New Chapter For NY Jets Fans One Month Away

We are just over one month away from the start of the 2010 football season.  For many long time New York Jets fans, this will be a season many will remember.  For some, it will be the first season in a brand new stadium in New Jersey.  For others it is the start of their first ever season watching their beloved team from their couches at home.  After the events of the past two years, it all culminates in a matter of weeks.  It is do or die time for the New York Jets organization.  Some fans think they are banking on HBO’s Hard knocks in hopes of selling more PSL’s.  I have talked to a few I have already interviewed who feel it is too little too late.

Some long time season ticket holders I have interviewed feel the sales reps from the New York Jets care more about their sales and quotas more than they care about the fans.  One long time holder who has had his seats along the 50 yard line experienced a sales representative who was not just out for a sales, but disrespectful.

This gentleman who wanted to remain anonymous, has had his tickets since the New York Titans.  He has followed the Jets from stadium to stadium, except the new Meadowlands Stadium.  He is 81 years old.  When the ticket rep first contacted him before the big Coaches Club Auction in November of 2008, he acted like his best friend.  He told him if he agreed to give the Jets organization $50,000 per seat for a PSL, they would not auction off his seats.  He had four seats which would have totaled $200,000.  He told the sales rep he was a Senior Citizen and could not afford that amount of money.  The sales rep then changed his attitude and said he was not a Jets fan then if he would not do it.  IS this the mentality of the sales Representatives the Jets employ?  Do they care more about their quota and getting ales than doing what is right for the fans?

I have heard many stories from numerous season ticket holders since that time about sales Representatives calling time and time again pushing the sale.  Talking more about numbers to get them into a seat rather than asking them why they will not commit to a PSL.  Every time I was called the sales representative did not care to ask me why I would not get one, only talk about the advantages of having a PSL.  This is a constant theme in the documentary, where fans are upset with the sales office and feel pushed away by the organization.  Even though PSL prices were slashed by 50%, many still feel put off by the team.  But many others still flocked like sheep to the lower prices.  Many fans I interviewed who were against PSL’s, went to purchase them anyway as they felt they had no choice if they wanted to attend games.  We all have a choice and you can say no.

There are already seats available for the 2010 New York Jets season on Stub Hub.  People are buying the PSL’s only to sell off the tickets game by game.  One can still get seats for every game and not be a PSL owner.  You will save more money over the long term, you just will not own your seats.  Plus, many state the PSL is only a football license for that team.  In other stadiums across the country, if you own that seat, you own it for every event in that stadium.  For Jets and Giants PSL holders, you only own your seats for that teams events.  All other events you have to be on a list, await allocation to the teams, or have a ticket in another seat in the facility.  So the PSL is not a TRUE PSL.  It is only a football seat license.  One aspect many fans care about.

Even though the documentary focuses on the Jets, many Giants season ticket holders did not purchase PSL’s.  Martin Sanford who has had his seats since 1981 feels as he said “shafted” by the team.  He talked about how he felt as if they did not care if he was going to buy a PSL or not.  That the only ones who matter are the ones paying now and not the ones who have given thousands to the team over the years.  He feels it is more about what fans will do going forward and not what they have done in the past to support a 1-15, 4-12, 2-14 team.  After all it is about the new business, not old business.  Martin does not care if they have an undefeated season or win a super Bowl.  He just wants to see the organization eat its words and not make its money.  Even though prices were reduced, Martin knows the team still has to come up with that money to pay for the new stadium.  Many feel ticket prices and other costs will rise in the next five years to compensate for that reduction and cover the building costs.

Since 1996, many teams have used PSL’s in many different sports.  Many long time season ticket holders did not opt into PSL’s and thus began their time watching home games from their own home.  The 2010 season begins that time for many New York Jets and Giants fans.  The first season they will be watching home games from their own couches instead of seats inside the stadium.  Some I have talked to feel comfortable with their decision.  Other fans feel awkward being home, not tailgating or taking part in Sunday rituals that have become a part of football life for them.  I have come across some fans who just follow the Jets like they are being herded.  Being one of the group who will do anything to follow the Jets.  Some refer to it as drinking the Kool Aid.

I am going to try and be there opening night during the Monday night game to get fans reactions and feeling from opening night.  I have to contact Jets personnel as well to see if I am able to film at the new stadium.  Different owners so I need to get approval all over again.  Plus, I have to see if I am allowed to get shots of the new stadium in the background.  They have been very picky about that.  If I had to pay $1,250 an hour to film at the old stadium in the parking lot, I can not imagine what they rates will be now.  Yes, $1,20 per hour was the rate the NJSEA (New Jersey Sports & Exhibition Authority) was asking.  Glad I was able to get that waved by the Jets.  But this is a whole new stadium.  Tailgating will be different too.  Going to be an interesting start to a new season.

Giants Stadium Is Gone. What Next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giants Stadium Demolition: Stairway To Heaven

I guess this is the last week to take pictures of the Giants Stadium demolition.  All that seems to be left are half the spirals and escalators from Gate C and little from Gate D.  I went over on Monday June 28th and today July 1st.  There was only one section remaining Monday in front of gate C.  Funny how my seats were right in that section too, Section 226.  As soon as you went up the Mezzanine escalators it was to the slight right.  Took the Section 226/227 entrance to get to Row 8, Seats 7 and 8.  Kind of a strange feeling knowing the section I was in was the last section to go.  Yes the seats and floors were taken out but the structure was there.

My father Gerald Levy passed in August of 2002.  He died at the age of 67 from complications related to smoking, emphysema. Eventually, an aortic aneurysm got him.  He may have done better if he was n better health.  That is why I hate to see people my age, kids, or anyone for that matter smoking.  I know what it can do to someone.  It may take pressure off, relax you, but it can also shorten your life.  If you are a mother or a father just know what you are doing to your kids.  May tell me to F off but I know first hand what smoking can do to someone.  I was my father’s caretaker in the end.  I did not live with him.  But I took him to the doctor’s, hospital, dealt with the doctor’s, his prescriptions, and more.  He carried a small oxygen tank with him towards the end.  He died two months after I was married.  He carried the oxygen tank with him as he and my mother Susan brought me down the aisle.

It is hard not to think about going to games at Giants Stadium without thinking about my father.  It has been close to eight years and it still feels like yesterday.  I do not think I am over his loss still.  I was not prepared for him to go yet.  I still have a lot of things I want to talk to him about.  As I write this I am fighting the urge to cry.  It pains me and makes me so upset to think of his death.  I was so not ready to let him go.  I miss him so much.  I may not get along with my mother all the time but I want her to be around for as long as possible.  I can’t fight the tears.  Even grown men have to cry now and then, it cleanses the soul.

So many of us have memories of going to any sporting events with our father, or mother depending on your situation.  My brother and I split games to go to with my dad every season.  We always fought over the Miami Dolphins game, New England Patriots was second.  When my brother Ean started driving then he and I would go to games.  When I wrestled as a kid in independent tournaments, it was my dad who drove me to them and did what he could coaching from the edge of the mat.  He may not have known very much, but it was that encouragement that made me want to keep entering them.  It was time like that that made our relationship special.  Going to the football games was the same really.  Talking about the players, hearing him try to coach all the way up in our section.  Every game I would get a new banner to put up on my wall.  Tried to collect all the teams.

I am dedicating my documentary to his memory.  Without him, the Jets would never have been the only team I have truly loved to watch.  Al Toon will always remain my all time favorite player.  Took me until high school to get his 88 jersey.  I always think of the games we went to.  Every time I have gone back to take pictures of Giants Stadium I think of him.  I know he would love every second of what I am doing now.  He would have been in the car with me several times when I was up and close.  He would have tried to talk to the Skanska guys if he was there to get me out of trouble.  He would have BS’d for me, he was good at that.  He would have taken the heat or anything else to get the situation resolved.  Then would would laugh about it in the car after we left.

I have a couple shirts from Belmar, NJ, where my dad was from.  I wore them a lot when I would go over to the stadium.  My mom is from Queen’s NY.  No shirts from there.  They met on Fire Island.  My brother and I have joked and said the bar must have been dark.  That is our family’s sense of humor.  When they were married, my father had both New York Jets and New York Rangers season tickets.  He was going to keep only one set and asked my mother which ones he should keep  He was trying to be fair.  My mother says she was a hockey fan and wanted the Rangers tickets.  He Kept the Jets tickets instead.  One decision I stand behind to this day.

Many of us had the parental figure or are that figure to someone we went to our early games with.  In football, the memories stand out if you are a season ticket holder .  There are only eight games, 10 with preseason.  Easier to remember specific memories to me.  Every game was an adventure.  We didn’t tailgate but there was the drive from Parsippany I can remember.  When an ADP was where Clifton Commons on Route 3 in Clifton is now was standing, traffic was always back to there.  I can recall a car of about five guys parking out from by these huge bushes.  The place was feet from Route 3.  All five in less than a minute were out of the car and self watering the bushes.  Hoses attached. We never laughed so hard and anything before.  My brother was there too, we went to the 1985 AFC Wild Card game against the Patriots that day.

My father was a great friend to me.  We had those father/son moments that I remember like they were yesterday.  I do have memories about my mother too.  One’s from summer camp, trips to NYC, Holidays, and countless other memorable moments.  But those football games was male bonding, a sacred ground to guys.  Guess when I saw a piece of the stadium come down each time more memories came back and got harder to see it go. Anyone can pick their own stadium that brings back memories for them.  My father and I shared Giants Stadium.  Seeing it go just just brings back memories of my dad.

Below are what remains of the old stadium.  Best angles I could get.  Glad I had the times I did with my dad there.  Made being a New York Jets fan that much better.  Something we shared for a long time.  With everything the team has gone through after he passed it would have made for great conversation.  Glad I have those memories to look back on.  Going to seem weird to not see anything of the old stadium remaining.  Have some great first time and last times memories there.  See if I get some in the new stadium.  Not looking forward to paying, even on Stub Hub.

June 28
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July1
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Giants Stadium Demolition: One Brick Left In The Wall

OK, so I am a Pink Floyd fan and  took a few liberties with the lyrics.  Thought going back one week later there would be more left standing.  I was wrong.  Seems they gutted it enough to the point to where they can drop it and clean it right up.  Only one section really remains.  A few pieces of the spirals as well.  They can not get it down fast enough to create more parking.  I am sure it is the parking meant for those with the high priced PSL’s.  This way they can park close, get in, and get out with little to no traffic.  With the Meadowlands Fair going on there will be many pictures taken by people of the remains and open hole that was left behind.

Still, seems strange to see it gone.  I know many could not wait for it to be wiped off the earth.  But I thought it was a great place to watch games.  I even saw the Cosmos play there.  Many have memories of non football related events there.  Concerts, soccer, USFL, MLS, World League, XFL, UFL, and many other failed attempts at football leagues.  Countless concerts by countless names.  They have a commemorative book out already about Giants Stadium.  It was put together by the Star Ledger.  I wonder if they included any pictures of the stadiums demise.

I have seen more items on Amazon and other websites that depict Giants Stadium as well as calling it Jets Stadium.  They will make their money on it.  I am sure whatever pictures and video that is on the internet will not restrict any sales.  Maybe if their heart was as big as their greed they would have sold more PSL’s by now.  I know some feel I am harsh and believe I think the organization does nothing good.  but they do.  They do their charitable events, donate to causes, and other good will PR events.  But the bottom line is profit and staying in business.  Every company/organization does charity work as it is good Public Relations and an even better write off.  Bottom line is they do not care if you have had tickets for one year or forty years.  As long as the seats are filled, that is all they care about.

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Click on the photos to see more in my Flickr album.

Action Is On & Off The Field In Arena Football

What a day Saturday was. Took a trip down to Trenton to see the Harrisburg Stampede face the New Jersey Revolution at the Sun National Bank Center. It was an AIFA game in a town that has no indoor football team. The Revolution play in Morristown, NJ. It was a special showcase to give fans a taste of what they will be seeing in the 2011 season as the Trenton Steel will make their debut. I had gotten some assistance in finding some help for the day. A family friend, Sue Price had put in me touch with one of her friends which led to one of her friends. Turns out, there sons were going to go to the game with their father as the Harrisburg kicker is a cousin. Strange how that happened. So I had assistance from Frank and Bill Ferrari.  I am showing how indoor football can be a viable football alternative to those who feel the NFL has priced them out.

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We got down there around 3:15 and was very easy to get to. Was able to hear the first half of the USA vs England World Cup game. Guess a tie is better than a loss, more points. The Sun National Bank Center is is a bit smaller from the Izod Center and Prudential Center. It plays home to the Trenton Devils, the New Jersey Devils “AA” club. But still an ample sized arena seating 9,000 for a Devils game at capacity. But tonight it held just several hundred. Got some nice shots of the inside of the building. Had some early boom mic troubles but managed to get things in order. I am the kind of worker that goes non sop. Frank and Bill kept up with me the whole night. I know i have a tendency to keep going and not ask if anyone needs a break. I hope I did not run them too ragged.

Was able to get some words with the founder and President of the AIFA, John Morris. John also has partial ownership in the Richmond Raiders, Baltimore Mariners, and the Harrisburg Stampede. Harrisburg is where the corporate offices are located. We talked about how he got started in indoor football, what it takes to run a league and a team, as well as doing what it takes to keep the fans coming back for more. The Harrisburg team was also made the home team. The New Jersey Revolution had to be the visiting team in Trenton, NJ. Go figure. The visiting teams locker room was noticeably smaller than the home teams locker room.

The Rev It Up Girls came down for the game to cheer on the team. They did most of the cheering in the loading section behind the end zone and one show close to the end of the 4the game. They did not have much of a spot for them as they booked dance troupes and clubs, kids games and races, and other activities designed to entertain the crowd and kids. They made it very fan friendly with giveaways to help push the new Trenton Thunder. Would have been nice if they were given more time rather than one 90 second spot and some flips to cheer on the Revs.

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They had Trenton Steel merchandise and players already signed and there to sign autographs. Was a great time to push the new AIFA team. Getting fans there to see the product for the first time and getting a first look at their new home team. There was a small issue before the game though. A couple of individuals who volunteer their time at the NJ Revolution’s home games came down to work the chains and 1st down markers. They wore their NJ Revs shirts. The facility people told them if they were going to do the chains they had to wear Trenton Steel shirts. They refused so they were then told they could not work and had to buy tickets. They ended up helping the team on the bench instead. At least they contributed to the team instead of sitting there. I understand they want to push the Steel, but they were still representing NJ.

After the pregame warm ups and singing of the National Anthem, the game was underway. It seemed between many plays they did competitions with the kids in the crowd. Skipping races, hula hoop contests, races, and other contests designed to give away AIFA footballs and Trenton Steel merchandise. Every time a ball landed in the crowd the fan could keep the ball. It was competitive in the beginning and the score stayed close. But before the half the Stampede opened up a 25 point lead. I have seen the Revs play some damn good ball, just need to focus more, step it up, and follow through. Coach Al and the coaches have a lot of faith in their players and know they can get the job done. Unfortunately, today the Stampede just made the better plays.

During the game we took shots from the players bench, the press box with no air conditioning, and from behind the end zone. Easier to move Around Mennen arena that the Sun Bank Center. A second cameraman, if I could find out at last minute, would have helped greatly. It sometimes hurts having the one camera and not getting enough angles. At intermission we walked around the arena and would to find out what draws fans to indoor football. What they get from their experiences at the games. In the second half the Stampede kept the lead and did not look back. Key interceptions, pass protection, and blocking helped Harrisburg maintain a healthy lead. The Revolution had the tools but did not utilize them. They did not bring all their heart into the second half.

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The Stampede ran off with the game and a 96-44 victory. Many on the Revolution felt there was no need to run up the score. The Stampede did not care and just took advantage of every opportunity. Almost like they wanted to run the score up but that is just my point of view. Instead of running the ball the focused on deep passing towards the end of the game. More heated words between teams than usual. Lot of challenges between players and I think maybe a coach as well. The Revs thought they were getting the short end of the stick since the day began. But at the end of the game everyone shook hands and the fans came onto the field for autographs. The players signed footballs, shirts, posters, and anything the kids gave them. Everyone had fun and went away happy, that is the more important thing to remember. It was fun and entertaining for the whole family.

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I am sure many of the fans there were parents of the kids that performed during half time, some were from Trenton checking the action out for the first time. All in all they would consider it a success. But like in most leagues, there is the business behind the entertainment. Turns out, the turf that was used is the turf the Revolution play on in Mennen Arena. Rob Tester paid to bring it down. Apparently it is owned by the new Massachusetts expansion team. They say they have the receipt to prove it. Also, the NJ owner Rob Tester says he can show proof of owning. I also heard it was taken by the former owner of the NJ team and never returned. Now Rob finds out it will be kept in Trenton for the Steel. I know, it can boggle your mind. The Revolution now may have no turf to practice on for the rest of the season. Two games left in the season so who knows what they are thinking now.

It seems there is are a lot of conversations with promises between teams but made to benefit certain teams and people. New jersey may not have the fund as other teams but they should still be treated fairly. It is not cheap to run a minor league team and Rob Tester is doing what he with with what he has. But there are two sides to every story and I will never know all the details from all sides. Everyone was pleasant to talk to and helpful. But I felt the same way in the wrestling industry. Everyone is nice and willing to help, but when it comes to business it is all about who benefits the few. Those in certain circles with certain power always rise to the top while others flounder underneath. Everyone is out for the same thing and it is survival of the fittest, or the shrewdest. But the businessman will always find a way to win out and make a profit.

Arena football does offer some hard hitting, high scoring football action. It is something worth checking out as the price is hard to beat. For some, it could be cheaper than going to the movies. There are so many leagues around the country it is amazing how many different teams there are. The AIFA, IFL, AFL, NIFA, CIFA, and many more. Many franchises are it cities that have no NFL franchise. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

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Giants Stadium Demolition: Still Standing Around

Well, today I ventured back to the place I was told i could not go back to.  I could go back, just not take pictures.  But I did take pictures today.  I know what I said before.  I knew I could not go back onto the premises to take pictures.  But no one said anything about taking pictures from off the premises.  I just went to the same location s I went to when I first started taking pictures.  I had been thinking about it for a few weeks now.  Others found it ludicrous that someone could actually be told they could no longer take pictures.  There was no law being broken.  Just an unwritten one they put into place themselves.   Wanted to keep fans, especially people like me away.

I went over to a friend’s today to pick up the camera.  Billy Tooma has been gracious enough to lt me borrow it when I need it.  I was going to use it this Saturday for the NJ Revolutions vs Harrisburg Stampede indoor football game at the Sun Center in Trenton, NJ.  Kick off is 7:30.  But Billy and I had been mulling over the idea about going back and taking long distance shots with the telephoto lens.  I really did not think the Skanska supervisor was going to come all the way across Route 3 on his ATV.  I would be lying if I said my heart was not racing driving over.  The spots I was in on and off the highway made it easy not to be seen.  Except one location on Rte 120.  Hard not to be seen there.  I did not get out of the car though.  Flew a stealth mission so to speak.

The main structure is up between Gates D and C.  So are the spirals.  There is a big gaping hole where the Press Box elevators were.  Plus a few end zone sections came down.  The second of both jumbo-trons are now down as well.  If you drive past it each day you know what I am referring to.  Fireman Ed said he can not wait until it is all gone.  He thought they should have blown it up and did it all in one shot.  I have included pictures from previous shoots so you can see the progress.  Many can not wait until it is gone.  Many did not think it needed to go.  But everyone will share stories, say how much they miss it,  and enjoyed going to games there.

Taken May 17
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Taken May 23
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Taken June 10
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Taken May 19
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Taken June 10
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Super Bowl in New Stadium, No Pictures of Old Stadium

Well, looks like the New York/New jersey area has finally nailed down the Super Bowl. I know I should be more excited than I am but I am not. I saw many Jets and Giants fans are ecstatic. It is great for the local economy to have an event of that magnitude in the NY/NJ tri-state area. It will help local businesses, restaurants, hotels, and give a boost to the local economy. But unless the Jets or Giants are the ones playing in the 2014 Super Bowl, then fans can only be happy they have the biggest game being played in New Jersey. If the Jets or Giants make it to the big game, then there will be a true reason to celebrate.

Plus will the Pro Bowl still be in the same city or will it be moved back to Hawaii? This is also one other thing to consider. Fans in the area can definitely take part in the Super Bowl week festivities and events that will be going on, that is a huge plus. But how many will actually attend the game? The ticket breakdown is split in so many ways. The Jets and Giants will get limited seats to pass around. Season ticket holders will be fighting over the seats in a lottery. Depending on how many are left after the host teams distribute them amongst sponsors, family, friends, and employees. So much can happen between now and 2014.

The Jets still have several thousand PSLs left to sell. I do not feel having the Super Bowl will change a lot of peoples minds about purchasing a PSL. If people did not have the money before they will not have it now. Maybe for some on the fence it will be the deciding factor. But thee will not be any big rush on it. I already spoke with some who will still not purchase a PSL. It will certainly help get a name on the stadium though. Any company would love to have their name on the stadium that plays host to the Super Bowl. With all the revenue the Super Bowl, naming rights, and other deals being made I am sure they will make enough to pay for the stadium. So the money being made from the PSLs will be total profit. Is that still fair to the fans?

I did not want this to be a rant on the Super Bowl coming to the area. Just wanted to play devil’s advocate and bring up both sides, good and bad. Between now and 2014 everyone will be posting articles, opinions, and facts about the dealings & events leading up to it. Is this a bigger story than BP in the Gulf? I guess to some they care more about seeing their team in a Super Bowl 4 years from now rather than seeing life survive in the Gulf of Mexico right now. But that is a story for another article.

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I do have my own concerns right now that revolve around the old stadium. Seems they do not want fans to come down to the old stadium and take any more pictures. This all started with me last week May 20th. I have touched on this on my own website as well. I was told by a Skanska supervisor that no more pictures are to be taken of the old stadium. He informed me that “there were too many pictures on the internet. If I was caught taking pictures I would be told to leave.” This puzzled me. Too many pictures on the internet? Once again, they exhibit control on what the public or fans can and can not do.

I thought i would go back to the stadium at the end of the day, thinking no one would really be there. The minute I got out of my car I was approached by a Skanska employee in his car. Staying out of sight until they saw me. he told me, according to his supervisor, no more pictures are to be taken of the old stadium. So before I leave the premises I see if I can snap a few on the other side by Gate D. The skanska supervisor approaches my car in his ATV and takes his own pictures of my car and license plate. He then says “We warned you a few times so I hope it was worth it” and drives off.

In the beginning I guess it was fine to have pictures out there for everyone to see. But now, it is no longer OK. I guess if there are too many pictures roaming around for free they will not be able to sell their own and make another buck off the football fans. One of the workers informed me there are a few cameras that are constantly on the old stadium. Plus, if you watch any news broadcast or footage now, they focus on the new stadium and never even pan to the old one. They want to sell the seats, goal posts, and anything they can to make a profit off the old stadium. They are even taking chainsaws to the remaining seats so no one can take them or sell them.

Just once I would like to see the fans who have supported these teams given just one free pass. Is it wrong people want to take pictures for themselves or is it taking away that much revenue? I do not think too many pictures on the internet will stop them from making the money they want to make off their own memorabilia. Do they even know how many fans have already taken seat backs at the last game that was there? Probably not. For once just be honest and not hide behind the typical corporate rhetoric. The more you drive your fans away with the little things, the less likely you will be to sell PSLs.

I usually like to tell everyone how the documentary is going or what has already transpired. But when the organization keep taking a step forward then two steps back, I have to say something. I am also covering the New jersey Revolution indoor football team. There are alternatives to the high cost NFL out there, you just have to find them. It may not be s high profile, but the action and intensity is still there. I still have hope for the Jets. Only time will tell if they do the right thing.

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Fireman Ed Anzalone Lets His Hair Down & Talks His Passion

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Ed Anzalone.  Better know to football  and Jets fans as Fireman Ed.  Myself and Matt Nackson went to his house in Northern New Jersey.  Not going to say where he lives because he keeps a low profile in the area.  Ed was a great guy to sit down with from beginning to end.  Many fans have this preconceived perception of him being this crazy, unfriendly, rabid Jets fan who does whatever the Jets organization tells him to do.  I did not find that to be the case.  I went into this with no preconceived notions or thoughts.  I only met the man twice before so I could not have the opinions everyone else has about Ed.  He is just passionate about his team and it shows.

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Ed grew up a casual fan in Queens, NY before meeting his wife and moving out to NJ.  There was a misconception he grew up as a Miami Dolphins fan before becoming a Jets fan.  He was never really a big football fan.  He was seen in a picture as a kid wearing a Dolphins sweater a relative brought back from Florida for him.  Ed playing football in high school but was a casual fan of the NFL.  An old schoolmate saw the picture and that was how it got started.  It was not until his older brother brought him to his first game in 1976 at Shea Stadium which ignited the spark that set off the New York Jets explosion in his heart.  Since that game, he has not looked back at becoming a true fan of the New York Jets.

Ed goes into depth about the famed “Jets chant”.  Myself like many others knew it was not started by Ed and Ed talks about the chant’s originators.  The chant was started at Shea before it was brought to Giants Stadium, Ed calls it the Meadowlands not giving any mention of the other New York team who plays there.  It was brought to the stadium by an officer and fireman.  I did not write the names down since it is all on a memory card.  Can’t even say “I got it on tape” anymore when you use a digital camera.  There needs to be a new saying.  “I have it stored” could become, who knows.  Anyway, back to the chant.  Once it was brought over from Shea it was done in the Upper Tier.  One on each side, answering the other after they chanted.  My father and I were in Section 226, it was to our upper right.

After a while one of the guys did not make it to too many games and it died off.  Ed thought it should have been kept going.  Ed says it started with a few in the lower section and just grew and grew.  He would just stand on the edge railing in Section 134 to get more attention until he almost fell off one game.  His legs kept him hanging before his brother suggested he get on his shoulders.  From there it just grew and grew.  Ed credits Chris Berman for giving him the “Fireman” nickname.  Chris was thinking of what to call him when a clip of Ed was on his game reviews.  Since I can not review the footage in front of me, I believe Chris did not know he was a fireman.

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Fireman Ed  is just another fan like everyone else.  He is just a more well know fan.  It could have been someone else in any section that could have done it, Ed just was more passionate and kept the chant going.  Ed talks about his relationship with the Jets.  Ed paid for a PSL like everyone else.  He will be in the end zone once the 2010 season gets underway.  Players and others have given out jerseys, invites to luncheons, and other Jets events.  Some good perks when you can get 40,000-60,000 screaming Jets fans to get their team fired up.  I would take the same stuff in that position.  Ed has been generous and given merchandise that was given to him to sick children.  He has visited children at certain tailgates and away from the stadium.  He said he has given away more that he can remember.

Ed was also not a fan of PSL’s, who is?  He saw the change coming years ago when fan’s were already being distracted by othr “entertainment” around them at the Meadowlands.  People on cell phone’s, wanting to throw a beach ball, checking out girls, and other distractions that take their attention away from the game.  Now the distractions are everywhere you turn pretty much is what I think.  Even Ed, who can be nice and take pictures, just wants to watch the game too.  If the play is 4th & 1, 3rd and 1, do not ask for a pictures then.  As much as he wants to take that picture, he wants to see the green and white push forward and get that first down.  That can be where some do not like him, just asking at the wrong times.  If you are there to take a picture and can not wait until a timeout or intermission, you may not be there to see the game.  I do not even go to the bathroom until halftime.

Thee is more about his talk on the West Side Stadium, the player, the organization, his Jets memories, and more.  If I gave everything away now, there would  be no need to put it in the documentary.  I may tell some more down the line if I can get some footage of Fireman Ed at a Jets event.  Will be going down to Trenton next weekend for the next NJ Revolutions game.  They are facing the Harrisburg Stampede.  Part of the Harrisburg team is owned by the owners and creators of the league.  See if I can get a little face time with them. Will have more on the NJ Revolution soon. To find out more go to NJRevs.com.

New Jersey Has Third Football Team, Starting A Revolution

I hope everyone is enjoying a great Memorial Day weekend. This has been one of the better weekends on record for great weather. My weekend started off pretty well as I took in my second indoor football game. I went back to Mennen Arena in Morristown, NJ to see the New Jersey Revolution take on the Erie Storm. I was there to record the game and behind the scenes as well. I want to show fans in the documentary that there are alternatives to the NFL out there. All you have to do is look and you might find some hard hitting football action in your own backyard.

I know some reading this will say the NFL is in their own backyard. But so are many indoor football teams with tickets 1/10th of the NFL price and the same kind of hard hitting action. You even get to see some guys that did play in the NFL. It can be a very hard hitting match up. But Saturday night, there was action on as well as off the field. The trash talking from the player before the game to the heated words between the coaches and the referees at the end of the game. Even between coaches after the game. Coaches from the NJ Revolution were not happy by some of the calls the referees made and they got thrown out at the end of the game.

The head coach, defensive line coach, and the special teams coach all got thrown out. The special teams coach, also part owner, tried to throw a referee out of the game. You know you are passionate about your team and the game when you even try to throw a referee out of a game. One of the NJ Revolutions coaches even got into it with one of the Erie Storms coach after the game. It got very heated and loud. Arguing over calls, players, and even no towels in the locker room and a doctor not present. There was an ambulance and EMT’s there so it was kind of a moot point. But Both sides calmed down after the team owners had a private talk. Everyone is just passionate about the game and their respective teams.

The fans are so close they can even interact with the players during the game. They don’t but it is nice to se the fans are able to get up close and personal. They even give you autographs on the spot. Never see that as NFL players are walking back to the locker room. It may be at the Mennen Arena and not some big outdoor stadium. But at least there are no parking issues, reasonable ticket prices, hard hitting football, cheerleaders, and an affordable night of football for the entire family.

That is the way it was meant to be. Not spend thousands on seats and overpriced food and beer. But for some, it is a luxury they can afford. That is what professional sports has become to many fans, a high priced luxury. Pro athletes seem more focused on salary, endorsements, bonuses, high priced toys, and getting their spot on SportsCenter. I know they do charity events, have foundations, and do contribute in ways to their community. But for once let it be about the game and the love of the game. Not for the love of what is in your contract.

Rob Tester, Coach Al, and Coach Chris really do care about the players on the NJ Revolution. They are building a team of dedicated athletes who not just have heart, but a desire to play because they just love to play the game. So does every coach in the AIFA. They all want to see their players and team be something for the fans that come out to see them every game. It may be football on a smaller, regional scale, but it is still football. Find a league or team in your area and just take in one game. See for yourself what indoor football is all about. You may not think it is the NFL, but it will give you respect for the guys that break their ass every week. Here are a few of my last pictures from Giants Stadium.

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Giants Stadium Demolition Is No More…For Me

Well, it looks like I have pressed my luck at Giants Stadium. I went back today around 5 PM and I was certainly being watched. Had a Skanska employee come up to me in a car and said no more pictures. His supervisor said no more pictures are to be taken at all. I went to a different lot to take some pictures and the Supervisor came up on his ATV, snapped some pictures of my car and said “We warned you three times so I hope it was worth it” and drove off. So now they have my car and license plate on record. Looks like I am not going back to take any more pictures.

For the life of me I can not understand why they do not want pictures being taken. Do they want that much control, is it a safety issue, or do they plan on selling pictures and copies themselves. I guess I went there too often and took too many pictures of it. Who knows. I will not know the true reason. All know is I do not want to get fined or into any heavy trouble so I am not going back. Not worth the headache after today. Fans drive by everyday and stop by on the weekends to take pictures. If I want to find shots I will not be taking myself, I will be able to find them.

I never wanted to get into any trouble over this. Weeks ago a security guy even had me go to one of the security trailers to get permission. I was told as long as I stayed outside of the fence I was OK to take them. I guess they changed their mind once they saw how much was out there. Well, I have enough pictures. I just will not have the ones when it is completely gone. Do not want to have any State Police or NJSEA security coming up to me and holding me. I do not want to call my wife and tell her I need bail money. Not worth the hassle anymore

Update 11:00 PM

My wife thinks I obsess over certain things too much. That I rehash the same event over and over and does not understand why. Thee was just something bothering me about earlier. I know there is something more than “too many pictures on the internet”. Then it finally hit me. I have been thinking about a book or DVD that focuses on the stadium. It is more than that. More that just pictures. But parts of the stadium, goal posts, signs, locker room pieces, and the seats?
Too many pictures means not enough money on all the fallen Giants Stadium merchandise. They framed pictures of all sizes. Ones with autographs. The book about its history. Pictures that you could get from Steiner Sports along with your seat. They are cutting the rest with chainsaws. Some workers even took a few seats. One car dealership even purchased the goals posts. You can hear the commercials on WFAN talking about his new “40 foot erection”. With too many pictures on the internet no one will want to buy something they can do themselves. So what! Let the fans have just one thing and not have to pay to get it.
Does everything have to have a price tag on it? I know I will not get the truth. I do not have the credentials to go that far. But I would hope someone knows and is willing to share the info. Sometimes you have to look at a situation from all angles to gain every perspective. My mind just likes to see if there is more to what is on the surface. Guess I should have used my phone last time as the camera, then I would have blended in with everyone else. Seems those are the only pictures they allow taking. I was using a Sony so I was the obvious one. I just want to see the little guy win over big business for once.