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Video From The 1st Annual Fantasy Football Fest in Atlantic City, N.J.

This past August, I was in Atlantic City to cover the inaugural Fantasy Football Festival, a one-of-a-kind fantasy football experience according to the organizers, ReedPOP.  This was the first time any festival or convention was organized and catered around fantasy football.

DSC_4086ReedPOP, the production company behind New York Comic Con (the largest pop culture convention on the east coast), PAX, PAX East, UFC Fan Expo,  & Star Wars Celebration organized the festival.  ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans, is organizing the festival.

It took a while to get the videos edited as my editor was finishing up college and graduating.  I should be able to edit videos faster in the near future so everyone can experience the events closer to when they happened.  When the NFL Draft comes around in a few months, you will not have to wait long to see and listen to the 2013 NFL Draft prospects.

We has to break the footage into two videos.  The first video features NY Giants Super Bowl MVP and Super Bowl XXV Champion Otis Anderson as well as teammate Howard Cross from that Super Bowl.  We get a few words from employees at Fathead, the makers of sports wall clings, some fans, the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders, HGTV star of Man Caves & Baltimore Ravens Tony Siragusa, and so much more.

The second video features an interview with ESPN Fantasy guru Matthew Berry and former NY Giants and Jets player Billy Taylor.  You can see a fantasy draft in progress and action from the passing and field goal interactive station.  Plus as a bonus added extra, a joke shared with former New York Giants QB and CBS sportscaster Phil Simms.Fun was had by all that attended and if ReedPop has this event later this year, I am sure they will get a similar turnout.

DSC_4254Also on the second video is an interview with the head chef who drives and operates Johnsonville’s Big Taste Grill.  This thing is the size of an 18 wheeler.  The ideal item for that July the BBQ.  Johnsonville was there as part of the tailgating section of the event.

Thank you to Dr. Bill Chackes, Managing Partner of Football Reporters Online for asking me to cover the event and to incorporate my own unique style of sports media coverage into this fun, humorous, and a little sarcastic video.  Dr. Bill only asked for the first part.

Now keep in mind, these videos were shot in August of 2012 the weekend of the Jets vs. Giants preseason game.  So the topics range from preseason form, the Jets acquisition of Tim Tebow, Chad Johnson, Eli Manning, and so much more.

So enjoy watching the Fantasy Football Fest.  There was some footage not added, that could be used to create more videos in the next few months.  Come back often to find out.

My article from August about the Fantasy Football Fest.  More details about the event and pictures can be found there.

 

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-State Shaping Up, Giants Tailgaters Needed

Since we announced our plans to have Tailgate 4 The TriState raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief, the reception has been moderate.

After consideration internally and from the opinions of others, we have decided to change the relief fund we are donating to.  Instead of the Red Cross, all donations will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The TriState to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts.  The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.   The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

We would like to thank The Jets Press, Turn on the Jets, Jets101.com, and SBNation’s GangGreenNation.com & BigBlueView.com for helping us get the word out on T4T.  Without the support of the fans and websites like these, the word of Tailgate 4 The TriState can not spread to others.  We appreciate the interest of wanting to gather others for a worthy cause.

After reaching out to various tailgating groups for both the Jets and Giants, we only have a combined 4 location at both games.

For the Jets game we have Frank Conway in Lot L11, Dave Fier in lot L5, and the Fan Van Party Bus in Lot L6 for the Jets game and VIP lot G16 for the Giants.

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles, Cheerleaders at the Giants game, and possibly some former Jets and Giants players.  They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

We are still looking for Jets and Giants tailgating groups to participate in the cause.  We thank those who are selfless and look to help those who do not have the means to help themselves due to Hurricane Sandy.

Tailgate 4 The Tri-State will take place Sunday, November 25th at the
Giants/Green Bay Packers game & Sunday, December 2nd at the Jets/Arizona Cardinals game.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The TriState:

1-Many tailgating groups charge a fee to be able to partake in their tailgate.  We ask if these tailgate groups could donate a portion of those fees towards the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State effort.

2-A group could also make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

3-The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at Number 3, but you never know how generous someone will be.  But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you.  Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

For those wanting to gets their morale boosted before the Jets take on the Arizona Cardinals, Firemen Ed will be making an appearance at Tailgate 4 The TriState on December 2nd to help us raise funds and fire up the Jets faithful before kick off.  Ed is passionate about giving his time for the right cause so we thank him in advance for his time.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page.  He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

It irks me to have great support from the Jets fans and not the Giants fans.  I personally have reached out to so many individuals I have met tailgating, as well as other groups to only get very minimal response in return.  It shows me some tailgating groups only care about their own publicity & exposure rather than using that attention to do something right for those in need.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves.  It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well.  Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ.  He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate.  That to me is the epitome of selfless.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

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2012 Season Preparation Begins For Jets & Their Fans

Over the past week, training camp began across the NFL.  The Jets reported to training camp with more questions than answers.  Even though the Jets will not be on Hard Knocks there is always enough drama and media following around Gang Green.  Just turn on SportsCenter.

From the release of information regarding locker room issues to the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow so called “QB controversy”, the cameras will keep rolling through Jets training camp.  Let’s face it, the Jets provide more drama than TNT.

The veterans need to let what happened months ago slide off their back and get down to business.  If Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez, and the other starters want to look ahead to the 2012 season, they need to forget about how the 2011 season ended.  The incoming rookies need to be led by the veterans example and act as a cohesive unit.

But as much prep work the Jets need to do, so do the fans.  Why should fans do prep work?  What could possibly be so important that fans need to do prep work for the 2012 season.

It’s called tailgating.

Majority of you are probably thinking all one has to do is pack food, beer, and a grill.  Then drive to the stadium, find a spot, set up and enjoy.

Sure, for the basic one timer this is a great idea.  But to the experienced season ticket holder who makes a day of tailgating, there are many steps taken for the quintessential tailgating experience.

Before MetLife Stadium & parking permits, one would be able to arrive as early as they wanted to.  At the old Giants Stadium, my wife Gina & I would get there as early as 7 AM before a 1 PM game.  A few others would arrive before us.  We made a day of it, breakfast and lunch before the game.  Everything packed the night before and finding a prime spot the next day.

The best part about arriving at least 6 hours before kickoff was that there were no employees at the entry gates.  One could drive to their stated parking destination and not pay $20.

I am 37 and I talk about 5 years ago as if I was referring to 1943.  Like technology, everything seems to be moving faster these days.

Some groups already established like L7 Tailgate, Dave Fier and the group at L5, and “Flagman” Frank Conway staked their clam the minute they were first allowed into the newly established MetLife lots.  They get there early enough to the same location to ensure there is room needed to support their tailgating experience for everyone involved.

MetLife Stadium is set up  according to your parking permit.  The more you pay for it according to its list price, the closer to the stadium you are.  This could play a factor in your tailgating.  The farther you are, the earlier you may have to end your tailgate.

This is why the Jets have preseason games, to work out the kinks before the season starts.  Same should go for those wanting the best tailgating experience during the season.

First off, not many die hard season ticket holders attend preseason games.  One could go and scout every location needed.  To go from colored lot to colored lot is not easy, but it can be done.  Attend one or two preseason games and you will find your prime spot for the season.

Here is a layout of the MetLife Stadium parking situation
Parking lot B was formerly a non PSL parking area.  In 2011, it was converted to yellow PSL parking.

By viewing the map, the areas that fill up first are the outlined black areas in each parking section.  Look at is as real estate while tailgating.  You can have a small plot to host a tailgate and not have to compete with drivers looking for a place to park.

Many campers, diesel trucks, and u-hauls tailgate on the “outer rim”(Star Wars reference).  “Flagman” Frank Conway has room to fly his 546 flags this way.  If there is a section of concrete or grass that can be occupied, those will go first.

Next to go are the parking lot lights with the lot location on it.  Hence the L7 Tailgate and Dave Fier with L5.  Get a bunch of friends to park side by side and in some cases, on the opposite side as well to have a central hub for tailgating.  Some of the guys at L5 have a fun and entertaining way to mock the opposing team each game day as someone drives through their tailgate.

Once the outside rim and the lot markers are gone it all spreads out from there.  The prime spots are usually gone in about an hour.  This is why many line up at least 1-2 hours before the gates are opened.  They know by waiting, even for that long, you can guarantee yourself a prime location.

Relax, one does not have to line up as early as fans did to watch Peyton Manning practice for the first time with the Denver Broncos.

Just keep in mind the larger your tailgate, the earlier you want to arrive to secure a spot that can hold not just all the people, but what everyone brings with them.  So act like Indiana Jones and choose wisely.

August is a great time to get those needed essentials for tailgating.  Many stores view August as the end of summer.  So many tailgating essentials for grilling or barbecuing will be available for a discount.  One can find coolers, utensils, charcoal towers, certain portable grills, and more for prices lower than some expect.  Stores would rather sell them for a deep discount than not sell them at all.

One item that is an essential for any tailgate is a pop up tent.  They come 10′x10′ standard and usually start around $95.  It comes it handier than an umbrella in rainy situations.  Keep your grill and food dry so your tailgate can continue in any weather.  Many put them over the back of their car so friends always have a dry place to stand.  Trust me, if it rains and you do not have one, you will wish you did.

Other items like chairs, tables, flags, inflatables, air horns, fire pits, flat screen TV’s, satellite dishes, couches, end tables, or whatever else makes your tailgate a memorable one is up to you.  I provide the basics.

Maybe a future article will focus on the more extravagant and stranger tailgates out there.  I have pictures on some and they will definitely make you laugh.

One could use the above guidelines for either the Jets or Giants home games.  The parking doesn’t change.  Only the fans tailgating.

New York Jets & Their Fans In Giants Shadow Once Again

Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan, and the rest of the New York Jets organization were likely turned off by the New York Giants celebrations.   The Jets always take a backseat to the Giants, and Tuesday they watched the Giants roar through Manhattan and return back to MetLife Stadium to continue the celebration.

Approximately 35,000  Giants fans welcomed home to MetLife Stadium their new Super Bowl Champions.  The crowd boomed as the Giants came through the tunnel and onto the field, and as they did, Justin Tuck took a moment to soak in the color. Everywhere he looked, in this stadium that two teams call home, all he could see was blue.

“Last time we did this it was in Giants Stadium,” Tuck said, as he stood on a stage at midfield, behind the Lombardi trophy. “Now we’re in MetLife Stadium.  “But one thing you can be sure of is whose house this is.”  The whole scene made it seem even more crazy to Giants co-owner Steve Tisch that people once thought New York would soon belong to the Jets.

With those words, the Giants put to rest once and for all the question of who really owns New York — a question that dominated the conversation when the 2011 season began. The entire city has been painted blue since the Giants beat the Patriots, 21-17, in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday night, from the Empire State Building to the Canyon of Heroes, all the way to City Hall.

President and CEO of the Giants, John Mara, spoke at the ceremony at MetLife stadium Tuesday afternoon. He said, “there’s no place like home.”  Justin Tuck ended his speech saying, “One thing you can be sure of is whose house it is.”

Woody Johnson and the Jets might have been sick when they heard these comments.  It is the last thing the Jets franchise wanted to hear.  MetLife Stadium was supposed to be their home as well, and they had to watch the Giants christen the stadium with the first championship in the new building.

If the Giants had any lingering doubts about fan support, they were erased when the Giants’ parade of buses came off the New Jersey Turnpike and drove through a parking lot full of tailgaters at the Meadowlands. It’s a sight Giants co-owner John Mara has seen often since his team began playing here in 1976.  A sight Jets fans are not used.  Being able to tailgate before a rally.

In some ways, seeing it on Tuesday afternoon meant even more to Mara than the parade.  “We just had an incredible experience going through the Canyon of Heroes,” Mara told the crowd. “But I have to tell you, when you pull into the stadium and see all these fans here, you know there’s no place like home.”

Justin Tuck giving fans a chance with the Lombardi Trophy

“To see this kind of fan support when you come out here, it’s hard to put into words,” an emotional Mara added after the ceremony was over. “The whole day is unbelievable. To watch these players come back here to our home (MetLife Stadium) and see this kind of enthusiasm is really the icing on the cake.”

The crowd went crazy when Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning carried the Lombardi Trophy into the stadium, and then Tuck carried it up onto the stage. They all intensely watched their own highlight video on the four scoreboards, before Tom Coughlin thanked them for their unwavering support.

The Jets organization and their fans looked forward to giving the new stadium its first championship.  Mark Sanchez would have carried the Lombardi trophy instead of Eli Manning.  Now, MetLife stadium will be know as the home of the 2012 Super Bowl Champion Giants.  Jet fans will see that distinction every time they visit MetLife Stadium.  There may not be a banner or mural, but it will be emblazoned in their minds.  Jet fans wanted to upstage their “big brother” and show they are one of the NFL’s eite

The Jets started the Giants’ championship run after a Christmas Eve embarrassment. The Jets thought this was their season. They thought that at the end of the year they would be New York’s team.  But once again, they are an afterthought to the World Champion Giants.

What now for the Jets? How does the Giants’ Super Bowl win impact the Jets?  The Jets were already looking to make changes this offseason. They took the first step when they parted ways with Brian Schottenheimer after their season ended.  Now they need to do right by their fans and gain their support rather than losing it.

That will not be enough. The Jets need to stop lying to the public about what their intentions are for the organization. For months we heard the Schottenheimer would be with the Jets in 2012 when everyone knew what the outcome would be.  Jet fans are tired of being looked down upon by the Jets and treated differently than Giants fans.

It is time for the Jets to try to steal the spotlight away from the Giants. What better way than to sign Peyton Manning?  The Jets have already been spoken of as a contender to land Manning, but after they watched Eli Manning parade around with the Super Bowl MVP trophy, it will make the Jets more serious contenders.

Peyton Manning will bring tremendous excitement to the Jets next season. If they don’t sign Manning, they will not have attention on them and will not have made any moves worthy of hype in New York.  Just think of the Brett Favre signing.  The Jets best press seems to come from off the field moves rather than on the field play.

Peyton would provide stories, speculation and expectations for the Jets going in to next season. Without him, the Jets are miles behind the Giants going into next season.  Peyton would be able to close the gap before the 2012 season.  Just the type of press coverage the Jets enjoy.

If the Jets do not have success with Sanchez next season, they will be looking for a change at quarterback anyways. They might consider making the change this season and take a gamble on Eli’s big brother.  Otherwise, MetLife Stadium will forever be known for the Giants championship victory and the Jets looking on as usual.

Giants quotes courtesy of the NY Post, WNBC, & WFAN.

This Sunday, Jets Fans Must Make Tough Decision

Super Bowl XLVI is here. We can’t avoid it, Jets fans.  Regardless of all the promises made and past AFC Championship appearances, we need to get through this Sunday.

Super Bowl 42, the Giants’ historic upset of the then undefeated Patriots was a bit easier to swallow for Jets fans.  I don’t recall many Jets fans, if any at all, cheering the Patriots to cap off the first unbeaten season since the ’72 Dolphins.  Especially since Eric Mangini selling out his former boss in the Spygate scandal sent the Pats on the destroy everything and take no names streak that brought them to the precipice of 19-0. If it took our city rival Giants to knock them off?  So be it, I guess.  Would have been better if it was the Jets, huh?

I may not have been one of the only Jets fans who wasn’t exactly enamored with the fact that the Giants won that game. Here was my rationale: by about Week 14 or so when the Patriots were steamrolling the NFL, I kind of made up my mind that the Pats were going undefeated and winning the Super Bowl. Who thought the Giants, or any NFC contender for that matter,  had a chance?  I had plenty of time to digest it so that when it happened, it wouldn’t have really mattered all that much.  And then when Plaxico Burress caught that pass in the end zone, I thought to myself “Now I have to hear about this from Giants fans the rest of my life.”  The fact the Giants defeated the undefeated Patriots instead of the Jets.

But this year isn’t as clear cut. After the Giants won that Super Bowl, it kind of became a Jet town. I know, I know, the Giants WILL ALWAYS OWN NEW YORK YOU STUPID JET FAN. But, the Jets signed Brett Favre for one weird season (they were Super Bowl faves at 8-3, then collapsed) and the Giants lost in their first playoff game after a great regular season. Then the Jets hired Rex Ryan, drafted Mark Sanchez and made two straight AFC Title games while Big Blue missed the playoffs.  Not your typical New Y0rk football seasons, huh?

And while the Jets have no one to blame but themselves for this most recent debacle of a season, everything was made worse by the Giants making the Super Bowl. Not only have the Giants made it again, their run started by essentially ending the Jets’ season in Week 16. Victor Cruz’s 99-yard touchdown reception sent the Jets one way and the Giants the other. The Giants two Super Bowl appearances basically takes everything a Jets fan could hang their hat on these past few seasons and demolishes it.

Then of course there are the Patriots. The last thing I want, as a New York sports fan, is for another Boston team to win a championship. Any agony of the Red Sox’ hilarious September implosion would be softened with another Patriots Super Bowl win. The Pats are the Jets’ chief rival, no matter if they share a city with the Giants. Had the Jets beaten the Patriots in both of their meetings this season, the Jets would have made the playoffs, so they have no one to blame but themselves for not knocking off New England (as Rex Ryan pleaded for the rest of the league to do). And what makes New England being back in the Super Bowl so unbearable for Jets fans is that the Patriots were so beatable this year.

The breaks both the Giants and the Patriots got on Championship Sunday are breaks that us Jets fans seem to never be on the right side of.  Ask any Jets fan and they’ll tell you that if Tynes was wearing green and white, he would have Cundiff’d it. Billy Cundiff is the new Ray Finkle.   Had Ahmad Bradshaw been a Jet, they would have never called his forward progress stopped, and that surely would have been a fumble. There’s no way a punt returner is muffing a kick and fumbling another one against the Jets in a title game. Of course it sounds like sour grapes because that’s exactly what it is. That’s what us Jets fans have been used to for so long.

There are millions and millions of people who would never not watch a Super Bowl, no matter what. For those fans of the Jets who will still watch on Sunday, who do you root for? There’s no such thing as watching a game just to watch it. Sports fans, no matter what they say, have a rooting interest in every game they watch. You either get a pit in your stomach when you watch a player celebrate a victory or your stomach turns. When Sunday’s game is over and either Tom Brady or Eli Manning is raising the Lombardi trophy, you’ll either wish it was the other guy or you won’t. So who do you cheer for?

If you hate all things Boston no matter what, you root for the Giants. If you have nothing but annoying Giant fan friends who you just want to shut up, you pull for the Pats. Maybe you want former Jets Shaun Ellis & Danny Woodhead to win a title.  Maybe you want Eli to win a second Super Bowl so that Peyton can’t stand the idea that anyone will think Eli is better than him, so he decides to come to the Jets to try to upstage his little brother. Maybe you’ll throw some money down and root for that — totally acceptable.

Either way, if you watch Sunday’s game, you’ll have a rooting interest. It’s a no-win situation for Jets fans. I will cheering on the Giants since my wife and her family are Giants fans.  Plus, I’d rather see a team from New York beat a team from New England.  Or you can be like some and not watch. That’s also acceptable.

New York’s Power Struggle Shifts From The Jets Back To Giants

The New York Jets controlled the big apple during the post season over the last two years. In fact, Jets fans like myself anticipated that the team would finally be the Kings of New York instead of the Giants. After all, since 2008 the Giants hadn’t come close to returning to the Super Bowl, while their former weak sisters nearly went there twice.  The Jets had control for once in New York.

But a whole new season can make a really big difference, considering where New York’s two teams are right now. Not only have the Jets free fallen into the murky abyss, they may have lost their chance to seize control of New York permanently at this rate while the Giants approach another Super Bowl.  Both teams were in control of their destiny this season.  The Giants took control while the Jets let control slide from their hands.

The beginning of the end can be traced back to the Jets-Giants showdown on Christmas Eve, when both teams were battling for the playoff fate.  A win for the Jets would have put them back on track for a postseason berth and another road run towards the AFC championship – while the Giants would have been doomed with a loss and probably cost Tom Tom Coughlin his job.

But the second that the Giants wrapped up a 29-14 victory, the two haven’t stopped going in the opposite direction. The NFC’s New York team won the NFC Championship & a win away from another Super Bowl victory that would give the Giants control of New York.  Meanwhile, the AFC’s New York squad has been revealed as the most dysfunctional in the NFL and is staying home during its utter collapse.

While the Giants prepared to face the San Francisco 49ers for  the NFC championship on Jan. 22, the Jets were dealing with yet another headline on their horrific chemistry in less than two weeks time. This time LaDainian Tomlinson, who already is halfway out the door, told Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” that the Jets had as bad a locker room as he’d ever seen and put the fault on both Rex Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum.  It seems Rex is not the only one who wants to let their voice be heard.

Now, Giants fans proudly wear their NFC Championship merchandise.  One more win and they have their Super Bowl merchandise as well.  Giants fans proudly support their NFC Champs while Jets fans have been waiting too long to be able to wear any form of championship merchandise.  Promises have been made but no delivery date has been set for Jets fans.  Somewhere in Kenya people are wearing Jets AFC Championship merchandise from 2010 and 2011.

Fortunately for them, New York is getting numb to all these ramblings about how bad the Jets were behind the scenes and it has the Giants to focus on. Right now, the Jets are the weak sibling and virtually irrelevant as anything but gossip fodder and a punch line – just like they have been for most of the last few decades. Ryan looked ready to finally turn it all around in the last two years, but now he is imploding right as Tom Coughlin and the Giants have rescued themselves from the brink.  Something the Jets have tried to do but never accomplished.

The Giants had no rally before their first post season game, which was a home game.  Something the Jets have done the past two seasons.  The media hype for the Giants was not as prolific as it has been for the Jets the past few seasons.  The Giants know their mission and what they need to accomplish on the field.  Big Blue didn’t need as much media hype or public events like the Jets have had in order to rally fan support.

The Jets made a nice run at New York supremacy, but it is a Giants town because it actually delivers championships and doesn’t fall to pieces quite like their cross-town rivals do. Right now, the only thing that can turn it around for the other New York team is if they actually land Peyton Manning (Vegas odds have it astronomical), or if the Giants get blown out by the Patriots. Other than that, it seems like the natural order is right back into place in the Big Apple.

Why Is New Jersey Ignored By Its Own Professional Football Teams?

Long ago, the Jets and Giants once played in New York.  Not anymore.

They play in New Jersey. Their training facilities are in New Jersey.  Their offices are also located in New Jersey.

If the Jets or Giants don’t want to acknowledge New Jersey in their names, then they should combine their efforts once again and move back to the Big Apple. The West Side Stadium project was a bust so the Jets had no choice but to partner with the Giants.  There is no team that plays in one state with the name of another in front of their name.

After the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, co-owner Steve Tisch proclaimed, “We play for the City of New York.”  Needless to say, that did not go over well with many people in New Jersey.  The past two seasons the Jets made the playoffs.  They held post season rallies in New York both years.  Why not hold those in New Jersey at the stadium they play in?

When the Giants won the Super Bowl, the parade is in New York City.  The Philadelphia Phillies didn’t have a parade in Trenton where many Philly fans reside.

Both the Jets and Giants play in New Jersey, a good percentage of their players live in New Jersey and many of their fans come from New Jersey.

They get subsidies and benefits from New Jersey.  The money made at MetLife Stadium benefits New Jersey, not New York.  The players have events and functions in New York more often than n New Jersey.

The Giants have have called New Jersey home for 36 years. The Jets, who don’t even have their own stadium, have been in New Jersey since 1984.  New Jersey is the second wealthiest state in the country.

Some of the most affluent people in the United States live here.  You don’t really think those millionaire athletes from New York, or Philadelphia live in those places, do you?  Maybe if you play for the Yankees, Mets, or Knicks.

I realize most people in the country don’t care. I don’t blame you, but you are not looked upon as New York’s little brother. Additionally, in obscurity and the misrepresentation that shows like “Jersey Shore”, “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, and “Jerseylicious” cast on us.

For someone who has lived in New Jersey all their life, I would like the state to be looked on favorably as two top NFL teams make their home here even though their name doesn’t show it.

The Giants have a rich tradition and history. The Jets, not so much.

New Jersey gave both teams the best deal, the best tax breaks and the worst possible method of getting to a stadium imaginable. At least along with the new stadium, and $15,000 PSL, they built a train station.

In 2012, the New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn. Something tells me they will not keep the New Jersey Nets name.  When the Devils came to New Jersey in the early 80′s, they did not keep the Colorado Avalanche name.

Look back at any sport and every professional sports team.  There has never been a team that kept their original place of origin as their name.  Even the Oakland Raiders changed to the Los Angeles Raiders when they moved.  They did not become the California Raiders just because they remained in the same state.

Lastly, the Statue of Liberty? It’s in New Jersey, not New York.

No Monopoly On Free Parking Around MetLife Stadium

Ever since I gave up my season tickets I have not been able to park by the stadium when I film my documentary.  One needs to obtain a parking pass to park on the premises.  For a PSL or season ticket holder, the offer is there when you buy your tickets.  Those who buy tickets for single games can buy a parking pass on Stub Hub, Craigslist, NFL Ticket Exchange, or other areas.  You may have to pay a little more than the season ticket holder but at least you get to park at the stadium.  For someone like me who is trying to save a couple bucks, trying to find a close place to park for free is not that easy.  Now it is almost impossible.

Last year I did some scouting of nearby locations and found one.  The Sheraton hotel right across Route 3.  It was close enough and provided free parking.  The one problem was the walk across Route 3.  It reminded me of the Activision game Freeway for the Atari 2600.  I was glad there was an overpass to use to walk right onto the stadium lot to make that rip easy.  Still had to watch out for cars, but it was a good walk.  Sometimes good things do not last long.

The second game of the season saw Stub Hub control the parking at the Sheraton.  They were charging $25 per vehicle to park there plus an additional cost for transportation to and from the stadium.  I told the attendant I was only going to the hotel.  He let me in so I was able to park for free.  That was the only time last season Stub Hub controlled the parking at the Sheraton.

Stub Hub Rates At The Sheraton

Other businesses around the stadium were charging for parking at various point during the season.  So those who tried to do what I did had no choice but to pay for parking wherever they parked.

The rest of the season no one controlled the parking at the Sheraton.  It was really the only place one could park close by for free and get over to the stadium.  I didn’t see too many other Jets fans there.  It made going to the game easy and hassle free.  The only issue was a long walk.  I did not mind that.  I thought I could rely on using the Sheraton parking as the place to park close for free in the future.  Was I wrong.

This season it appears every local business is charging for off site parking.  Stub Hub still charges $25 per vehicle at the Sheraton.  They also charge $5 to get over to the stadium and $5 to get back to the Sheraton per person.  Nice little program they have.  Homestead Suites next door charges $30 per vehicle.  It seems $25-$30 is the going rate for non stadium parking.  Many provide transportation but few still do not.

It seems every local business is that has a parking lot is trying to make extra money off the fans.  What seemed to be a way to keep some cash in the pocket is now a business venture for those looking to take that cash back out of the fans pocket.

From Redd’s Restaurant on Route 120 to others on Paterson Plank Rd, it seems many are off site parking for Jets and Giants fans.  If one has a residence close enough to MetLife Stadium, that individual could even charge for parking.  How could someone with a home do this? Easily.

Just do what the rest of the businesses do.  Apply for a permit through your town to provide the parking.  Albeit you should have sufficient space & offer transportation to and from the facility, but it can be done.  That is all these other businesses do.  They get a permit from the NJMC to be able to have permission to charge for parking.

To find out some of this information was not hard at all.  But I felt I was being deceived.  Last Sunday I was told from a Carlstadt officer to talk to a representative in the Parking & Concessions department at MetLife Stadium and a Lieutenant in the NJ State Police.   The officer said these people would have the information I was looking for.

So I started out by calling MetLife Stadium and instantly found the individual I was looking for.  The representative was very candid and spoke off the record so I will not be giving their name.  They said the stadium has no dealings or business with any outside party looking to charge or provide off-site parking for Jets or Giants games.  These parties have to go through the Meadowlands C Commission to get permission to charge for parking.

The Meadowlands Commission serves and the zoning and planning agency for a 30.4 square mile area along the Hackensack River covering parts of 14 municipalities in Bergen and Hudson Counties.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) issues a Certificate of Approval for an Outdoor Event (The outdoor event in this case is off-site parking for patrons attending events at NJSEA facilities).  The NJMC does not charge an application fee.

An application for an outdoor event is submitted to the NJMC for review with one copy of a site plan indicating the location of event areas.  The application is accompanied by copies of notification letters to Municipal Police and Fire Departments.  The NJMC must receive approval letters from both the Police and Fire Departments before issuing any approval.  Outdoor events shall not exceed a total of 14 days per property per year.

Applications must be submitted a minimum of 15 business days prior to the event. So far ten applications have been approved this year.  The NJMC only deals with the property management companies and not the business tenants.

Due to safety concerns regarding pedestrian traffic between the off-site parking locations and the NJSEA facilities, the municipal police departments require that pedestrians and vehicles be directed in a safe and orderly manner and that shuttle buses be provided continuously throughout the course of the events to prevent pedestrians from walking between the site and the NJSEA facilities.

The MetLife Stadium official endorses the use of shuttles from off-site parking facilities.  They do not wish to see people walking over Route 3 or other major highways to get to the stadium.  They also encourage the use of public transportation.  They prefer fans take buses or trains from the Secaucus Junction to get to the stadium.

So in the case of Stub Hub, they deal with the Sheraton directly.  The cost for their shuttle is optional as some opt to walk over to the stadium.  So one could drive to see what businesses are not charging for p[parking.  But one would have to consider their car might be ticketed or towed for parking illegally.  But some fans will take that risk just to save a couple bucks.

If you are one of many who purchase single game tickets and prefer to drive, look into a parking permit first.  You might end up paying face value for it of a few dollars more  It is better than the other options of giving your money to an off site lot and risk having a shuttle or not.  In my opinion, get the parking permit.  Parking at the stadium is more fun as it enables you to be able to tailgate.  Do not be the chicken who crossed the road.

The Basics For Tailgating At MetLife Stadium

Recently I was contacted by a cable television series.  They are about to do their first episode on tailgating.  They saw my article on Football Reporters Online and the work I have done at Jets games, filming my documentary.  The producer wanted to know what they needed to do to shoot there and the best location to park.  I helped him along as best I could as they are going to a Giants game.  Same parking lot, different surroundings.  Seems everyone wants to know the best location not just for tailgating, but for filming at the stadium.

Now before and after finding the best tailgating location there is other work to be done.  Deciding on what to bring and what kind of set up a tailgate will have.  Now depending on the size of your tailgate, this can either be easy or complicated.  Some tailgaters do not bother with logistics.  They just bring a grill, cooler, chairs, and maybe a radio for other games and that’s it.  Others go above and beyond, creating a small dwelling or village to satisfy the masses they bring to their tailgate.

Last time I talked about location.  One can set up anywhere.  The concrete dividers and islands can obviously hold any size tailgate.  I have seen buses unload to grand set ups down to two guys with a grill and some chairs.  Any size tailgate works there.  If setting up in the lot itself, one needs to have a tighter and organized set up.  Cramming everything into one spot, maybe two could make it very cramped.  Depending on what you bring will determine where you should set up.

Every tailgate should have certain essentials.  Items that go beyond a grill and cooler.  These days, a pop up canopy tent is becoming a necessity.  Why?  For several reasons.  Provides great shade on hot days.  On rainy days, not only does it protect you but it also covers the grill so those steaks and burgers can cook evenly.  With side coverings, one has protection during windy rain and snow days.  The side panels cost extra, but are worth it during the bad elements.  When tailgating in groups, having tents side by side provide more space and room for all to be dry.   Some tents cost under $65, but it may be flimsy.  Better quality ones start around $100 providing sturdier covers.

When dealing with coolers, always have more than one.  Food & beverages should be packed separately.  Never know if prepared foods, meats, or anything that leaks may get over other items.  Cleaning items  off may be an easy way around it.  But reaching in for a drink and grabbing a chicken leg may not satisfy that thirst.  Being able to lift the lid and see the varieties of beer, soda, wine, water, it a lot easier than moving a leaking steak off the bottle tops.  Plus the bigger coolers can be used as extra seats.  Never know who may stop by.

Some seem to go above and beyond, bringing their whole living room to the game.  I have seen couches lined up on top of rugs with coffee tables.  Many will bring their flat screens and hook them into cable TV dishes to watch all the games.  Some will bring whatever amenities from home to make their tailgate a little more comfortable and pleasing to the eye.  If you are one of the very lucky few to have a Winnebago or trailer, some manage to have a luxury home on wheels to tailgate with.  Many just have the necessities in their trailer: small cooking area, place to sit, tv, refrigerator, Jets memorabilia, & maybe a small bathroom.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most important decisions one will make is what type of grill to bring and how many.  Many regular tailgaters invest in the Thermos Grill-2-Go by Char-Broil.  Easy to travel with, large cooking surface, easy to clean, and compact design make it an ideal tailgate companion.  Abel to pack it into a trunk or back seat and open wide to cook anything you can think of.  The old staple will always be charcoal grills.  There are places to dispose of the coals, but many opt to let them cool off on the ground in the parking lot.

The Grill2Go in action

Some tailgates will have more than one grill depending on the size of the crew.  Others opt to bring grills or BBQ pits large enough to cook a Fred Flintstone brontosaurus style steak.  Many cook their food at different intervals.  Know what you want to cook when.  Start with the burgers and dogs and then work on the items that take longer like steaks, chops, chicken legs, kabobs, and whatever else one deems worthy.  Give yourself enough time to clean the grill and cool it down so one does not miss kick off.

This are a plethora of other options to make your tailgate better.  I just provide some of the basics.  I could write about countless other options, perhaps I will in the near future.  There  should be enough of a basis to build your tailgate on.  These options will come in handy for those attending Sunday’s match up between the Jets and San Diego Chargers.  This is LT’s first game against his former team so it will be entertaining.  Get there around 8 AM when the gates open to give yourself maximum tailgating time to make the whole day entertaining.

Hierarchy & Ego Separate Jets Fans Rather Than Uniting Them

For the past three years I have met many fans while filming my documentary.  They have gone through many ups and downs over that time.  The announcement of the PSL’s, the destruction of an old stadium, the birth of a new one, overpaying just to keep their seats, and finally wondering if the lockout would have canceled the 2011 season.  Through all of that, fans could not stand united against the powers that be.  The people who pay to be in the building could never come together to be a united front to show what power they can truly posses.

Why is that you may ask.  Because there are many types of fans.  Some who feel they are more of an alpha fan.  More passionate, more loyal, just because they spend more than others.  That they mean more as a fan than other fans are.  Think George Orwell’s work of Animal Farm.  Where all fans are supposed to be equal.  Some fans are more equal than others.

Fans from teams from all leagues have this.  I can only speak about Jets fans since I have visited and spoken with many over the years.  All of them have their positives and negatives to say.  Not just about the team, but about each other.  When fans can not get along with each other, there is no way they could ever unite to show team owners they should be taken seriously.

I say this all now because of the lockout.  It left a bad taste in many peoples mouths.  Not just Jets and Giants fans.  It showed that the fans were thought of fifth or sixth, after all the money making issues.  Roger Goodell, owners, and players did want the season to happen so fans did not miss out on football in 2011.  But was that just good PR on their part or a show of genuine heart?  Fans were mixed.  Some thought they said it just to say it and others followed like sheep in a herd.

In my travels from tailgates to Jets rallies, the various fans have shown their true selves.  Some more down to earth than others.  Many older Jets fans, ones who have had tickets since Shea and earlier seem to be more humble.  Willing to share war stories of past gridiron battles.  There is a sense of pride in being a Jets fan there.  One can tell they are a fan and they feel no reason to boast or have a swagger about it.  Their dedication has shown for sticking with the Jets this long.    To them, they just want to see one more Super Bowl win.

One the flip side there are some fans since Shea who boast about being a fan so long.  Just because they feel they have been a fan longer than others.  They brag, boast, and jabber on about all the games they went to, where their seats, are and anything else they can say.  As if to say their time and seniority with the team makes them a bigger fan than many.  They will debate and argue that point until others see their view or concede.

More recent ticket holders have the “he who dies with the most toys wins” attitude.  He who holds more PSL’s & sits lower n the bowl spending more on their seats is the bigger fan.  These same people feel the more merchandise they own and show off it proves they are a bigger fan than others.  By showcasing their disposable income, they believe they look better and are seen as a bigger fan to others.  One can notice their bravado in their tailgate setups and how loud they are to others around them.

A few fans who travel to away games believe they are bigger fans as well.  They take the time to go to Miami, Indianapolis, Oakland, and other stadiums to see their beloved Jets.  For some odd reason, some believe that the more they spend on anything Jets related makes them a bigger fan.  One’s dedication to a team and sticking with them no matter what record they have should be reason enough to be a huge fan of the Jets.

Some fans believe that just because they write blogs or run websites it makes them a bigger fan than many.  I have heard from a few others and even in my own encounters.  There are a few that believe their own hype because they blog Jets information, claim to run the best tailgates and websites, and a few think they are “in the know” just because they run a blog.  Having a lot of followers on Twitter or having a few hundred hits per day on your blog does not make you a better fan than anyone else.

Apparently, there is one individual who runs a popular website and tailgates at every game.  from reports I have heard, this person believe others do not know how to tailgate the way he does.  Plus, he will verbally lash out at others who try to compare his tailgate to another.  Apparently, all this person can do is inflate his own ego and even goes on about it on his website.  He says his tailgate is the place to be and others are small in comparison.  Why would one care about what others do?  Is there that much riding on being the one who has the best tailgate and reports the most on the Jets at the same time?

In my own experience, I came across another blogger who carries a very “high and mighty” attitude.  This person blogs about Jets information, Jets training and Tweets regularly.  Now because this person is friends with other Jets bloggers and apparently knows certain Jets reporters in the true paid media, they feel they need to have a chip on their shoulder.  My friend Anthony thought the same opinion after meeting this person only once.

I can tell from this persons interaction with certain fans that they believe their own hype.  This person would only talk to certain fans and give the cold shoulder to many others.  It seemed this person thought they were better than the others in the area.  Even reading their blog and tweets one can see they think of themselves very highly.  When I attempted to follow this person on Twitter, even before meeting them,  I was blocked.  Why block a Jets fan from following another Jets fan?  Strange.

All Jets bloggers report the same information.  Predictions on games, thoughts on the offense and defense, re-reporting what Jets beat writers get paid to do for national and regional media, and other pertinent team info.  Occasionally blog writers will get interviews with players.  Just because one runs a blog does not make them a better Jets fan than anyone else.  It also does not put you on the same level as one who works for ESPN, NY Post, NY Times, CBS Sports, FOX Sports, etc.  It just means you have a voice on the internet, nothing more.

I know not everyone resembles the types I talked about.  There are so many others that do not fall into that mix.  I brought it up to prove a point.  The players can unite to fight for what they want.  The teams can come together and be on the same side in the battle against the players.  Fans will never be able to stand as one to show what type of a force they can be.  I mean after all, we spend the money to fill these stadiums and purchase their merchandise.  That totals up to more than a few hundred.

Many who have had season tickets for decades did not follow the team into the new stadium.  Not because they couldn’t afford it, but because they saw no need to.  One can still be a big Jets fan even though they are not a season ticket holder.  A few I have talked to who are well off financially did not purchase a PSL.  Even though they could, they thought it was a waste of a purchase or investment.  Not every fan has to follow the herd.
With the lockout, PSL’s, rate hikes, and so much more, fans will never be able to get together on any issue that affects them.  Many are either out for themselves or do whatever the team hands down.  They will pay whatever cost it takes to stay at the stadium.

One could say there is middle ground, the non PSL seats in the upper bowl.  There are few who have sense of mind not to follow & attend at any cost.  Many of those people are in the upper bowl or watching from their couch at home.

Imagine what a fans strike could actually do to a sports league.  It would show who really has power in a sport.  But there are too many fans and season ticket holders who would never do that.  They would complain that they have to pay for their tickets or payments to their PSL’s.  They would cringe at the fact of losing their hierarchy of social status in the Roman Coliseum at the Meadowlands.  Believing that paying for ones seats is more important than sticking up for ones beliefs.

I did not come here to abuse anyone or call anyone out.  I wanted to lay fact that while fans will complain about everything they can do nothing.  Not until we all see things the same way.  Until we put our egos and attitudes aside for one common purpose, each other.  That we all, as fans, will ALWAYS be in the same boat.  Paddling as hard as we can with our hands trying to catch up to the yacht filled with players and the luxury liner filled with team owners.