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.