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What Makes One a Die-Hard or Dedicated Sports Fan

It has been an amazing season in the NFL.  I have not seen so many quarterback injuries and line up changes as I have seen this year.  The Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons have been leading the way not seen by their own fans let alone football fans in general.  RGIII and Andrew Luck providing their fans with a level of rookie excitement to fuel their desire to remain devoted to their team.

Every fan knows what it feels like for their team to endure a losing season.  Some fans know this better than others.  Look at the Cleveland Browns fans.  I think they have been waiting longer than many NFL fans for their team to shape up and make some run for a playoff game.  The Cleveland Browns have one of the most storied franchises in football.  I think they have waited longer than many.

We New York Jets fans have been though losing season more than we have witnessed winning seasons.  Every year we shake the Etch-A-Sketch in hopes that this year will be OUR year.  The year we make it into the playoffs and go all the way.  A chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy and show our big brother Giants that the Jets are capable of winning it all.

We have been through worse.  Jets faithful have been through a 1-15 season during the Rich Kotite era that ended in disaster.  Things could always be worse, but we expect them to be better.

This has been a tumultuous season for Gang Green and their fans.  Many felt let down by the team in their performance while other continue to support them and attend games, even in the face of jeers, boos, and the hope that the Jets will pull one out at home.  Which, they did this past Sunday against the Cardinals.

Even at the Cardinals game, before McElroy came in the fans let their presence be known.  Every fan voiced their opinion in that game.  Even though the stadium looked like Swiss cheese it was still a loud stadium.  The noise of Jets fans was something to be noted as it went in both directions.  From those who wanted to see them win while others figured these “same old Jets” would just lose.  I am glad they did not lose.

Even through fans disappointments and accolades, some believe they are more of a fan than others.  I keep hearing how some believe they are a “die-hard” fan.  That because they bleed green and show up to every game, that makes them a die-hard fan.  Sorry to say but it does not.

Here is a true definition of the term  “die-hard”:
die-hard also die·hard (dhärd)

adj.  Stubbornly resisting change or clinging to a seemingly hopeless or outdated cause.

n. One who stubbornly resists change or tenaciously adheres to a seemingly hopeless or outdated cause:

In regards to the true definition, One who believes they are a die-hard fan of the Jets could be using the term out of context.  I found this in a certain case.

On Facebook with a Jets blogger, he said that because he purchased his season tickets year after year does not make him stupid, it makes him a die-hard fan.

Does it?

No, It doesn’t.  If you buy tickets year after year in hope of change and that the team will be better means you are dedicated, not a die-hard fan.  A die-hard fan would be in support of the current product as it is.  Resisting how things could be better but in turn, keeps cheering along its current path.

They may wear bags, but they have tickets. Dedication?

 

A dedicated fan would buy tickets year after year, support changes in the organization, and be a rock where others slowly fade away.  A dedicated fan of the Jets have been their backbone since the 1060’s.  The one’s who come back even in the face of adversity and losses.

Here is the true definition of “dedicated”:

ded·i·cat·ed  [ded-i-key-tid]

adjective    1. wholly committed to something, as to an ideal, political cause, or personal goal: a dedicated artist.

So in actuality, if you support the Jets in their present form and you keep looking for change to be positive, you are a dedicated fan.  If you want to see Mark Sanchez remain the starting QB from now until the end of his contract, you are a die-hard fan.

I believe some fans need to know the difference before they decide what term describe them most.

A person who is a fan of the Baltimore Colts or Brooklyn Dodgers today is a die-hard fan.  Being a fan of both teams from then until present days makes you a dedicated fan.

Remembering all the stats from the past fifteen years makes you a dedicated fan.

Creating a blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page to update fans in real time about the team you have been a childhood fan of for years makes you a dedicated fan.

Dressing up in paint and nothing else in 20 degrees below zero weather makes you a dedicated fan.

Packing your tailgate with your teams merchandise, wearing your teams colors every game, and buying seats year in and year out makes you a dedicated fan.  It does not mean you are more dedicated than someone else because you opt to spend more.

Anyone  who is still a Jets fan through all the team’s ups and downs, no matter who is on the field, makes everyone a true dedicated fan.  We need to be considering the roller coaster they have had us on for over forty years.  Only true, dedicated fans would stay behind a New York team like the Jets.  Ask Mets fans about dedication.

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Sunday’s Jets/Patriots Game Critical For Team & Fans

For the past year and a half, New Meadowlands Stadium now MetLife Stadium has been home of the New York Jets. But Sunday will feel like their first game in the new billion dollar stadium.

When the Patriots come to East Rutherford in a gigantic AFC East match against Gang Green,  it will be a test to see if all those years of waiting will make this stadium be home to the Jets and their fans or just another upscale VIP event.

To date, this will be the Jets biggest game they will play in the new stadium.  But to the fans and everyone watching, will it feel like it. More importantly, will the Jets play as it is their biggest game played in MetLife Stadium.

For as long as I have been filming at MetLife, the former New Meadowlands Stadium, no one has enjoyed it.  Fans have had reason to hate the PSLs.  The fans hate the way it looks like a prison from the outside.  It has no life.  The stadium feels like a shell of something that could be grander.

The Jets want fans at MetLife Stadium on Sunday vs. the Patriots to give Gang Green an advantage they have yet to see at home.  They want the fans to be louder than they have ever been.  To show that the Jets can defeat their AFC rivals with confidence and certainty.  The Jets biggest opponent are themselves, and that needs to be defeated easily before they can defeat the Patriots.

But maybe this game is what the new stadium has been waiting for. Maybe Brady, Billichik, Ochocinco, and the rest of the Pats walking into the Jets home is what has been needed. The sight of the Justin Bieber wannabe has done it time and time again. The most memorable home game of Jets coach Rex Ryan’s tenure was his first. On that Sunday back in September of 2009, Giants Stadium vibrated as the Jets defeated the Patriots in an opening day battle.

The past three years has been a period of change for many sports fans, and not just of football. We’ve seen Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium torn down. Rising in their place have been buildings that seem to be more about profits than the roar of the fans, that prefer the upscale, casual sports viewer than the outspoken die-hard fan.

Since I started filming, I have heard stories & watched fans who saw Joe Namath play at Shea leave overpriced seats behind where they could have watched Mark Sanchez in a new stadium . Tales of longtime season-ticket holders fuming and forced out in droves have seen masses not come back to watch all their local sports teams.

For the Jets, MetLife Stadium was supposed to represent their first real home. The franchise has wandered like gypsies from other peoples home stadiums beginning with the Polo Grounds. MetLife is shared with the Giants, but the franchise does everything possible to make the stadium feel like home by making it look green on game day.  So fans feel like it belongs to them, not the Giants.

Like the new homes of the Mets and Yankees, though, the Jets are limited in how they can make MetLife stadium feel like home. Most of it has to do with what’s happening on the field & the green colors outside on game day. Yankee Stadium felt like doppelganger to some until they had their series with the Boston Red Sox during the opening season. Citi Field needs a Mets makeover before it becomes a tough ticket.  It has yet to feel warm and inviting to Mets fans.

On Sunday, it is zero hour for Gang Green and their fans. The Jets have a chance to see what their home field can truly sound and feel like. They have played 12 games at MetLife Stadium to date. Brett Favre’s return last year had the place shaking. The season opener with the Cowboys this year got loud when Joe McKnight blocked a punt in the fourth quarter.  But that is nothing compared to what the fans can truly sound like.

Nothing compares to the present, though. Bill Belichick and Brady enter this game vulnerable. With both teams at 5-3, this feels like an AFC Title game. It could determine whether the Jets bring a playoff game to MetLife this year.  Something the fans have demanded for years.  The ability to watch their team at home in the playoffs.  To give their Jets a home field advantage the likes the team has not seen.

Is that enough for those in the VIP boxes and Coaches Club sections to put down their over priced drinks and prime rib? Maybe Woody Johnson needs to sit with the real fans to find out what it truly feels like to be at a home Jets game.  At about 8:30 Sunday night come kick off, we’ll find out.

Jets Fans Enjoy Better Food Before The Game Than During

Here we are less than a week away until the Jets open up the 2010 season in their new home.  They face the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football as the first game of a double header at 7 PM.  Every Jets fan is on pins and needles to see Gang Green for the first time in a regular season game in the new Meadowlands Stadium.  While some will be watching from home for the first time, opting out of returning as a season ticket holder.  Monday begins a new era for everyone.  Some even are season ticket holders for the first time.  It will be an interesting first season in the new stadium for Jets and Giants fans alike.

I have a few things I would like to go over so this will cover a different topics.  Do not have the time to write 2-3 articles with Rosh Hashanah beginning tonight for my Hebrews and Shebrews.  Have dinner with family tomorrow and not sure about Friday.  So I will sum up a few things here tonight.  Things from the food at the new stadium to filming during tailgating to people I have interviewed in the past.

Ryan Sutton, the food critic for Bloomberg NY, recently reviewed the food at the new Meadowlands Stadium.  His article, New Meadowlands Has Horrible Edibles; Go With Deli, goes in depeth not just about the food, but about the stadium, drinks, and sight-lines from the Coaches Club section.   He talks about how expensive anything to drink there is.   $12 cocktails, $18 rum and cokes, $4.75 bottles of water are just crazy prices.  One does not even get the cap to the water as they worry fans would toss them at players.  Even one of the lounges is named after Captain Morgan.  Wonder how much sponsorship dollars that brought in.

Here are some of Ryan’s quotes about the food:

“The pizza’s free but so bad I almost yearned for a Domino’s slice. Miserable Manhattans, poured into a plastic cup with neither shaking nor stirring still help you forget about the turnpike-quality concessions and pricing on par with tuition at New York University.”

“Food is included in the Coaches Club ticket price; the David Rockwell-designed buffet dished out overcooked penne a la vodka, rubbery kosher chicken nuggets and mushy cannoli. There are medium-rare skirt steaks, succulent beef tenderloins, juicy stuffed turkey and spicy chili.”

Meats

Grilled filet mignon, turkey roulade and honey-glazed pit ham at New Meadowlands stadium. It’s the same type of fare one might find in any hotel buffet, anywhere in the country. Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

“The fare at best is generic and utterly boring. The opposite is true at our other new stadiums: At Citi Field for example, Mets fans can snack on New York’s best local fast food, including burgers from Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, crispy fries from Box Frites, great tacos at El Verano Taqueria and David Pasternack’s fresh, meaty lobster rolls.”

“The Coaches Club, in contrast, embarrasses our country’s culinary capital with retrograde, flavorless Tex-Mex chicken tortillas, tuna fish-like lobster rolls and soggy fries. A “custom grind” Brooklyn Burger from the Mezzanine Club tastes nothing like the good sliders I’ve had in Kings County. Other sports complexes hire well-known regional chefs and restaurateurs; the Meadowlands picked the mass-market Food Network to provide $11 short rib hot dogs.”

“instead, have the deep-fried franks for $6.00. Or gorge on the least crowded and most authentic vendors in the general concessions area — the bridge-and-tunnel Italian deli stands.”

Coaches Club

Fans stand behind the Giants bench at the Coaches Club private on-field patio. Personal seat licenses cost $20,000 each for the club. Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

Ryan is right on the ball.  Other stadiums across the country put more into the food served, even into the vendors brought in.  They go with local far and local vendors to run their own stands.  The Meadowlands still dishes out the same pre made slop.  Seems they put more into the building that what goes into the food.  I have watched specials on Food Network and The Travel Channel that spotlight stadiums & arenas across the country.  I see so many stadiums with such mouth watering goodies.  The Orioles have hand made crab cakes. The Royals has BBQ right in the place.  MEadowlands could not even give us NYC deli favorites or anything regional.

This is why many people tailgate.  One can cook better food than they could buy inside the stadium.  Then again, one could buy a six pack of beer cheaper than one inside the stadium.  It is cost effective for many to do it in the lot.  That is one of the best things about filming during tailgating, seeing all the food and smelling all the great barbecue.  I love to catch people on camera enjoying time with friends and family before the game eating and drinking.   Filming people in the parking lot makes for an enjoyable time.  Everyone is a big family and people invite you into their tailgate.  It is a very warming experience.

When I went to game with my father, we never tailgated.  We went right o the game, that was it.  When it is just the two of us there was no reason.  Plus, we did not know many other Jets fans.  These days, you can find tailgates that charge to eat their food so you can tailgate anywhere really.  Sal and Carmine charge but it is worth it for the food and drinks they provide.  So these days, you do not need to have a set up to tailgate.  You can join someone’s.  Just bring friends and enjoy the party.

When I go out filming, people offer myself and the crew some good stuff.  We have had some unbelievable food. Chicken vodka Parmesan sandwiches, homemade pizza, ribs, quesadillas,  chicken, and so much more.  Of course, who can forget the beer.  I just talk to everyone like they are friends and get their stories of being a fan.  In return, they share their food.  Like a community of neighbors sharing dishes during a block party.  I have met some great people while filming.  I expect this season to be no different.  It is best to interview people in a comfortable atmosphere so they are relaxed and able to talk openly.  For some, talking after a few drinks makes it easier too.

100_0132

Some I have interviewed in the past have set up their last tailgate and will not be back.  Guys like Steve Kern, Ken Pikowski, John Allen, and some of the Jets Pack who have been coming to games since 1967.  What some would have spent on PSL’s have been spent on large screen TV’s.  Not everyone went for a PSL.  Some of the Jets Nuts did, Sal and Carmine, Mary Lou Wilson kept hers after her husband Tommy had passed away.  Even their son Tommy Jr. keeps going.  I had written about Tommy Wilson on here & XtraPointFootball.com before.  I am hoping to find more fans like him this season.

I want to find people who not just have stories of the past to tell, but new tailgaters.  People who are new to it all starting their traditions.  It makes for a great story, and a great game experience.  I will be going back to those I have talked to before.  Hoping to add to their stories and see if their tailgating futures will ever be the same.  Let’s face it, with some friends and family not able to be at game anymore it changes the dynamic of the tailgate and game time experience for some.  This is a new era for many.  Will have more for everyone next week.  Until then, are you ready for some football?

DaveJetsPig

Who Do Sports Writer’s, Blogs, & Reporters Actually Write For?

A few weeks ago I talked with Bruce Speight from the Jets organization.  I told him I was going to be filming during tailgating again this year.  New stadium, new parking, and many fans will have new or old faces at their tailgates.  He asked me to send him an e mail stating what I wanted to do and when.  So I did that.  I call him back last week to follow up on the e mail, I left a message.  I did the same thing this week.  He called me back on Thursday telling me he did not open the e mail so to let him know what was in it.  Bruce tells me to send him something and he does not even bother to read it.  I guess I am that insignificant to them.  If I paid them, then I would be on their radar.

Maybe it is because I do not have the money to film or I am not giving them any money to film.  Seems I am a fly speck to them, insignificant.  That what I am doing with my documentary about Jets fans does not matter to them.  When you underestimate someone you let your guard down and anything can happen.  Maybe if I was HBO, Fox, ABC, Paramount, MGM, or a film company that has major money behind them then maybe they would take me seriously.  But instead, I feel like I am treated like what I am doing for their fans does not matter.

Plus I am not a writer like Rich Cimini, Manish Mehta, Jane McManus or anyone else from a major news publication.  Not even one of the Jets blogs who report only on the team and team happenings.  Seems majority of the Jets fan blogs write only positive articles about players & events.  Have yet to find one that truly gives opinions, positive and negative.  But since I report to myself, do my own editing and reporting why would they take someone like me serious.  I report on what is actually going on, no sugar coating it.

I do not play up to the organization just to get on their good side.  Maybe if I did, they would appreciate what I did more like the other blogs who do the “rah rah” stuff for them.   Maybe a small mention or paragraph about things is done, but no editorial or opinion piece about it all. I know of a few that do write for the Post, Times, and other news sources that do report on everything, good and bad.  Like the obstructed view of seats in the new stadium, the way fans have been treated by the organizations, and how PSLs were priced too high.  But those writers are not beat writers who do not cover the teams on a daily basis.

Maybe the ones who do cover it daily have an editor or boss does not want to create waves in the organization so they can keep getting access to the locker room and field.  If one makes too many waves, then no more access to players, the team, the field, or anything else closed to the general public.  Not good business for that paper, network or website.  Seems the teams make the rules on what to report about in some cases like interviews.

I just feel a lot of Jets blogs just cover the field and players.  Some will cover charity events and other activities the players take part in.  They should cover everything Jets, even the stuff that is not good that affects what happens off the field.  Do not see too many blogs or Jets beat writers focus on the stadium issues too much, or the PSL and ticket sales.  Do their readers feel that is not newsworthy?  The beat writers have to always beat the other out on team information and work hard at what they do.  Maybe information on off the field events could help.  Some Jets blogs come down on you hard if you go against their opinion.  They think you are not really a Jets fan if you do not think things their way.  Would like to see more blogs focus on everything Jets, not just Hard Knocks, the games, and what a player is doing off the field.

The only ones I see writing opinion pieces or editorials are ones who do not follow the Jets or write about them on a daily basis.  The ones who are not sports writers for major news sources or Jets beat writers for the NY Post, NY Times, ESPN, and other major news sources.  I read a great piece by Tom Dowd on SiLive.com about the new stadium, Jets, and Giants.  It is article’s like this I wish more had the urge to write.  He gives his honest opinion about the new stadium and others in the New York area.  Other New York area reporters talked about the new stadium, but many focus more on the pros than the cons.  He is some of what Tom had to say:

“The transformation of the New York sporting experience — also known as the exile of thousands of life-long, die-hard fans — is almost complete.

In two weeks, the Giants and Jets will play their first regular-season games at their new, $1.6 billion palace in the swamps of Jersey. The Yankees and Mets are in year two of their Shake Shacked, Hard Rocked monuments to excess. The renovation that will radically recreate Madison Square Garden — and likely its already oppressive ticket prices as well — has already begun…”

giants.jpgAP photo
The Giants practice at the new Meaadowlands Stadium during a June minicamp.

“And legions of fans deciding that a giant hi-def flat screen is a better deal than the prices on their old season tickets that have rocketed into the stratosphere.

This won’t hurt any franchise’s bottom line. Most of the tickets will still sell to somebody, and at a higher price than before.

It’s the final triumph of the free market and the end of shame in sports ownership.

Owners and commissioners still love their little sound bites, claiming their concern for the fans, but they only manage to set new marks for disingenuousness.

It’s an amazing ability to tell a lie that you know nobody will believe anyway.

Maybe they did think about the fans, just a little bit, once upon a time. Maybe there was a line, off in the distance, and beyond it lay excess that just seemed over the top. But that’s over.

What changed it? Try the explosion of the secondary ticket market on the Internet in the last decade.

On StubHub and Ebay and Craigslist, tickets were everywhere. People bought them, at prices far above face value. Sports owners — and concert promoters — saw this, and got angry. Because this was their product, and they weren’t getting a cut.

Now they knew, or so they thought, how much people were really willing to pay.

But they overreached. They confused the one-game-at-a-time high end ticket buyer with the faithful, steady season ticket holder. So the new buildings went up with their exclusive sponsored clubs and walled off premium seating areas.

It’s all very impressive, as long as your primary reason for going to a game has nothing to do with actually watching the game. Or if you’ve been dreaming of a $15 pastrami sandwich washed down by some fine spirits at the wine bar.”

“How much does the best seat in sports cost? Just $700 a seat each game — plus the personal seat license — although the alleged value lies in getting up out of that seat to mill around at the edge of the field behind the Jets bench, where the view tends to be obscured by 40 or so very large men. You could also wander underneath the stands to get a drink at the bar, grab a few shrimp cocktails from the buffet or pose at the lectern where Rex Ryan will deliver his postgame press conference in a glass-walled media room.

It turned out to be a harder sell than expected. The Yankees ended up cutting the prices of their most expensive tickets behind the plate – all the way down to $1,600 for one seat to a game.

DSC05850

The Jets made the halfway sensible move of selling upper deck season tickets without a PSL, then watched fans flee field level when they couldn’t afford their old tickets. They cut some of their mid-level PSLs and ticket prices in half, but less than a month before their Monday night opener against the Ravens on Sept. 13, the Jets were still cold-calling upper level season ticket holders asking them to upgrade to lower level seats with PSLs attached that hadn’t been sold yet.

And if you went on Ticketmaster.com this week, you would have found that the New York Giants, only one of the toughest tickets in sports for decades, had single game tickets still available.

Of course, they would cost you $725.

For that kind of cash, I’ve got my eye on a nice 50-inch plasma screen.”

I could be wrong in my assumption, but you can find any post or article on the internet these days.  What I see is what I find.  And what I see is just news reporting on trades, training camp, players, and anything else team related.  Not too much Jets organization related.  They do a great job telling these news sources what to report about.  Guess that is why my documentary will cover everything, nothing held back about the stadium, ticket sales, PSL’s, or even the fans.  Stuff covered slightly by sports press I will go into more detail about.  I am not the liberal media & will not write just to make everyone happy, I write on what everyone sees & knows no matter how honest it is.

If i had the money, I know I would have more footage and coverage from the Jets.  But since I don’t, I am on the outside looking in.  If I was a Jets beat reporter, I would have better news and access to stories to add to the documentary.  But once again, I am on the outside looking in.  I may not have the right degree or work history to land myself a career in the media or broadcasting field.  But that does not mean I am not dedicated to what I am doing to get myself there.  I did not write for years on small papers or stations, have the right internship, or know the right people to get me a foot in the door with any employer.  But I do have the persistence, intelligence, and a fast learner to possibly help me get a foot in somewhere.  Filming this documentary and writing for my website and others has taught me a lot.

I will have more a little later about the Jets offering upper deck seats on a game y game basis.  Once again, Woody Johnson takes two steps back.  He did say they would not offer seats on a game by game basis.  Then again, he could say he meant PSL seats, not non PSL seats.  When you are privately held company, you can say whatever you want, no stockholders to answer to.  In this case, you have the fans to answer to.