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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.

Fireman Ed Tells A Tale Of Two Stadiums

With football in a standstill right now, people can only talk about the upcoming draft.  Next season seems like something Santa should be bringing as everyone has it on their wish list.  But you will find those who are hopeful.  The ones who are already counting the days until the Jets have their first ever home game in the new stadium against the rival Giants.  A game many always look forward to.  Some fans look forward to it more than others.  One in particular is Fireman Ed Anzalone.

I sat down with with Ed in June of last year to get his thoughts in many areas.  Ranging from the Jets chant to the Jets, to the new stadium and the PSLs.  This time, I wanted to get his thoughts on what he thought about the season, the stadium, and if there will be a 2011 season.  Ed, like always, shares some thoughts for the camera and has other thoughts off camera.

The Fireman Ed/Christopher Black Fiasco Credit:CBS News

In the old stadium, Ed sat along the 20 yard line and had a great view of the field.  Everyone knew where he was and it was easy for him to get up and lead the Jet faithful in the chants.  Now, he has his seats in the end zone behind the goal posts where people have to look and see if he can be located.  Not the best place to be to lead the crowd.  But with the cameras and video screen, it helps the situation.

Ed knew the people he sat around in the old stadium.  These were people who had their seats for over 20 years.  Now, he is surrounded by different people every game.  When Green Bay came to face the Jets, there were two rows of Packer fans surrounding him.  Ed says it is a revolving door of fans who sit in the seats in the end zone.  At least by him.  Certain ticket holders look at the seats as an investment and will make their money back charging for tickets on a per game basis.

Ed notices how many are not really there to see the game.  Ed says that they diehards are the ones who sit in the end zone to about the 20 yard line in the lower section.  From about the 20-25 yard line to the other 20-25 yard line are the fans who are not truly there to see the game.  They care more about the VIP clubs, Coaches Club, bars, lounges, and other places to watch the game.  Ed says those seats are empty during the game, but the TV camera will not pick that up.  The seats are gray for a reason.  It makes the seat look filled on TV, even when it is not.

Ed on WFAN's Boomer & Carton Credit:WFAN

Ed has paid for four PSL’s in the lower part of the end zone.  He went for the cheapest PSL’s he could afford.  People question him actually purchasing them or if the Jets gave them to him.  Ed knows that if he takes anything like that from the team, he will have to owe them something.  He does not want to take anything form them or owe them anything.  He pays like everyone else, and does not like it.  He is stuck sitting around a revolving door of fans.  Ed knows the real fans, the ones who stick it out in the worst weather sit closer to the top.  Sounds like the hierarchy in the Roman Coliseum.

Speaking of true fans, Ed has even spoken with several Giants fans.  Many fans do not like the new stadium at all for several reasons.  For one, this stadium does not have their name on it.  There are no red and blue seats.  They have to share it equally with the Jets kills some Giants fans.  Plus, some feel cheated by John Mara.  They know his father would have never have approved anything his son has done.  They feel fans have been treated better over their 90 year history and they have been slapped in the face.

Ed is optimistic the 2011 season will happen.  if it doesn’t he does hold the team owners responsible.  They have so much power and finances that they do not have to worry.  This situation shows just how greedy they really are and not willing to give in to the players.  He does feel the fans are caught in the middle and are always caught in situations with no thought.  Ed believes if there is no 2011 season, then shame on the owners for doing so.  Sometimes, there has to be give and take.  Not just take.

Leading The First Chant In New Stadium Credit:JetsTwit.com

There comes a time when some know their time is up.  When a torch needs to be passed.  Ed knows that time is coming soon for him.  He is over 50 and knows he can not do the Jets chants much longer.  He said if someone came along and thinks they can do it or takes a shot and doing what he does, then he would step aside gracefully.  Ed believes in a few years, there will be some other Jets diehard fan doing what he does, and younger.  And Ed is ok with that.  he is content to just attend and watch the games.

Ed is not shy when it comes to giving his opinions.  I just do not feel like giving them all away right now.  Then what would be left for the documentary?  I may decide to give people more in a little bit.  It all depends on the lockout being lifted.  There are appeals and so much more that can happen.  So instead of writing about the Jets, I will have more on Fireman Ed.

Football is entering a new era.  The NFL will not be the same after this lockout.  The teams, players, and even the fans know that the sport of football has been replaced with the business of football.  Fans are not fans any longer, they are consumers.  Looked at for the dollar they spend.  Long gone are the days where you knew people names in the stadium.  Where you could get up close and personal.  Now that is done on Facebook and Twitter.  Ed saw the change coming years ago.  He may be known as Fireman Ed to everyone, but to the Jets, he is both a consumer and a brand they can push to make them more money.

NFL Fans Ache From Their Favorite Teams

I normally write about the New York Jets and their fans.  The decisions the Jets organization makes and how it affects their season ticket holders.  The way fans prepare for home games and how they celebrate on the black top.  But now all football fans stand together.  Banded by our desire to watch the sport we love to only be shut out by a dispute between the players and their employers.

What you’re about to read focuses on give and take. So often is the case when professional sports franchises and money are involved, the customer winds up on the losing end.

The National Football League might not give its fans a single game this year. That hasn’t stopped almost all of its owners from taking money from their most loyal supporters.  We all remember what happened in 1987.  The owners still made money then in a makeshift season while fans suffered the first few games.

As if we needed another example of gang greed there’s this knee slapper: All but one of the NFL’s 32 teams is requiring season-ticket holders to submit deposits for next season, even though there might not be a season.

Only the New York Giants, the team of the late Wellington Mara, who long ago sacrificed for the good of the game and the welfare of the league, seems to understand that pay-for-play is the only plan that makes sense at this moment.

The late Leon Hess, former owner of the New York Jets, also had the same feelings.  He sent a letter to all season ticket holders saying he would not raise ticket prices until his team turned itself around on the field.

The Giants soon will send a letter to their 21,000 season ticket accounts, almost all of which have multiple ticket holders, saying that the team doesn’t think it’s right to take deposits while owners and players are firing insults over Twitter on how to share $9 billion in annual revenue.  The Giants are making themselves stand out from the other teams by showing a heart.

“Our season-ticket holders have made a significant financial commitment to our organization over the course of the last couple of years,” said Pat Hanlon, a spokesman for the Giants, who, along with the Jets, share the $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. “We just felt, given the circumstances, that it was the right thing to do and the fair thing to do.”

Doing Right

What we have here is something rarer than a Jets Super Bowl parade. We have a professional sports team showing more than a single shred  of concern for the customer, not only saying the right thing but doing it.  There is rarely seen in professional sports.  Something more team owners need to show to their season ticket holders.

Hanlon, a good company man, did his best to portray the other clubs kindly by saying what’s best for the Giants isn’t necessarily what other teams should do.  But it still shines a bad light on the others if only one team does the right thing by its fans.

“Each team has to operate within its own personality and its own way of handling its business,” he said.

Unfortunately, most professional sports teams have a default personality of greed. There’s no excuse for taking the deposit. Not that the NFL didn’t try to invent one, of course.

League spokesman Brian McCarthy said clubs believed there could be “operational issues” to not having season tickets renewed. You know, like getting commitments and processing payments in a short time after a settlement.  But with the layoffs it shows they really did not need those payments to keep their operations afloat.

Refund Policy

The Giants, according to Hanlon, have no such worries.  No Giants season ticket holder has never wanted their season tickets.

“The process we’ve established has addressed those concerns,” he said. So let’s get this straight: The Giants can solve the problem but the other teams can’t. Right.  Is this a case of greed or precaution?

It gets worse.

The NFL in November, anticipating a possible labor mess, disclosed its refund policy in the event of a lockout. The league mandate states that teams must issue full refunds no later than 30 days after final determination of how many games will be played during the 2011 season.

The league, however, allowed teams to set their own policies on whether ticket buyers should receive accrued interest on their deposits.  Which makes sense.  If the teams hold onto your money and make interest on it, the season ticket holder should be owed that accrued interest.

Let’s use the New England Patriots as an example. The Patriots in recent weeks sent three letters to their season ticket holders. The first was from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who outlined management’s side of the labor stalemate. The second came from Patriots owner Bob Kraft and his son, Jonathan, the club president, echoing much of the commissioner’s message.

Interest Due

And then the season-ticket renewal package arrived, requiring full payment by March 31. New England’s refund will include interest calculated at an annual rate of 1 percent. A check of bankrate.com shows that certain Banks offer a 1.08 percent return on a six-month certificate of deposit. It’s absurd that a team, like the Chicago Bears, which won’t give fans interest on their deposits, could make even a penny. It’s not about the money, which to someone with enough disposable income to buy tickets is negligible. It’s the principle.

The New York Jets are asking for 50% due by April 1st.  With PSL money still due later this year, the Jets still feel they need to hold onto the money rather than be on the same side as the Giants.  In the battle between the New York football clubs from the corporate offices, the Giants won this round.

It’s no surprise that the Giants are the only team making such a gesture to its fans. The team’s chief executive officer is John Mara, the oldest of his father’s 11 children. It was Wellington Mara who championed revenue sharing, even though it meant less for his team.  It shows in the fact the Giants used to have a 50 Years Club for season ticket holders who had season tickets for 50 plus years.  They cared about their long standing fans and still do, in a way.

Right and fair. Two important words. Just like give and take.

Jets Tailgating Changes In Many Ways, But Still Fun

Sunday turned out to be a great day for a lot of people.  Before the Jets beat the Patriots 28-14, the Jet faithful were having a great day getting ready for the game.  Since it was a Sunday, people arrived faster and had enough time to get set up and tailgate the day away.  I like the 4 PM kick off time.  It may eat into the day a little, but it gives everyone good prep time to get there and have fun before the game.  Met some new fans out there.  Looking for first time tailgaters and season ticket holders.  So walking around seeing old and new faces makes this a season to witness.  In a way, it is the changing of the guard.  New era of football experience in the New York era.  Feel’s a little more like George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

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Was fun to meet some new fans and get opinions on what they paid for. This new parking structure you find both old and new faces.. We came across a lot of blacktop chef’s. Two different types with some mighty big rigs. One in Yellow Lot J and one in Green Lot F. The Lot J one were the guys form The Smoken Pit on Staten Island, NY. This was the first game for his pit. They had wings, burgers, dogs, brisket, ribs, nachos, and more. He does it with his friends and also rents it out. Sunday was a day to break it in for football. The other big grilling set up in Lot J come every couple games and just use it with friends and family. Form Long Island, the had sausage and peppers, steak, ribs, burgers, and a great day of food prepared. I will have pictures later in the week.

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Seems everyone we went to was warm and inviting. Many long time ticket holders eager to talk about past seasons and other stadiums they have been to. Everyone was joyous and and wanted to feed us. We must of shared at just about every tailgate we went to. That is what I love about the Jets fans. They are always willing to share their bounty. Everyone is proud of their set up and their food. It was an endless buffet that every fan contributed to. No one wanted the day to end.

One fan we did stop and talk to was Michael Finizio. He was a former Giants season ticket holder who just became a Jets season ticket holder. Complaining about how the Giants charged more for a PSL and tickets than the Jets did. That was his reason, lower prices with the Jets. Thought both the Mara’s and Tisch’s could stick it and felt Woody Johnson was more accommodating to his fans. Seems many have their opinion on each team’s decision to institute the PSL’s. Another Jets fan, who paid $75 to park his camper, thought they should get free electric for that price. He said they had to pay mroe while others who took up two parking spots should pay more than their $25.

In one of the Green lats we came across a limo driver whose limo gets rented for Jets and Giants tailgates. He has clients from Long Island who pay by the hour for him to sit there as they tailgate out of the back of his limo. They managed to save a piece of fillet Mignon for him. A couple of ladies from ESPN made the trek down from Bristol. One was a Jets fan and the other a Pats fan. Neither wanted to be seen with the other but still tailgated together. A lot of verbal jabs were made but it was all in good fun. No one got out of hand.

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The prices at Lobel’s/Weber grills was outrageous though. Seeing those prices and the ones inside the stadium made one ponder who are the games being catered to? What fans with what pickets are they looking to attract? I am going to let the price;s speak for themselves.

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There were some groups missing members. The Jets Pack who I have been visiting for the past two years was down a considerable amount. They have been setting up at games since 1967 and this has been their smallest turnout to date. The PSL’s forced many long time season ticket holder to opt out. Not many wanted to pay up and it left Robert Parrin and company with a smaller group than usual. What was about 40-50 is now down to less than a dozen. A lot of groups are down member from precious years. Many have said the experience is not the same but they come anyway. The Jets & Giants really do not know how much the PSL’s have hurt game day friendships.

That is one aspect I have noticed from talking to people, the loss of friends. Some only saw people at games, ones they met there and partied with. Others who are long time friends who planned the tailgates and arrived together. The younger the fans are the rowdier the tailgates are. You can see the difference in those who have been coming to game longer than those who are more recent season ticket holders. The set ups and demeanor of the people are so different. But everyone is there for the same reason, to see their team win. That is what brings everyone together.

Everyone was ecstatic with a win over the Patriots. The attitude of the fans before the game let the team know how much they wanted a Gang green win. The team knows when their fans are into the game. With the home crowd as the 12th man, there was no way the Jets would lose to Tom Brady and the Pats. Fans were letting others know how much they hated the Patriots. We even came across our second Revis Island. Fans are getting more creative and letting everyone know how much they care about their team. I will have more later in the week. Too much to cover in one post.

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Jets To Play 1st Thanksgiving Game In New Stadium??

Though no official announcement has been made, by  process of elimination, all signs point to a Thanksgiving Day game featuring the Detroit Lions and the visiting New England Patriots.

From left, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Jets owner Woody  Johnson and Giants Co-Owner John Mara might have a few awkward moments  the next time they are all in the same room.

Giancarli for News

From left, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Jets owner Woody Johnson and Giants Co-Owner John Mara might have a few awkward moments the next time they are all in the same room.

With the New York Daily News’ report that the New York Jets will accept the NFL’s offer to host the Thanksgiving Day night game, the only other possible opponent for the Lions is New England.

As Mike Florio of NBC Sports explains, per network contracts, at least one AFC team must be playing in the Lions’  Thanksgiving game, to be broadcast on CBS. The only AFC opponents the Lions will play at home next season are the Patriots and the Jets, pointing to a Tom Brady-Matthew Stafford matchup at Ford Field on Nov. 25.

It will be the third Thanksgiving Day game between the two teams since 2000.  The Lions won the first meeting 34-9, with the Patriots evening the score by beating the Lions 20-12 in 2002.  The official announcement, including the Jets’ opponent on Thanksgiving, will be on Monday. The NFL will release the full regular season schedule in mid April.

Until then, here are the Lions’ 2010 opponents:

Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams

Away: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s support for new Jets-Giants stadium bolsters 2014 Super Bowl bid

Credit:  Gary Meyers of the Daily News

FORT LAUDERDALE – It might not be a bad time to start saving up for tickets for Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014, because who knows how much they will cost by then. The venue: the Giants‘ and Jets’ new $1.7 billion stadium that opens for football in the fall.

Momentum is starting to build for the first Super Bowl in the Northeast and the first in a cold-weather climate in an open-air stadium.

The competition for the Meadowlands is Miami, Tampa and Glendale, Ariz. The Super Bowl is being played today in Miami for the second time in the last four seasons and a record 10th time in the first 44 games. Tampa had the Super Bowl twice in the last decade and Glendale had it just two years ago.

The vote is less than four months away and the longshot candidate from the greatest city in the world could be emerging as the favorite.

Roger Goodell‘s strong show of support Friday at his state-of-the-league news conference, with many NFL owners in attendance, is a real positive sign for the bid. It never hurts to have the commissioner on your side, even though he does not have a vote.

There will be a faction of owners who will get hung up on the weather and vote against the Super Bowl on Broadway, but in the end it’s likely that the respect for the late Wellington Mara, who helped make the league what it is today with his unselfish decision back in the early 1960s to endorse sharing network television money, and the late Robert Tisch, will get New York the votes.

The owners know how important it is for the Maras, Tisches and Woody Johnson to be awarded the Super Bowl in their new stadium, and the NFL has an unwritten policy: Build a state-of-the-art stadium and the Super Bowl will come.

So, my instincts tell me New York will be get the Super Bowl that will be played four years from now when the secret ballots are counted May 24-26 in Dallas.

But what about the fans? Is it fair to them to make them sit outside on a February evening? The corporate types may not want to rough it, but the average fan in the metropolitan area is pretty hearty.

Jon Tisch, the co-chairman of the committee to get the bid, revealed to the Daily News elements of the plan to deal with inclement weather as it relates to fan comfort:

- Heated open concourses.

- Fire pits in the parking lot for tailgaters.

- Hand and feet warmers.

- Blankets.

- Thermal socks.

- Self-warming seat cushions.

*Dec 08 - 00:05*

Steve Tisch (from l.), John Mara and Woody Johnson should start preparing to host Super Bowl at their new stadium in 2014.

Even for 82,500 fans, that still comes out a lot cheaper than the $400 million-$500 million it would have cost to put a roof on the stadium.