Do PSL’s Really Make Football Better? Or Worse For Fans

Since August of 2008, I have been filming a documentary about the New York Jets PSL situation and how the fans have had their ups and downs with it.  Over this past season, many fans have kind of settled into new positions in the new parking structure.  Set up like the hierarchy of rings that used to exist in medieval times.  Where the royalty would be in the middle close to the castle and the further you went out, the lower in class it became.  The higher priced parking passes are closer to the stadium.  Ones with non PSL seats have to park over by the Izod Center.  You tell me what type of message the Jets are sending to their fans.

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Many long time season ticket holders who have had tailgating groups for years feel cheated by not just the new parking system, but from the PSL’s as well.  Many were not able to get seats next to friends like they have in years past.  Those with cheaper PSL’s or NON PSL seats can not sit with those in the lower bowl.  Also, Mary Lou Wilson who parks in the Green parking said some long time friends they tailgated with in old section 13A have the non PL seats do not want to bring all their gear over to the green parking.  Even though Mary Lou and her kids can park over there, they still have friends in the green parking to tailgate with.  Who wants to lug all that gear and waste time just to have to drag it all back early?

Bruce Speight, Senior Director of Media Relations, told me they did what they could to appease fans.  But you can not please them all.  I wonder what true steps they took to find out what the fans wanted.  I know they did send a survey out via e mail two years ago.  But did anyone from the Jets organization act like the Census and go from tailgate to tailgate to get the fans opinions.  Probably not.  They do not mind sending face painters out there to charge for face painting.  Maybe if the team spent time walking through the lots talking to fans and truly got to know what they wanted, sales could have gone faster.

This is something sports writers do not cover, especially sports beat writers.  there is always a focus on the players, coaches, on and off the field events, and even trades.  There are not many sports writers that cover the business decisions teams makes, how it affects the fans, or even the fans in general.  Occasionally, there are stories that appear about fans.  But not too often.  They mainly come about during the season, after a team or player has already made news about an issue.  It may not be front page news, but is it news nonetheless.  If there were no paying fans to show up, it would just be a bunch of guys playing ball.  I guess while filming my documentary I had to take it upon myself to cover them and tell their side so they feel they have a voice.  Fans care about news regarding the teams and their players.  So the teams and players should care about what is going on with their fans.

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Many long time tailgating groups have crumbled and become a shadow of its former self.  I have talked about the Jets Pack a few times, but I have yet to talk about the Jets Nuts.  The Jet Nuts have been coming just as long as the Jets Pack.  You can always tell where the Jet Nuts are by their huge bus they always have.  They are on their fourth bus right now.  They have had hundreds over the years.  But according to the organizers, it has dwindled down significantly.  It is coming to a point where they are laying out more money than they are receiving from fans wanting to share in their tailgate.  Many tailgate set ups charge a small fee to eat and drink at their tailgate.  Rather than shrink it down they just might call it quits by years end.  PSL’s have not just separated fans in the stadium, but even in tailgating as well.

PSL’s, for some, are a necessary evil.  The Jets and Giants never said what other financing options they looked into before settling on the PSL’s as a final option.  If the New England Patriots can do it then any team can.  Even though their stadium is in the middle of nowhere, small screen, no escalators, they still managed to do it all without PSL’s.  Sometimes I wonder if the new stadium was built for the fans or for the teams owners friends to enjoy a lavish place to watch football games and network for more business.  Make it their own upscale country club.  The Jets and Giants had no idea how much they tore their fan base apart.

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Sports teams need to wake up and realize that bigger and better is not necessarily the way to go.  There has to be a happy medium.  The Jets have already doe this and is evident every time I film in the parking lot.  I am here for the fans to be their voice.  Hoping to show other sports franchises what PSL’s can to do their own fan base.  I know some fans do not care, they are willing to spend their money and do what the team says to do to keep going to games.  Others have the kind of disposable income where they can afford to spend and do not care about what other fans think.  It is this kind of thinking that shows team owners win and can do what they want.

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The fans have the real power.  If the fans were all on the same page then the teams would have to change how they set their prices and policies.  The Jets learned this already with the PSL’s and lowered prices.  If the fans kept showing that solidarity, then we all win in the end.  Not just the ones with deep pockets.   Some will agree, others will disagree.  But we all want to enjoy our game day experience with our friends and have that bond for years.  Not to lose it because some friends who used to be able to afford tickets now can not.  Makes me proud to be a reporter of the fans.  Not just because I care, but because I am one of the ones who could not afford to keep my tickets.  The fans are a story and I am the only one who sees it.

Jets Fans Coping With New Parking & Fewer Friends

Today the Jets returned home to the Meadowlands to face the Green Bat Packers.  It was one of the better days for tailgating.  After the abysmal rain and hail from the Monday night game a few weeks back, today was a relief for many.  Not just great weather, but there were an abundance of great tailgates.  Seemed there were a ton of set ups, large and small.  Sixto and I passed by so many that we were invited to stop by and share in their partying.  But we were on a tight schedule with planned interviews and to find some we had interviewed over the past few years,  Also seems some are coping with fewer friends since some did not purchase a PSL while others just tailgate separately now.

We arrived around 8 AM over to the Sheraton across from the stadium to park and then cross over Route 3 to the stadium parking.  I did that the first game as it was close and did not cost anything.  Man did that change.  It appears StubHub now charges $25 for off site parking there and provides a shuttle bus to get across.  I told the parking attendant I was meeting someone at the hotel and he waived me in.  Saved myself $25 as it is crazy to charge parking at every off site location independently.  The hotel next door was charging $20 and many business locations off Route 120 were charging parking at their locations.  Seems many are taking advantage and trying to make a buck off the Jets and Giants parking situation.

We got there early enough to see the guys from the Smoken Pit setting up and those who prefer to start their tailgate even before many are awake.  We made our way over to a bunch who started their tailgate by meeting on Twitter.  The L7 Crew sets up in, Lot L7, obviously.  A group that met on Twitter as Jets fans and decided to have a Jets tailgate group.  Erik Manassey of Jets Twit was there, and Twitter users @L7Tailgate, @JetsBoy, @LaPortal, amongst others.  They have a certain food I really wanted to try, but did not have.  They call it the “Rex Ryan”  A hot dog, wrapped in a cheeseburger, wrapped in bacon.  I brought along a Vytorin AND a Lipitor just in case.  We will be going back to try that and get some words with them as to how Twitter has helped improve their Jets game day experience.

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After there we started talking with a gentleman who was telling me about his PSL issues.  Turns out, the Jets moved his PSL payment due November 1st to next year.  To try and make it easier to sell them, they pushed off peoples payments to next year in order to sell the off faster.  Now this is just one annual payment.  But this is something that will not happen again.  The Jets made certain concessions not just to help fans with payments, but to make it easier on them to offload the PSLs.  The Jets want to come across like they care about their fans, but the fans think differently from what they tell me.  This fan also told me his friends were coming soon and one was a guy named Kevin who drove a Jets hearse.  I met Kevin during the Baltimore game and could not wait to see him again.  Also coming was long time season ticket holder Ken ikowski, who I have interviewed over the past few years.  It is amazing who you run into in the parking lot.

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Sixto and I were on a schedule and we spent some time with Ken and Kevin as they pulled in for a bit.  Always fun to see what Kevin puts in the casket in the hearse.  Now I was not expecting to see some old faces from the Jets Pack over by where Ken was tailgating.  It seems one of the Jets Pack founders Caesar and a few others set themselves up over there, not where Richie and a few others were set up some weeks back.  Seems Cesar never got a straight answer from Richie about where to set up and many tailgate where Cesar has been setting up.  Cesar told me about 80% of the old Jets Pack did not buy a PSL, they did not feel it was worth the investment.  So they get about 10-15 per game now, a large drop.  Where I saw Richie set up there was maybe about three or four.  The PSLs took this longtime group and separated them to a point where their game day tailgating experience is no longer the same.  Cesar looked like it was not as enjoyable anymore.

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By this time we had a scheduled interview with Don LaGreca.  Don does the Jets pregame and post game show on 1050 ESPN Radio along with New York Jets alum Greg Buttle.  Don is also on the Michael Kay show on 1050 during the week.  Now they used to broadcast outside Gate D of the old stadium.  Made it easy to walk right up and talk with them.  With the new stadium, one has to present their ticket just to be able to walk around outside the stadium.  Since I am not a ticket holder, I had to wait outside.  Also, since i have no media credentials as Bruce Speight would say” I am technically not the media”. I could not get even close to inside.  I called Don and he was able to do the interview before going inside which was great.  Always a plus to get some face time with a broadcaster who not just has face time with fans but hears from them while on the air.  He does provide a unique perspective.  I wish more in the media/broadcasting industry would be as open as Don.  I have tried contacting Mike Francessa and got nowhere.

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We met up with Mary Lou Wilson and her son Tommy Jr.  I have written about Tommy Wilson in the past.  He was one of the more die hard Jets fans I have met.  Tommy won a Visa contest to represent the Jets in the Hall of Fame and passed away last year unexpectedly.  Mary Lou thought about giving up the seats but knew Tommy would not have wanted that.  Last year was a hard season but this year is different.  Once again, many people who used to tailgate with them at 13A are not there.  Some did not get PSL’s, others do not have the right parking permits, while others feel it is not the same.  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.  I will have more about Tommy this week along with more about my day in the lot.

We made it back to Ken and his friends not too much later.  Ken had 6 seats in the lower section.  He opted out of being a PSL holder.  Having two kids in college takes precedent over the PSLs.  But that does not stop him from cheering on the Jets.  He does still attend away game and pays less for a ticket there than at the Jets home.  Ken has paid anywhere from $25-$50 for a seat in Buffalo, New England, Miami, Cleveland, and other stadiums around the league.  He would rather pay the travel to take members of his family than the $120 a seat plus to attend a Jets home game.  He said with PSL costs and tickets one can attend an away game for less.  Even Ken’s friends who he tailgated with ofor years opted out of returning for another season.  Ken would never consider being a season ticket holder again.

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I also found the Jets Nuts and where they had moved their bus too.  They are on their 4th bus and may not make it back next year.  A lot more stuff to cover later this week about today.  It seems many people I have talked with in the past are not liking their tailgating situations.  To many, that experience alone made them want to come to the games.  Thre are many who are displaced and feeling like the team only cared about the PSLs.  Many would have liked the old parking structure.  The only ones who like it now are the ones who did not enjoy tailgating.  Maybe if the Jets took the right steps in the past and had an employee who was a liaison between them and the fans, things could have gone smoother.  Teams need to realize tailgating helps people decide weather to buy tickets or not.

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NFL Fans United & Documentary Filming Expands

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Yesterday was a day I will not forget.  Yesterday was my first time being on the sidelines for a professional football game.  Now before you ask if the NFL is playing on a Saturday, they weren’t.  It was for the UFL, United Football League.  This is the 2nd year of the league and their nearest team are the Hartford Colonials.  Last year they were the New York Sententials but never had a true home in the NY/NJ area.  Since I have been looking into cost effective football alternatives to the NFL, I thought the Colonials would be a great team to cover and see what their fans thought about the team.  Dr. Bill Chachkes of Football Reporters Online was able to get me a press pass and some time with one of the front office personnel. It may not have been the NFL sidelines, but to me, professional football is professional football.

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My associate Sixto and I left early, I wanted to get there when the parking opened to see how the Colonials fans tailgate.  Took us a little over two hours to get up there but the ride was worth it.  Sixto is a great kid, he is a film student at Montclair State University and is looking to get some good experience behind the camera.  We met Dr. Chachkes and his wife and he handed us our press parking pass and my on field media pass.  Unfortunately, I did not get a press pass for Sixto.  Bill informed us Quiznos was giving away free tickets to the game.  So that is how we got Sixto into the game.  By the time we made it over to Rentschler Field, where the UConn Huskies play football, there was not too much time left for tailgating.

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Sixto and I set out and we covered a lot of ground, not much ground to cover there.  About 5-6 rows of parking on each side as there were not as many fans tailgating like at a New York Jets game.  They had a stage set up for a live band, some inflatable sections where kids jousted and a mechanical bull tossed others around.  Plus some local sponsor booths and some role playing Colonials were there in full uniform.  There was a moment on stage where they had wheelchair boxing, yes, wheelchair boxing.  The boxing is done to help give those less fortunate a boost to their self esteem and make them feel that they can do anything.  It was fun to watch as many fans cheered them on.  After visiting those areas, we moved on to find some tailgaters to talk to.

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We found very few fans willing to talk to us.  Many were enjoying the games for the first time while few have been to previous games.  The ones that did talk to us are fans of NFL teams as well.  We found New York Giants fans, Jets fans, Patriots fans, and a Philadelphia Eagles season ticket holder.  Those we talked to have been to Giants and Jets games, but were never season ticket holders.  They felt it was too far for them to travel to the games on a constant basis.  However, they did become season ticket holders of the Colonials.  Reason being they were a closer franchise, $60 per seat for the whole season which is four games, and the players were from UConn and other local areas.  They also have former NFL players on the team.

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As we walked, there were more families having fun than the usual “beer drinking guy” crowds I find at Jets games.  The UFL’s prices make it easier to bring the family to enjoy a game.  Now the tailgates may not be super huge or have the flare of ones i have been to at NFL games, but it still had that warm friendly atmosphere.  People still offered us food and the occasional adult beverage.  The people may still support heir favorite NFL team, but they will also support the Colonials in the same manner.  This is what the UFL needs, fans willing to not just show support but to bring their friends to experience it for themselves.  It is always fun to see who tailgates.  That is where they true nature of the fan comes out.  No one I have come across has not been hospitable or unruly.

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About 20 minutes before kickoff I signed in and got my press vest.  I was smiling the entire time.  I Was ecstatic.  I was actually one of the media who gets to be on the sidelines to film and report.  Whereas Bruce Speight of the New York Jets said “I was technically not the media”.  I dropped my stuff off in the press room and proceeded to head out onto the field.  Felt strange looking up to the stand from the field, usually the other way around for me.  I got some great shots of the fans from the field as well as both teams.  I even managed to get some great footage of former San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jeff Garcia, who is the QB for the Omaha Nighthawks.  The action on the field was exciting.  Every player played their hearts out and gave the fans what they came to see, true professional football.

I was approached by a Connecticut State Trooper on the field before the 2nd half began, his name was Danny.  He asked me where I was from and who I was shooting for.   I told him where I was from and that I was filming a football documentary where the basis was about the New York Jets and their fans.  He then proceeds to tell me he bleeds green.  He was a New York Jets fan for a long time.  His brother was on the waiting list for season tickets for about 15 years.  Once the Jets went through their season ticket holder base to sell the PSL’s his brother received a call fast for season tickets.  His brothers seats are in the upper bowl just below the catwalk, really high up.

Danny then says he remembers seeing some footage on the internet about some guy who was being followed by a cameraman looking for blue collar fans to talk to about the PSL situation.  I informed him that was me.  What are the odds I go to a Hartford Colonials game and talk to a State Trooper who has seen footage I have put out on the internet about my documentary?  It made me feel proud to know I have had others take not of what I am doing and behind my work.  Of everything that could have happened that was something I will always remember.  It let me know what I was doing was the right thing, that I was being heard even if no one was letting me know it.

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The entire time I was on the field the fans were into the game.  Fans did the wave and kept it going all around the stadium.  One far even dressed as a Colonial from the 1770’s.  They had a great fan base that showed they were excited to see the Colonials play their brand of professional football, even if they did lose by a small margin.  I walked around the entire field and got shots from every angle.  I loved ever minute being there and excited about any future opportunity it may bring.  Even though I write for internet websites and do independent filming, I felt like I was treated like any other member of the traditional media.

After the game I had the camera set up in the post game conference area.  A section where the press hears from the coaches and players about the game then proceeds to ask them questions about the game.  There may not have been many members of the press in there but it was a thrilling experience to be the only one there with a video camera to get footage.  After that I interviewed David Turner, the Colonials Personnel Director who had previously worked for Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders.  He was able to give me some insight into the differences between the NFL and the UFL.  His interview adds a perspective into NFL alternatives that is detrimental to the documentary.  A viewpoint not many can provide.

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Saturday’s experience was one I want to build on.  I have to see what else I can do to tell the stories not many tell.  To give a fan perspective the traditional reporters do not tell.  Majority of the time it is game statistics, plays, and what happens on the field.  Many seem to forget the fans perspective and what brings them out.  The UFL understands this and seems they know what it means to build that bond between the team and their fans.  They bring together fans of many NFL teams that would normally be at each other throats.  Instead, they all cheer for their local team, united under one flag that flies up in Hartford.

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Are There Pro Football Alternatives To The NFL?

As a New York Jets fan I really do not follow any pother football team.  They have been my life since I was a kid.  I root for the Giants when the Jets have not made the playoffs and the University of Michigan Wolverines a few years before Tyrone Wheatley was a running back there.  I wanted to go to Michigan but that was a path not taken.  I have been trying to figure out what other football alternatives there are out there for those in the New York area.  I know there is college football.  Many seem to like that, especially if you are an alumni of a certain college or university.  But I am talking about football at the professional or semi pro level.

When I was at the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, they had a whole room dedicated to those leagues that popped up to compete against the NFL.  A whole room of failed football organizations and the teams that payed in them.  I am sure Vince McMahon of the WWE does not want to be associated with the failed XFL, or mentioned in the same sentence.  The was the AFL, USFL, XFL, World League, NFL Eirpoe, AAFL, and countless others.  That is only counting outdoor leagues, not indoor football.  We had the AFL, AF2, IFL, AIFA, CIFL, AIFL, IFA, and many regional indoor leagues.  Some teams switch leagues to get better exposure.  Who can keep track of them all.

In the New York Metropolitan area there aren’t many other teams outside the New York Jets or Giants.  There were the New York/New Jersey Hitmen, New Jersey Generals, New York Dragons, New York/New Jersey Knights, New York Stallions, New York Stars, and others that have folded over time.  Besides the Jets and Giants, there are a few that are out there now & recently folded that many may not know about.  They cover both indoor and outdoor football.

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The New Jersey Revolution were members of the American Indoor Football Association and ceased operations after completing their first season in the AIFA. They existed from 2005-2010.  The team was based in Morristown, New Jersey, played their home games at the George Mennen arena and was sponsored by the U.S. Army. The Revs ticket price was $10 a game.  In 2006 they played for the Great Lakes Indoor Football League.  2007-2009 they played in the Continental Indoor Football League.

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In their first (and only) AIFA season, the NJ Revolution were an absolute disaster going 0-14 on the season. They lost 6 home games at the George Mennen Arena, all 7 road games and one neutral site game played June 12, 2010 at the Sun National Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ where for some reason they were considered the road team losing to the Harrisburg Stampede 96-44. Harrisburg was stopped on the goal line looking to break the 100 point mark as time mercifully expired. This neutral site game was announced originally as an exhibition contest but for unexplained reasons is listed in the final overall AIFA league stats on the AIFA official website.

The purpose of this game was to announce that in 2011 the Trenton Steel would be joining the AIFA. It was announced that the Trenton Steel ownership group which includes Rich Lisk, former General Manager of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League had purchased the AIFA rights for the entire State of New Jersey. Revolution Owner and General Manager Rob Testor vehemently denied at this June 12, 2010 neutral site game that the Revolution would be forced to move out of New Jersey or cease operations.

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The New Jersey Revolution issued this press release on September 8, 2010:

The NJ Revolution was founded in October of 2005. A franchise that has lasted through all the harsh economic times has decided to change its focus and direction. After enjoying 5 years as a professional arena/indoor football team from 2006 until 2010 and playing in numerous top level venues on the east coast and mid west, the franchise and parent company have decided to take the next few years to concentrate on building a national sports venture with a much broader scope and outreach. It’s time for the company to build on a bigger and brighter future. The Revs, as the fans have named them, brought affordable family fun to the community while interacting with many local and state wide charities and youth groups. The company often donated game tickets, their time and also made numerous monetary donations to charitable organizations. In the coming years, we hope to extend our sphere of positive influence to a greater area and audience. In the meanwhile, the company wishes to thank all those who supported them and were a part of the Revolution family.

The Hartford Colonials are a professional team based in Hartford, Connecticut that plays in the United Football League. The Colonials play their home games in Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The team began as the New York Sentinels for the 2009 season, playing home games in three different New York-area stadiums, including Rentschler Field. Chris Palmer is the current head coach and general manager, after the Sentinels fired head coach Ted Cottrell following an 0–6 season in 2009.
The team began play as the New York Sentinels in October 2009, with home games split between Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, New York, and Rentschler Field (one home game in each venue). The league had planned to play at least one game in New York City proper (at Citi Field), but this never materialized, and the proposed game was moved to Shuart Stadium.

In February 2010, the team moved to Hartford, Connecticut for the 2010 season, a move initially opposed by team owner Bill Mayer. Through an online vote, fans were asked to select one of four names (Hartford Knights, Hartford Guardians, Hartford Travelers or Connecticut Yankees) to become the new team name, or to suggest a name not listed. The new name was announced as being the Hartford Colonials on March 14, 2010. “Colonials” was not one of the four names voters could choose from, but was said to become an “overwhelming favorite” among the fan suggested names.

Northland AEG, L.L.C., the operators of Rentschler Field, purchased a stake in the franchise upon the team’s arrival in Hartford, though exactly what size share the company owns is unknown.

I have already been to the New Jersey Revolution games and they were fun.  Lot of stories there for another time.  But with indoor football there is no tailgating, one thing I missed.  I may have to write an article about my experience with them alone.  Not to mention some of the stories I heard from the players.  I will be attending my first UFL game this Saturday as the Hartford Colonials take on the Omaha Nighthawks.  I can not wait to see how the fans tailgate and what they think of the UFL.  It will add an interesting perspective to the documentary and how football fans look for other ways to find that football alternative.

NY Jets Need To Show More Fan Appreciation

I hate the time in between home games.  I think some season it is too long.  The first week of the season was great, two homes games within a week.  The Jets have their home games spread out too far this season.  There are a lot of fans who feel the same way.  Others just go to those away games and tailgate there if they can drive to them.  The ones one has to fly to are not as easy to tailgate at.  Makes it hard to check your grill and cooler in at the terminal.  But some fans are so die hard they will follow their team anywhere.

All this time between games is hard when one loves to tailgate.  Yeah one can have friends over the house to watch a game on TV and barbecue but it is not the same.  It is never the same experience when you are not at the game.  I know many fans are experiencing it for the first time this season, not being a season ticket holder.  All because of not wanting to purchase a PSL.  Many of those fans had their seats for several years.  I am not talking about the ones who were only at Giants Stadium.  I am talking about the ones who came over from Shea Stadium and the Polo Grounds.  The ones who were there for the team and gave their hard earned money to support them when no one else would.

I am a big fan of Pink Floyd.  Great music, great stage shows, and their lyrics tell a story not too many know about.  Pink Floyd were formed in 1965, and originally consisted of Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Richard Wright, and Syd Barrett.  In 1968, David Gilmour joined the line-up. Barrett was soon removed, due to his increasingly erratic behavior due to his continued abuse of psychedelic drugs.  Once Barrett left the band, the other continued on to great worldwide success.  But it was Barrett’s songwriting ability and use of sound composition with Nick Mason that helped to develop what Pink Floyd would be without Barrett.  Once David Gilmour rook over for Syd Barrett, Roger Waters became the main songwriter.  The sound developed and all of the songs were dedicated to Syd Barrett.

Syd Barrett helped define who Pink Floyd would be.  If it is was not for his influence, there would be no albums like Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here among others.  They went on to dedicate every album, performance, and song lyrics to him.  They always wanted Syd to be there and be a part of the band.  But Syd sank deeper into his own self and psyche.  Pink Floyd never lost track of who helped to get them started and noticed for their music.  They always loved their friend and never lost sight of who they wanted to thank for their music.  Every concert began with them saying :”For Syd”.  Every album, every song has hidden meaning in wishing Syd was with them.

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The New York Jets and other professional teams should learn something from them.  Thanking those who have been with you since the very beginning.  Helping you get to the point where you are at now.  If it was not for the fans buying those season tickets for the Titans of New York games in the AFL, there would be no New York Jets today.  Those fans stuck with their team no matter what and were there for them and continued to buy those season tickets.  You will never see a fan be inducted into the Jets “Ring of Honor” and Fireman Ed does not count.  I am talking about the fans like Tommy Wilson, The Jet Pack and countless others who have been with the team for over 45 years.  The ones who have been fans longer than anyone has worked for the team.  Even longer than Woody Johnson being the owner.

The thank you does not need to come in a commemorative ticket holder to showcase your season ticket for being the first to have a PSL in the new stadium.  That goes out to everyone.  EVen stockholders get dividends if a company makes a profit.  Being a PSL holder in a way makes one a stockholder.  You paid your money to hold a seat and pay for the new stadium.  Ever PSL holder has stock in the new stadium.  Every PSL holder deserves a vote and a piece no matter how much they paid for one.  Instead, the team thanks the ones who pay more than those who just paid.  The Jets need to realize a thank you needs to be done on a more personal level.  I am sure Woody Johnson does not know or did not thank the dedicated fans who kept their seats since the 1960’s, since their “records only go back to 1977”.

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Myself With Woody Johnson

Mark Cuban as an owner even sits court-side by the fans and not up in his box.  When was the last time a Jets owner sat down with the fans?  I am not talking about Woody walking through the parking lot during tailgating because it is a nice PR moment and “shows” he cares.  I am talking about Woody Johnson sitting in the seats along the 50 yard line or in the end zone to see who the true fans are.  When was the last time he had a 40 plus year season ticket holder in his box as a thank you for all the years of dedicated to the team?  I am sure never.  That is something you will never see.  A team owner bringing regular fans into his owner’s box as a good gesture of thank you.  Only the ones who are high profile client’s, high profile friends (Michael Douglas), or anyone else that looks good on camera.  If he has brought up sick kids or ones associated with a charity then that is a good sign.

I guess what I am trying to say through all this and the Pink Floyd reference is that I do not forget those who helped to being the New York Jets to where they are today.  This documentary is about them and their dedication.  I am not giving them just one day or thanks but a film dedicated to them, and my father.  Thanking them for their years of service to a team who has not won a Super Bowl in over 40 years.  The Jets have the longest drought of winning a championship than any other New York area professional team.  The Nets won the ABA championship in the 1970’s and I am counting that.  A highlight reel with their moments, something no professional team has ever done for fans.

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I do not think any team, including the Jets have a fan relations coordinator.  Someone who is the link between the fans and the team.  This is something that is needed.  These teams need to keep in mind if there were no fans, they would have no one to play in front of.  No sponsors, no endorsements, just a bunch of guys playing ball.  The fans are the ones who make professional sports a success.  They are the ones who should be thanked in more ways than one.  Not thanked because of how big their wallet is.  I guess it is up to me to thank the Jets fans for their years of dedication.  Their years of coming to cold weather games sitting outside when the team was 4-12.  It takes a fan to thank the fans.

NY Jets Tailgating Creates Friends & Memories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jets Tailgating Changes In Many Ways, But Still Fun

Sunday turned out to be a great day for a lot of people.  Before the Jets beat the Patriots 28-14, the Jet faithful were having a great day getting ready for the game.  Since it was a Sunday, people arrived faster and had enough time to get set up and tailgate the day away.  I like the 4 PM kick off time.  It may eat into the day a little, but it gives everyone good prep time to get there and have fun before the game.  Met some new fans out there.  Looking for first time tailgaters and season ticket holders.  So walking around seeing old and new faces makes this a season to witness.  In a way, it is the changing of the guard.  New era of football experience in the New York era.  Feel’s a little more like George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

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Was fun to meet some new fans and get opinions on what they paid for. This new parking structure you find both old and new faces.. We came across a lot of blacktop chef’s. Two different types with some mighty big rigs. One in Yellow Lot J and one in Green Lot F. The Lot J one were the guys form The Smoken Pit on Staten Island, NY. This was the first game for his pit. They had wings, burgers, dogs, brisket, ribs, nachos, and more. He does it with his friends and also rents it out. Sunday was a day to break it in for football. The other big grilling set up in Lot J come every couple games and just use it with friends and family. Form Long Island, the had sausage and peppers, steak, ribs, burgers, and a great day of food prepared. I will have pictures later in the week.

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Seems everyone we went to was warm and inviting. Many long time ticket holders eager to talk about past seasons and other stadiums they have been to. Everyone was joyous and and wanted to feed us. We must of shared at just about every tailgate we went to. That is what I love about the Jets fans. They are always willing to share their bounty. Everyone is proud of their set up and their food. It was an endless buffet that every fan contributed to. No one wanted the day to end.

One fan we did stop and talk to was Michael Finizio. He was a former Giants season ticket holder who just became a Jets season ticket holder. Complaining about how the Giants charged more for a PSL and tickets than the Jets did. That was his reason, lower prices with the Jets. Thought both the Mara’s and Tisch’s could stick it and felt Woody Johnson was more accommodating to his fans. Seems many have their opinion on each team’s decision to institute the PSL’s. Another Jets fan, who paid $75 to park his camper, thought they should get free electric for that price. He said they had to pay mroe while others who took up two parking spots should pay more than their $25.

In one of the Green lats we came across a limo driver whose limo gets rented for Jets and Giants tailgates. He has clients from Long Island who pay by the hour for him to sit there as they tailgate out of the back of his limo. They managed to save a piece of fillet Mignon for him. A couple of ladies from ESPN made the trek down from Bristol. One was a Jets fan and the other a Pats fan. Neither wanted to be seen with the other but still tailgated together. A lot of verbal jabs were made but it was all in good fun. No one got out of hand.

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The prices at Lobel’s/Weber grills was outrageous though. Seeing those prices and the ones inside the stadium made one ponder who are the games being catered to? What fans with what pickets are they looking to attract? I am going to let the price;s speak for themselves.

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There were some groups missing members. The Jets Pack who I have been visiting for the past two years was down a considerable amount. They have been setting up at games since 1967 and this has been their smallest turnout to date. The PSL’s forced many long time season ticket holder to opt out. Not many wanted to pay up and it left Robert Parrin and company with a smaller group than usual. What was about 40-50 is now down to less than a dozen. A lot of groups are down member from precious years. Many have said the experience is not the same but they come anyway. The Jets & Giants really do not know how much the PSL’s have hurt game day friendships.

That is one aspect I have noticed from talking to people, the loss of friends. Some only saw people at games, ones they met there and partied with. Others who are long time friends who planned the tailgates and arrived together. The younger the fans are the rowdier the tailgates are. You can see the difference in those who have been coming to game longer than those who are more recent season ticket holders. The set ups and demeanor of the people are so different. But everyone is there for the same reason, to see their team win. That is what brings everyone together.

Everyone was ecstatic with a win over the Patriots. The attitude of the fans before the game let the team know how much they wanted a Gang green win. The team knows when their fans are into the game. With the home crowd as the 12th man, there was no way the Jets would lose to Tom Brady and the Pats. Fans were letting others know how much they hated the Patriots. We even came across our second Revis Island. Fans are getting more creative and letting everyone know how much they care about their team. I will have more later in the week. Too much to cover in one post.

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New York Jets vs New England Patriots Motivation

I wanted to give everyone a little motivation before the Jets game tomorrow.  Knowing Tom Brady and The Patriots are coming to the Meadowlands with a winning record in New Jersey of 17-10 does not bode well for Gang Green.  But the two teams have a 50-50-1 overall record playing each other.  But the Jets are hungry for a win after the abysmal 10-9 loss from the Baltimore Ravens.  A couple of die hard Jets fans performed this for me at the Jets home opener two years ago.  Still one of my favorite cheers to date.

Jets Fans Celebrate Season Opener & Filming Continues

Yesterday was the inaugural game for the New York Jets in their new home, the New Meadowlands Stadium.  It was a Monday Night Football game that ended in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens 10-9.  But before the game even started, many fans were still getting acclimated not just to the new stadium, but to the parking and tailgating as well.  With it being a Monday night game starting at 7 PM, it did not leave much time for those coming right from work.  Some were able to get the day off while others battled traffic and the incoming elements to get there in one piece.

The start started off great, the sun was out and had a ride schedule to get myself & my friends Paul and Sixto who were helping me film into the stadium.  Since I did not invest in a PSL or non PSL seats, there was no way I could park at the Meadowlands.  Bruce Speight from the New York Jets mentioned he might be able to get me a parking pass for $25 but that never happened.  So Sal & Carmine who run one of the best tailgates was to be our ride into the parking area.  Sal & Carmine have been “base camp” while filming the past few years.  They have been great and so have the guys who party with them.  But since Sal was taking a different route, we had to meet him close to the stadium and they picked us up as we made our way over.

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Sal                                                                          Carmine

Just trying to find the right sport to enter the parking at the stadium was not too easy, for the first time.  A lot of people were waiting on long lines just to get into the parking section they wanted.  Depending on the lot you wanted to get into depending on how long of a line you waited in.  We were headed into Yellow Lot J and the line was not too long.  Some people got into the lot a little early and were asked to leave, then come back.  One of Carmine’s friends made it into the lot.  They asked him to leave around 1:52 PM and to come back in when it opened, 8 minutes later.  Crazy.  The thought they were making it easier for everyone to park but people just felt waiting on the lines were stupid.

After we got ourselves set up we decided to get a lay of the new land.  Felt weird walking across the parking lot where the old Giants Stadium stood.  Was a strange feeling not seeing it there.  I saw it come down for weeks in front of my eyes.  Just hard to stand on the exact site where it stood and knowing the parking structure was now sinking into the lot.  A huge stadium was there just a few months ago.  And now, just a basic parking lot.  The Green parking where the Club and Suite PSL holders park is the site of where the stadium once stood.  I am sure many others feel strange about parking and tailgating on the site of the old stadium.

It seems Weber Grills and Lobel’s of New York have teamed up to give fans an option in tailgating.  If there are fans who do not want to bring the grill, food, or even a cooler to the tailgate, Weber & Lobel’s will do it for them.  Yes, one can either rent the equipment & buy the raw ingredients or have them cook it for you there.  That is, if you do not mind paying $18 for a steak sandwich.  It was very pricey, once again it shows the clientele they are catering to at the new stadium.   They had all kinds of cuts of meat and chefs who were ready to prepare them all for you.  They will offer these services every Jets and Giants home game.  Keep in mind their stand is set up between Lots F & G of the Green parking.

From there were toured around the new lots.  Not too many people were there yet.  Was somewhat empty in many lots until people got out of work.  We did however come across some people partying it up and did not care who was around.  There was the 40 foot tall inflatable gorilla one fan had purchased off Ken Pikowski that wore his Jets shirt.  One tailgate had their own Revis Island complete with Revis and Ravens jerseys.  But everyone still had opinions on the PSL’s.  Everyone did not like the fact they were used but felt if they wanted to see their team live, in person,  they had no other choice.  Some were even proud to pay to them and said those who didn’t were f’n morons who were stupid not to since they did.

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Paul, Sixto, and I went all the away across to yellow Lot D by Route 120 to visit a guy who had a Jets hearse with a casket in back with a Ray Lewis jersey.  Another one not proud to pay for the PSL’s but felt the need to as he wanted to keep coming to the stadium to see the Jets.  Seems many who have the cheapest PSL’s thought they did the least of all the PSL evil’s.  Seems not many are proud they have them, but still feel fortunate to have kept their tickets.  A confusing situation to some.  The sky was looking very ominous.  The clouds were dark and looking like they were about to open up very soon.

As we were walking back over to Sal & Carmines, I managed to get some words with some Baltimore Ravens fans.  They had to endure PSL’s back in the late 1990’s.  They instituted them not too long after the Carolina Panthers brought them into the NFL.  Seems if you wanted seats 3 rows back from the 50 yard line all one had to pay was $3,000 for a PSL.  Higher up in the mezzanine it was $750 a seat.  Now this was over 11 years ago but still a bargain.  They said for the prices they were asking there was not much of a complaint by the fans.  Even the ticket prices were low.  But the Ravens fans did feel the Jets and Giants prices were too high and felt sorry for the New York fans.  Some ravens fans even sold their PSL’s making a profit.  One who had two $2,500 PSL’s sold them off for $8,000 a piece not long after they won the Super Bowl.

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The closer we got to Sal and Carmine’s the closer rain was coming.  We got pulled over to some Jets fans burning a Ravens hat on their grill.  Some Ravens fans came over and thought it was cruel.  Come on.  That is how fans are.  Well, maybe after a few beers.  Before the rain started to fall we got some footage of a band playing at one of the tailgates.  Seems every year some group has a band playing.  We managed to get all the gear away just before the clouds opened up on us.  Lightening was coming down pretty close by so we got out of there as fast as we could.  Tailgating was cut short by at least an hour and 20 minutes.

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As we were walking out to our car parked on the other side of route 3, the lines getting into the stadium were jammed.  Seemed no matter what road you came in on there were long lines backed up at different points.  Those who came from work or any time after 5 PM had to wait in long lines as the rain poured down.  It was coming down heavy at times and I Know it is not a good feeling coming to a game in the rain, stuck in traffic , and you think you will be parking far.  But I guess with the new parking some felt that no matter how long they waited, they would have a close enough spot.  Unless you had to park over by the Izod Center and had to walk all the way over to the stadium.  Guess everyone learned to get there early from now on and try to avoid the lines.

Now that I know the parking lot sections better it will make it easier to find people I would like to go back and interview.  Plus, I will be finding out from others their input for the season.  I want to see if by the end of the year if the Jets are not living up to expectation, how people feel about their PSL purchases.  Will they think they invested in a team that did not live up to their expectations.  Will they stand by a team that is all hype and no bite.  Only time will tell.  One game down and seven to go.  Still plenty of time for the Jets to turn it around and give their fans something to cheer about. Read more

New York Jets Parking Lot Hierarchy

Here is the parking lot map off the New York Jets website.  Gives you an idea of what you need to spend on your seats in order to park close to the stadium.  Guess the older you are, the closer you want to park if you can not walk over from the Izod center.  Hope they have people passing out water to those walking long distances.  Either that or find a way to get handicapped parking.  But I do not think you can tailgate in handicapped parking.  Wanted to show everyone how the Jets set their parking in regards to the PSL & parking pass one bought, or did not buy.

Parking Permit Allocation:

Club Seat Holders may purchase 1 permit for every 2 seats at a cost of  $350 for the season.  PSL Seat Holders may purchase 1 permit for every 4 seats at a cost of  $250 for the season.  Upper Level Seat Holders may purchase 1 permit for every 5 seats at a cost of  $250 for the season.  SO if you do not have the number of seats purchased, you have to get your parking permit off TicketMaster or any other way you can.  Single game parking permits are $45 per game and TicketMaster charges a $5 charge on top of that.

Examples:

–           If you have three Club seats, you may purchase two parking permits.

–           If you have ten PSL seats, you may purchase three parking permits.

–           If you have six Upper Level seats, you may purchase two parking permits.

Note: If your account has seats in multiple tiers (Club, PSL and/or Upper Level), your parking allocation is based on the highest level tier of seating.

Based on your seat location, your Pre-Paid Parking Permit will allow you to park in one of the three new color-coded parking areas. The green colored lots are for Club and Suite seat holders, yellow for all PSL seat holders and orange for all Upper Level seat holders. As in past years, you will need a Pre-Paid Parking Permit to park onsite (both on the stadium and arena side).

You may not purchase more parking permits than you have been allocated. Your permit allocation is based on the chart below.
Satellite parking is available through Murray Hill Parkway, off of Paterson Plank Road and Union Avenue in East Rutherford, NJ.  The parking lot opens 4 hours prior to kickoff and closes 1 hour after end of game.  It costs $25/game which includes parking and transportation.  There are approximately 1,600 parking spots available.  Tailgating is not permitted.  It is further than the satellite parking was when it was in Lyndhurst.

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Green parking permit holders can park anywhere though.  Yellow parking permit holders can park in yellow or red spots.  I will be curious to see how the tailgating differs from parking zone to zone.  Not to mention the further you park, the earlier you will have to finish your tailgate party just to get there for the kickoff.  Will the more expensive parking areas have better tailgates?  Will the Suite and Commissioner’s Club parking even have tailgating and what culinary tastes will be served there?  Or will they still be the same no matter where you park.  Knowing Jets fans, there will be a lot of jaw jacking when fans pass though the higher priced parking on the way into the stadium.  I will soon find out.