withdrawal by next week, wait ‘til September when you’d be madly searching for the Toronto Argonauts-Ottawa Rough Riders epic somewhere on the Internet.  Or maybe catch that Arena League game on the NFL Network you have been waiting to see.

More sports leagues than the NFL have issues that might be halting play before next season. All four major sports leagues are facing potential shutdowns. It wouldn’t be the first time for stadiums & arenas to have no cheering fans in them, either. Baseball has had eight work stoppages, the NHL and NBA three apiece, and the NFL two. Some lasted a few days, others a few weeks, and one even wiped out the whole entire season and the playoffs.

To be sure, labor trouble isn’t confined to American sports. Sports leagues from Asia to Europe have had games canceled or postponed because of issues between players and management. As professional athletes earn more money, their collective representation becomes more powerful. And with additional revenues coming from television, endorsement deals and increased attendance, millions and billions of dollars are at stake in these negotiations.  No matter what country you play in, there is always a debate over money.

Sometimes the players have their way. Baseball, in particularly, has the most powerful union and its players have been able to get the owners to cave time and again because of their solidarity. At other times, the owners win big. The best such example was the 1987 NFL strike, in which the owners all but annihilated the players union by fielding replacement players (scabs) and cracked the union ranks by encouraging stars to cross the picket line.

1982 NFL Strike Sports Illustrated Cover

And there are cases when strikes are purely symbolic, with both the players and management unable to do much about decisions made by a higher power. No, God may not care who wins or loses, but courts surely decide arguments in someone’s favor and it’s not always strictly along labor lines.

The 1995 Bosman Ruling by the European Court of Justice, which caused a brief strike in Italy’s Serie A, famously made a few players and teams very rich while leaving others – players and teams alike – either without a job or bankrupt.  Sometimes it is not up to the players or the teams to show who has the true power in negotiations.

When courts don’t intervene, it’s then up to the warring sides to come to some kind of middle ground. While the average fan cannot find himself sympathizing with either the millionaires or the billionaires, it’s important to realize that professional sports is a business that goes way beyond the fun and games.  There is more concern for the dollars lost & gained rather than the faces in the crowd.

George Santayana famously cautioned, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Well, no time is like the present for some history lessons. Let’s recap some of the pasts strikes and work stoppages to see just how sports has not just affected the players and owners, but the fans as well.

NHL 2004 Lockout

The NHL became the first major North American sports league in history to cancel a whole season, as recently as 1994-95, over a labor dispute. For the first time since 1919, the Stanley Cup was not awarded at the end of the season. That dispute — where the main issue was the salary cap — lasted 310 days and caused the cancellation of 1,230 games.

A salary cap was instituted, to be adjusted annually to guarantee players 54 percent of NHL revenues. A salary floor was also implemented, and player contracts were to be guaranteed. Revenue sharing and two-way salary arbitration were ushered in.

1981 MLB Strike

The 1987 season was the last time the NFL experienced a work stoppage. Players went on strike as they argued for liberalized free agency rules. However, only 14 games were lost that season and it was seen as a big win for the owners.  42 were played by the replacement players.

The league had another work stoppage in 1982, the result of a players’ strike over the sharing of revenue with owners. There were 98 games canceled that season and by the time play resumed, both sides claimed victory.  It seems with the NFL, history does repeat itself.  Despite abbreviated regular seasons in both strike years, the NFL still staged the Super Bowl.

The main issue in this year’s ongoing NFL labor dispute revolves around the splitting of a $9 billion revenue pool. Owners want a bigger share while players are reluctant to agree until they’re provided with transparent financial data from the league. Other issues under discussion & dropped are: expanding the regular season to 18 games (not happening), instituting a rookie wage scale, and improving benefits for current and retired players.

The 1998 NBA season was shortened from 82 games to 50. A total of 928 games were lost.  It was the first NBA work stoppage that resulted in a loss of games.

The owners wanted a cap for the league’s highest paid players and a larger share of the revenue. The players were relatively happy with the current structure but wanted an increase to the league minimum. The lockout swung in the owners’ favor when an arbitrator ruled that the owners didn’t have to pay the players their guaranteed salaries while play was halted.

Commissioner David Stern set a deadline of Jan. 7 to get a deal done or he would cancel the season. A deal was reached on Jan. 6 that most believe favored the owners.  Salaries were capped at $9-14 million, depending on years of service and a pay scale was put in place for rookies. There was a modest raise to the league minimum.  A first in NBA history.

The NBA was at its peak before the lockout and it took a big hit. Attendance and TV ratings declined and its biggest star, Michael Jordan, retired during the lockout. Only recently with stars like Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and LeBron James has the NBA been able to fully recover.  The NHL saw a similar decline after it lost a year of play.

1987 NFL Strike

After the NHL, the next-highest number of games lost because of a work stoppage have both occurred in Major League Baseball. There were 920 games canceled in the 1994-95 strike, including the 1994 World Series. MLB also lost 712 games because of another strike in 1981.

In all four major North American sports leagues there seems to be a continued dispute in the same areas: salary and salary cap, revenue sharing from both the team and media outlets, and miscellaneous financial alternatives.  This years NFL debate is the first one to have a suit centered on retired players health care.  One will wonder if the other leagues will follow suit when the time comes.

There are labor disputes all the time.  The Teamsters, AFL/CIO, UFCW, Air Traffic Controllers, Cab Drivers, and dozens of other unions have either gone on strike or had a work stoppage.  They get attention from everyone, but not the same amount professional sports gets.  Plus, fans always seem to be caught in the middle of a sports strike or lockout.  You do not see fans complaining when Wal Mart employees are not working, do you?

As it stands now, football seems like a dream come September.  The other major sports in North America seem to have their issues looming on the horizon.  This is a vicious cycle.  If the players and owners can not learn now, then when will they?  How long do they expect the fans to to wait?  No matter what sport you follow the most,  when there is a strike or work stoppage, the fans seem to wait for the outcome more than the parties involved.

(Statistics & dates compiled from Wikipedia)

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!”.

Jets/Patriots Battle in 50 Year Old Rivalry

Every year, Jets fans look forward to two games the most.  The games against the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots.  These rivalries go back to their days competing in the AFL.  With roots dating back 50 years, it is no wonder fans look forward to these contests.  You can see it every game.  Fans cheer a little louder, the chants get nastier, and their solidarity while tailgating gets stronger.  Even at away games, the Jets fans presence is known.  But the upcoming Monday Night Football game between two 9-2 teams seems to be fate.  As both teams, with top records in the NFL, battle it out for AFC East supremacy.

In the two clubs’ very first meeting on September 17, 1960.  , the New York Titans hosted the Boston Patriots at New York’s Polo Grounds. Al Dorow of the Titans erupted to three touchdown throws and led the Titans to a 24-7 lead in the third quarter. But Butch Songin and 109 rushing yards by Patriots runners clawed Boston back to trail 24-21 in the fourth quarter, then Chuck Shonta finished off the Titans when they fumbled and he ran back the ball 52 yards for the 28-24 Patriots win.  Since that first meeting, the teams have fought to many close games and narrow victories.

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The record between both teams stands at 50-50-1.  The then-Boston Patriots tied the Jets 24-24 at Fenway Park, for the only dead-heat in the rivalry’s history on October 2, 1966. The Patriots led 24-7 after three quarters but two Joe Namath touchdowns and a Jim Turner field goal tied the game. It would also be the last time the Patriots did not lose to the Jets until October 1971.  This Monday Night game will decide who will take the lead in this 50 year old rivalry.

Between six stadiums and tens of thousands of yards, both teams never stop giving their all.  It never matters what their record is they will always play harder against each other.  This rivalry has such a history, that sometimes history repeats itself.  In a bizarre harbinger of Spygate, the Patriots hosted the Jets and erupted to a 48-7 third quarter lead, ultimately winning 55-21 on October29, 1978 .

Jets coach Walt Michaels felt the Patriots were somehow decifering his coaching staff’s signals and suspected a rival team had told these codes to the Patriots. Michaels stewed afterward, “This will never happen to us again. I know what they did, but by the time we figured it out, it was too late.” Later that season the Houston Oilers erased a 23-0 gap to beat the Patriots 26-23, and there was speculation the Jets had told Oilers coaches about Patriots codes.

In 1998, after his third season in New England, running back Curtis Martin, the 1995 Rookie of the Year, became a restricted free agent. The Patriots placed the highest possible tender on Martin, that would ensure a first-round and third-round draft pick compensation if they did not match a contract offer from another team. The Jets offered Martin a 6-year, $36 million contract, and the Patriots, low on salary cap space, opted to not match the offer and took the draft pick compensation. The Jets offer was the first example under the NFL’s current Free Agency system of the “poison pill”.

Essentially a different contract for the Patriots than it would be for the Jets. It included a clause that would have allowed Martin could become an unrestricted free agent the following season if the Patriots matched the offer, allowing him to leave New England without the Patriots receiving any compensation. The deal included a $3.3 million roster bonus that would have counted against the Patriots’ salary cap

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The Patriots opened the 2001 season with a 23-17 loss at Cincinnati, with Bledsoe as the starting quarterback. Their second game, and home opener, on September 23, was against their AFC East rival, the New York Jets. Bledsoe was again the starter, when in the fourth quarter he suffered internal bleeding after a hit from Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. Bledsoe returned for the next series, but was replaced with Brady for that Pats’ final series of the game. New York would hold on to win, 10-3, and the Patriots fell to 0-2 on the season.  But this would mark the start of the Tom Brady era in New England, something Jets fans will always regret.

With Parcells, Carroll, Belichick, and Mangini all acting as coaches on both teams from 1993 through 2008, at least 50 players were also with both teams in the same period. Current Patriots defensive line coach Pepper Johnson was also a player with the Jets under Parcells.

Upon becoming Jets head coach in 2006, Mangini hired former Jets and Patriots players Bryan Cox and Rick Lyle to his coaching staff, as well as former Patriot Sam Gash, and retained former Patriots assistant strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul.  Former Patriots wide receivers coach Brian Daboll spent seven seasons with the Patriots before leaving to become the Jets’ quarterbacks coach in 2007. When Daboll left with Mangini for the Cleveland Browns, former Patriots quarterback Matt Cavanaugh was named as Jets quarterbacks coach; ironically, in his playing days with the Patriots Cavanaugh was 0-2 against the Jets.

This rivalry has many twists and turns.  Not to mention players and coaches going back and forth over the decades.  The only ones who have never changed sides have been the fans.  There is too much of a history to go over in great detail.  Many fans will recall their own piece of this rivalry’s history.  One thing is certain, every time these teams meet it does not matter who wins or loses because the fans always win from seeing a great battle.

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Even before the game, fans act like warriors before battle.  Cooking some kind of animal over an open fire, sharing stories, and rejoicing of past triumphs.  As they toast their brews and feast before the battle, every fan knows it is their team who will come out the victor, and leave the other with their heads bowed in defeat.  So as the Jets face the Patriots, raise your mug and celebrate for what is sure to be a great day for all fans.  But most of all, Jets fans.

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 vs. Colts – Revisiting Super Bowl III

This morning I received an e mail from Mike Cardano of Xtra Point Football.  He is a fellow die hard Jets fan and was amazed at this past season, like everyone else.  He forwarded me an article from his site about Super Bowl III that was great to read.  Made me almost believe I was at the game from the statistics to the game footage.  For all of you Jets fans out thre, he is your chance to revisit Super Bowl III:

Written by MC3 Sports Media
superbowliiiIn talking to my kids yesterday I realized that while they know that Joe Namath and the NY Jets won Super Bowl III, they don’t really understand that magnitude of the game and what it meant to football today as we know it.I don’t know how many of you actually saw the game, or remember it if you did. I was just a little kid at the time and while my dad told me I saw it, anything I remember is from highlights I saw through the years. I’m going to be 43 this year and I realize from listening to sports talk radio and going to the games that I’m actually older than many of the fans, so there are many of you who have likely never seen the game.

I know almost everyone has heard about the game, but for all of you (even if you are not a Jets fan) who have never seen the game that changed football here it is in all its glory……

You’ll notice a few things from watching the game that are drastically different than today’s NFL games.

  • No headsets in the QB’s helmet. (For the younger generation) Peyton Manning isn’t the first one to call his own plays, all the QB’s used to have that responsibility. The coach put in the game plan during the week of practice before the game with the play choices that should be used and the QB called the plays on the field as he felt appropriate.
  • Kickers all used the straight on style and not all teams even had players that specialized in kicking. Very often “The best player who could kick” handled the kickoff, filed goal and punting duties. It was not uncommon to see a lineman kicking the ball.
  • The goal posts were on the goal line. An extra point that would normally be spotted on the three yard line and put down by the place holder on the ten yard line was a ten yard kick, not a twenty yard kick. So that 61 yard field goal that Sebastian Janikowski kicked from his own 49 yard line a few weeks ago would have only been a 51 yard field goal. A 61 yard field goal would be from your own 39 yard line!
  • The hash marks are spread outside the goal posts (college and high school are still like that today). You’ll notice when Jim Turner of the Jets has to kick a short field goal from the left hash mark it creates some unique problems.
  • No net catching the field goals as they come through the uprights and apparently no such thing as NFL security either (sign of the times) as the ball just goes through the uprights and fans and children kids come running on the field to fetch the ball.
  • While there may have been some trash talking in the trenches (it was football), there was no end zone dancing, no first down celebrations, no sack dances or anything of the like that could be misconstrued as unsportsman-like.
  • And watch the referees. There would never be a blown call in the NFL if they hustled like you’ll see here. They are literally part of the play….

Super Bowl III was the third AFL-NFL Championship Game in professional American football, but the first to officially bear the name “Super Bowl”. (Although the two previous AFL-NFL Championship Games came to be known, retroactively, as “Super Bowls”.)

The game was played on January 12, 1969 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida – the same location as Super Bowl II. Entering Super Bowl III, the NFL champion Colts were heavily favored to defeat the AFL champion Jets (the Jets were a 19 point underdog). Although the upstart AFL had successfully forced the long-established NFL into a merger agreement three years earlier, the AFL was not generally respected as having the same caliber of talent as the NFL. Plus, the AFL representatives were easily defeated in the first two Super Bowls.

This game is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in sports history as the (AFL) champion New York Jets (11-3) defeated the (NFL) champion Baltimore Colts (13-1) by a score 16-7. It was the first Super Bowl victory for the AFL.

The game itself wasn’t a particularly well played game and it didn’t have a dramatic finish. How exciting could the game have been when the MVP, Joe Namath, didn’t throw any touchdown passes and didn’t even throw a pass in the 4th quarter? In certainly didn’t finish with the drama of either of the last two Super Bowl’s we had.

Statistically the game was just about a dead heat in every category (except for the turnovers.) There were six turnovers in the game, 5 by the Colts. In fact, in large part the 5 turnovers by the Colts more than anything is the reason that they lost. Two of the INT’s were in the end zone.

superbowliiistats

Some other Super Bowl Facts before your show starts………..

  • Anita Bryant sang the National Anthem
  • The Florida A&M University Marching Band played “America Thanks” (you know, like “The Who” is this year’s Super Bowl half time entertainment.
  • The Attendance was 75,389
  • It was televised on NBC (in Technicolor) with Kurt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis and Kyle Rote announcing the game.
  • A 30 second commercial cost $55,000

Enjoy the game…….

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