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How A Wilson Football Is Made

Last Wednesday, April 25th, Dr. Bill Chackes of Football Reporters Online and myself were invited to a demonstration on how Wilson footballs are made.  This was being done on the top floor of the NFL Store in midtown across from Bryant Park.  After the demonstration, Dr. Bill interviewed Kevin Murphy, General Manager of American Football.  The company behind Wilson.

DSC_2465It was educational to see how Wilson makes their footballs.  This was only the second location in their history where they have done this demonstration outside their factory.  The only other location is at the Super Bowl each year.  So for those who went to the NFL store last week were in store for an exclusive.

Wilson footballs are made by hand here in America.  Yes, American footballs being made, hand made, by Americans.  The way Wilson has done it for over 80 years.  It is a good feeling knowing that they care about their employees enough to give them that job security.

As you watch the video, you can see how the workers take pride in what they do.  Knowing that each ball they make was crafted by them.  There are under 25 workers in all who hand craft these footballs.  It is an apprenticeship, a trade that has to be learned over time and perfected by few.

I would like to thank both Dr. Bill Chackes and John Fennelly for giving me great opportunities over the past two years.  Videos like these, my writings,  and others over the past two years would not be possible without them.  I thank them for giving me exposure and experience.

NFL Draft Prospects at NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival

This past Wednesday I had the opportunity to join Dr. Bill Chackes, Zennie Abraham, Julie Buehler, and others at the NFL Draft Media day event which was held during the NFL Play 60 Youth Festival at Chelsea Waterside Park.  It was a busy morning with every member of the press looking to get some words from Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

DSC_2515The Play 60 event was enjoyed by all the kids who participated and their families who watched.  Before the event, the kids had a chance to play Xbox 360 Kinnect games.  It got the kids going so they had energy for the real field.  All the players interacted with them in every capacity.  From throwing them passes to handing off the ball for running plays.  The kids ran combine drills and played small heads up games.

While the press flocked around RG3 and Andrew Luck for interviews, many of the other players stood waiting for their opportunity to be interviewed.  It took a while but every draft prospect did get their chance to answer questions.  It was hard to see some players just standing there with no one talking to them.  In the end, everyone had their quotes and every player was able to give their thoughts.

DSC_2499Roger Goodell thanked everyone for being there and the importance of the Play 60 program.  Mike Mayock of the NFL Network gave his opinions on the draft and where he thought the teams would find their best draft prospects.  It seemed more of a strategy session than an interview.

But in the end it was a success.  Not just for the NFL or the draft picks, but for the kids who participated.  The more interaction the players have with the youth of America, the more these kids will realize how important physical fitness is.

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2012 NFL Draft: The Season Begins Here

The NFL Draft means something to everyone, in their own way.

For the teams, it is a chance to obtain those missing pieces of a puzzle that was the Super Bowl last season.  Others looking for fresh, young blood to rejuvenate a team to push its way back into contention.  But to everyone involved in football, it is four days that could change the course of a teams season.
To the fans, everyone takes it differently.  To the casual football fan, it is a couple of days where teams pick college players in order to fill positions on their team.  To the frenzied fan of a team, the opportunity to retool and find some fresh faces to add to the veterans who can get the job done.  But to the die hard fan of the draft, it is a lot more.

The die hard fan plays out the draft the same way Robert Byrne and Bobby Fischer play a chess match.  All the players are lined up by position.  Moves thought out carefully.  Reacting to your opponent.  Thinking ahead to gain an advantage.  Studding statistics.  Know the advantage before a move is made.  The die hard fan knows these moves.

But to everyone, it is a look into what could be the future of a franchise or someone looking to keep their dream alive.

The draft is a magical time.  A time where any fan can see a potential hall of famer be named to their team of destiny.  A moment in time where a fan stops to imagine hearing their own name announced as a draft selection.  Draft day brings us one step closer to seeing how these new gladiators of the gridiron match up to their veteran counterparts.

Maybe its fitting the draft takes place in New York. A city where people come to from all over the globe to capture their dream. They come to see where their future lies. A city that has delivered to so many can now deliver to them.

Football fans will converge at Radio City Music Hall for four days to not just see who gets drafted, but to immerse themselves in the NFL experience.  Fan events, player interaction, and bickering between other fans makes this a precursor of a season to come.  Groundwork to be laid as to whose fans will have bragging rights next year.

You can ask any fan how they feel about the draft.  Everyone will mention at least one great signing and complain about 99 others.  Those are fans, that is what they do.  Fans are the best market research to let a sports franchise know how it is doing.  You can hear them loud and clear after each and every draft selection.  The teams conscience.

Every fan has some part of the NFL calendar they look forward to.  Some wait all year for the draft.  Why?  It is the official day where collegiate athletes become professional football players.  The NCAA to the NFL.  A transition.  The new breed that pushes the progression of football just one more notch on the game’s time-line.

The start of the 2012 season begins on Thursday.  The first major event on the NFL calendar for the new season.  Every franchise waiting, patient for their turn to select that next great player to represent their franchise.  The new face of the team marketing machine that entices fans like a circus ringleader.  To get you to cheer for the greatest game on earth.

And we do.

Not just because of that.  It’s the memories.  Being able to share that experience with others to smile and laugh about later.  Giving that next generation the lesson needed to stay educated on how the NFL draft works.  The Draft has become an event onto itself.  The Draft at Radio City is like the Allman Brothers coming to the Beacon Theater.  You know it is coming every year.  Planning ahead to make the necessary arrangements.

This is a big week for those players looking to be selected by the professional team of their choice.  Some fans looking to see if they predicted the same selection as their favorite team.  The anticipation could be a little more than some can bear.  But with fans from every team in attendance this week, it will be a week those players looking for a new home will not forget.  If the teams make a bad move, the fans will never let them forget.  So, are you ready?

New York Jets Acquisition of Tim Tebow: Thoughts & Opinions

Last week the New York Jets made moves to bring Tim Tebow to the New York Jets from the Denver Broncos.  Many have speculated as to how Tim Tebow would be used.  Considering the contract extension to Mark Sanchez, how would this trade impact his starting status?  Was this a move to mix things up and have more of an on field presence?  Or was Damien Woody right in stating this was a move to help the Jets sell season tickets and PSL’s?

We as fans, the media, and the alternative media can speculate all we want.  Only the Jets know for sure how Tebow is to be used.  By unlike others, I have no comment on this trade.  Once Tim Tebow gets into training camp, the pre season, and the regular season, then I will make my decision.  If a player has yet to step foot on a field for a team, how can one make a true assessment of how that player’s abilities?  Sure he did well in Florida and Denver, but he has yet to play for New York.

Everyone was excited about Brett Favre coming to the Jets.  But all that hype and play ended in a 9-7 season.  So all we can do is wait and see how Tebow settles into his position as the Jets back up QB and see what his on field performance is like.

I took a little time to give more details on my opinions of Tim Tebow being traded to the Jets and recorded them for all to see:

New York Jets & Their Fans In Giants Shadow Once Again

Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan, and the rest of the New York Jets organization were likely turned off by the New York Giants celebrations.   The Jets always take a backseat to the Giants, and Tuesday they watched the Giants roar through Manhattan and return back to MetLife Stadium to continue the celebration.

Approximately 35,000  Giants fans welcomed home to MetLife Stadium their new Super Bowl Champions.  The crowd boomed as the Giants came through the tunnel and onto the field, and as they did, Justin Tuck took a moment to soak in the color. Everywhere he looked, in this stadium that two teams call home, all he could see was blue.

“Last time we did this it was in Giants Stadium,” Tuck said, as he stood on a stage at midfield, behind the Lombardi trophy. “Now we’re in MetLife Stadium.  “But one thing you can be sure of is whose house this is.”  The whole scene made it seem even more crazy to Giants co-owner Steve Tisch that people once thought New York would soon belong to the Jets.

With those words, the Giants put to rest once and for all the question of who really owns New York — a question that dominated the conversation when the 2011 season began. The entire city has been painted blue since the Giants beat the Patriots, 21-17, in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday night, from the Empire State Building to the Canyon of Heroes, all the way to City Hall.

President and CEO of the Giants, John Mara, spoke at the ceremony at MetLife stadium Tuesday afternoon. He said, “there’s no place like home.”  Justin Tuck ended his speech saying, “One thing you can be sure of is whose house it is.”

Woody Johnson and the Jets might have been sick when they heard these comments.  It is the last thing the Jets franchise wanted to hear.  MetLife Stadium was supposed to be their home as well, and they had to watch the Giants christen the stadium with the first championship in the new building.

If the Giants had any lingering doubts about fan support, they were erased when the Giants’ parade of buses came off the New Jersey Turnpike and drove through a parking lot full of tailgaters at the Meadowlands. It’s a sight Giants co-owner John Mara has seen often since his team began playing here in 1976.  A sight Jets fans are not used.  Being able to tailgate before a rally.

In some ways, seeing it on Tuesday afternoon meant even more to Mara than the parade.  “We just had an incredible experience going through the Canyon of Heroes,” Mara told the crowd. “But I have to tell you, when you pull into the stadium and see all these fans here, you know there’s no place like home.”

Justin Tuck giving fans a chance with the Lombardi Trophy

“To see this kind of fan support when you come out here, it’s hard to put into words,” an emotional Mara added after the ceremony was over. “The whole day is unbelievable. To watch these players come back here to our home (MetLife Stadium) and see this kind of enthusiasm is really the icing on the cake.”

The crowd went crazy when Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning carried the Lombardi Trophy into the stadium, and then Tuck carried it up onto the stage. They all intensely watched their own highlight video on the four scoreboards, before Tom Coughlin thanked them for their unwavering support.

The Jets organization and their fans looked forward to giving the new stadium its first championship.  Mark Sanchez would have carried the Lombardi trophy instead of Eli Manning.  Now, MetLife stadium will be know as the home of the 2012 Super Bowl Champion Giants.  Jet fans will see that distinction every time they visit MetLife Stadium.  There may not be a banner or mural, but it will be emblazoned in their minds.  Jet fans wanted to upstage their “big brother” and show they are one of the NFL’s eite

The Jets started the Giants’ championship run after a Christmas Eve embarrassment. The Jets thought this was their season. They thought that at the end of the year they would be New York’s team.  But once again, they are an afterthought to the World Champion Giants.

What now for the Jets? How does the Giants’ Super Bowl win impact the Jets?  The Jets were already looking to make changes this offseason. They took the first step when they parted ways with Brian Schottenheimer after their season ended.  Now they need to do right by their fans and gain their support rather than losing it.

That will not be enough. The Jets need to stop lying to the public about what their intentions are for the organization. For months we heard the Schottenheimer would be with the Jets in 2012 when everyone knew what the outcome would be.  Jet fans are tired of being looked down upon by the Jets and treated differently than Giants fans.

It is time for the Jets to try to steal the spotlight away from the Giants. What better way than to sign Peyton Manning?  The Jets have already been spoken of as a contender to land Manning, but after they watched Eli Manning parade around with the Super Bowl MVP trophy, it will make the Jets more serious contenders.

Peyton Manning will bring tremendous excitement to the Jets next season. If they don’t sign Manning, they will not have attention on them and will not have made any moves worthy of hype in New York.  Just think of the Brett Favre signing.  The Jets best press seems to come from off the field moves rather than on the field play.

Peyton would provide stories, speculation and expectations for the Jets going in to next season. Without him, the Jets are miles behind the Giants going into next season.  Peyton would be able to close the gap before the 2012 season.  Just the type of press coverage the Jets enjoy.

If the Jets do not have success with Sanchez next season, they will be looking for a change at quarterback anyways. They might consider making the change this season and take a gamble on Eli’s big brother.  Otherwise, MetLife Stadium will forever be known for the Giants championship victory and the Jets looking on as usual.

Giants quotes courtesy of the NY Post, WNBC, & WFAN.

This Sunday, Jets Fans Must Make Tough Decision

Super Bowl XLVI is here. We can’t avoid it, Jets fans.  Regardless of all the promises made and past AFC Championship appearances, we need to get through this Sunday.

Super Bowl 42, the Giants’ historic upset of the then undefeated Patriots was a bit easier to swallow for Jets fans.  I don’t recall many Jets fans, if any at all, cheering the Patriots to cap off the first unbeaten season since the ’72 Dolphins.  Especially since Eric Mangini selling out his former boss in the Spygate scandal sent the Pats on the destroy everything and take no names streak that brought them to the precipice of 19-0. If it took our city rival Giants to knock them off?  So be it, I guess.  Would have been better if it was the Jets, huh?

I may not have been one of the only Jets fans who wasn’t exactly enamored with the fact that the Giants won that game. Here was my rationale: by about Week 14 or so when the Patriots were steamrolling the NFL, I kind of made up my mind that the Pats were going undefeated and winning the Super Bowl. Who thought the Giants, or any NFC contender for that matter,  had a chance?  I had plenty of time to digest it so that when it happened, it wouldn’t have really mattered all that much.  And then when Plaxico Burress caught that pass in the end zone, I thought to myself “Now I have to hear about this from Giants fans the rest of my life.”  The fact the Giants defeated the undefeated Patriots instead of the Jets.

But this year isn’t as clear cut. After the Giants won that Super Bowl, it kind of became a Jet town. I know, I know, the Giants WILL ALWAYS OWN NEW YORK YOU STUPID JET FAN. But, the Jets signed Brett Favre for one weird season (they were Super Bowl faves at 8-3, then collapsed) and the Giants lost in their first playoff game after a great regular season. Then the Jets hired Rex Ryan, drafted Mark Sanchez and made two straight AFC Title games while Big Blue missed the playoffs.  Not your typical New Y0rk football seasons, huh?

And while the Jets have no one to blame but themselves for this most recent debacle of a season, everything was made worse by the Giants making the Super Bowl. Not only have the Giants made it again, their run started by essentially ending the Jets’ season in Week 16. Victor Cruz’s 99-yard touchdown reception sent the Jets one way and the Giants the other. The Giants two Super Bowl appearances basically takes everything a Jets fan could hang their hat on these past few seasons and demolishes it.

Then of course there are the Patriots. The last thing I want, as a New York sports fan, is for another Boston team to win a championship. Any agony of the Red Sox’ hilarious September implosion would be softened with another Patriots Super Bowl win. The Pats are the Jets’ chief rival, no matter if they share a city with the Giants. Had the Jets beaten the Patriots in both of their meetings this season, the Jets would have made the playoffs, so they have no one to blame but themselves for not knocking off New England (as Rex Ryan pleaded for the rest of the league to do). And what makes New England being back in the Super Bowl so unbearable for Jets fans is that the Patriots were so beatable this year.

The breaks both the Giants and the Patriots got on Championship Sunday are breaks that us Jets fans seem to never be on the right side of.  Ask any Jets fan and they’ll tell you that if Tynes was wearing green and white, he would have Cundiff’d it. Billy Cundiff is the new Ray Finkle.   Had Ahmad Bradshaw been a Jet, they would have never called his forward progress stopped, and that surely would have been a fumble. There’s no way a punt returner is muffing a kick and fumbling another one against the Jets in a title game. Of course it sounds like sour grapes because that’s exactly what it is. That’s what us Jets fans have been used to for so long.

There are millions and millions of people who would never not watch a Super Bowl, no matter what. For those fans of the Jets who will still watch on Sunday, who do you root for? There’s no such thing as watching a game just to watch it. Sports fans, no matter what they say, have a rooting interest in every game they watch. You either get a pit in your stomach when you watch a player celebrate a victory or your stomach turns. When Sunday’s game is over and either Tom Brady or Eli Manning is raising the Lombardi trophy, you’ll either wish it was the other guy or you won’t. So who do you cheer for?

If you hate all things Boston no matter what, you root for the Giants. If you have nothing but annoying Giant fan friends who you just want to shut up, you pull for the Pats. Maybe you want former Jets Shaun Ellis & Danny Woodhead to win a title.  Maybe you want Eli to win a second Super Bowl so that Peyton can’t stand the idea that anyone will think Eli is better than him, so he decides to come to the Jets to try to upstage his little brother. Maybe you’ll throw some money down and root for that — totally acceptable.

Either way, if you watch Sunday’s game, you’ll have a rooting interest. It’s a no-win situation for Jets fans. I will cheering on the Giants since my wife and her family are Giants fans.  Plus, I’d rather see a team from New York beat a team from New England.  Or you can be like some and not watch. That’s also acceptable.

New York Jets Flight Hits Turbulence Over Past Week

The New York Jets did not make it into the postseason, yet they are a hot topic in the NFL this past week due Mark Sanchez, Tony Sparano in place of Brian Schottenheimer, Matt Higgins leaving,  and their slow decline.  Jets fans like myself are looking puzzled at Sanchez’s behavior in December and how Jets players are speaking out anonymously about him and locker room situations.

Anonymous statements from teammates to the New York Daily News on Jan. 11 give some proof that Sanchez’s tenure with the Jets is in jeopardy, or so the players should want it. If Mark wants to find inspiration, now is the time.  With all the Peyton Manning talk that should light a fire under him, even if he won’t come to NY.  The fans have spoken and so have the players.  This is his 4th quarter two minute warning.

At the same time that some Jets are trying to put Sanchez on a Jet himself, the Giants went up to Green Bay and defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. As Sanchez regressed in 2011, Manning had his best statistical year and finally seemed to prove that he is New York’s QB. Sanchez needs to take note and learn what it means to be a QB in New York.  .

Sanchez and the Jets looked ready to take over New York in the last two seasons while Manning and the Giants regressed. However, New York is the Giants’ and Manning’s town all over again and they may not have real competition for a while at this rate. That really should inspire the Jets and Sanchez in a number of ways to get back on track and do what their cross-town rivals have done.

With all the woes Sanchez has provided, some are looking at the change from Schottenheimer to Sparano with mixed feelings.   In typical New York Jets fashion, the franchise decided to part ways with one of the most ineffective offense coordinators in the NFL and replace him with an even worse one.

The hiring of former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano will not repair the rapidly descending Jets, nor will it bring fans the coveted Lombardi Trophy.  This action, including the departure of EVP Matt Higgins might not look favorably in the fans eyes.

Instead, the move may halt all possibility of Mark Sanchez developing into a franchise quarterback, and it may actually lead to a regression on the offensive side of the ball.  Sparano loves to run the ball. And by this, I mean he hates to throw the ball. In his four years as head coach, the Dolphins ranked no higher than 3rd and no lower than 12th in rushing attempts per game in his tenure with the Dolphins.  .Plus, the Dolphins did not have a definitive quarterback to build a passing game around.

Many may think that the Jets are attempting to get back to their “ground-and-pound” roots. However, the team has too many holes to successfully return to that strategy.  Unless New York can solve their major offensive line problems and find a faster running back, then Sparano’s offensive game plan will be just as noneffective as this past season.

The hiring of Sparano also shows the Jets don’t have faith in Mark Sanchez as the franchise quarterback. The team looks to be going out of their way to keep the ball out of his hands.  The Jets feel they need to have the ground and pound offense so Sanchez can relax and feel more comfortable in his passing game.  Which could be a drawback if you need your quarterback to mature and know how to throw the ball.

Tony Sparano is also not shy about voicing his opinions. Sounds like a man after Rex Ryan’s heart.  Will a locker room that consists of a diverse group of players and a bombastic head coach be a good fit, or will it lead to another media blowup?  Either way, it spells drama and attention.

Most importantly, Sparano has not won with this conservative approach. He had a losing record with the Dolphins, while appearing in just one playoff game. Many Jets fans wonder how a coach who was not successful in Miami will help a Jets franchise that has had moderate success.

Too many factors point toward the Sparano hiring being made a giant error.  His mistakes on offense will make the defense work harder than they should.  Tony Sparano will not just lead to the demise of the Jets passing game, but he will lead to the demise of New York as a winning team.  Something the Jets fans are quite used to.

With everything the Jets have had happen the past week, taking the attention away from the other New York team who deserves it seems to be fitting for the Jets.  They seem to garner more attention for what they do off the field rather than on it.  The last seven days seem to be filled with more questions than answers for the Jets.

There is only one question Jets fans want answered from Rex Ryan: Where is the Super Bowl you promised us?

Why Is New Jersey Ignored By Its Own Professional Football Teams?

Long ago, the Jets and Giants once played in New York.  Not anymore.

They play in New Jersey. Their training facilities are in New Jersey.  Their offices are also located in New Jersey.

If the Jets or Giants don’t want to acknowledge New Jersey in their names, then they should combine their efforts once again and move back to the Big Apple. The West Side Stadium project was a bust so the Jets had no choice but to partner with the Giants.  There is no team that plays in one state with the name of another in front of their name.

After the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, co-owner Steve Tisch proclaimed, “We play for the City of New York.”  Needless to say, that did not go over well with many people in New Jersey.  The past two seasons the Jets made the playoffs.  They held post season rallies in New York both years.  Why not hold those in New Jersey at the stadium they play in?

When the Giants won the Super Bowl, the parade is in New York City.  The Philadelphia Phillies didn’t have a parade in Trenton where many Philly fans reside.

Both the Jets and Giants play in New Jersey, a good percentage of their players live in New Jersey and many of their fans come from New Jersey.

They get subsidies and benefits from New Jersey.  The money made at MetLife Stadium benefits New Jersey, not New York.  The players have events and functions in New York more often than n New Jersey.

The Giants have have called New Jersey home for 36 years. The Jets, who don’t even have their own stadium, have been in New Jersey since 1984.  New Jersey is the second wealthiest state in the country.

Some of the most affluent people in the United States live here.  You don’t really think those millionaire athletes from New York, or Philadelphia live in those places, do you?  Maybe if you play for the Yankees, Mets, or Knicks.

I realize most people in the country don’t care. I don’t blame you, but you are not looked upon as New York’s little brother. Additionally, in obscurity and the misrepresentation that shows like “Jersey Shore”, “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, and “Jerseylicious” cast on us.

For someone who has lived in New Jersey all their life, I would like the state to be looked on favorably as two top NFL teams make their home here even though their name doesn’t show it.

The Giants have a rich tradition and history. The Jets, not so much.

New Jersey gave both teams the best deal, the best tax breaks and the worst possible method of getting to a stadium imaginable. At least along with the new stadium, and $15,000 PSL, they built a train station.

In 2012, the New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn. Something tells me they will not keep the New Jersey Nets name.  When the Devils came to New Jersey in the early 80’s, they did not keep the Colorado Avalanche name.

Look back at any sport and every professional sports team.  There has never been a team that kept their original place of origin as their name.  Even the Oakland Raiders changed to the Los Angeles Raiders when they moved.  They did not become the California Raiders just because they remained in the same state.

Lastly, the Statue of Liberty? It’s in New Jersey, not New York.

Fans Message To Jets & Rex Ryan: Shut Up & Play

This past Sunday night, the Jets had an opportunity.  An opportunity to show not just their fans, but everyone who follows football that they should be taken seriously.  That the Jets are a team who not only want to go back to the AFC Championship for a third straight year, but win and go on to the Super Bowl.  The Jets and Patriots both stood at 5-3.  All they needed to do was win in convincing fashion against their AFC rivals.

But they didn’t

The Jets lost 37-16 and now sit wondering if they can still make the playoffs.  Albeit there are seven games left in the season, but which Jets will show up the rest of the year.  The Jets who claim they are Super Bowl contenders who defeated the Cowboys, Chargers, and Bills in convincing fashion?  Or will it be the same old Jets the fans are used to seeing from years past.  Only the players can determine which version of them will be ready at game time.

The fans are salivating for a championship.  Rex Ryan has made predictions, guarantees, and comments about how this is the Jets year and the team that will bring home a championship.  Maybe it is time for Rex to stop talking and come through on his promises.  Everyone loves how outspoken and confident he is.  But all that bravado does not win game or transfer that attitude to the players.  The players need to believe in themselves and show that on the field, not Rex Ryan.

For the past few season, Rex has reached out to the fans for support.  Season ticket holders get a pre recorded call at the beginning of the season as well as pleas throughout the season.  The fans are always there for the team.  But Rex has not delivered back to the fans.  Rex Ryan also took the opportunity in his postgame press conference to apologize to Jets fans after he challenged them earlier in the week to make this past Sunday’s game difficult for the Patriots.

“I thought we’d play a lot better. I thought we had really improved, I really did. I think we did improve, but when you make those types of mistakes – you fumble a punt, you have a poor timeout … time management was an absolutely critical error. That’s my responsibility. I own that one. You make that many mistakes against that team, there’s no chance. “

The playoffs are not coming up soon, for sure, so the Jets aren’t eliminating themselves from the AFC playoff picture by any means but Rex Ryan recognized, whether it was in jest or not, that the Jets division title chances took a big hit on Sunday night.

“It looks doubtful right now. What am I going to say? Maybe I should guarantee the fact that we’re out of it. The last time I did that, we made the playoffs. Yeah, we don’t have a chance.”

Maybe Rex should not guarantee anything.  Maybe Rex should impose a media blackout on himself.  Maybe he should just coach and let his actions speak louder than any words he can say.  But once again, his words this past Sunday seemed to get him in trouble…..again.  This time, getting caught on tape using profanities at a fan during halftime.

On the video, Ryan and the Jets’ players and staff are seen walking into the tunnel. A fan yells out to Ryan, “Belichick’s better than you,” and Ryan tells him to shut up, adding an expletive for good measure.

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This team and their coaches need to resolve any issues they have to make their play playoff worthy.  The fans are tired of the talk and empty promises.  Please back up that talk with convincing play on the field every game.  Show the fans that you REALLY want to go and win a Super Bowl.  Not just say it.  The Jets show flashes of brilliance, but not often enough.  Is this the players fault, or the coaches?

The fans have heard enough.  It is time for the Jets to live up to expectations.  It is time for Mark Sanchez and Darelle Revis to lead the team convincingly.  To show they are a Super Bowl caliber team and not just a playoff contender, which they do not look presently.  If they could not beat the Patriots and the worst ranked defense in the NFL, now do they expect to make it to the playoffs?

Impose a media blackout on yourselves.  Focus on winning and not talking.  Rex Ryan may be a great coach.  But he needs to show everyone he can back those words up with actions.  Will three times be the charm?  Rex said they were going to win even before the season started.  Actions speak louder than words.  Show us you can win, do not tell us.

Shut up and play.

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.