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NY Jets Need To Deliver, For Their Fans Sake

I was originally asked to write this piece for the Football Reporters Online NFL Draft guide.  Unfortunately, the guide was not put together for release.  The piece focuses on the New York Jets, their fans, MetLife Stadium, and PSL’s in regard to the Jets.  The idea that a PSL is “an investment” is discussed in contrast to those who want them for future generations.  This is a topic I have covered countless times.

I did not want this piece to sit in limbo for eternity.  Every Jets fan has their opinion on the PSL’s.  They are also outspoken in regards to other teams possibly entertaining the PSL idea.  The story never changes, but every once in a while new pages need to be added for a deeper in depth story.

Enjoy!

Since 1996, football has watched itself grow beyond the typical funding, state grants, and loans that it takes to create and furnish a new stadium in the NFL.  The advent of the PSL has created opportunities for some but has also turned off many depending on the team you are a season ticket holder for.  When it comes to MetLife Stadium and the New York Jets, what was supposed to be a worthwhile “investment” turned into turmoil for many.

When the New York Jets announced that they were going to use PSL’s to help finance the new stadium, it was met with mixed reactions.  Especially from those long time season ticket holders who had been with the franchise since the Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium.  Many fans have been with the Jets, supporting them in every situation and season longer than any staff member associated with the team.  That shows dedication while Jets’ employees will always move on.

The term “investment” has been used loosely when it comes to the purchase and ownership of a PSL.  People are split on this concept.  Many long time season ticket holders want to hold onto their seats.  Like many before them, retaining them in order to pass them along to a younger generation to enjoy.  Others “invest” in a PSL and sell the season tickets in hopes of making a profit selling the tickets either on a game by game basis or the entire season.

Jetsseasontix-592x274As many Jets fans know today, that is nearly impossible.  This past season, tickets were being sold for a fraction of their face value.  Some went through Stub Hub and purchased seats for each game, sitting in the same seats as if they owned a PSL.

Since the Jets introduced the PSL’s, I have related them to holding stock.  A flat value paid to a company in hopes that they value of said “stock” would rise due top the performance of the team.  No one owns one PSL, the minimum would be two seats or two shares in the team.  That PSL money helps to fund the stadium along with other “seat investors” and the Jets organization itself.

After that flat investment was paid, for example, 5,000 per seat just to be able to have the right top purchase season tickets.  The PSL only give you a license to purchase your tickets in the lower and middle tiers of the stadium while the upper part of the bowl is a complete NON PSL section.  So after you have your seats and tickets for that flat price, it is now up to the Jets and their team performance to determine what the future value would be for those PSL’s.

Just like any public company who offers any form of public stock, that stock value is determined by that company’s performance.  Google continues to actively trade at a high price many are willing to pay while Facebook is struggling to even keep its shares at a reasonable price.  There are many variables that determine what the stock price would be worth.

Jets Cut PSL PricesBut the main question remains, is this investment the best value for my money?  Will I get a return on my investment?  Is the company’s performance in the short-term and the long-term enough to be worth my time and money?  New York Jets fans ask themselves those same questions.  Since the beginning, the Jets have restructured prices & PSL structures in an effort to keep seats filled for more than one game.

The Jets performance has been sub par at best.  Performance has been below expectations.  The organization and the team have not risen to the occasion that their investors (fans) would have hoped for.  Especially in this new Roman Colosseum they built for the VIP’s and corporate sponsors.  The Jets have done nothing to raise these values with a New York Super Bowl less than one year away.

When a company is not performing to expectations, investors have certain rights to make changes in a company to ensure their investment does not hit bottom.  But the Jets are not a public company.  PSL holders can complain but the ultimate decision still lies within the Jets executive offices.  Even though the Jets on field performance has not met expectations from investors, all they can do is sit back and hope the decision makers in charge do the right thing.  Not just to increase performance and value, but for their fans as well.

Recently, the Cleveland Browns did away with their PSL structure.  Starting this season, new season ticket holders only have to pay for their tickets.  Current PSL holders will have the opportunity to add-on new seats without having to pay for a new PSL and still maintain their PSL holder privileges.  The Browns organization is doing this to help raise attendance and draw fans back to live games.  The Jets and Woody Johnson can learn from other teams examples and not just leave an upper bowl with Non PSL seats..

PSL holders for both the Jets and Giants are offered opportunities to purchase tickets for other events at MetLife Stadium.  It may not be in their seat or section, but they do get offers first before non PSL holders or the general public.  The true test of this benefit will come during next year’s Super Bowl.  Will these PSL holders be offered any kind of seat, even if their respective team is not in the Super Bowl?  How will the Jets and Giants handle ticket disbursement for the Super Bowl to their PSL holders?

There are so many questions and not enough answers when it comes to PSL’s and the benefits it covers, regardless of the team.  But one thing is clear, the more you pay for your seat location, the better your benefits and the better you are treated y that respective organization.

4708201386_c84096e02a_zOn June 16, 2010, the Jets held an open practice at the still being constructed MetLife Stadium.  Many tables with sales representatives we strewn about talking up season tickets and PSL packages.  They were in their collar shirts and khakis and offered up the usual brochures to passing fans who wanted more information.  The sales representatives for VIP sections, Coaches Club sections, and luxury boxes had a very different approach.

Clad in suits and offering up sales pitches to those who want to spend at least six figures per season were treated very differently.  As I followed one such sales agent, I heard him tell his prospective client the following: “you would receive the same treatment we reserve for Woody Johnson.”  Was this a part of the sales pitch?  Was it right to tell this prospective luxury box ticket holder he would be treated differently than those fans who or for a PSL in the lower bowl or even a NON PSL holder in the upper deck?

It does appear the Jets do not treat all their fans as equals.  In one such case with luxury box holder, Jack Usman, who I interviewed in the past said that “his sales representative had  been dressed so provocatively in the shortest, tightest skirt and the highest heels he had ever seen”.  He was amazed how a sales agent would dress like that just to talk about a luxury box.  All because he wanted to spend close to 1 million over three years on a box to bring clients.  If he was just another fan, it would just be a phone call and a package sent to his house.

In this age of “he who spends the most wins”  has taken its toll on professional sports.  One used to be able to bring a family of four to a football game.  These days, parents sometimes have to decide which child goes to which game.  Forget about the cheap seats in the upper deck.  What kind of experience is that for a childs first football game.  To those in charge of those decisions, it does not matter.  The only thing that matters is the bottom line,  regardless of who occupies those seats.

PSL’s may be a necessity for certain NFL teams to build their new stadium, but at what cost to their fans? Depending on the market you enjoy your favorite team in can also determine the cost of the PSL’s.  So many factors affect price structures.  The New York Metropolitan area just happens to be the most expensive market for professional football.

tommywilsonWhen the Jets rolled out their PSL’s there was a tremendous fan base shift.  Many older, dedicated fans from the days of Shea Stadium and the Polo Grounds never stepped foot in MetLife Stadium.  Some even passed away after making their initial PSL paymentt like Tommy Wilson.  The man paid for the seats in October 2009 and only saw them from above.

Professional sports have always kept up with the times, especially the NFL.  With the modernization of new stadiums & being able to offer cutting edge amenities, comes a hefty price tag.  One that gets passed to its fans in certain cases.  None has been in a higher profile situation more than the New York Jets and their fans.  This past season  added more fuel to an ever going bonfire.

The Atlanta Falcons have just been approved to be the latest franchise in the NFL to build a new stadium. A team on the cusp & capable of a Super Bowl appearance.  Will PSL’s be used in the building of the new stadium?  Will there be enough viable funding options to not lay a burden on the fans with PSL’s?  Time will tell.  If the Falcons organization needs to do marketing research to determine the fans options, Jets fans are always willing to share their opinions.

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2012 New York Jets Fans Fiscal Year Report

After the events of today, the Jets have ended their season in glorious fashion.  Jon Gruden said it best on the Jets final play against the Titans.  It was just ugly.  Their season was ugly and how fitting that their season should end on a fumble by Mark Sanchez.  The Jets have 50 turnovers over the past two seasons, the most of any NFL team.

Ugly, huh?

2012 has truly not been a banner year for the Jets organization.  For the fans, it has been even worse.  Year after year of promises, free agent signings, and supposed surprises, the fans have really had enough.  The Gang Green Piper needs to change his tune in order to get the fans back on board.  At a point fans were energized about the team’s future, investing in PSL‘s.  After this season, many are looking for a loophole to get out of their commitments or sell them outright.

This is not every fan.  Many dedicated Jets faithful will be back for another season next year.  Sending out their payments in mid 2013 to make sure they are in attendance for the start of another roller coaster ride.  Others I talk to have had enough and want off.  They have had enough of the ups and downs and just want to be a casual observer from their couch.

I know you may be shaking your head in regards to a fiscal year when it comes to the New York Jets.  They are not a public company.  No records to show on sales or growth.  Not even on which Jets season ticket holders have been with them for years and which ones are first time PSL holders.  There is little to no information on what true numbers the Jets organization has on their books by the end of the 2012 fiscal year.

The PSL is the stock Certificate and tickets are options.

You need to view this from a different perspective.  From the outlook of the fan investor.  The one who takes his hard earned money and decides each year that this recreational activity is worth the time and the investment.  Was the money laid out received back in a way that could rival a stock split or dividend.  Did you get full entertainment value for that dollar? 

In essence, the Jets fans fiscal year begins and ends with the NFL season.  Sixteen weeks, four months, four quarters to analyze the product and its value by the fans.  Their investment into a franchise that needs ticket income in order  to survive.  Just ask the Jacksonville Jaguars how important ticket sales are.

Every investor varies.  There are those with enough disposable income where this can be afforded as a luxury and necessity.  The choice to indulge in one’s favorite pastime as football is a life source of socializing and networking for a certain ticket holding investor.

Then you have those who have to save for a bit to enjoy days tailgating and getting frenzied up hard-nosed action.  The investor who puts years in and sees no ROI.  Each time seeing their hard-earned money, being invested in a product that raises expectations and then lowers their future outlook.  Somehow, to a few of these fans held over from Shea Stadium, “New and Improved” always feels like “Old and Inferior”.

Before the season even started, the Jets made their presence known with the signing of Tim Tebow.  We do not gave to go into a back story on his signing, activity, and his on field play.  It has been well documented by the media since the start of the season.  Expectations were high on Tim Tebow.  The Wildcat talk and much else kept his stock and overall use high. 

But as we all know, his on field play and use angered many and overall value made fans sigh with disappointment.  Weather his acquisition was because of Woody Johnson wanting to sell tickets or because Tony Sporano wanted him to help the Wildcat, it did not sell tickets.  But it did sell quite a bit of Jets merchandise & focus quite a bit of cameras on Gang Green.  In a way, Woody got a little of what he wanted.

Bottom line, the investment in Tebow did not equal the output expected by the team and the fans.  This added to  Jets fans having a bad fiscal year.

It seemed the Jets suffered more injuries than Evel Knievel.  Sorry Travis Pastrana fans, he still has a way to go to catch Evel! But from the start of the season when Darelle Revis went down then Santonio Homes, it seemed more and more kept piling up on the IR or PUP lists.  The revolving doors affected the Jets all season.  Dustin Keller could not find his groove with Mark Sanchez as in seasons passed to put points on the board. 

A sure sign of a Jets down economy

Jets performance in the first and second quarter were volatile.  There was no indication of a strong rebound to bring certain investors back to MetLife Stadium.  Projections for the second half remained optimistic, but with a team built more like a fantasy team than a NFL franchise with depth, many annalists were projecting a Wild Card at best.

Once the second half of the Jets fans fiscal year came about there was a slight climb in their value.  Once Thanksgiving showed its head, the team fell back into a slide.  Mark Sanchez and his play made that stock almost seem worthless.  His removal felt like a company taking out its CEO and getting someone in their fast to turn the ship around.  Greg McElroy stepped up in a loss to only receive a concussion which brings Sanchez back to a chorus of boos.  S

Stub Hub, the NFL Ticket Exchange, and other third-party ticket websites offer a certain market for season ticket holders.  A “stock exchange” of sorts where fans will sell their tickets for a certain value.  During the month of December, Jets tickets were being sold for less than $10.  The Jets received face value for those tickets.  The Jets season ticket holder would be considered lucky to even get 25% of face value in the month of December.  A month where fans might hope to make a profit on their tickets, can not.

What Woody Johnson has done to the season ticket holders  is beyond reproach.. The Jets have the highest average, non-premium ticket price in the league at $117.94, according to Team Marketing Report’s Fan Cost Index. That is on top of personal seat licenses for all of those except the upper deck. 

If you look at the individual average per PSL holder assuming a minimum of two seats and a parking pass, the average season ticket holder is laying out an average of 275 per game, based on the above numbers,  before they even get to the stadium.  Lump in their PSL payment for the year  and APR if they decided not to pay for their PSL in full. 

The Jets are handling the financing of their PSL’s.  So that 6.5% or 8% that you pay to finance your PSL’s, goes right to the Jets as well.  Getting their little extra.

What exactly have Jets fans received back as ROI for that?

A preseason with no touchdowns. Regular-season losses by 34, 30 and 21 points. Parking aggravation. Cursing in the stands being seen on YouTube. And the biggest distraction in the league at backup quarterback.  None of this did anything to raise the value of on field play for fans to get behind the performance.

Not to mention Johnson begging the NFL to give the Jets a home game on Thanksgiving, ruining the holiday for his fans.   It is no wonder the Jets have been pushing advertising and commercials all over every piece of media they could to sell tickets.  Radio, television, websites, and more try to get fans interested in being a season ticket holder investor.

To the long time season ticket holder who gave their seats up to be armchair quarterbacks, the lure of penny stock  seats in the 300 section was not enough to make them venture out and be a part of what they once loved to do in the blazing heat and freezing cold.  To them, the tide changed, it is not the same.  It will never be the same and they did not want to move ahead with the change.  Instead opting to watch from a distance and spend their hard money elsewhere.

The Jets were 3-5 at home.  37.5% of their games were won at home.  Not a far return given the product on the field and the layout fans make each year in the country’s top market.  This with the highest ticket rates per average does not add up to a worthwhile venture. 

To the grizzled, tough skinned, dedicated fan, it still is though.  Still going so they can say they were there in the bad and the good.  The ones willing to pay any price to support their team in the flesh.  Patiently standing on the sidelines, in the hopes this turnaround happens in their lifetime.

It will, just a matter of when.  Do not make us wait longer than Rangers fans.

In today’s final game of the season, Mark Sanchez looked like a man with no confidence.  How could one make the best decisions in clutch situations in that frame of mind?

 Is that the kind of individual one would want leading a public company while the company’s stock is plummeting?  Someone not up to the task to the best of the ability needed to hold such a position?

I think not.

Do not let this happen, Woody.

Then the fans who have invested time and hard-earned money year after year should not put up with it.  At least stockholders have a voice in who should be leading that company.  It is time Woody Johnson had an open forum to listen to his stockholders.

The Jets have a large mountain to climb to turn this franchise around for the better.  It will not happen overnight, but more correct decisions sooner rather than later.  For the sake of your fan investor and the ones who hold off investing, do what is right for them.  Maybe then, that on field product might be enough to attract those fans rather than the blast style marketing. 

Jets fans were good this year.  They deserve a great gift to be proud of.  One that they will remember receiving the rest of their life.  Not a big shiny, well decorated, ornamental, box that it all comes in.

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Tailgate 4 The TriState To Raise Funds For Hurricane Sandy Relief Before Jets & Giants Games

Last Monday was the worst hurricane or “superstorm” to be seen by the east coast.  New Jersey’s shore line devastated.  Fires rage in New York City boros and burn homes to the ground.  Manhattan darkened.  Possessions lost, homes destroyed, and lives changed forever.

A recovery and clean up seems eternal.  Gas lines may be getting shorter but so are people’s patience.  Power has yet to be restored in many locations while families suffering their worst heart break have yet to receive help of any kind.

My family has roots in Belmar, NJ.  One of the shore towns hit hard by Sandy.  My grandparents ran Levy’s Bakery on F Street for many years.  My Aunt Norma and Uncle Herbie lived down there until the mid 90′s.

I practically grew up in Belmar.  I can remember not just being on the beach and enjoying the ocean, but the holidays with family, spending hours upon hours at Rooftop Golf and Arcade, Zelbe’s, Siderhoff’s hot dogs, Klein’s, Djai’s, Bar A, and so much more of my life happened in Belmar.

Sandy removed the entire boardwalk and dropped it off three blocks from the beach.  A town devastated along with many communities that seek assistance in rebuilding the Jersey shore.

Like many Jersey natives my heart sank lower and lower watching the destruction.  Not just here in New Jersey, but Staten Island, Long Island, and every area in new York ravaged by Sandy.

I felt the need to do something.  I am not sure what exactly, but I wanted to do something for those that had their lives disrupted and still looking for the pieces to get it back together.

So many individuals, companies, Government groups, and so many more are doing what they can to raise funds and material items for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.  I did not want to carbon copy anyone and wanted an effort to be fun and unique while supporting a great cause.

I thought about the Jets fans I had met while filming my documentary about the Jets and their fans.  Here you have thousands upon thousands already in one location and many would be willing to support a great cause.

But why just limit it to the Jets?

Giants fans are very passionate and dedicated.  They bleed red and blue as much as a Jets fan bleeds green.  So extending an opportunity to donate to a cause that affected us all seemed only natural.

But the catalyst.  The concept to bring it all together to make it a worthy event where fans could give their time and donate to Hurricane Sandy relief.  Then it hit me.

Tailgating!

Every Jets and Giants fan likes to party and celebrate before any game.  Getting friends and family together to throw back some cold ones, grill up our meaty feast, and yell at those fans who wear the jerseys of the opposing team.  Ahh, yes….tailgating!

On behalf of Football Reporters Online, I am organizing Tailgate 4 The Tri-State.  We are looking for any and all New York Jets and Giants tailgaters to support T4T as all proceeds will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

Myself and others not just lost power, but many lost food, belongings, and homes as well.  As New York area fans, we want to provide support for those who need to start over.  That is why we are organizing this relief effort to cover both the Jets and Giants tailgating.

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.

The Giants & Jets have already given $500,000eacg for Hurricane Sandy relief.  We as Jets and Giants fans have a chance to show our support and make our contribution.  We have an opportunity to be heard loud and clear.

As of now the Jets tailgate on December 2nd will get loud as Fireman Ed Anzalone is on board with T4T.  Fireman Ed will be offering his time at where we designate the central tailgate to be.

We will designate a flagship tailgating location at both games once we hear back from those wanting to participate.

We just started reaching out to fans, other companies, and former players to get involved with T4T, so updates will be coming.  They can be found on our Facebook page.

When I contacted the Jets on Monday, I added this in my letter:

I am sure you know time is of the utmost importance on this (organizing this project).  I hope the Jets organization would want to support their fans efforts in coordinating a program to raise funds for Sandy relief.  Please contact me with any questions or when a decision is reached.  Thank you for taking the time to consider this for your next home game.

After hearing back from the Jets, they regretfully can not get behind and endorse a cause that is being held on the MetLife Stadium property due to other contractual obligations.

They will be announcing their own efforts where fans can help raise funds during the New England Patriots game on Thanksgiving.  So for our effort during tailgating, we will not have the Jets support. The Jets can only support fans efforts away from MetLife Stadium.

For those Jets or Giants tailgaters looking to have their tailgate participate in Tailgate 4 The Tri-State can e mail us at Tailgate4TriState@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page where there is additional contact information.

 

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Tailgating As Important As Game Day Event?

Last time I talked about how bad tailgating had gotten at MetLife Stadium .  Someone from Twitter had read my article and said there are more important things to talk about with the Jets.

I agree, there is.  I do that on Football Reporters Online Presents The Jets Zone on Tuesday nights at 8 PM on BlogTalkRadio.  I know cheap plug.  But when it comes to on the field talk that is where we get it done.

I prefer to come on here and use this medium for off the field talk.  The time when many fans enjoy themselves even before any kick off has been taken.  The pregame festivities are planned by some well in advance.  Even more so that what they plan on getting inside the stadium.

Tailgating has become a ritual for some.  Making preparation a week in advance and doing prep work well into the night before a game.

Lynn Swann campaigning in Philadelphia on 2006...

Lynn Swann campaigning in Philadelphia on 2006…

Leaving early to make sure one has a prime piece of tailgating property.  Marking their territory, ready to kick the tires and light the fires.

There are quite a few who decide to watch the game from their HDTV at their tailgate rather than buying a ticket.  Truly making a full day of their blacktop BBQ.

So much attention has been centered on tailgating in recent years.  This is one volcano that is about to erupt and develop faster than Mt. Vesuvius. Leaving behind nothing but refuse, tired masses, and plenty of merchandise.

These days for Jets fans tailgating has been creating more positives memories and gatherings than the Jets games.  Certain games fans wish would be enveloped by amnesia.

Tailgating is as important as the game to so many fans.  I know a couple tailgating groups scattered around every parking section that prepare for tailgating a little more than your average joe.

Creating the bigger and badder tailgate has become a competition for those who decide to bring in their grills on a flatbed trailer.  It is amazing how some not just build a better mousetrap, but a way to filet and prepare it as well.

English: Tailgating

English Tailgating

This past Sunday, many from across the concrete jungle watched the New England game while attending a huge tailgating party as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Thrillist and Bleacher Report threw their latest Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Tailgate Throwdown at Beekman’s Beer Garden right on the pier.

Tons of events like these have been run that gather Jets fans to revel with their fellow Gang Green brethren.  It allows fans to enjoy a tailgate they may not have considered before.  Getting a new experience on what it means to watch a game.

I am sure today many are out making the necessary preparation for tomorrows game regardless of who they follow.  Menus being reviewed, meat being prepped, and beer being stored by the case so no one goes thirsty before kick off.

When it comes to college football, tailgating is a whole entity unto itself.  Many even tailgate and camp out the night before and turn it into a weekend festivity.  College football has had true tailgating going back to the late 1800′s when people had picnics behind their horse drawn carriages hence the name tailgating.

NASCAR fans party 24/7 before the green flag drops

NASCAR fans party 24/7 before the green flag drops

Now NASCAR knows the true passion of tailgating.  Thousands line up their trailers, campers,  and trucks on a Friday and party the weekend away just until the race on Sunday.  Now that’s tailgating.  NASCAR tailgating transcends what tailgating means.

So the next time someone tries to say tailgating is not worth discussing or not as important as the on field product, then that individual truly does not know the job tailgating does for their faithful blacktop chefs of BBQ.

Even the teams and companies who put out merchandise know the volumes of business it helps drive their way.  One can pass by a sponsored tailgate and see beer advertising, loaned grills, and free merchandise to help advertise their tailgating wares.

New York Jets fans know how important tailgating is.  The Jets do as well.  That is why they send Woody Johnson out there when they can to do PR to boost his positive image.  Certain Jets fans believe he visits tailgaters in order to keep a positive image and make fans believe he is just a regular guy.

But he isn’t.

Tailgating represents a way for fans to be individuals.  We may all arrive wearing the same colors and cheering on the same players, but we all tailgate differently.  That is why it is so much fun.  Everyone stands out in their own way and their tailgate becomes their own personal man cave.

No better place to throw some meat over an open fire.

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It A Hard Knock Life, But Not For The Jets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Gang Greed: More Than A Documentary Title

When I set out to film this documentary in August of 2008, I set out to tell the fans side.  To let the fans speak about what it means to be a Jets fan.  How the new PSL’s were going to affect their status as a season ticket holder.  Were they going to invest in them or stop going to games altogether.  Now, it seams, no one may be going to any games in 2011.

National Football League team owners locked out the league’s players Saturday, shutting down professional football for the first time in 24 years and plunging the nation’s most popular and prosperous sport into a time of uncertainty.

The owners acted after labor talks with the players’ union collapsed Friday afternoon and players decertified the NFL Players Association, moving the bitter dispute into the courts and ending an era of NFL labor peace that had lasted since players went on strike in 1987.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, joined at left by Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, speaks with reporters as negotiations between the NFL owners and players go unresolved

Decertifying the NFL Players Association enabled the players to file antitrust litigation against the owners, which they did late Friday, with superstar quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees among the 10 named plaintiffs. Lawyers for the players also announced that they are seeking an injunction to lift the lockout.

Some still wonder if all of this was worth the headache.  Not just for the players and owners, but the fans as well.  Both the Jets and Giants issued apologies to the fans for the lockout.  The players feel they did what they could but were left with no other choice.

The team owners will complain they are losing money.  I am sure they will have no issues paying their bills though.  The income is a loss for their business, not them personally.  Some younger players will feel the crunch if they are not playing.  Many veteran players have investments and other business ventures that will help them get by.  But in the end, they will all be on the losing end.

Does anyone really win when this happens?  When the last lockout occurred in 1987, who won that battle?  The players were n strike while the owners went out and hired “scabs” to play out the season.  Will the team owners o the same thing this year?  Probably not.  They all want to get this rectified before training camp begins.  The fans would like it done sooner.

For season ticket holders, they would like to know sooner than later.  Many are pleased only 50% is due and not the whole bill.  It gives some longer to get that money together.  But knowing a season will happen is better knowing now rather than three weeks into a season.  We are on the outside looking in, wondering if a sport many of us enjoy will even happen this year.

Last week Judge David S. Doty ruled that the NFL violated the collective bargaining agreement with its players by renegotiating $4.078 billion in television rights fees for team owners to tap during a lockout even if no games are played in 2011.  Why should the owners be entitled to money if there is no season?  Should the players get paid if they do not play?

Both sides have their issues.  Many players feel the union walked away from a deal that sounded good and met their needs, despite the negative media attention towards the NFL and its owners.  According to that statement the NFL released the latest proposal’s details included:

1. The NFL proposed that the two sides split the economic differences between them, increasing their proposed cap for 2011 “significantly” and accepting the NFLPA’s proposed cap number for 2014, which was $161 million per team.

2. The NFL proposed an entry level compensation system that was based on the union’s “rookie cap” instead of a wage scale that the clubs originally proposed. In this proposal, the players drafted from rounds 2-7 would be paid the same amount of money, or even more money, than they are paid now. The savings that would come from the first-round picks would be reallocated to help veteran players and benefits.

3. After a player is injured, the NFL would guarantee that they would pay up to $1 milllion of that player’s salary for the contract year. This is the first time that the owners have offered a standard multi-year injury guarantee.

4. The following changes would be made immediately to promote player safety:

  • Reduce the off-season program by five weeks, reducing OTAs from 14 weeks to 10 and limiting on-field practice time and contact.
  • They would limit full-contact practices in the preseason and regular season
  • They would increase the number of off days for players

5. The NFL proposed that any change from a 16-game season to an 18-game season would only be made if the two sides agreed on the change. The 2011 and 2012 seasons would be 16-game seasons.

6. The NFL team owners would boost retirement benefits for more than 2,000 former players by nearly 60 percent by funding retirees benefits $82 million in 2011 and 2012.

7. The owners offered current players the opportunity to stay in their current medical plans for the rest of their lives.

8. The owners would allow third-party arbitrators in the NFL’s drug and steroid programs.

9. The owners would improve the Mackey plan (designed for players suffering from dementia and other brain-related problems), disability plan and their degree completion bonus program.

10. The owners proposed a per-club cash minimum spend of 90 percent of the salary cap over three seasons.

Now that you know the particulars of the deal, do you still agree with the NFLPA’s decision to decertify and go to court with the NFL?

    Yes, the negotiations have been messy and well-publicized but progress was made before the recent burning of bridges.  After having half the month of March in extensions of negotiations, both sides were reportedly off by $185 million on how much owners should get up from each season for certain operating expense before splitting up the rest of the revenues with players. That’s a far less amount than the $1 billion difference that separated the two sides earlier in discussions.

    New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, right, heads into labor talks with the league's negotiators.

    A recent poll by ProFootballTalk.com asked fans to place blame on who is responsible for the lockout and 27,000 have said that the player’s are to blame, barely. Just over 38% say the players are to blame, while 24.8% blame the owners and 36.7% blame both.

    Many say this is the billionaires vs the millionaires.  Two sides who get paid well, fighting to be paid more.  If you own a professional football team, one would think you already had enough.  Some of that may go to team operations and other bills to be paid, but many know where the bottom line ends.  Players put their bodies on the line and should see a little more compensation.  Let’s see Woody Johnson or the Mara or Tisch families out there to battle for that extra compensation.  I think not.

    So while the league and the union continue to bicker like a divorced couple fighting over bank accounts, the fans are the ones who are truly hurting from this dispute, like a child overhearing their parents argument.

    Jets Decisions Affect Fans And Employees

    Over the past week, the Jets have made the news for various items.  I have already talked about Bart Scott making an appearance on this Thursday’s TNA Impact, which airs at 9 PM on Spike TV.  Now, the Jets have two other items that people have been talking about.  The Jets announced a 2.3% increase on all PSL seats.  They also announced for front office staff they have to take non paid week long furloughs once a month during the lockout.  Even with the season over and the CBA looming this week, the Jets still know how to make the headlines.

    There will be a 2.3% average increase in ticket prices at New Meadowlands Stadium for the 2011 season. Upper level seat prices will remain the same.  I am sure those ticket holders are breathing a sigh of relief. The cost of all seats with a PSL will increase by $5.  If there is a shortened season, the effect will not be as bad.

    Season-ticket holders will be required to pay only 50% of their season tickets & parking by April 1; full payment was due by that date last year. The remaining portion won’t be due until the league announces the date that training camps will open. Season-ticket holders will also have a six-month payment plan option.  I applaud the Jets for doing this.  They finally woke up and understand people may not be able to flip the entire bill by April 1st.  They should have started payment plans years ago.

    Photo: JetsTwit.com

    In the case of a lockout, season-ticket holders will be refunded a proportional amount if preseason or regular-season games are lost.  PSL payments won’t be affected by a lockout.  So no matter what, fans still need to hand over their money to help pay for the stadium, and their new renovations.

    “While we have every reason to believe that the season will go forward as planned, we’ve adjusted our ticket policies to reflect this period of uncertainty,” said Matt Higgins, executive vice president of business operations.

    The Jets will also work in conjunction with Mark Lamping, the CEO of the New Meadowlands Stadium Company, to provide more shelter from rain in the upper level end zone concourses and add 40% more capacity in the mens restrooms in the upper level. I interviewed fans who thought this move should have been done.  Fan favorite Woody Johnson toured the upper level concourse in the rain toward the end of the regular season before determining that more shelter from the inclement weather was needed.  The Jets played more than half their home games in the rain.

    Matt Higgins also said “In the first year of any new stadium, you have a chance to evaluate what worked right and then where you can improve. “There’s always room for improvement. We had a few issues that we’re going to address in the off-season to improve the experience in the upper bowl.”  Fans during the season expressed a lot of changes that needed to be made.  It seems the Jets have listened to some of them.

    The Jets also reduced orange level parking prices for season-ticket holders from $25 to $15. The orange parking is the NON PSL parking.  Fans can also upgrade parking levels from orange to yellow on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Many wanted to do this, seeing the yellow was closer and better areas to tailgate in.  There was only one orange parking section in close proximity to the stadium.  The rest was by the Izod Center.

    Many fans have e mailed me saying they saw some kind of increase coming.  With no stadium sponsor the Jets and Giants need to generate extra revenue.  They may claim rising costs and overhead or economy issues, but with no stadium named after a big company, there is money that needs to be made.  If there is a full season, one seat will be $40 higher.  There is part of one parking pass or a 1/4 tank of gas right now.

    On top of that the team announced that business-side employees will be asked to take a one-week per month furlough during the lockout.

    “While we have every reason to believe that the season will go on as planned, it makes sense to adjust our policies to reflect that uncertainty around exactly when an agreement will be reached,” said Matt Higgins said, per the NY Daily News.

    The effects of the lockout could prove catastrophic for some employees.  News of the proposed furlough came on the same day the team announced a blanket 2.3 percent increase on all season tickets in 2011.

    This could backfire on the Jets.  Some employees might have to seek other employment.  This is not the kind of economy where not being paid one week a month would sit well with many.  Others might try to stick it out, seeing they work for an NFL franchise.  So the Jets try to cut costs in their organization and raise prices for fans to pay more for tickets.

    Shouldn’t the Jets be the ones to pay more and try to save money for the fans?  I know there will be some kind of evidence where the Jets have said or will try to make sure fans pay less for something.  Not just on non PSL parking, but for everyone?  Now the payment plans and paying for only games played is a great business decision.  But there should be at least one season where the fans do not have to see prices go up on them.  Just once.