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Giants Stadium: Now Without Walls

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Good morning again all.  Yesterday I set out to Giants Stadium once again.  Now, I did not know what to expect when I got there.  I started as I always do in Lot B.  The one that faces Route 3 and the Giants practice facility.  I snapped some pictures from that side and saw there was not much that had changed.  The minute I got to the side that faces 120, WOW!  There was not a small hole in it like last week, but a large gaping hole that is about 12% of the stadium’s facade.  You can see everything now.  Where the seats were, where you would walk along the inside, as well as right through the box seat windows.

I drove around on some roads I know I should not have been on, but did anyway.  All the press and media seem to cover is the new stadium and al its bells and whistles.  What about the old one so many memories still remain?  It is coming down right next to it and no one seems to care.  Texas Stadium had one last tailgate for their fans to show appreciation.  Did the New York Jets, Giants, or even the NJSEA offer that to the faithful Meadowlands Minions who came to the stadium every Sunday?  No, they didn’t.  Fact is all the attention is going to the new facility while the one just sits there waiting for its demise.  Pretty sad if you ask me.  I go back every week because I want everyone to remember what a great stadium it was.  It was the stadium for the fans.  The new one is more for friends of the teams, corporate groups, business partners, corporate sponsors, Woody’s friends, or anyone else with a disposable income.

I am not bitter, far from it.  I just feel the true blue collar fans got the short end of the stick.  If my father was alive, I would be taking him on every trip I make to the stadium.  He would sit there, gaze over and bring up all the stories of us at the stadium.  As I would be driving around looking for the perfect shot he would sit there smiling and laughing at our adventure together.  I keep my father in the back of my mind to remind me why I do this.  Everyone should see and know what is happening to the old stadium.  I will have more pictures up tonight once I water mark them.  Finally figured out how to do that.  For now, enjoy and remember.

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Continued fall of Giants/Jets Stadium

I know I said I would have an update this past week and a little late.  Between Passover and computer issues this was the earliest I could get on here.  Not too much has happened over one week.  One of the construction crew said the stadium will be down completely in the next month.  Finishing gutting it before they work on the outer structure.  Majority of all signs and flags are down.  Just a shell of its former self.  You can see some debris piles stacked by each gate.  Not easy to get up close and find out.  They have to do all that and still keep pace with finishing the new stadium plans on time.

Driving around it now I just keep looking at the areas I visited during tailgating.  Whole new set-up will make everyone “usual” places all new ones.  Occupying new facilities and locations will take some getting used to.  Everyone wants to find prime tailgating space in the right spot for whatever their reason.  You find your spot and it will take some getting used to.  A game or two in and everyone will have it feeling like home again.  By mid season everyone should be settled in and getting to know their new neighbors.  By the end of the season you will wonder where this one went and how fast the next one will get here.  Just to do it all over again.I hope they

There are a lot of Jets and Giants fans who will not see the stadium coming down.  Many pass by it on the way to work and do not even give it a second thought.  By the time it is down it will never look he same over there.  Xanadu also screwed things up.  A big hulking structure that is more of an eyesore than an eyesight.  When I go over to take picture, I find myself wanting to open my trunk, pull out a grill, and pop a beer.  It was the stadium I grew up in.  I sat next to my father there for many years.  Many thought of it as a second home for only 10-12 days throughout the year.  An old home torn down for a new remodeled one.

I know a lot of people who would love to be able to walk around the inside of the old stadium before they tear it down.  Such a long shot in the next month for security and safety reasons.  But then again, the Jets and Giants organizations would never do something the fans truly wanted.  The only way fans would be able to go tour the old stadium now is if they paid a hefty fee to the teams.  The teams care more about what is coming into their pockets rather than what could be taken out of it.  With PSL’s not really selling, I am sure they need to raise those funds any way they can.  If they really listened to their base of ticket holders, neither organization would be in this predicament.

Jets

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Xtra Point Football: NY Jets Fans Cornerstone Of Team & New Stadium

Hello football fans.  I figured that would be the best way to open up.  I would like to thank Xtra Point Football for allowing me the room to talk about a growing concern in this country.  The fact that professional sports has been changing and not for the better.  Professional teams are always looking for a way to increase profit.  Some increase ticket prices, some increase luxury seating, and others create a whole new stadium with state-of-the-art features & amenities.  It seems the PSL has been a viable alternative for some time now.  Organizations figure they can charge fans additional costs to help fund and pay for these new stadiums or renovations.

I am a life long New York Jets fan.  My father had our season tickets since the then New York Titans of the AFL first offered them.  My father and two friends were waiting for New York Giants season tickets but the wait was too long.  The minute the Titans offered them, the three of them got in at the first opportunity.  The tickets have been in my family forever.  Well, until now.  I have not purchased a PSL nor will I.  I cannot afford it.  I am not in favor of it.  Not too many are actually.  But that does not mean I will not cheer them on.  I will always be a die-hard Jets fan, it is in my blood.

Once I heard the Jets were going to use PSL’s to help finance the new stadium, I knew many others would be as outraged as I am.  What started out just creating viral videos turned into a documentary.  I started filming in August of 2008 during the preseason and have not stopped.  There is more to this story than two teams charging PSLs for a new stadium.  There are lifelong fans who followed this team everywhere, except into the new Meadowlands stadium.  The Jets fans themselves have their own stories, intertwined with the history that is the new York Jets.  From simple tailgating with friends to finding husband’s and wives.  Many stories have come to an end with the old stadium.  Many new chapters for some will be written this September.

newstadium2I am doing this documentary, for now titled Gang Greed, solely on the New York Jets.  I am not a full time filmmaker and do not have the time to cover the Giants as well.  I wish I could.  But when you are a two-man team & have other jobs, you have to use the time you can.  I say two-man team because one other individual is assisting me, another life long New York Jets season ticket holder Anthony Quintano.  I feel the fans have truly not been heard. They do have a voice & deserve to have their stories told. Some have followed the team longer than anyone has worked in the organization itself. I do not want to go into any details yet about the fans, Jets, or even the documentary.  I would rather give a history and overview first on what a PSL is and how it is used.

In the late 1980’s, America’s major league sports teams were caught between the need for newer and larger facilities and the public’s growing unwillingness to foot the bill. Fearful of raising ticket prices to the point of diminishing returns, teams looked for a way to raise more money without incurring more expense. Taking a cue from the options market, personal seat licenses turned out to be their ticket to easy street.  The Carolina Panthers were the first true NFL team to use PSLs to pay for a new stadium in 1996.

When you buy a personal seat license (PSL) for a stadium or arena, you buy the rights to a specific seat; say section 32, seat 3B. With this comes the right to buy the ticket for your seat for any public event that is held there. If you decline, the venue can still sell the ticket to someone else, and they don’t have to share the money with you.

If you do decide to attend an event, you still have to pay for the ticket. The PSL simply gives you the option to buy the ticket before it is offered to the public.

For fans, a PSL guarantees that they will never again miss a game of their beloved team, be it the Jets, Giants, Raptors, Cardinals or Maple Leafs. For an investor with a high tolerance for risk, the PSL is a product that can be resold, sometimes at a huge markup. For the teams and venues, the PSL is free money with an added bonus; anyone paying for a PSL is unlikely to let the seats go empty very often.

Even if they do, they still have the option of selling their tickets and making a profit.

Since its inception, PSL revenue has been a major source of income for many pro and amateur sports. The New York Giants and Jets are currently building a new stadium in the Meadowlands, and 20 percent of the $1.7 billion price tag will be covered by PSLs (to the dismay of longtime season ticket holders who suddenly have to come up with tens of thousands of dollars to secure their tickets in the new stadium.)

In 2004, Churchill Downs, home of The Kentucky Derby, sold 3,000+ 30-year PSLs for $18,000 -$75,000 each. Some colleges’ have even taken advantage of the income PSL’s can bring. Ohio State sold 40-year PSLs for its men’s basketball program for up to $15,000 each!

You can go to PSLMarketPlace.com and just pick the NFL team you want to buy a PSL for.  SeasonTicketRights.com even has Motor sports, NBA, NHL, and MLB teams in addition to the NFL.

Right now on SeasonTicketRights.com there is an auction for 4 Dallas Cowboys PSLs, Row 5, Section C136 for $250,000.  Oh, and no parking pass.  This is just for the PSLs, not the season tickets.

The resale market on PSLs is extremely volatile, and dependent largely on the success of the sports franchises that play in the venue. On eBay you could buy eight Dallas Cowboy PSLs for $160,000 or two for the Pittsburgh Steelers for $60,000. In contrast, two PSLs for the Cincinnati Bengals can be had for under $500.  Some Dallas Cowboys PSL costs are over $100,000 per seat.

newstadium3When it comes to a business model, how can you go wrong selling people the option to buy something you want them to buy anyway? Genius. Pure genius.  But for the fans, it may come at a bigger price and for some, a price many cannot afford.  We are still in a down economy and the New York Jets say they are selling PSLs and the economy is improving.  Considering they are a private company, they can say whatever they want.  The only reason they think the economy is getting better is because they are slowly selling the PSLs but nowhere close to selling all.  If my business were making a profit even I would think the economy is turning around.  Many Jets season ticket holders will not purchase a PSL and still believe the economy has not turned around yet.

This coming season will be an interesting one, not just for the Jets, but for the fans as well.  Like I have been doing the past two seasons, I will be there in the parking lot filming Gang Greed to see how many will continue on and follow a team in a place they can finally call home.  The fans there will know they helped to build the place, but at what cost? I will have more on not just the Jets, but the Jets fans and the PSLs as well.  You can go to my website at LevysBakeryProductions or QuintanoMedia for more information.

The Jets write their own story, the Jets fans write the checks for the option to have a story to tell. – David Levy

David Levy is a life long New York Jets fan. He is also a football documentary filmmaker giving Jets fans a voice in Gang Greed & sports blogger. David is also working on other various media & writing projects for others and himself, Levy’s Bakery Productions.

Jets To Play 1st Thanksgiving Game In New Stadium??

Though no official announcement has been made, by  process of elimination, all signs point to a Thanksgiving Day game featuring the Detroit Lions and the visiting New England Patriots.

From left, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Jets owner Woody  Johnson and Giants Co-Owner John Mara might have a few awkward moments  the next time they are all in the same room.

Giancarli for News

From left, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Jets owner Woody Johnson and Giants Co-Owner John Mara might have a few awkward moments the next time they are all in the same room.

With the New York Daily News’ report that the New York Jets will accept the NFL’s offer to host the Thanksgiving Day night game, the only other possible opponent for the Lions is New England.

As Mike Florio of NBC Sports explains, per network contracts, at least one AFC team must be playing in the Lions’  Thanksgiving game, to be broadcast on CBS. The only AFC opponents the Lions will play at home next season are the Patriots and the Jets, pointing to a Tom Brady-Matthew Stafford matchup at Ford Field on Nov. 25.

It will be the third Thanksgiving Day game between the two teams since 2000.  The Lions won the first meeting 34-9, with the Patriots evening the score by beating the Lions 20-12 in 2002.  The official announcement, including the Jets’ opponent on Thanksgiving, will be on Monday. The NFL will release the full regular season schedule in mid April.

Until then, here are the Lions’ 2010 opponents:

Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams

Away: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Giants To Jets: Heads We Win, Tails You Lose

The Coin Toss Heard ’Round the Meadowlands

From the time the Jets abandoned their plans for a stadium within the city proper and agreed to go halfsies with the Giants on a new facility at the Meadowlands, we’d assumed that their respective owners would be too busy jumping around in piles of money to quarrel over the logistics of their shared ownership arrangement. But that’s not quite how it’s playing out.

Technically, the current squabble over who gets to host the first regular-season game at the Meadowlands isn’t between the two teams, but between the Jets and the league over the coin toss the NFL used to give the game to the Giants. (To bring you up to speed, if you haven’t been following along: Both teams wanted to host the first game, so the Jets suggested a coin flip to decide who’d get it. The NFL told them no, then flipped a coin anyway, without representatives of either team present. The Giants won the coin toss and will host the first game, with the Jets playing at home on Monday Night Football the following day.) Woody Johnson’s irked over the process — and the Giants are predictably pleased — but Johnson knows that more than a coin flip was at stake.

The Jets want to establish early and often that the Giants aren’t the primary tenants in the new building, as they were often perceived to be in the old place. Hosting the first game would be symbolic more than anything — they’ll get plenty of exposure on the Monday-night game, after all — but it would give them a chance to celebrate having a stadium they can kind of call their own, and to remind people (in case they needed to be reminded) that this as-yet-unnamed venue is their home, too.

Jets Owner Woody Johnson 'Outraged' Over NFL Coin Flip for New Stadium OpenerNew York Jets owner Woody Johnson signs autographs for fans in Florham Park, N.J., Wednesday, May 17, 2006. Jets players and team executives were in Florham Park to celebrate the town’s being picked as the site for the Jets’ new training facility. (AP Photo / Mike Derer)

Giants Get Home Opener; Jets Get MNF Opener

The New York Giants and New York Jets will both host games at their new home, Meadowlands Stadium, on the opening weekend of the 2010 regular season.

The Giants will play Sunday afternoon, September 12, and the Jets will play the following day in the first nationally televised Monday Night Football game of the season. Opponents will be announced soon, as the league is still completing the 2010 schedule.

New York Jets players take to the field for their final regular  season game at Giant Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, January 3,  2010 file photo. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

After deciding to have both teams play at home on opening weekend, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell resolved the issue of which team plays first with a coin flip.  Woody  Johnson has long been trying to get the Super Bowl to come to New York and the New York Daily News is reporting that Johnson’s sudden public outrage at Goodell may put the possibility of the big game coming to the Big Apple in jeopardy.

Goodell flipped the coin last Friday with his staff at the NFL office, then notified both teams.  But shouldn’t there have been at least one representative from each team been there to witness it?

In addition, the NFL announced that the Jets will host the first NFL game at the new stadium during the preseason in August.  That still does not sit well with Jets fans.  Jets fans took a back seat to Giants fans in Giants Stadium and it seems it is happening all over again.

LT and Jets Close To Signing, But Not Close Enough

LaDainian Tomlinson, the sixth-leading rusher in NFL history, is talking to the New York Jets about the future after nothing came of his talks with the Vikings.

What happens to running backs when they turn 30?  That’s a rhetorical question if there ever was one but do their skills erode to such a degree that they are no longer serviceable?  Was there a game, a quarter, or even a play that stole their magic and turned them from a god of the gridiron into a mere mortal?

LaDainian TomlinsonPhysically, they look the same.  The number on their jersey hasn’t changed nor does a red cross mysteriously materialize on their helmet.  Intellectually, we must assume they are sound and their faculties are still intact.  So what actually happens?  The simple answer is, their body can no longer execute the split second commands that their brain demands.

Nostalgia aside, does LaDainian Tomlinson have anything left in the tank?  As a starting running back the answer is no.  However, can he be the difference between you winning and losing your paycheck on the ticket you bought on the Jets to win the AFC East?  You can bet on it!

The Jets are a team that is on the rise but they’ve got those pesky Patriots always standing in their way.  They continue to retool a team that was about as good as it has been in years but if they get Tomlinson, they add a whole new dimension to a team that led the NFL in rushing last year.  Tomlinson can not only spell rookie sensation Shonn Greene but more importantly allows Mark Sanchez a safety valve coming out of the backfield as Tomlinson is a superb route runner and still has the soft hands to catch anything thrown his way.

Defenses around the NFL will have to take note and the AFC East crown may just change hands if Tomlinson decides green and white are now his favorite colors.

Ladanian Tomlinson  is the latest example of pure natural talent and God given ability succumbing to the merciless hand of Father Time.  When superstars are in their prime they have no equal.  Superlatives abound and the hero worship of both the fans and the media spirals so out of control it becomes commonplace to rank the newest big thing as the best of his generation if not among the greatest who ever played the game.

The coronation isn’t complete until the media begins reporting how smart, savvy, funny, generous, kind or any other adjective that further adds to the mystique.  Naturally this creates the illusion that this man is not only gifted athletically but spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and there’s a better than even money chance he calls his mother every day.

Only a few stand the test of time after the cheers have faded and their face no longer routinely graces the covers of magazines and newspapers.  Running backs like Jim Brown, Walter “Sweetness” Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmit Smith and the reviled but nonetheless supremely talented O.J. Simpson are universally acknowledged to be in anyone’s top ten list.

Today, many would say no but once his shadow fades and he hangs up his cleats for good, only then will we really know where Tomlinson sits among the pantheon of the greatest ever to juke, jive and steamroll their way into the endzones of the NFL and the hearts of football fans everywhere.  Until then, did you hear that Adrian Peterson reads a book everyday and donates his entire paycheck to the United Way?

Vikings fans who want LT on board will be happy to see NFLshop.com is leaning their way. The site already is selling LT jerseys with a yet-to-be-determined number. For a mere $80 bucks, you can get one. What’s unclear is whether the NFL site is jumping the gun or breaking news.

Jets Still Have Items Left On Their Offseason Checklist


The Jets may have made the AFC Championship Game this past season, but their regular season record was 9-7.

If they want to take the next step they have a number of holes to fill on the team.

They started off the off-season by trading for Antonio Cromartie, filling their need of a number two corner to play opposite Darrelle Revis.

However, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Primary Needs

Defensive End

Shaun Ellis is no spring chicken and will turn 33 before next season starts and Marques Douglas, also 33, is currently an unrestricted free agent, who is drawing some interest around the league.

Mike DeVito is a nice backup, but would be stretched as a starter.  Even if they do end up bringing Douglas back, the Jets need to get younger along the defensive front.  I expect them to give Jared Odrick a long look in the first round.

Outside Linebacker

Calvin Pace is locked into one of the starting jobs, but the Jets are in need of a pass rushed to play opposite of him.  They thought they had one in Vernon Gholston, who they drafted with the 6th pick in 2008, but he has shown nothing in his two years.

The Patriots are expected to release Adalius Thomas soon and many expect the Jets to sign him.  He and Rex Ryan go back to Baltimore, where Thomas posted his best numbers.

Safety

The trade of Kerry Rhodes left a hole at safety for the Jets.  Eric Smith is a good third safety and spot starter, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him starting 16 games.

The Jets could look at free agency to fill the hole with targets being O.J. Atogwe and Brodney Pool among others.  They could also address the need via the draft.  If they drafted a safety, I would prefer they use a middle round pick because spending a first or second round pick on a safety after trading away your starter for a fourth round pick seems counterproductive.
Secondary Needs

Wide Receiver

The Jets are set at their starting wide outs with Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery.   They could use a good slot receiver though.

Adding another receiver will only help the development of Mark Sanchez as the Jets start to open up the playbook more.

There are rumors of the Jets bringing back Laveranues Coles and also many mock drafts have had the Jets taking a receiver, most notably Golden Tate or Jordan Shipley, who I think would be a great fit as a slot receiver.

Cornerback

While the Jets did trade for Antonio Cromartie, you can never have too many good cornerbacks.  The Jets learned this first hand in the AFC Championship Game, when the Colts receivers repeatedly burned their backup corners.

Adding a cornerback to play in dime packages to keep Drew Coleman off the field and possibly challenge Dwight Lowery for nickel duties should be a priority for the Jets.

Running Back

While the release of Thomas Jones paves the way for Shonn Greene to take over as the feature back the Jets still could use another runningback.

Leon Washington is coming off a serious leg injury and Shonn Greene got nicked up a few times during his rookie season.

You need two backs in today’s NFL and if either Greene of Leon go down the Jets are in trouble.

Offensive Line

The Jets have one of the best offensive lines in the league, but a few of the starters are getting up there in age.

Alan Faneca and Damien Woody can’t be counted on to keep up their level of play for much longer and the Jets don’t have adequete replacements on their roster.

They drafted Matt Slauson in the sixth round last year and should look to add another lineman through the draft this year.

Quarterback

Kellen Clemens hasn’t shown much of anything in his four seasons in the league and Eric Ainge and Kevin O’Connell are both developmental projects.

Mark Sanchez could benefit from a veteran backup, who can mentor the young quarterback.

New York Jets Trade For Cornerback Antonio Cromartie

New York Jets Sign Cornerback Antonio Cromartie Thumbnail image for Cromartie.jpgA lot was made of how the Jets would struggle to upgrade their roster in 2010, with the Final Four Rules seriously restricting their normally-bustling activity on the free-agent market.

Well, in Rex Ryan fashion, New York raised a certain and yelled, “Screw the rules” an hour before the start of free agency.

Jets have acquired on-the-block Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie for a conditional 2011 draft pick — a second- or third-rounder, depending on playing time. And so now Cromartie is paired with Darrelle Revis to form a potentially fearsome pair of corners to patrol the New Meadowlands.

The downside for the Jets is considerable here. Cromartie had grown a reputation inside the Charger organization, from what I’ve heard, as an underachiever who’d declined as a playmaker (though he didn’t yield many big players) and had a problem with authority late in his time in San Diego. He also didn’t play a physical game, which was pretty obvious in the playoffs. Then, there are his legal issues.

The upshot is a corner as physically gifted as any in the game. He fits Rex Ryan’s desire for man-cover corners. He’ll get thrown at, to be sure, with Revis on the other side, and he’s got an 11-interception season in the books. And his presence, combined with Revis, will allow the defensive coaches all kinds of creative leeway in their rush packages.

Hard to argue the Jets didn’t just get better — if Ryan pushes the right buttons, they could be a lot better for this. But there’s significant risk here, too. Should be interesting.

Thomas Jones Released by NY Jets

New York Jet running back Thomas Jones was released by the organization Monday, multiple outlets report.

As the free agency period gets ready to begin on Friday, Mike Tannenbaum, general manager for the Jets, said that he informed Jones of the team’s decision and the reasons for it.

“Thomas joined us three years ago and has been a productive, passionate leader both on and off the field who has served as a positive influence for our younger players,” Tannenbaum remarked on NJ.com. “We were fortunate to acquire Thomas and wish him the best.”

This upcoming season, Thomas was to make $2.8 million, and additionally, was owed a roaster bonus of $3 million.  After failed attempts to come to terms on a new deal in which the organization wanted to pay less money, Thomas’ tenure with the Jets has come to a close.  Other teams like Cleveland or Minnesota would be willing to pay Jones his salary.

Jones tried to negotiate a new deal last off-season as well, as the running back made only $900,000 in base salary for the 2009-10 season.  He rushed for a career-high 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Jets.  New York led the entire league in rush-yards per game.  He was a cornerstone piece which spearheaded the Jets all the way to the AFC Championship game.  A cornerstone piece that will be very hard to replace.

The news of Jones release does not sit well with his teammates.  Two separate occasions, he was elected as the “team’s most inspirational player” ESPN.com reports.

“When I got here, Thomas immediately became one of my guys,” Jet head coach Ryan remarked of Jones. “He had one of his best years last season, might have been his best. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a player and a person. This is one of the tough decisions we had to make for our organization.”

With the break-up of the two parties, the Jets will rely on Shonn Greene, who was a rookie last year out of Iowa.  Greene saw significant playing time towards the end of the season and on into the playoffs.  But will he be able to pick up where Thomas Jones left off?

While at 32, Jones has continued to produce since being acquired from the Chicago Bears.  Two seasons ago, Jones led the AFC in rushing, and this past season he finished third.  At his age, many feel that at his position of running back players begin to break down.  This is a stereotype that Jones wants no part of.

“Whoever came up with that rule obviously didn’t play running back in this league, didn’t prepare like I prepare, didn’t watch film like I watch film, didn’t take care of their body like I take care of my body,” Jones remarked during last season. “Physically, I feel like a rookie” he told ESPN.com.

Jones is renowned for his workout routine and work ethic, keeping himself in the best shape that he can.  Until his fifth season in the league, Jones never had more than 140 carries.  To put that in perspective, he had over 330 this season.