Hierarchy & Ego Separate Jets Fans Rather Than Uniting Them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fireman Ed Tells A Tale Of Two Stadiums

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

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

The Fireman Ed/Christopher Black Fiasco Credit:CBS News

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

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

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

Ed on WFAN's Boomer & Carton Credit:WFAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fans Remember The Past, Easier Than Thinking About Future

With no talk about free agency, contract negotiations, or off season workouts, there is not much football talk going on.  All people can do right now is discuss the draft in a few weeks and make their predictions.  It reminds me of the book/movie “All Quiet On The Western Front”.

Every football fan looks forward to going to the games.  Not just to see their favorite team, but to be with friends and family.  It is a time to relax, have fun, and have experiences that will turn into memories.  I am sure a lot of people are reflecting on some now, hoping there will be a season this year.  If not, they will reflect on seasons past and the fun they had.  For many Jet s fans, the memories are all we have the past 40 years.

Many of us reflect on previous seasons.  Games we attended with our father, brother, mother, sister, grandfather, uncle,  or other family members who may not be with us anymore.  It did not matter how bad the game was, one would always find something good to remember about the day.  Even if it was a bad game, there was something about it that made it a positive experience.  Many talk about how much they hated Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium.  But they will always mention how much fun those times were in those bad situations.

My brother Ean and my father Jerry

If you are like me, you recall games you attended with someone who passed away.  I always think about my dad when I think about the Jets.  Every time I went to a game without him and sat in Section 226 Row 8, Seats 7 and 8 in Giants Stadium, I would think about him.  Walking around the new stadium while filming, I would thin about him and wonder what he would think about the new structure built for the financially elite.  Sometimes I would talk aloud to him, as if he was walking next to me.

A funny story my dad would always tell me was about the time he was headed to the AFL Championship game between the Jets and Oakland Raiders.  He was speeding and was pulled over.  He was sitting in a line of a dozen cars that were pulled over, dead last behind them all.  He was running late and wanted to be there by kick off.  He calls an officer over and explains he knows he was speeding and deserves the ticket.  He then explains to the officer why he was speeding and shows him the tickets to the game.  The officer tells him to hold on and be patient.  Less than five minutes later, the officer returns with the ticket and tells my father to leave.  He left before the other cars pulled over did.

He was the type that would have looked at the new stadium in amazement.  Amazed at all the technology that was put into it and laugh when I would have to explain the reasons why.  He was the type that just liked to watch the game, not much else.  He would follow the changes in the game, but laugh and smile at the tech advances that are interwoven into it.  He would have been 76 today.  Still feels like yesterday.  Every time the football season begins I think of all those games we went to.  I know some others who feel the same as I do.

While filming in the parking lot at Giants Stadium in 2008, I came across Tommy Wilson. Such a dedicated Jets fan he owned the license plates “JETS” & “12 JETS”.  I later find out Jets owner Woody Johnson offered to buy the “JETS” plate from him.  Always wearing his #12 Joe Namath jersey and always at the games, his personality and presence felt like my father’s.  I guess that is why his story touches me even more than others I met while filming.

Tommy was honored in 2002 by the NFL and Visa Pro Football Hall for Fans.  He wrote the winning essay as to why he should be the fan to represent the Jets in the Hall of Fans.  He held 10 season tickets for close to 40 years.  His restaurants was named after the lot he tailgated in, Lot 12A.  A true “Super” Fan in my book.

There is more I can say about Tommy but do not want to give away his entire story.  I went back to get a follow up in September of 2009 and he pushed it to another game.  When I emailed him about it in early November of 2009, his wife Mary Lou informed me he passed away in early October.  I was deeply saddened to hear the news.  He had purchased several PSL’s too.  Tommy lived and breathed the Jets, helped to pay for the new stadium, is in the Hall of Fans for the Jets, but yet was just another fan to the Jets organization.

DSC07211

Tommy Jr, his sister, and Mary Lou Wilson

I met up with his widow Mary Lou and her son Tommy Jr this past October.   Mary Lou thought about giving up the seats after he passed but knew Tommy would not have wanted that.  Last year was a hard season but this year was different.  Once again, many people who used to tailgate with them at 13A were not there.  Some did not get PSL’s, others did not have the right parking permits, while others feel it is not the same without Tommy.  For the remainder of tailgating last year, it was very somber without Tommy.  He was the nucleus that held that tailgate together.  Tommy Jr. got a tattoo to remember his father, even though his father did not like tattoos.

Mary Lou and Tommy Jr. always reflect on their memories about Tommy.  It makes them smile and feel good about being a Jet fan.  Even with next season uncertain, they still reflect and always will.  Tommy was one of those fans that made you feel good when he talked.  I guess he holds a place in my heart because he reminded me of my own father.  There is a strange connection to fans from a certain era in football.  An era where it was about the game, not the politics.

Everyone knows the kind of fans I refer to.  The ones where they smile when they talk about past seasons.  When memories were about actions on the field, not battles in courts off the field.  Older generations of fans seem to have this glow in their eyes.  Where you do not mind listening to their stories.  The kind where you can sit with a beer and listen for hours if you need a reason to smile.

Right now fans need a reason to smile.  They need a reason to believe a season will happen this year.  Many look forward to those home games, not just to tailgate, but to create memories with friends and family.  50% of ticket money was already due, PSL payment in several months.  Do the Jets think the season will happen?  But when a season looks like it may not happen, there is nothing to look forward to.

As it stands, all we can do is think ahead to a season that may or may not happen.  We can reflect about the games we have all been to before.  Many will talk about the past two seasons as they ended in trips to the AFC Championship game.  Looking forward to a season where a Super Bowl could be in the Jets grasp for the first time n over 40 years.  But all we can do is sit back and wait.

There may be no season.  Then all we can do is reflect on the 2011 season that never was.  How we all waited for players and owners to come to an agreement to end a lockout.  Where the courts made the decision instead of the NFL.  In 1987 at least there were some games played.  Who knows what will happen this year.

Ahh, the memories.

It’s A Typical Football Off Season, Or Is It?

No matter who you talk to, no one really wants to discuss football.  Let’s face it, there is not much to talk about.  With owners and players at a stalemate and leaving it up to the courts, even they have nothing to talk about.  For the first time since 1987, we are all at a standstill.

For once, all football fans are on the same page, waiting.  Waiting to see when this lockout will not just end, but how soon.  The media does not have much to report on.  Many should be reporting on free agent signings, contract negotiations, off season workouts, and so much more.  But there is not even that to discuss.  Sports writers and reporters have to scrounge for ideas and stories like they are going dumpster diving, trying to find any scrap to talk about.

Greg Bishop of the New York Times wrote a great piece concerning the Jets and what they are doing, or not doing.
“Players are not allowed inside the building. The Jets cannot make trades or sign their numerous free agents. Employees on the team’s business side, everyone from secretaries to executive vice presidents, are staring at the possibility of forced work furloughs. And those involved in the organization’s football operations — coaches among them — are working under a 25 percent pay cut.

Like all N.F.L. teams, the Jets are on a novel campaign to carry on as an organization. Some looming decisions, like how to refund tickets if games are canceled this fall, have nothing to do with football on the field. Others relate to more basic and familiar football questions — whom to draft, for instance, late next month. The Jets will not be able to sign their selections, but they still have to make them.

The greatest sense of paralysis probably is being felt by Tannenbaum and his staff. The Jets have 15 expiring contracts, including those of key players like Cromartie and wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards.”

This is a key time for the Jets.  For the second consecutive year, they made it to the AFC Championship and lost.  They have the tools to go to the Super Bowl.  By not being able to negotiate with free agents, talk to players and agents, there will be little time to make up once the lockout ends.  Depending how close it is to opening day.  The Jets will have to run their own hurry up offense just to make sure the pieces are there to make a run in 2011.

Mike Tannenbaum might also have to make changes on handling the draft.  In previous seasons, he has selected high quality players, regardless of their position.  Vernon Gholston was a choice of Eric Mangini, not Tannenbaum.  In this season of the lockout, with needs on the defensive line, at safety, and with three key receivers potentially free agents, he could draft to key positions.  They need a big time pass rusher.  But when it comes to the Jets, they usually surprise many on their choices.

The players, for their part, face their own challenges and quandaries . During the lockout, players are on their own for their workouts.  Cornerback Darrelle Revis put the offer out to host all defensive backs at his home in Arizona to help with training and development. Some may take him up on it while others may not want to spend to make the trip. Many are working out at local colleges and high schools.  Five members of the Jets’ secondary are free agents, and if any are injured, their careers could be hindered without the backing of a team to help with their rehabilitation.

Let me show you where players are not currently training

For first year players, Kyle Wilson, Vladimir Ducasse, John Conner and Joe McKnight of last years draft class, they will suffer more. They will not receive any instruction from their coaches.  They will be missing out on key guidance.   First year rookies all over will not have the tutelage other players have had in the past.  They need to rely on veteran players right now.

Of course, many of these issues could become a memory, as the players have sought, a federal judge in Minnesota grants an injunction barring the owners from continuing to implement the lockout.

Still, fans remain positive on there being a 2011 season.  In a call with Fireman Ed, he knows they have months to go to settle things.  But if the judge makes the decision favoring the owners, then there is a chance this could go on for a while.  Ed knows the Jets have the right tools to build on this past season.  But when coaches and players can not talk, there is not much to build on.  Ed feels some of the smaller market team owners have a bigger say in this and are trying to get more out of it.  For a fan as passionate as Fireman Ed, even he has nothing to talk about regarding football.

Every player across the league is experiencing the same woes as the Jets players.  Many would love the chance to workout at their teams facilities, but have to make makeshift plans to schedule the same type of workouts.

Every team owner, coach, and General manager has to make plans about the upcoming season and put them away in a file.  Only to come back to them later on the chance there is a season to come back to.  Then they have to use their 2 minute drill to get those carefully laid plans into place.  Time is on their side, for now.

So we all wait collectively.  Like a $300 million dollar lottery hoping our numbers are the ones to be called.  Sitting on the edge of our seats for that big announcement of a 2011 season.  But no one will be happier than the team employees who were forced into pay cuts and furloughs.  The players will come next, followed by the team management.  But in the end, the fans will breathe a sigh of relief once they know there is an opening day kickoff.

NFL Fans Ache From Their Favorite Teams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doing Right

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

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

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

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

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

Refund Policy

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

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

It gets worse.

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

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

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

Interest Due

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

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

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

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

NFL vS NFLPA: Are The Fans On The Losing End?

Well, the dust has finally settled after another Jets season.  Many fans not looking forward to the 6 month off season before preseason begins.  The players and rookies will be called to camp before then, but not soon enough for some.  Counting down days on the calendar like prisoners waiting for parole.  I hate when football season is over.  I am not into basketball.  Hockey begins close to the playoffs.  Baseball begins for me at the All Star break.  Football is my true sports vice.

With the 2011 season still up in the air, many fans wonder if they will be able to use their season tickets.  Some others are wondering if it is worth even looking into the ones that are left.  With the NFL and NFLPA not close to agreeing on a new collective bargaining agreement the 2011 seems like a season of fantasy.  The NFL and players both have their terms they would like to be met.  In the end, if no terms are met, not only will the NFL and players both lose money but the fans will lose out as well.

DSC07250

Many fans only paid one year into their five or fifteen year payment plan of their PSL’s.  If there is no season, one still has to make that payment.  But the Jets did say payment on season tickets would vary.  If there is no season, no ticket money would be paid.  If any games are played, then payments for only those games played.  With the football season only having 8 home games, a shortened season is close to having no season.  Especially to tailgaters.

I wonder just how often when the big decisions are being made in these meetings with team owners,, the NFL, and players that the fans are taken into consideration and discussed.  The fans are like the last ones picked in the game of kickball.  Is there a discussion on how all the decisions will affect their fans or is it about how they will lose out on generating revenue.  In reality, the fans are the ones who help them generate that revenue, not just sponsors,TV contracts, merchandising, etc.  I am sure the NFL and team owners know this, but is there a focus that is really put on the fans who come out and pay?

DSC05862

I may be venting a little bit here.  I know the NFL and teams do think about the fans.  But I am sure they think more about the ticket sales and making sure seats are filled rather than who actually sits in those seats.  They could care less if Joe SuperFan who has been sitting in the same seat is there, as long as that seat is filled.  To them, Joe SuperFan is just a consumer.  They do not care if he comes to every game, they do not know him personally.  As long as his seat is paid for, that is all that matters.

But i am sure they know the VIP’s and those who purchase suites by name.  Those people get different sales reps who know their clients by name.  The sales reps for stadium seats wear Jets polo shirts.  The sales reps for suites wear suits.  I know, I followed a suite sales rep around as he was pitching a suite to a potential customer.  I heard their conversation.  It is such a different approach than the average fan looking into seats.  The suite sales rep mentioned how he would be treated the same way Woody Johnson would be treated.  Shouldn’t every fan be treated the same way?  Or only those that pay more than others?

DSC05776DSC06004

In this off season, a lot needs to be taken into consideration as to how the NFL, team owners, players, and fans should be considered.  For the last three seasons, I have interviewed many different Jets season ticket holders.  I have received opinions on various levels.  Many fans feel that even though they are talked to on varying degrees, their opinions do not really matter.  Even after the new stadium was built and was supposed to be better for all fans, complaints are still rampant.  Only the ones who follow the Jets like sheep and do everything they say do not complain.

In this off season many factors need to be considered.  The NFL and NFLPA not only should come to an agreement for what is best for both sides, but do it before the start of the 2011 season.  if they don’t, many fans will be outraged and angry.  Jet fans want the 2011 season to happen.  Even if the Jets do not keep the same team from this past season, the aura is there to make another worthy run into the playoffs next season.  No one wants to see a lock out, no one.  Not the teams, the players, the NFL, anyone.

I think the NFL and fans should have a collective bargaining agreement.  The fans should ask for certain universal concessions from the teams to make sure we actually get our monies worth.  Every fan has complaints about their team.  I do not think any fan is 100% satisfied with everything.  From the team to the concessions to the parking, everyone has at least one issue.  So as the NFL and NFLPA sit in their meetings for hours on end, they should keep one thing in mind.

Are the decisions we make not just right for us, are they right for our fans.

New York Jets Fans Cope After Another Super Bowl

The past two weeks I have not been as excited for the Super Bowl I guess as I should be.  Even a fellow fan John Allen passed along the same comment.  He was thinking that for some reason his favorite team should be playing this past Sunday, but for some reason, they ended up losing to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers won his first Super Bowl and it is tough to believe he can’t win another.

The Steelers jumped out to a quick 24-0 lead over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship, but fell behind a quick 21-3 to the Packers on Sunday night. At the end of the night, Clay Matthews was throwing a WWE championship belt over Rodgers’ shoulder.  Ric Flair is taking credit for having the WWE send the belt to him, as told to ESPN,  to use if they won the Super Bowl.

How do us Jets fans feel now?

No one can really say what the result would have been on Sunday night had the Jets been playing in the Steelers’ place. Jet fans may feel like they definitely would have won the game, but again, we cannot say for sure. It’s hard not to feel disappointed these last few nights.  One never know what their team would do if they were never in that situation.

Credit: bettor.com

The Super Bowl was right there; it was in our grasp. The Canyon of Heroes was ready for the parade that should have been filled with streamers and fans jammed in to see Gang Green. Everything was going as planned, just for it all to come crashing down.

Just imagine: Rex Ryan could have been saying “I told you all we were going to do it, AND WE DID IT!” on that podium Sunday night standing next to owner Woody Johnson, GM Mike Tannenbaum and Mark Sanchez.

Bart Scott could have been having another postgame interview that would go viral on the Internet. “WORTH THE WAIT,” he could be yelling in Sal Paolantonio’s face.  Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery could be running all over Cowboys Stadium with their arms outstretched like airplanes while wearing their “New York Jets Super Bowl Champions” caps and t-shirts.

Credit: Gang Green Nation

Credit: Gang Green Nation

Nick Mangold and Dustin Keller could be racing to their cell phones to be the first Jets to tweet about the win.  Antonio Cromartie’s kids could be dogpiling him in the end zone.

Shaun Ellis would then join the team on the podium to get his fingerprints on his Lombardi Trophy and press his lips against its mirror-like surface.  He has waited long enough to get his hands on that trophy after being with the team the longest.

To me Super Bowl Sunday was just another day of football.  I did not put on my Jets jersey.  No Jets shirt or hat to be worn.  Not even my trusty Jets boxers I wore every Sunday the team played.  Two teams were playing that were not my team.

The Jets were deserving of a Super Bowl this season. Anyone who is not a Jets fan will instantly contest this, because everyone else HATES the Jets. I can’t blame them. The Jets have a bunch of big mouths and a coach who has no filter. But the fans take on the personality of the team, and I can safely say we had a lot more fun than many others did.  Even the Jet fans who are haters enjoyed themselves this season.

Gang Green fought through all the criticism this season. After a bunch of close games that should not have been close and after some bad losses, the Jets showed everyone who they really are in the playoffs.  It does not matter how you finish the season, it is how you finish in the playoffs.

They took down Peyton Manning after he made them look bad in last year’s postseason. They took down the Patriots who were already being crowned champions. They forgot to show up for the first half against the Steelers, but almost pulled off one of the greatest playoff comebacks in history.

I am not trying to take anything away from the Packers or the Steelers by saying this. Both were much more deserving of a championship after the way they have played in the playoffs. Just because the Jets were a worthy candidate does not mean other teams were any less deserving.

Credit: SportsNewscaster.com

Things get even harder knowing there might be a lockout on the horizon. Knowing that there is a possibility the Jets will not get a chance to play in the Super Bowl in 2012, nor will any other team, is a tough reality to face.

I could go on about this, but all football fans are feeling the same way about this except maybe Packers fans that have the privilege of enjoying a championship for two years if there is a strike, but I am sure even they would rather lose than not have football.

Knowing that we will all be at least a year older before the Jets get another shot at a Super Bowl run is a feeling that I have felt time and time again. I have always hated the offseason because of how long I have to wait for Week 1. I hate the offseason because of how long I have to wait for the AFC Championship. Again, no guarantees that they will make it again, but it’s tough to feel like the Jets would fall short again.

It seems as Jets fans we are always waiting.  Always waiting until next season hoping that will be the season the Jets win it all.  If there is no next season, we just have to wait longer.  Easier said than done.

Super Bowl Eludes Jets, Off Season Holds Many Questions

Well, the Jets went down to the Steelers 24-19.  When the Jets decided to defer the toss at the kick off, that was their undoing.  The Steelers held the ball for an opening drive that consumed over nine minutes.  The Jets defense was put to the test early and had to endure Rashard Mendenhall.  The 5’11”. 225 lb running back was forcing the Jets to stop him on the way to an opening drive touchdown.  With that opening drive, it was amazing to see the Jets defense have anything left for the remainder of the game.  The fans were behind them the entire time.  But on Twitter, some were giving up on them the minute the first half was over.  One began to read the old saying: Same old Jets.

By the time the Jets got going in the second half time was not on their side.  Key calls in the red zone by Brian Schottenheimer did not help the Jets case to score.  On a Third and goal, they should have run the ball instead of pass.  They ended up running on fouth down but were held at the one yard line by the Steelers defense.  With minutes to go in the game one can see the Jets were getting into the groove, but it was too little too late.  Even after a 4-yard TD pass to Jerricho Cotchery made it 24-19 with 3:06 remaining. The Jets never got the ball back.

To Rex Ryan, Same Old Jets means Namath and Weeb Ewbank and those Super Bowl III champions, the ones that had his father Buddy coaching the linebackers. His approach to years of heartache and predestination’s of doom was to blow it over with bombast, overwhelm it with arrogance.  So when Rex hears same old Jets, he has a different thought in mind.

Since Bill Parcells finagled his way back to the Meadowlands in 1997, the Jets are 16 games over .500 — 120-104. In the last 14 seasons they’ve finished below .500 just three times, and two of those were crash-and-burn deals after injuries to Chad Pennington.

That leaves just one season, the 4-12 year in 2007, that the Jets flat-out stunk as built and planned. Think that’s a bad deal? Ask around the league. Start in Cleveland. Peek in on Detroit.

In the last 10 seasons, this was the sixth playoff trip for the Jets. Defensive end Sean Ellis, drafted in 2000, played his 12th Jets playoff game Sunday. How many other players around the league have played as many for one team in the last 10 years? Tom Brady? Petyon Manning? Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward?

The Patriots, Colts, Steelers and Eagles are the only franchises to have played in more playoff games over the last 10 years than the Jets.  The Giants have played in half as many.  Of course, the Giants went to the Super Bowl, and won it. So did the Patriots, Steelers and Colts. That’s seven of the last nine championships.  None for the Jets.

Failure is relative. The Philadelphia Eagles have been to five NFC Championship Games in the last decade, lost four of them, and still haven’t won a Super Bowl.

The Buffalo Bills once lost four Super Bowls in a row. Now they’ve gone 11 seasons without even making the playoffs. Which way do you think the folks upstate would rather have it?

Maybe this is small consolation, after Vinny Testaverde’s Achilles and Chad Pennington’s wrist and Chad Pennington’s shoulder, and all those almosts — from the Mud Bowl against the Dolphins to the collapse of ‘86 and to halftime leads vanished the last two times before Sunday the Jets got this far.

Will fans think the Jets can get this far next year is the question.  Many will boast and say next year is the year they win it all.  But coming up is an off season with a lot of uncertainty.  Will LT and Jason Taylor decide to stay with the team, retire, or go elsewhere?  Braylon Edwars is anotehr big question mark.  With free agency, contracts to negotiate, and a possible lock out, no one can tell where the Jets are headed next season.

Also, after not making the Super Bowl and the Jets still not sold out of PSL’s and no PSL seats, how will this help their case to get them sold.  I am sure many fans were on the fence and wanted to see how the season ended.  The Jets can not market the team as a Super Bowl team, but only as a playoff contender.  Two years in a row and this year was their second biggest game in the teams history does not bode well for sales.  They will get some hoping the Jets win their division and get at least one home playoff game.  But considering how strong New England is and will be, that is another uncertainty.

The fans had one hell of a ride though.  They followed the Jets no matter where they played to get to the Super Bowl.  Some Jets fans were happy they were on the road.  They had an opportunity to buy seats in lower parts of stadiums they would never have done in the PSL ridden seats at the Meadowlands.  That is one positive being able to see the Jets on the road.  Being able to purchase seats in any part of the stadium.  If the Jets had home playoff games, many single ticket buyers would be relegated to the upper bowl.  Makes sense to me why some would rather travel to see Gang green.

The Jets organization has a lot to do both on the field and off before next season.  Not only do they have their team to lock up, but their ticket holders as well.  With many open seats, they can consider some fans free agents.  What will the organization do to get those investors into those seats before next season.  What will the offers be.  How will they market those seats to the potential investors?

The Jets have been heavy on marketing over the years, the same way Jerry Jones has done with the Dallas Cowboys.  Will that marketing and the heavy calls their sales team makes be enough to convince investors to buy their share of the stadium?  No matter how well the Jets do and how excited the fans get, it always comes back to one old saying if the Jets never win that elusive Super Bowl.  Same Old Jets.

Jets Fans Love To Hate Their Team

Once again, this weekend the Jets proved many wrong, including their own fans.  Many had the Jets already losing even before they hit the field.  The Jets did their trash talking and backed up their words.  This was one game they knew they had to win.  Going back up to face New England on their home turf they could not have an outing like last time.  They outplayed and out-coached the Patriots.  They sacked Tom Brady for a record five times and shut down his passing game.  That was a big issue they needed to overcome from their last meeting.  An issue that was not a factor that is making them look to Pittsburgh and a 2nd AFC Championship game in two years.

Jets fans are on a high right now.  One they would like to ride all the way to the Super Bowl.  But some are not feeling the rush.  Some still feel they will blow it against the Steelers.  From the start of the season through the Patriots playoff game, many Jets fans always have doubt in the back of their minds.  For some reason, they feel they will return to the Jets team we have all grown accustomed to.  No matter how much they win we still have not gotten used to them as a franchise that wins.  I think maybe until they actually win a Super Bowl, then the fans might just think differently.

Many fans I have talked to always get behind the team.  But for some reason, when the team has one or two down games, then the bashing comes out.  Almost like Randy Quaid’s character in Major League 2.  He starts off the season as a die hard Cleveland Indians fan, but the minute things go south, so does he on the team.  By the end of the movie, he keeps saying how the team will blow the divisional series, blow the game in the ninth inning and so on.  But once Wild Thing Vaughn got his old haircut and attitude, he came back around.  Jet fans have the same demeanor.

We constantly think the Jets will blow whatever opportunity is presented them.  If they win, we say we knew they would win.  If they lose, we say the same old Jets showed up.  As it stands now, many fans are riding the high that are victories over New England and Indianapolis.  Something that has been done one other time in the past eight years.  Many sportscasters and commentators even though the Jets were going to lose.  Joe Benigno, a die hard Jets fan,  from WFAN even said the Jets were going to lose against New England.  As Jets fans,  we have a problem picking them to win in the biggest of games.

For as long as I can recall, many Jets fans have been doubters.  Season after season of disappointments.  Close calls in 1982 and 1996 AFC Championship games.  Even in previous seasons of great hype, the fans never believed it.  There has always been a collapse at the end of the season.  Or an early elimination in the playoffs.  But this year, there is a new spark.  A new fire that has been lit that seems to grow stronger with each game.  The fans keep feeding that fire.  For the first time I can recall, fans have one thing they have not had previous years, hope.  They believe in a team that believes in them.  That is what has driven this years team to where they are.

Jets fans will always be skeptical of what team shows up on the field.  Many are expecting the Jets to beat Pittsburgh and face destiny in the Super Bowl.  Others, will expect them to lose, blow the big game like the Jets always do.  But this is not your father’s New York Jets.  This is a new determined team.  One that is tired of the old labels the media has put on them.  A team that has shed the stigma of the losing seasons of old.  But some fans will never let them forget.  NEver let them go back to what they were, and what could be.  The fans, especially the management, do not want the same old Jets ever again.

Jets On The Road To Lead Fans To Super Bowl?

Well, it seems the Jets beat The Stomach.  It was their year to beat Peyton Manning and the Colts in the playoffs.  The Jets did what they needed to do.  The ran the ball and forced their defense to stop them on the ground.  Darelle Revis held Reggie Wayne to just one yard.  Revis Island was more like Revis Prison.  Even though Manning was not sacked, intercepted, or blocked in any way, his presence on the field did not deter the Jets from accomplishing the first step in their goal, going to the Super Bowl.  Most importantly, Nick Folk stepped up and kicked the Jets into the next round against New England.  He showed he wanted to be an integral part of the team.

So the Jets are rolling in the playoffs for the second year.  The only thing that can stop them is themselves.  Many fans, including Fireman Ed made they way out to support the Jets on the road.  The main drawback to playing all road games is no Jets season ticket holder gets a chance to get those tickets first.  One has to see how they can procure them on the open market.  For the second year in a row, the Jets are in the playoffs and no home games.  So as you invest in the team with your PSL’s, it does not guarantee you a dividend of playoff tickets unless there is a home game.  They can play on the road every year and no Jets season ticket holder will have first access.

For many, they can not make it to away games, especially playoff games.  Getting time off from work, family, and other commitments make it difficult for some.  Some love to go to away games and factor that into every season.  For some, they feel it i cheaper to go to an away game.  Tickets are less.  Yes one has to pay travel and hotel expenses, but that can cost less that investing in a PSL and season tickets.  Ken Pikowski is one of those fans.  He talks about how ticket prices are cheaper in other stadium he attends.  This coming form someone who used to have six season tickets along the 50 yard line in the old stadium.

DSC07216

Foxboro is not as far as Indianapolis, so there might be more Jets fans willing to make the trip.  Always a good feeling for the away team to know their fans are in the stadium to cheer them on.  It is that little extra motivation that can help a team win away from their home.  For those who have the buses, Winnebago’s,   campers, trailers, and any party vehicle on wheels, it makes the tailgating experience a little easier.  One gets to bring a little bit of home with them to away games.  But nothing beats sitting in the seats you sit in every game at your home stadium.

Many fans are hoping the Jets can win their division or get at least one home game in in the future.  Getting those post season games as a season ticket holder makes the season bearable.  When many invested in the team, they were hoping the Jets would get some playoffs games in the New Meadowlands Stadium.  But when ones makes an investment and it pays no dividends, why keep that investment?  I have said many times, many keep it to pass down to their kids.  But what about the ones who hope to sell them.

DSC07191

If the Jets were a team who had home playoff games and fans knew they could count on those tickets every year, people could sell the PSLs at a higher profit margin.  Fans would want those tickets more than the season tickets.  For some reason, the playoffs just bring out more in a team.  Playoff tickets go for big bucks on their own.  Imagine if the Jets were a team, who won their division several times like other teams, and someone sold the season tickets knowing he could up the price because they were a home playoff team?  Look at New England, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and other NFL teams.  Their fans know that when their team is strong, home playoff games are on the horizon.  Jets fans want the same thing.

So it seems this year is a year many fans will remember.  Not just because Rex Ryan made a promise to beat Peyton Manning and did, but because of a new era with a new stadium.  It was a new season that had many firsts, from designated parking to social media interaction.  The Jets stock price is slowly climbing.  But the parking stock has already skyrocketed.  Keep in mind, both the PSL’s and parking passes are investment.  They do not come together as an investment.  If you have them together, now you have a Jets portfolio.  Not easy to invest in a team in this new era of sports.