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Jets Lower Ticket Prices; Fans Hope To Raise Expectations

It has been a while since I actually sat down to write.  Had some distractions that interfered with the creative flow.  So I guess I needed a mental vacation.  An opportunity to dump the mental waste and fill it with fresh thoughts that makes me want to sit, down and make this seem seamless.

For a while there I felt robotic, pushing myself to churn out something I felt had no heart behind it.

Sometimes it takes a wave.  To fully reach its potential with a lot of mass, force and power behind it.  But to be the one to ride that wave, derive its energy and untapped potential.  Riding that wave to mastery.  Those are the best writers.  The ones who take that untapped potential and ride that wave past the crest.

Once I read the Jets had lowered ticket prices in the upper deck, I knew I had a reason to sit down just to get back up on my soap box.  For the few that gather, it just makes sense.

Apparently, the New York Jets are lowering the price of some 12,000 upper tier seats at MetLife Stadium for the 2012 season.

Jets President Neil Glat said that seats in the end zone, corners and some along the sidelines that cut in from the corners will drop in price for next season.  The seats farthest from the 50 yard line are generally the ones least sought after.  With many not wanting to sit next to the clouds this is another opportunity to make the upper deck attractive.

The last seven rows of four sections of sideline seats will fall from $105 per game to either $75 or $50, depending on the row. Those in the corners and in the end zone will drop from $95 to either $75 in six rows or $50 for the last seven rows.

DSC05962The upper deck has been a hard sell to Jets fans.  Even with single game seats the transportation alternatives and costs could add up.  Even a day at the game is not cheap for some in a down economy still.  A reason I am sure the Jets took into consideration when lowering ticket prices.

“After taking a hard look and having analyzed the 300 level, we are going to adjust the price,” Glat said. “We think we can do better in that area for our fans. The goal is to ensure that we have a lot of season ticket holders up there.”

I think their hard look came from ticket sales to date.  I am sure they see less being taken in the non PSL region.  A down economy and unemployment will be two reasons the team will not acknowledge often.  They have before, it would be a relief if thy would do it again.

Saying what they did was a more PC way of acknowledging the reasons without saying them, but we all know.

Jets fans will be able to purchase a season ticket for as little as $500, including two preseason games.  A parking permit could cost a few hundred for the season so add that into consideration.

“This was not an issue about worrying about getting games on TV,” Glat said, “but what is the right price for the value for the fans. And there’s really an emphasis in the NFL on season ticket holders, the lifeblood of the league.”

But wait, there is more dangling off the hook of being a 300-level Season Ticket Holder:

  • Great savings off the individual game ticket price (duh)
  • Special concessions offers including $3 value menu snack items (dollar dog)
  • Meet & greets with two Jets Alumni before every home game (ones who are there anyway like Greg Buttle & Joe Klecko)
  • Complimentary team roster cards located on the 300-level concourse (low cost printing)

I can see how this could be attractive to some who want to get their kids to a few games, give them some perks and not be tied to a PSL.

It may encourage those already in the upper deck to spread their claim to more seats.  I see this working well with younger fans but not the older fans.  It would take an effort and a few elevators to get up there and not an attractive option.

JetsBlog2I bring that up because a lot of older fans, the season ticket holders who had seats for more years than some current PSL holders have been alive, might like the prices slashes.  But they may not like the seats location and the journey it takes to get to the top of the Roman Coliseum.

I admire those long time season ticket holders for not going to the new stadium.  They knew when to say when.  When to make a new experience away from the new American Dream MetLife Mall that will soon exist.

Now a football Sunday can start with tailgating and commerce.  Players can go from a personal appearance in one facility right into the lockers before a game in the other.

With all the bonus features, v.i.p. sections ,and coaches club attractions in MetLife Stadium is football even a feature attraction?

The days of tailgating before the game, going to the game, then leaving will soon be a memory faster than Derrick Mason.

I am old school, I guess.  Football Sunday is meant for football and tailgating, that’s it.  Men need a day for themselves during the week to focus on football, it’s in a long standing rule book somewhere..  Look it up.  Maybe Wikipedia.

Those fans who saw the rise of the Titans of New York and early Jets years made a lot of sacrifices.  They came out before the games when they could.  They paid their dues.  Many never step foot in the new stadium.  For most of them, the magic was gone.

Not in the team, but in the way they experienced their football on Sunday.  Not just the extra entertainment but also in the way of portable devices, I-phones, and everything else that takes one’s attention off the game they paid to see.

DSC07225The Jet Nuts, Jets Pack, and many other long standing tailgating groups did not want to keep up with the costs.  Many said no to the ever changing price structures.  The Jets have not kept a single cost the same on both the tickets & PSL’s since they were first announced for MetLife Stadium.

When one overprices in a down economy, you have to make constant shifts.  For every step ahead they take with trying to lure fans to buy tickets, they take two steps back each time they change their price structure.

Many don’t mind.  They will take whatever price structure they can get just to be able to say they have New York Jets season tickets.  It has become a possession of status to some.  Trying to prove they are a bigger fan than others.

But no matter how you watch Mark Sanchez, Darelle Revis, and now Tim Tebow, we are all fans.  Opinions will vary between Jets fans on the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow QB controversy.  Spend as much as you want either viewing from home or the most luxurious seats in MetLife Stadium.  The organization only knows you from one perspective.

As a consumer.

It A Hard Knock Life, But Not For The Jets

It appears fans of  HBO’s  Hard Knocks will not be able to get up close, personal, and behind all the scenes of the New York Jets this training camp.

According to Dennis Wasznak of the Associated Press, the Jets have reportedly turned down HBO’s offer:

A person familiar with the decision said the team decided to not participate in the hit HBO show this year after being approached by the cable network about appearing again.

Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and company were big stars and drew huge ratings two years ago—the last time the show aired—but the Jets opted to pass on doing it again this summer, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because neither the team nor the cable network had announced the decision.

This past Tuesday night on The Jets Zone on Blog Talk Radio I said this was the best decision the team could have made.

When you consider the three ring media circus that has already surrounded the franchise, the media frenzy and questions that came up when “backup” QB Tim Tebow was traded for, another Darelle Revis situation, and the locker-room problems the Jets had last season, the last thing they need are more cameras and eyes on the team as they go through training camp.

From a football perspective, the show would be a serious distraction. The report states the reason for turning the show down is the fact that they have a new offensive coordinator in Tony Sparano, and that makes perfect sense. Sporano is going to have his hands full with a new defense and getting used to the Jets.  The last thing he needs is his focus taken off the team.

Unfortunately, the Jets’ decision is a football fans loss when it’s all said and done.  .

The show would have been a must-watch had the Jets been the focus.

 I can only imagine what the dynamic between Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and the camera would be like. There are only so many cameras and so much face time available—who would end up getting most of the spotlight?  Who would have the biggest crowd of fans when the cameras would be present?

And then there’s boisterous head coach Rex Ryan. What would he have up his sleeve for the audience?  More yelling?  Another snack?  Perhaps a few wise cracks or dirty jokes would be heard on top of the cameras covering his weight loss.

Alas, fans of great reality TV will suffer, because it appears the Jets have made the smart and conventional move for the first time in a while.  With 1,001 cameras already on them they did not need HBO’s as well.

They’ll be better for it, and the rest of us will be stuck hoping for anybody but Jacksonville.

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.

It’s A Typical Football Off Season, Or Is It?

No matter who you talk to, no one really wants to discuss football.  Let’s face it, there is not much to talk about.  With owners and players at a stalemate and leaving it up to the courts, even they have nothing to talk about.  For the first time since 1987, we are all at a standstill.

For once, all football fans are on the same page, waiting.  Waiting to see when this lockout will not just end, but how soon.  The media does not have much to report on.  Many should be reporting on free agent signings, contract negotiations, off season workouts, and so much more.  But there is not even that to discuss.  Sports writers and reporters have to scrounge for ideas and stories like they are going dumpster diving, trying to find any scrap to talk about.

Greg Bishop of the New York Times wrote a great piece concerning the Jets and what they are doing, or not doing.
“Players are not allowed inside the building. The Jets cannot make trades or sign their numerous free agents. Employees on the team’s business side, everyone from secretaries to executive vice presidents, are staring at the possibility of forced work furloughs. And those involved in the organization’s football operations — coaches among them — are working under a 25 percent pay cut.

Like all N.F.L. teams, the Jets are on a novel campaign to carry on as an organization. Some looming decisions, like how to refund tickets if games are canceled this fall, have nothing to do with football on the field. Others relate to more basic and familiar football questions — whom to draft, for instance, late next month. The Jets will not be able to sign their selections, but they still have to make them.

The greatest sense of paralysis probably is being felt by Tannenbaum and his staff. The Jets have 15 expiring contracts, including those of key players like Cromartie and wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards.”

This is a key time for the Jets.  For the second consecutive year, they made it to the AFC Championship and lost.  They have the tools to go to the Super Bowl.  By not being able to negotiate with free agents, talk to players and agents, there will be little time to make up once the lockout ends.  Depending how close it is to opening day.  The Jets will have to run their own hurry up offense just to make sure the pieces are there to make a run in 2011.

Mike Tannenbaum might also have to make changes on handling the draft.  In previous seasons, he has selected high quality players, regardless of their position.  Vernon Gholston was a choice of Eric Mangini, not Tannenbaum.  In this season of the lockout, with needs on the defensive line, at safety, and with three key receivers potentially free agents, he could draft to key positions.  They need a big time pass rusher.  But when it comes to the Jets, they usually surprise many on their choices.

The players, for their part, face their own challenges and quandaries . During the lockout, players are on their own for their workouts.  Cornerback Darrelle Revis put the offer out to host all defensive backs at his home in Arizona to help with training and development. Some may take him up on it while others may not want to spend to make the trip. Many are working out at local colleges and high schools.  Five members of the Jets’ secondary are free agents, and if any are injured, their careers could be hindered without the backing of a team to help with their rehabilitation.

Let me show you where players are not currently training

For first year players, Kyle Wilson, Vladimir Ducasse, John Conner and Joe McKnight of last years draft class, they will suffer more. They will not receive any instruction from their coaches.  They will be missing out on key guidance.   First year rookies all over will not have the tutelage other players have had in the past.  They need to rely on veteran players right now.

Of course, many of these issues could become a memory, as the players have sought, a federal judge in Minnesota grants an injunction barring the owners from continuing to implement the lockout.

Still, fans remain positive on there being a 2011 season.  In a call with Fireman Ed, he knows they have months to go to settle things.  But if the judge makes the decision favoring the owners, then there is a chance this could go on for a while.  Ed knows the Jets have the right tools to build on this past season.  But when coaches and players can not talk, there is not much to build on.  Ed feels some of the smaller market team owners have a bigger say in this and are trying to get more out of it.  For a fan as passionate as Fireman Ed, even he has nothing to talk about regarding football.

Every player across the league is experiencing the same woes as the Jets players.  Many would love the chance to workout at their teams facilities, but have to make makeshift plans to schedule the same type of workouts.

Every team owner, coach, and General manager has to make plans about the upcoming season and put them away in a file.  Only to come back to them later on the chance there is a season to come back to.  Then they have to use their 2 minute drill to get those carefully laid plans into place.  Time is on their side, for now.

So we all wait collectively.  Like a $300 million dollar lottery hoping our numbers are the ones to be called.  Sitting on the edge of our seats for that big announcement of a 2011 season.  But no one will be happier than the team employees who were forced into pay cuts and furloughs.  The players will come next, followed by the team management.  But in the end, the fans will breathe a sigh of relief once they know there is an opening day kickoff.

Jets On The Road To Lead Fans To Super Bowl?

Well, it seems the Jets beat The Stomach.  It was their year to beat Peyton Manning and the Colts in the playoffs.  The Jets did what they needed to do.  The ran the ball and forced their defense to stop them on the ground.  Darelle Revis held Reggie Wayne to just one yard.  Revis Island was more like Revis Prison.  Even though Manning was not sacked, intercepted, or blocked in any way, his presence on the field did not deter the Jets from accomplishing the first step in their goal, going to the Super Bowl.  Most importantly, Nick Folk stepped up and kicked the Jets into the next round against New England.  He showed he wanted to be an integral part of the team.

So the Jets are rolling in the playoffs for the second year.  The only thing that can stop them is themselves.  Many fans, including Fireman Ed made they way out to support the Jets on the road.  The main drawback to playing all road games is no Jets season ticket holder gets a chance to get those tickets first.  One has to see how they can procure them on the open market.  For the second year in a row, the Jets are in the playoffs and no home games.  So as you invest in the team with your PSL’s, it does not guarantee you a dividend of playoff tickets unless there is a home game.  They can play on the road every year and no Jets season ticket holder will have first access.

For many, they can not make it to away games, especially playoff games.  Getting time off from work, family, and other commitments make it difficult for some.  Some love to go to away games and factor that into every season.  For some, they feel it i cheaper to go to an away game.  Tickets are less.  Yes one has to pay travel and hotel expenses, but that can cost less that investing in a PSL and season tickets.  Ken Pikowski is one of those fans.  He talks about how ticket prices are cheaper in other stadium he attends.  This coming form someone who used to have six season tickets along the 50 yard line in the old stadium.

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Foxboro is not as far as Indianapolis, so there might be more Jets fans willing to make the trip.  Always a good feeling for the away team to know their fans are in the stadium to cheer them on.  It is that little extra motivation that can help a team win away from their home.  For those who have the buses, Winnebago’s,   campers, trailers, and any party vehicle on wheels, it makes the tailgating experience a little easier.  One gets to bring a little bit of home with them to away games.  But nothing beats sitting in the seats you sit in every game at your home stadium.

Many fans are hoping the Jets can win their division or get at least one home game in in the future.  Getting those post season games as a season ticket holder makes the season bearable.  When many invested in the team, they were hoping the Jets would get some playoffs games in the New Meadowlands Stadium.  But when ones makes an investment and it pays no dividends, why keep that investment?  I have said many times, many keep it to pass down to their kids.  But what about the ones who hope to sell them.

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If the Jets were a team who had home playoff games and fans knew they could count on those tickets every year, people could sell the PSLs at a higher profit margin.  Fans would want those tickets more than the season tickets.  For some reason, the playoffs just bring out more in a team.  Playoff tickets go for big bucks on their own.  Imagine if the Jets were a team, who won their division several times like other teams, and someone sold the season tickets knowing he could up the price because they were a home playoff team?  Look at New England, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and other NFL teams.  Their fans know that when their team is strong, home playoff games are on the horizon.  Jets fans want the same thing.

So it seems this year is a year many fans will remember.  Not just because Rex Ryan made a promise to beat Peyton Manning and did, but because of a new era with a new stadium.  It was a new season that had many firsts, from designated parking to social media interaction.  The Jets stock price is slowly climbing.  But the parking stock has already skyrocketed.  Keep in mind, both the PSL’s and parking passes are investment.  They do not come together as an investment.  If you have them together, now you have a Jets portfolio.  Not easy to invest in a team in this new era of sports.

Jets Fans Celebrate Season Opener & Filming Continues

Yesterday was the inaugural game for the New York Jets in their new home, the New Meadowlands Stadium.  It was a Monday Night Football game that ended in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens 10-9.  But before the game even started, many fans were still getting acclimated not just to the new stadium, but to the parking and tailgating as well.  With it being a Monday night game starting at 7 PM, it did not leave much time for those coming right from work.  Some were able to get the day off while others battled traffic and the incoming elements to get there in one piece.

The start started off great, the sun was out and had a ride schedule to get myself & my friends Paul and Sixto who were helping me film into the stadium.  Since I did not invest in a PSL or non PSL seats, there was no way I could park at the Meadowlands.  Bruce Speight from the New York Jets mentioned he might be able to get me a parking pass for $25 but that never happened.  So Sal & Carmine who run one of the best tailgates was to be our ride into the parking area.  Sal & Carmine have been “base camp” while filming the past few years.  They have been great and so have the guys who party with them.  But since Sal was taking a different route, we had to meet him close to the stadium and they picked us up as we made our way over.

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Sal                                                                          Carmine

Just trying to find the right sport to enter the parking at the stadium was not too easy, for the first time.  A lot of people were waiting on long lines just to get into the parking section they wanted.  Depending on the lot you wanted to get into depending on how long of a line you waited in.  We were headed into Yellow Lot J and the line was not too long.  Some people got into the lot a little early and were asked to leave, then come back.  One of Carmine’s friends made it into the lot.  They asked him to leave around 1:52 PM and to come back in when it opened, 8 minutes later.  Crazy.  The thought they were making it easier for everyone to park but people just felt waiting on the lines were stupid.

After we got ourselves set up we decided to get a lay of the new land.  Felt weird walking across the parking lot where the old Giants Stadium stood.  Was a strange feeling not seeing it there.  I saw it come down for weeks in front of my eyes.  Just hard to stand on the exact site where it stood and knowing the parking structure was now sinking into the lot.  A huge stadium was there just a few months ago.  And now, just a basic parking lot.  The Green parking where the Club and Suite PSL holders park is the site of where the stadium once stood.  I am sure many others feel strange about parking and tailgating on the site of the old stadium.

It seems Weber Grills and Lobel’s of New York have teamed up to give fans an option in tailgating.  If there are fans who do not want to bring the grill, food, or even a cooler to the tailgate, Weber & Lobel’s will do it for them.  Yes, one can either rent the equipment & buy the raw ingredients or have them cook it for you there.  That is, if you do not mind paying $18 for a steak sandwich.  It was very pricey, once again it shows the clientele they are catering to at the new stadium.   They had all kinds of cuts of meat and chefs who were ready to prepare them all for you.  They will offer these services every Jets and Giants home game.  Keep in mind their stand is set up between Lots F & G of the Green parking.

From there were toured around the new lots.  Not too many people were there yet.  Was somewhat empty in many lots until people got out of work.  We did however come across some people partying it up and did not care who was around.  There was the 40 foot tall inflatable gorilla one fan had purchased off Ken Pikowski that wore his Jets shirt.  One tailgate had their own Revis Island complete with Revis and Ravens jerseys.  But everyone still had opinions on the PSL’s.  Everyone did not like the fact they were used but felt if they wanted to see their team live, in person,  they had no other choice.  Some were even proud to pay to them and said those who didn’t were f’n morons who were stupid not to since they did.

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Paul, Sixto, and I went all the away across to yellow Lot D by Route 120 to visit a guy who had a Jets hearse with a casket in back with a Ray Lewis jersey.  Another one not proud to pay for the PSL’s but felt the need to as he wanted to keep coming to the stadium to see the Jets.  Seems many who have the cheapest PSL’s thought they did the least of all the PSL evil’s.  Seems not many are proud they have them, but still feel fortunate to have kept their tickets.  A confusing situation to some.  The sky was looking very ominous.  The clouds were dark and looking like they were about to open up very soon.

As we were walking back over to Sal & Carmines, I managed to get some words with some Baltimore Ravens fans.  They had to endure PSL’s back in the late 1990′s.  They instituted them not too long after the Carolina Panthers brought them into the NFL.  Seems if you wanted seats 3 rows back from the 50 yard line all one had to pay was $3,000 for a PSL.  Higher up in the mezzanine it was $750 a seat.  Now this was over 11 years ago but still a bargain.  They said for the prices they were asking there was not much of a complaint by the fans.  Even the ticket prices were low.  But the Ravens fans did feel the Jets and Giants prices were too high and felt sorry for the New York fans.  Some ravens fans even sold their PSL’s making a profit.  One who had two $2,500 PSL’s sold them off for $8,000 a piece not long after they won the Super Bowl.

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The closer we got to Sal and Carmine’s the closer rain was coming.  We got pulled over to some Jets fans burning a Ravens hat on their grill.  Some Ravens fans came over and thought it was cruel.  Come on.  That is how fans are.  Well, maybe after a few beers.  Before the rain started to fall we got some footage of a band playing at one of the tailgates.  Seems every year some group has a band playing.  We managed to get all the gear away just before the clouds opened up on us.  Lightening was coming down pretty close by so we got out of there as fast as we could.  Tailgating was cut short by at least an hour and 20 minutes.

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As we were walking out to our car parked on the other side of route 3, the lines getting into the stadium were jammed.  Seemed no matter what road you came in on there were long lines backed up at different points.  Those who came from work or any time after 5 PM had to wait in long lines as the rain poured down.  It was coming down heavy at times and I Know it is not a good feeling coming to a game in the rain, stuck in traffic , and you think you will be parking far.  But I guess with the new parking some felt that no matter how long they waited, they would have a close enough spot.  Unless you had to park over by the Izod Center and had to walk all the way over to the stadium.  Guess everyone learned to get there early from now on and try to avoid the lines.

Now that I know the parking lot sections better it will make it easier to find people I would like to go back and interview.  Plus, I will be finding out from others their input for the season.  I want to see if by the end of the year if the Jets are not living up to expectation, how people feel about their PSL purchases.  Will they think they invested in a team that did not live up to their expectations.  Will they stand by a team that is all hype and no bite.  Only time will tell.  One game down and seven to go.  Still plenty of time for the Jets to turn it around and give their fans something to cheer about. Read more

Jets Hard Knocks Review & Giants One Up Jets

HBO Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The New York Jets week 2 has come and gone.  It showed the Jets still have a lot to do if they want to make a run for the Super Bowl this season.  I am not just talking about the loss to the New York Giants, but the work all the playing lines have in front of them.  Let’s go over this all one piece at a time, shall we?

Show opens with Bruce Springsteen singing a little diddy about New Jersey and the old Giants Stadium.  The one I had covered and was told to not come back to to take pictures.  I can see why.  They were using clips of it for Hard Knocks and wanted to make a dramatic impression with the images.  Well, I captured some of the same images they did.  Check the pictures & video below to the footage in Hard Knocks. You can read more about my coverage of the old stadium in previous posts.  It was a nice tribute to open the show.
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REx Ryan showing why he is one of the NFL’s top coaches and knows they are a little off but know they will get it.  The team will be on before the season begins.  Jets have cut two players so their replacements will have to get up to speed real fast.  Tim McKnight, better known as Nicky, is getting tested on the plays and routes.  He is a rookie running back off to a rough start.  He threw up on the field during mini camp and failed his conditioning test at rookie camp.  A stand out player in high school, he shows what made him a top recruit for USC and times he does not show the potential.  Joe has the potential to give the team more speed in the backfield.  He just needs mroe confidence in himself and his playing.

IS Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum always stuffing their face?  The more they show them sitting around the more I see them eating.  Maybe they should be in a conditioning program along with the players.  Mark Sanchez complaining about paying $.59 for ranch sauce is like Darelle Revis complaining he is only getting one million dollars this year.

Mark Brunell has the right experience to back up Mark Sanchize and give him the tips he needs to improve as starting QB.  Being one of the NFL’s top QB’s, it makes sense to have Brunell as a back up and pass along his experience.  At age 40, he has been around the league long enough to make Sanchez’s sophomore year a better one than having Clemens as his back up.  But Brunell is right, keeping his 18 year old daughter away from Mark Sanchez.  Nice to see a father that cares.

Brian Schottenheimer has a great role model in his father Marty.  A former head coach who can pass along the right knowledge and experience.   He may be on Sanchez’ case a lot, but it is for good reason.  It is that constant drilling that will make Mark make less mistakes.  Passing that experience from his father to Mark on top of Mark Brunell’s is something many QB’s do not get.  Even QB’s coach Matt Cavanaugh telling Mark to hold his head high and respond affirmatively to advice will make him a better player.

Once again, the Darelle Revis show takes place.  This time they announce a media blackout and keep all future information confidential.  Which they should have done from the beginning.  The media should focus on the team that is at training camp, not the ones holding out.  Kyle Wilson, rookie draft pick filling in Revis’ spot, is someone the media should be talking about.  He is at camp and doing what it takes to fill that spot and make the main roster.  Antonio Cromartie on the other end in his forth year is making sure no one forgets him or his seven kids.  Or is it six?  He is a true talent and needs to live up to that potential.  If he blows a tackle the way he blew one against the Jets in the playoffs the fans will not let him forget it.

You can tell Rex loves to coach.  He wants to be on that field no matter what.  No issues about being hands on and getting in the face of the players if he has to prove a point.  That is what all the Jets coaches do.  They are touch as nails, balls to the walls coaches who do what they have to do to make sure the players learn everything.  Even when reviewing film they know if they made a right or wrong decision.

Mike Tannenbaum asking rookie Tight End Jeff Cumberland what are the three things it takes to make the team lets the rookies know what they need to do.  That answer?  Special teams, special teams, special teams.  Special Teams coach MIke Westoff has survived cancer of his femur for the past 23 years.  He has used special shoes, braces, crutches and anything else he needed to walk.  He pretty much has a rebuilt leg with more metal in there than Wolverine.  It is that heart and dedication to his coaching that makes Mike Westoff an effective coach.  His resilience and determination is something those rookies can learn much from.  Special teams is filled with unknowns and rookies looking to make the team.  His job is to make them into solid football player worthy of wearing that Jets jersey.

Punter Steve Weatherford did something I thought was hysterical.  He bought 100 Shake Weights to give out to his team to help get them either motivated, in shape, or get them laughing.  If you shake it a certain way the players only need five minutes alone in their rooms to use it.  Maybe best used in private.  I heard it does wonders for certain muscle groups above the waist.  Seeing the players and coaches faces when using them was priceless.  I have wanted to use one myself.

Nick Mangold and Kris Jenkins are fantastic teammates.  Each one pushing the other further.  Taking it one step further so the other performs better when they are on the field against their opponents.  Jenkins is itching for the season to start after missing half of last season.  These guys are such forces on the field. I feel sorry for whoever the oppose on other teams.

Vernon Gholston moving to Defensive End is a last ditch effort to make a solid player out of him.  A bust since he was drafted two years ago, he hopes taking a pay cut will show the team he is serious about keeping his job.  Rex Ryan has faith in him and believe in his abilities.  He is playing well, but is well good enough?  Even being tested in a fight on the field showed that he does want to keep his place on the team.  Every Jets layer is stepping it up this year.

Good to see the team head to the movies to relax.  Now Rex may have taken a small popcorn with no butter, but did he grab a diet soda?  The world may never know.  If he did pig out then the title of the move says it all: Dinner For Schmucks.

John Connor is edging out veteran Tony Richardson in the Fullback spot in my opinion.  His showing in training camp and the Jets/Giants preseason game shows he wants to hurt people.  He loves throwing blocks and making opposing player lie on their backs.  Richardson is passing his knowledge and experience along, that may be his undoing in getting a starting spot on the roster.

I do not have to go into details about the Jets/Giants preseason game.  Everyone has done their reviews and saw the highlights.  Seeing Woody Johnson walk around the parking lot makes me laugh.  He is the owner of the team, not a fan and one of the true fans.  It is more about a PR session for him that knowing what the true fans are about.  Maybe if he sat in the upper deck, the non PSL seats for a whole season he might know what it is like to be one of the true fans of the Jets.  Everyone wants their picture with him, I got mine.  But I also asked him some touch questions.  If you see him walking around, confront him, he is fair game.

REx Ryan has every right to yell at the team.  They are a playoff caliber team.  The second and third string players need to show they want to make the team.  They need to step up their game and prove to the coaches they want it as bad as the high paying starters.  This is why there is a preseason, to make your impact.  Show the coaches you want that first team spot.  Make the tackles, the catches, the key blocks.  They still have some time to prove they are worth that spot.  I know they will do what they can.

OK, today the Giants announced they would put single game tickets on sale.  IN return, the Jets said they would not put single game seats on sale.  The Jets have under 1,000 PSL’s remaining from the 9,000 marked down seats.  This does not count other various seats still unsold throughout the stadium.  If the Jets do not sell out these seats by opening day, what will they do?  They have to sell them one way or another.  It will come down to the wire.  If Woody Johnson does announce single game seats, he will have to backtrack his steps as far back as Cleveland.

The Giants do what is right and it shows in their sales.  They have made wise decisions in their sales practices.  The Jets are still playing second fiddle, caring more about the bottom line than doing what is right to sell them off.  Maybe the fans would not be so upset if for once they listened now rather than later.  I was told by one high ranking official in the Jets organization that they can not please everyone and do what they can.  They are confident they will sell all of the PSL’s by opening day.  What if they don’t.  What will be their next decision.  The closer it gets to opening day, what will the right decision be?

The Monday Night Infomercial

So the Jets lost the first official NFL game in the New Meadowlands Stadium by a score of 31-16. Albeit it was a preseason game, but it was the game for New York bragging rights.  The New York Jets did show some promise.  Mark Sanchez was 13 for 17 with an interception & touchdown early in the first quarter.  LT and Shonn Greene ran the ball well and had both speed and yardage to get into the end zone.  Running behind rookie fullback  “The Terminator” John Connor helped create extra running yards as he opened up the lane and created many key blocks.  Al in all the Jets showed promise in their first preseason game.  They were able to show they can transfer what they learned in training camp into an actual game.  Now they can take a step forward and improve for their next outing.

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I believe the game took second chair to what was truly on the main stage tonight, the new Meadowlands Stadium.  Tonight’s Monday Night Football game was the first time a Jets and Giants preseason game was held on a Monday night.  Let alone any preseason game on a Monday night.  The team owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell probably talked months ago about how a Monday Night Football game would really show the new stadium in a way that could not be shown on a Friday night or Saturday.  Figuring having it on prime-time on ESPN would really make the place stand out to those who were on the fence about a PSL.  The camera shots not on the game and sideline made it feel more like an infomercial for the new stadium than a football game.

Coming back from commercial they showed the bars on the mezzanine and lower levels.  The Clubs around the Coaches Club area.  The Green rooms where certain PSL holders get their free food.  The Luxury suites with leather chairs and fireplaces.  Coaches Club VIP areas behind the teams bench.  I think the only thing they did not show was how spacious the bathroom stalls are.  To me it felt like an infomercial about the new stadium.  A way to showcase it to millions watching at home as if to say “don’t you wish you paid your money to be here?”  Even the commentators were going on about the new stadiums amenities.  Did everyone forget there was a game going on?  Of course they didn’t.  They want fans to spend time out and about away from their seats in the other areas of the stadium.  They already got their money for the PSLs and tickets, now it is time to spend it in other parts of the new stadium.

There will be those who will disagree with me and say how sports is a luxury.  Say how that is how it is these days and if you do not have the money then you can not experience the way a game was meant to be seen.  There are two sets of fans now.  Those who have and those who had.  The ones who had wish they could still be there, but do not want a PSL or sit so far up.  Those who have are excited, able to watch their team in a state of the art stadium.  But will it be worth the price in a few years?  Many view the PSL as stock and what will that stocks price be worth if the Jets become the Jets of old?  If the Jets do not win the Super Bowl or make the playoffs, how much will those PSLs be worth?  Now it seems like a great investment to many and many will hold onto them for life.  But to others, the not so die hard fans who have been there for years, how long will they want them?

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Many were very excited to be there tonight, win or lose.  Able to gawk at the new concession stands, bars, and other areas to shake your wallet at.  But in the end, everyone is there for the game.  To see two football teams play on the field.  If you are there to watch the game at one of the bars, VIP lounges, or any other screen away from your seat, what was the purpose in buying your seat?  Just to say you have season tickets?

I wish the New York Jets well this season.  I hope they can provide that elusive Super Bowl win they have wanted to give their fans for decades.  But unless they sign Darelle Revis, what will those odds be?  ESPN played one hell of an infomercial tonight.  Woody Johnson must be proud of his new county club.  I am sure the Jets and Giants sales representatives will be by their phones tomorrow hoping tonight’s prime time sales pitch did its job.

John Gambling & NY1 News Talk PSLs & Jets Documentary

What a couple days so far this week.  I was on The John Gamblng Show on 710 AM WWOR radio this past Monday morning.  Then today on NY 1 News for a story they are doing on the New York Jets and New Meadowlands Stadium.  Seems the closer it gets to the start of the 2010 season, there is more talk about the PSLs being sold.  Some seem to think they will all be sold while many others feel they will still have empty seats.  As long as there are no blackouts, I do not think either team cares.  Sure they would like a complete sell out, but making sure the revenue is there from advertising is important as well.  The most expensive Coaches Club seats will not be sold by the home opener.  May be hard to tell on TV, but the gray color of the seats were designed as such to look like someone is sitting there even if empty.

Monday morning I was on the John Gambling Show on WWOR 710 AM.  I was on his show preciously last year to talk about the documentary.  John had talked about the PSLs last week as he gave up his New York Giants season tickets after 30 years.  Even those with the income to afford them feel it is a bad investment.  I spoke with John’s producer Mike Figeola about coming back on and he thought it was a good idea.  On Monday, we discussed the PSLs, Darelle Revis’ holdout, Levy’s Bakery Productions, and other small talk.  John introduced me as a sports writer and filmmaker.  Even after filming this documentary for two years and writing about sports for one year it did not hit me until that point.  It felt good inside to hear others recognize me for the work I have been doing and will continue to do.  I can only hope it leads to some employment in the field.

Last Wednesday I was interviewed by Jon Weinstein of NY1 News in New York City.  He was putting a story together on the New Meadowlands Stadium and PSLs before the season begins.  We talked about the PSLs, the new stadium, my documentary, and other subjects that revolved around myself and the Jets.  But like most media stories go, most of it ended up on the cutting room floor.  It was a two minute piece and only 15 seconds of my interview were used.  Jon also interviewed Anthony Quintano of Quintano Media because he was also a Jets season ticket holder and is assisting me with the documentary.  His footage was not even used.

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The story was put up yesterday on the NY1 website.  Jon’s piece was part three of a three part series on the new stadium.  Three reporters were responsible for each piece.  Guess Jon was extremely limited.  I even gave him some footage from the documentary to use.  Even footage of myself and Woody Johnson.  But hey, that is the press.  They take tons of footage only to use precious seconds.  I am just thankful I  was a part of the piece. At least when I was on John Gambling’s show, he mentioned my website and we discussed the history behind the Levy’s Bakery name.  I could not even get a mention of it in the NY1 news piece.

I have been trying to gt in touch with some Jets fans I have interviewed in the past.  I leave voice mails and message but they go unanswered.  I know there are some who were happy to be a part of it before investing in the PSL.  But now that they have them, they have a different attitude.  They can not bash the PSL or the team now that they have it.  Some will continue to talk with me, even after their purchase.  The die hard fans knew in their hearts they had to be there and no on their couch.  Some like Sal and Carmine do not talk to me as much because they bashed the PSLs then got them.  They knew they could not take back what they said, only prevent themselves from saying anything further.  Below are links to both interviews.

Daid Levy on The John Gambling Show 8/9/2010
NY1: Football’s New Address: Some Fans Not Sold On Season Ticket Rights

Giants Stadium Is Gone. What Next?

Some notable New York Jets news over the past week.  Darelle Revis will attend training camp despite not having a new contract.  D’Brickashaw Ferguson signed a new six year deal with the Jets as well.  Not to mention the New York Jets will be on HBO’s Hard Knocks in a few weeks.  Seems the team has some good news going for them before the preseason starts.  But the tune may change once the season begins.  They still have yet to sell all of the PSL’s and thousands still remain unsold.  Many long time ticket holders will not cave in and many still have yet to find the money to afford them.  Even with the lower prices and payment plans many can not afford it, including me.  I am in the midst of looking for full time work and it is like looking for a needle in a stack of needles.  Anyone know of anyone hiring or they are hiring themselves, contact me.  Shameless plug, I know.

The documentary will be done filming at the end of the 2010 season.  No reason to go past the first year at the new MEadowlands Stadium.  Already have had a few people ask what I will be writing about not just when the season is over, but now that the old stadium is gone.  I have written for weeks now about the old stadium and many seem I may not have much to write about.  I could write about the Jets like everyone else does.  news updates, draft prospects, Twitter feeds, and everything else every other blog writes about.  I just like to be different.  I tried doing the news thing but I prefer to write what is on my mind and what goes on in life.  I may decide to write about the Jets in future posts if the news is worth writing about.  I am just not the type to devote an entire article on why Darelle Revis should be paid what he is asking and pump the article full of stats.

I read a lot of blogs dedicated to Jets news and fan posts.  But I prefer to cover all aspects of the Jets, even the news that some media outlets will not reports about.  Let’s face it, the main media outlets skirt the PSL issue a lot.  Why is that?  Because they still want locker room access, field level access, and all the access they need to report the team first hand.  They know if they report the Jets in a bad light or too much negative press they will not be allowed to cover the team anymore.  Someone like me they do not like because I answer to myself.  My documentary is something only I have control over when it comes to editing and content.  They know they have no control over it and can not sway me.  What will they do?  Stop me from going to events?  I am sure I am on their radar, but only a small blip.

The Jets fan blogs also cover the Jets and their players in a positive light.  Not too many of them would cover the Jets in a negative light.  They are all Gang Green fans and would not do that.  The only posts I have read on blogs that paint the Jets in a negative light would be the PSL’s, nothing else.  Might bad mouth some trades or front office decisions, but they do not cross the line enough.  I think I am the only Jets fan who sees the organization and writes about them in an honest light.  I do not hold back or cover what the truth may be.  Even Fireman Ed knows how the media will not cover the Jets in a bad light so they continue to get their press access to the team and events.  We talked about that off camera.

I guess I will keep writing about the Jets in the future and what business decisions they make.  I have already started down that path so why turn back now.  From doing this documentary, I stepped over the line and view football as both a fan and as an unbiased reporter.  I still cheer on the Jets players but at the same time find business decisions they make to be ridiculous.  It is hard to go both ways with a team I grew up following.  Both ways, funny, I know.  It is hard to be a fan and a reporter of a team you love.  One part wants to cheer and write nothing but great things but another side wants to be honest and report about the truth.  The truth everyone should know that many turn their head to.  No business wants any bad news to get out there about their company.  But people deserve to know everything, even if the truth is harsh and it makes a company look bad.  There is never good news all the time.  People need to make their own decision based off all angles, good and bad.

I enjoy writing.  I like to speak my ind and go from the gut.  Sometimes I speak about my documentary, the Jets, the old stadium, myself and anything else that seems newsworthy.  But sometimes I like to write about my life, my stories, what I think makes a great story.  I guess that is why I like to write.  There is so much going around in my mind I just need to get it all out and not hold back.  Maybe that is why some of my other posts deal with family and fans I have met over the past few years.  I like telling their stories on top of mine.  People should hear more than what is reported in the media and the blog nation is one of the best places to find them.  I would like to find more Jets blogs that talk more from the heart rather than re-reporting the news.