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Torch Passed To Lower Class of Jets Tailgating

This past Sunday I went to my first Jets tailgate of the season.  Not game, tailgate.  I have not attended a game in the new MetLife Stadium.  Have had no desire to lay anything out to watch a team make their fans invest and suffer more than a Facebook stockholder.

Now I may not have the experience and knowledge to go in depth about some problems the team has on the field I can sure talk about off field happenings.  Especially when it comes to tailgating.

For the first time I paid to be in a stadium lot rather than walk over from the Sheraton.  We did have to walk over from the Izod using the cattle bridge but at least we were among the Jets tailgating faithful.  While making the trek from the Izod to the J & L yellow parking section,s I noticed a few things that made my heart sank as a Jets fan and tailgating analyst (made up title, I know).

The fisrt thing that was not just obvious, but rampant was the garbage left in the lots after tailgating.  I am not talking about after the game, I am talking about after tailgating leading into kick off.  It was disgusting.  Empty bottles strewn, half filled garbage bags left to collapse, and half eaten food noticeably in the lane of traffic.

One tailgate in L5 even left their entire set up available to all.  Not just some sandwiches left on the table, but an open van, DJ equipment, speakers, a popcorn machine,  and more just left unattended as if to say “take me”.

Now there was a tailgate across from the unattended one that was watching the game from their tailgate.  But it is not their responsibility to watch over another tailgates gear.  Either clean up or do not set up.
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Now I know a good portion of the port-a-potty’s have been taken away, that does not mean one should relieve themselves in the parking lot between cars.  Have more class than that.  Either use a port-a-john or head to the weeds/brush.  You make yourself and others around you look classless.

When the PSL’s were first offered, a large fall off of season ticket holders did not carry over to MetLife Stadium.  Many of these ticket holders could trace their ticket roots to the Polo Grounds or Shea Stadium.  A wave of younger, more active, social conscious tailgater came to the forefront.

A few of the tailgates we passed seemed to keep partying going from the night before in Hoboken.  Complete with music pushed to eleven and dancing.  Now I can understand loud music to get ready for a game.  Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, AC/DC,  and other music like that.  I just can’t see club music as the style to motivate warriors.

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L7 sets up fast and cleans up faster

My wife en pointed out one or two that couldn’t hold it together.  One guy couldn’t be considerate and hold a girls hair so she does not get vomit on it.  Not a true gentleman.  Tailgating before a game should not have to get to that point.
No one is saying to not crank it up and have a blast.  Just do it in a way that does not draw unwanted attention to yourself & your friends.  The Jets have a proud tradition of loyalty from their fans.  Many still remember the days of the Titans at the Polo Grounds.

Tailgating has been about a ritual of great food, friends, and brew to drive us crazy for an upcoming battle.  If it was meant to bring the club to the parking lot complete with annoying music, binge drinking, & certain fans who really seem to be there for the party and not for the game, then the winds of change barely made a faint wisp.

One was able to notice a change in the tailgating climate once Giants Stadium fell.  Many that I knew and had been to for my documentary did not make the change.  Their tickets or seats purchased by a younger ticket holder.  The new element that has taken over the transition of tailgating in the color coded lots.

The socially connected fan who remains wired, in network, ,or addicted to wi-fi in any situation.  Tweeting by the minute or Instagraming a picture, booty shaking on the trailer.  I can remember when tailgating was about tailgating.

Go, have a great time, make some new friends, and feast away.  Just act accordingly and don’t give a reason to bring forth unwanted attention to you and others around you.  Personally, why would one want to give other fans a reason to speak worse about them than they already do.

Tomorrow night the Jets take on the 4-0 Houston TexansMonday Night Football games are in prime-time and so are the ans.  Have a tailgate that makes the SportsCenter Top 10, not the Not Top 10.  Even though some of that stuff is funny.  Have others laugh with you, not at you.  Now that’s memorable.

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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.

New York Jets Acquisition of Tim Tebow: Thoughts & Opinions

Last week the New York Jets made moves to bring Tim Tebow to the New York Jets from the Denver Broncos.  Many have speculated as to how Tim Tebow would be used.  Considering the contract extension to Mark Sanchez, how would this trade impact his starting status?  Was this a move to mix things up and have more of an on field presence?  Or was Damien Woody right in stating this was a move to help the Jets sell season tickets and PSL’s?

We as fans, the media, and the alternative media can speculate all we want.  Only the Jets know for sure how Tebow is to be used.  By unlike others, I have no comment on this trade.  Once Tim Tebow gets into training camp, the pre season, and the regular season, then I will make my decision.  If a player has yet to step foot on a field for a team, how can one make a true assessment of how that player’s abilities?  Sure he did well in Florida and Denver, but he has yet to play for New York.

Everyone was excited about Brett Favre coming to the Jets.  But all that hype and play ended in a 9-7 season.  So all we can do is wait and see how Tebow settles into his position as the Jets back up QB and see what his on field performance is like.

I took a little time to give more details on my opinions of Tim Tebow being traded to the Jets and recorded them for all to see:

Sunday’s Jets/Patriots Game Critical For Team & Fans

For the past year and a half, New Meadowlands Stadium now MetLife Stadium has been home of the New York Jets. But Sunday will feel like their first game in the new billion dollar stadium.

When the Patriots come to East Rutherford in a gigantic AFC East match against Gang Green,  it will be a test to see if all those years of waiting will make this stadium be home to the Jets and their fans or just another upscale VIP event.

To date, this will be the Jets biggest game they will play in the new stadium.  But to the fans and everyone watching, will it feel like it. More importantly, will the Jets play as it is their biggest game played in MetLife Stadium.

For as long as I have been filming at MetLife, the former New Meadowlands Stadium, no one has enjoyed it.  Fans have had reason to hate the PSLs.  The fans hate the way it looks like a prison from the outside.  It has no life.  The stadium feels like a shell of something that could be grander.

The Jets want fans at MetLife Stadium on Sunday vs. the Patriots to give Gang Green an advantage they have yet to see at home.  They want the fans to be louder than they have ever been.  To show that the Jets can defeat their AFC rivals with confidence and certainty.  The Jets biggest opponent are themselves, and that needs to be defeated easily before they can defeat the Patriots.

But maybe this game is what the new stadium has been waiting for. Maybe Brady, Billichik, Ochocinco, and the rest of the Pats walking into the Jets home is what has been needed. The sight of the Justin Bieber wannabe has done it time and time again. The most memorable home game of Jets coach Rex Ryan’s tenure was his first. On that Sunday back in September of 2009, Giants Stadium vibrated as the Jets defeated the Patriots in an opening day battle.

The past three years has been a period of change for many sports fans, and not just of football. We’ve seen Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium torn down. Rising in their place have been buildings that seem to be more about profits than the roar of the fans, that prefer the upscale, casual sports viewer than the outspoken die-hard fan.

Since I started filming, I have heard stories & watched fans who saw Joe Namath play at Shea leave overpriced seats behind where they could have watched Mark Sanchez in a new stadium . Tales of longtime season-ticket holders fuming and forced out in droves have seen masses not come back to watch all their local sports teams.

For the Jets, MetLife Stadium was supposed to represent their first real home. The franchise has wandered like gypsies from other peoples home stadiums beginning with the Polo Grounds. MetLife is shared with the Giants, but the franchise does everything possible to make the stadium feel like home by making it look green on game day.  So fans feel like it belongs to them, not the Giants.

Like the new homes of the Mets and Yankees, though, the Jets are limited in how they can make MetLife stadium feel like home. Most of it has to do with what’s happening on the field & the green colors outside on game day. Yankee Stadium felt like doppelganger to some until they had their series with the Boston Red Sox during the opening season. Citi Field needs a Mets makeover before it becomes a tough ticket.  It has yet to feel warm and inviting to Mets fans.

On Sunday, it is zero hour for Gang Green and their fans. The Jets have a chance to see what their home field can truly sound and feel like. They have played 12 games at MetLife Stadium to date. Brett Favre’s return last year had the place shaking. The season opener with the Cowboys this year got loud when Joe McKnight blocked a punt in the fourth quarter.  But that is nothing compared to what the fans can truly sound like.

Nothing compares to the present, though. Bill Belichick and Brady enter this game vulnerable. With both teams at 5-3, this feels like an AFC Title game. It could determine whether the Jets bring a playoff game to MetLife this year.  Something the fans have demanded for years.  The ability to watch their team at home in the playoffs.  To give their Jets a home field advantage the likes the team has not seen.

Is that enough for those in the VIP boxes and Coaches Club sections to put down their over priced drinks and prime rib? Maybe Woody Johnson needs to sit with the real fans to find out what it truly feels like to be at a home Jets game.  At about 8:30 Sunday night come kick off, we’ll find out.

NY Jets Tailgating Creates Friends & Memories

I have talked before how there are a lot of new faces in the Jets parking lot during tailgating.  There are also fewer recognizable faces from years past.  Not only that I see, but others see less and less of their friends who did not get a PSL.  As the Jets organization pressed hard for the PSL’s, many long time ticket holders felt pushed away by the organization.  While others, felt they had no choice if they wanted to continue to see their team live.  Everyone has a choice, no one can say they were pressured into buying a PSL.  The pressure comes from yourself, and maybe some friends who already made their decision.  Some do not do it for the game alone, but for the tailgating as well.  It has become such a ritual for some, their warm up to the game itself.

The more I walk around during tailgating, the more I see friends and family partying like it was a major holiday.  Everyone comes to the game with what they feel are the essentials.  The necessary items to make their pregame ritual the best it can be.  The long time Jet faithful feel that friends are the best for the games.  Who better to share it with than those who you have followed the team with since the Polo Grounds or Shea Stadium.  It is the continuing of these memories that makes the next one that much better.  You can consider your memories your own personal NFL Films that many have viewed but only your friends will remember the way you do.

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There are some necessities to tailgating.  A grill, burgers, beer, chips, and a spot to have it all in.  Some prefer to add a lot more to make it exciting for them and their friends.  You can add a tent, a 10×10 canopy, or for the major league tailgater, a camper.  One camper I walked around in cost the fan about $75,000 complete with Jets memorabilia, fridges, bed, flat screen, and everything else he feels is needed for a Jets tailgate.  Some are towing grills/smokers behind their vehicles.  Nothing says tailgating like burgers for 120 people.  Now, one can have Lobel’s of NY and Weber grills prepare it all for them.  Just sit back and fork over your cash.

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Other people feel there are other necessities to tailgating.  Some prefer to grill steaks, lobster, pork chops, crab legs, sausage, vodka chicken parmigiana, and other foods based on the Jets opponents.  For the Patriots, some had New England clam chowder, seafood jambalaya, mussels, and a Tom Brady jersey over open coals.  Now a couple of guys said a necessity was hot girls at a tailgate.  When one is young and drunk, one will say anything.  But everyone agreed you do need close and dear friends to make every tailgate that much better.  Now one group forgot their propane, but they did not forget their friends.  So it really does not matter how big of a set up you have or what you prepare, as long as you have friends around you to share in the festivities.

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The Jet Pack, founded by Robert Parin in 1967, was all about fun with friends before the game.  IN  years past, they always had each tailgate a themed one.  They would do a pig roast one game, seafood buffet another game, and other great themed tailgates.  They were even responsible for the Spark Plug Award.  At the final tailgate of each season, it would be given to who the fans thought the season’s MVP was.  The last one was handed out in 2008.  As the members of the Pack dwindled due to many not investing in a PSL, they stopped the award.  Last Sunday, only a handful out of the 70-80 that had accumulated over the years of the Jet Pack were back.  Robert and a few dedicated others only had two small grills going compared to mega set ups they had grown accustomed to.  The prices kept many away.  Now Robert and others sit farther away from where their seats had been previously.

It does not matter how much the Jets charge for PSL’s, tickets, parking, or overpriced food inside the stadium.  Fans will always set up in the parking lot like nomads in the desert, looking for a place to rest, eat, and celebrate before moving on to their final destination.  That is something the Jets can not take away from their fans, no matter how confusing or expensive they make their parking.  I guess that is why I enjoy walking around and talking to everyone there.  It is where Jets fans show their true self.  Not just inside being led by Fireman Ed, but outside getting ready for the battle yet to be witnessed.

The Jets seem to have a separation between themselves and their fans. Many fans I talk to feel the Jets really do not listen to them or care about them. I guess that is why I listen to the fans so much and want to get their message across. Maybe if the Jets had people in the parking lot talking to fans rather than having employees paint peoples faces for $10 they could get more in tun with their fans. If anything, I would like my documentary to let teams know what they could do to come down to their fans level. To really let your fans know that you care about more than their checkbooks.

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Jets Fans Enjoy Better Food Before The Game Than During

Here we are less than a week away until the Jets open up the 2010 season in their new home.  They face the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football as the first game of a double header at 7 PM.  Every Jets fan is on pins and needles to see Gang Green for the first time in a regular season game in the new Meadowlands Stadium.  While some will be watching from home for the first time, opting out of returning as a season ticket holder.  Monday begins a new era for everyone.  Some even are season ticket holders for the first time.  It will be an interesting first season in the new stadium for Jets and Giants fans alike.

I have a few things I would like to go over so this will cover a different topics.  Do not have the time to write 2-3 articles with Rosh Hashanah beginning tonight for my Hebrews and Shebrews.  Have dinner with family tomorrow and not sure about Friday.  So I will sum up a few things here tonight.  Things from the food at the new stadium to filming during tailgating to people I have interviewed in the past.

Ryan Sutton, the food critic for Bloomberg NY, recently reviewed the food at the new Meadowlands Stadium.  His article, New Meadowlands Has Horrible Edibles; Go With Deli, goes in depeth not just about the food, but about the stadium, drinks, and sight-lines from the Coaches Club section.   He talks about how expensive anything to drink there is.   $12 cocktails, $18 rum and cokes, $4.75 bottles of water are just crazy prices.  One does not even get the cap to the water as they worry fans would toss them at players.  Even one of the lounges is named after Captain Morgan.  Wonder how much sponsorship dollars that brought in.

Here are some of Ryan’s quotes about the food:

“The pizza’s free but so bad I almost yearned for a Domino’s slice. Miserable Manhattans, poured into a plastic cup with neither shaking nor stirring still help you forget about the turnpike-quality concessions and pricing on par with tuition at New York University.”

“Food is included in the Coaches Club ticket price; the David Rockwell-designed buffet dished out overcooked penne a la vodka, rubbery kosher chicken nuggets and mushy cannoli. There are medium-rare skirt steaks, succulent beef tenderloins, juicy stuffed turkey and spicy chili.”

Meats

Grilled filet mignon, turkey roulade and honey-glazed pit ham at New Meadowlands stadium. It’s the same type of fare one might find in any hotel buffet, anywhere in the country. Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

“The fare at best is generic and utterly boring. The opposite is true at our other new stadiums: At Citi Field for example, Mets fans can snack on New York’s best local fast food, including burgers from Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, crispy fries from Box Frites, great tacos at El Verano Taqueria and David Pasternack’s fresh, meaty lobster rolls.”

“The Coaches Club, in contrast, embarrasses our country’s culinary capital with retrograde, flavorless Tex-Mex chicken tortillas, tuna fish-like lobster rolls and soggy fries. A “custom grind” Brooklyn Burger from the Mezzanine Club tastes nothing like the good sliders I’ve had in Kings County. Other sports complexes hire well-known regional chefs and restaurateurs; the Meadowlands picked the mass-market Food Network to provide $11 short rib hot dogs.”

“instead, have the deep-fried franks for $6.00. Or gorge on the least crowded and most authentic vendors in the general concessions area — the bridge-and-tunnel Italian deli stands.”

Coaches Club

Fans stand behind the Giants bench at the Coaches Club private on-field patio. Personal seat licenses cost $20,000 each for the club. Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

Ryan is right on the ball.  Other stadiums across the country put more into the food served, even into the vendors brought in.  They go with local far and local vendors to run their own stands.  The Meadowlands still dishes out the same pre made slop.  Seems they put more into the building that what goes into the food.  I have watched specials on Food Network and The Travel Channel that spotlight stadiums & arenas across the country.  I see so many stadiums with such mouth watering goodies.  The Orioles have hand made crab cakes. The Royals has BBQ right in the place.  MEadowlands could not even give us NYC deli favorites or anything regional.

This is why many people tailgate.  One can cook better food than they could buy inside the stadium.  Then again, one could buy a six pack of beer cheaper than one inside the stadium.  It is cost effective for many to do it in the lot.  That is one of the best things about filming during tailgating, seeing all the food and smelling all the great barbecue.  I love to catch people on camera enjoying time with friends and family before the game eating and drinking.   Filming people in the parking lot makes for an enjoyable time.  Everyone is a big family and people invite you into their tailgate.  It is a very warming experience.

When I went to game with my father, we never tailgated.  We went right o the game, that was it.  When it is just the two of us there was no reason.  Plus, we did not know many other Jets fans.  These days, you can find tailgates that charge to eat their food so you can tailgate anywhere really.  Sal and Carmine charge but it is worth it for the food and drinks they provide.  So these days, you do not need to have a set up to tailgate.  You can join someone’s.  Just bring friends and enjoy the party.

When I go out filming, people offer myself and the crew some good stuff.  We have had some unbelievable food. Chicken vodka Parmesan sandwiches, homemade pizza, ribs, quesadillas,  chicken, and so much more.  Of course, who can forget the beer.  I just talk to everyone like they are friends and get their stories of being a fan.  In return, they share their food.  Like a community of neighbors sharing dishes during a block party.  I have met some great people while filming.  I expect this season to be no different.  It is best to interview people in a comfortable atmosphere so they are relaxed and able to talk openly.  For some, talking after a few drinks makes it easier too.

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Some I have interviewed in the past have set up their last tailgate and will not be back.  Guys like Steve Kern, Ken Pikowski, John Allen, and some of the Jets Pack who have been coming to games since 1967.  What some would have spent on PSL’s have been spent on large screen TV’s.  Not everyone went for a PSL.  Some of the Jets Nuts did, Sal and Carmine, Mary Lou Wilson kept hers after her husband Tommy had passed away.  Even their son Tommy Jr. keeps going.  I had written about Tommy Wilson on here & XtraPointFootball.com before.  I am hoping to find more fans like him this season.

I want to find people who not just have stories of the past to tell, but new tailgaters.  People who are new to it all starting their traditions.  It makes for a great story, and a great game experience.  I will be going back to those I have talked to before.  Hoping to add to their stories and see if their tailgating futures will ever be the same.  Let’s face it, with some friends and family not able to be at game anymore it changes the dynamic of the tailgate and game time experience for some.  This is a new era for many.  Will have more for everyone next week.  Until then, are you ready for some football?

DaveJetsPig

Season Ticket Holder Feels Cheated by New York Jets

Last night I was doing my usual nightly research on daily New York Jets topics.  I check the internet and Google news for any new reports on the Jets, any PSL topic, stadium info, and other info that does not surround the players.  As I was reviewing visitors to my own website, I noticed a comment from an unusual website that seems new and deals only in PSL news.  The website is PersonalSeatLicense.net.  The site is very basic but has some good news pieces.  As I was checking out the different links, I came to one on JetsInsider.com and their forums.  It listed an article on SILive.com about a season ticket holder who has had his seats since 1964.  A lot of links to go through to find one article but worth it.

Apparently, he paid the Jets for his PSL and tickets but nothing was ever confirmed.  He received them and when friends tried to use the Jets/Giants preseason tickets they were refused entry to the game saying the tickets were not valid.  Here is the article and judge for yourself:

“STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. —  A season ticket holder since 1964, William Antico bleeds Jets green.

So deep is his love for the team, he spent $86,000 — his children’s inheritance, he says — on licenses for four prime seats, and tickets to this year’s inaugural season in the new Meadowlands Stadium.

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Staten Island Advance/Hilton
Flores A Jets season ticket holder since 1964, William Antico holds up his tickets from Super Bowl III. Recently, Antico found that his tickets for the exhibition game between the Jets and Giants were invalid.

Unable to make last Monday’s first-ever game in the brand new facility, the 75-year-old Willowbrook resident sold the four tickets to a friend. But when the friend and his buddies showed up at the gate, they were refused admission and told the tickets weren’t valid.

Now the friends are out $620, for the four seats and a parking pass, and Antico is fuming, and at a loss to explain what happened.

Antico received an invoice for the four Personal Seat Licenses he bought at a cost of $20,000 each for “fantastic seats” on the 45-yard line at the new stadium. He also got one for the $6,000 he spent on season tickets, including the four $150 tickets to the Aug. 16 Jets/Giants exhibition game.

According to a Jets spokeswoman, there was an issue with Antico’s purchase agreement for the seats, and there were necessary elements of the contract that were not fulfilled.

Because the contract was not finalized, the tickets were never validated.

Antico blamed the Jets for losing a copy of his contract.

Both sides say the other fumbled the ball.

The spokeswoman for the Jets declined to elaborate on the specifics of Antico’s account and what the problem was, but said the team and Antico have reached an agreement and the tickets are now activated.

“We believe the matter is resolved,” she said.

But Antico said he has not yet been refunded the money from the missed game, and he is considering taking the matter to Small Claims Court to recoup the cost and repay his friends.

“I should have never even been treated this way after being a ticket holder for so long,” Antico said.

He wants a refund and an explanation. “I want them to take the agita out of my stomach,” Antico said. ”

Apparently, both sides can be found at fault here.  Antico should have looked over every form and made sure they were all signed.  The Jets sales representative should have made sure they were all signed as well.  As a former insurance sales rep, I made sure everything was signed or followed up on all contracts as you do not get paid our commission unless everything is signed.  Why didn’t the sales rep follow up to make sure?  Did he not want that commission?  Or did he think Antico did not want the tickets?  The sales rep should have followed up on them to make sure, that is correct customer service.  The sales rep from the Jets probably moved on to another customer and gave the tickets to him knowing he would sell them and get the commission anyway.

I have read and heard many stories from long time season ticket holders who feel they are just another customer no matter how long they have had their season tickets.  Many original season ticket holders feel like another number to them, Their decades of dedicated & loyalty to keeping those tickets has not meant much to the organization.

Now the Jets claim they have tried to do what they could to make many long time fans happy.  But is that only good PR on their part?  Have they done all they could?  For those who have had seats since the 60′s & 70′s do not feel that way.  It seems the fans who have had their seats the longest believe the team only cares about their money, and not the fan who wants to remain sitting in that seat.

Football is no longer about the game, it is about business.  The days of the organizations catering to the fans to make sure they enjoy the game is over.  Football has turned into a complex business.  It is about catering to the consumer and seeing how much more you can get them to spend on top of their tickets and PSL.  Not just concessions and parking at the stadium, but memorabilia, jerseys, hats, and anything else the teams logo can be stamped on to make a profit from.

Many fans feel they need to buy all this merchandise to show they are a die hard fan.  Being a die hard fan to me is staying with your team no matter what their record is, not how much you spend.  If you need to spend on so much merchandise & tickets, then it is more about image than being a true fan.

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.