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New York Jets, Met Life Revel in Last Week’s Accomplishments

With MetLife purchasing the naming rights to New Meadowlands Stadium, the Jets got the first win in “The House That Snoopy Built” on Monday night, a 17-3 preseason win over the Giants.
Deemed the “MetLife Bowl,” the insurance company presented the Jets a trophy with Snoopy in leatherhead gear, holding a football in a Heisman pose.

Ryan grinned awkwardly, trying to look poised as he held a trophy for a preseason win.  It was a rare moment in the life of Rex Ryan. The Jets head coach didn’t know what to say.  Not too often Rex is at a loss for words.  Perhaps he is rehearsing in case he gets to hold the Lombardi trophy.  Then again, holding that trophy may not keep him quiet.

Now the Jets and Giants can take part in a Bowl, exclusive only to them, to battle for New York bragging rights.  The MetLife bowl sounds more suited for college than the NFL.  To some players, this could be the only bowl they get to play in.
This past Friday, players from the New York Giants and New York Jets rushed Manhattan’s Bryant Park in an unprecedented event that brought both teams together to celebrate MetLife Stadium with fans of all ages. The event was hosted by 1050 ESPN’s Mike Golic and numerous New York Jets and New York Giants were in attendance.

The New York Giants were represented by Head Coach Tom Coughlin with Eli Manning, Antrel Rolle, Brandon Jacobs, Chris Smee, Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks, Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, David Diehl, Kenny Phillips, Jason-Pierre-Paul, and Will Beatty.
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New York Jets had as their contingent Head Coach Rex Ryan, with Mark Sanchez, Darrelle Revis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Nick Mangold, Shonn Greene, Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, Bart Scott, D’Brickshaw Ferguson, Eric Smith, Sione Pouha, and David Harris

The event was held to commemorate the signing of a 25-year deal with the Jets and  Giants to name the East Rutherford, N.J. sports and entertainment complex. Game tickets and MetLife Stadium-branded hats, t-shirts and mini-footballs were distributed to the loyal and passionate fans who attended the event.  They did have green and blue shirts so fans from both sides felt equal.

The MetLife bowl was not just about a trophy, the Giants and Jets also battled for charity in their annual preseason game. The winning team received the MetLife Trophy as well as $40,000 for the charity of their choice, while the other team will be awarded $10,000. The Jets donated their share to The Trust for Public Land and the Giants donated their proceeds to KaBOOM!

“We had a great time bringing the fans and teams together in Bryant Park,” said Beth Hirschhorn, chief marketing officer of MetLife. “This is just one example of the exciting opportunities coming for fans in the months ahead, and we look forward to welcoming them at the new MetLife Stadium.”

At the event, New York and New Jersey fans interacted with active and retired Giants and Jets players and had multiple autograph opportunities. Vinny Testaverde, Wayne Chrebet, & oe Klecko were the veteran contingent for Gang Green.   Otis Anderson, Carl Banks, and Armani Toomer were there for the Giants.

Kids had a chance to participate in a “football handoff” from  Jets RB Shonn Greene or Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and had their very own Kids’ Zone where they could get close to players, have autographs signed and interact with the Peanuts gang.  It was a kids dream come true where there were no lines to wait on and all their favorite players around them. 

To those fans in attendance who could only stand by and watch the festivities, the players walked the perimeter and signed autographs for anyone who wanted.  The merchandise MetLife handed out proved to be great for capturing autographs.

Nick Mangold, who is a die hard fan of the fast casual chain Chipotle, was asked to comment on how great the food is.  His response was they already have enough positive attention and he did not need to add to it.

Through the naming rights sponsorship, MetLife plans to significantly expand the unique experiences available to fans, including tickets to big games, the opportunity to play on MetLife Stadium turf, face-to-face meetings with star players, field passes, trips to away games, signed memorabilia and much more.

Even though Monday nights win over the Giants was sloppy, it was a win.  Both teams will meet on December 24th during the regular season.  It will be a different story then.  No preseason bowl.  Just two teams looking to make a run at the playoffs and a true battle for New York supremacy.

If this past Monday night;s game is a precursor of how the teams will look this season, there is still a lot of work to be done.  With the regular season just 11 days away, both teams need to make big strides on both sides of the ball.  Even with MetLife on the new stadium, the Jets and Giants are in no ways insured they will be going to the Super Bowl.

New York Jets Fans Cope After Another Super Bowl

The past two weeks I have not been as excited for the Super Bowl I guess as I should be.  Even a fellow fan John Allen passed along the same comment.  He was thinking that for some reason his favorite team should be playing this past Sunday, but for some reason, they ended up losing to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers won his first Super Bowl and it is tough to believe he can’t win another.

The Steelers jumped out to a quick 24-0 lead over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship, but fell behind a quick 21-3 to the Packers on Sunday night. At the end of the night, Clay Matthews was throwing a WWE championship belt over Rodgers’ shoulder.  Ric Flair is taking credit for having the WWE send the belt to him, as told to ESPN,  to use if they won the Super Bowl.

How do us Jets fans feel now?

No one can really say what the result would have been on Sunday night had the Jets been playing in the Steelers’ place. Jet fans may feel like they definitely would have won the game, but again, we cannot say for sure. It’s hard not to feel disappointed these last few nights.  One never know what their team would do if they were never in that situation.

Credit: bettor.com

The Super Bowl was right there; it was in our grasp. The Canyon of Heroes was ready for the parade that should have been filled with streamers and fans jammed in to see Gang Green. Everything was going as planned, just for it all to come crashing down.

Just imagine: Rex Ryan could have been saying “I told you all we were going to do it, AND WE DID IT!” on that podium Sunday night standing next to owner Woody Johnson, GM Mike Tannenbaum and Mark Sanchez.

Bart Scott could have been having another postgame interview that would go viral on the Internet. “WORTH THE WAIT,” he could be yelling in Sal Paolantonio’s face.  Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery could be running all over Cowboys Stadium with their arms outstretched like airplanes while wearing their “New York Jets Super Bowl Champions” caps and t-shirts.

Credit: Gang Green Nation

Credit: Gang Green Nation

Nick Mangold and Dustin Keller could be racing to their cell phones to be the first Jets to tweet about the win.  Antonio Cromartie’s kids could be dogpiling him in the end zone.

Shaun Ellis would then join the team on the podium to get his fingerprints on his Lombardi Trophy and press his lips against its mirror-like surface.  He has waited long enough to get his hands on that trophy after being with the team the longest.

To me Super Bowl Sunday was just another day of football.  I did not put on my Jets jersey.  No Jets shirt or hat to be worn.  Not even my trusty Jets boxers I wore every Sunday the team played.  Two teams were playing that were not my team.

The Jets were deserving of a Super Bowl this season. Anyone who is not a Jets fan will instantly contest this, because everyone else HATES the Jets. I can’t blame them. The Jets have a bunch of big mouths and a coach who has no filter. But the fans take on the personality of the team, and I can safely say we had a lot more fun than many others did.  Even the Jet fans who are haters enjoyed themselves this season.

Gang Green fought through all the criticism this season. After a bunch of close games that should not have been close and after some bad losses, the Jets showed everyone who they really are in the playoffs.  It does not matter how you finish the season, it is how you finish in the playoffs.

They took down Peyton Manning after he made them look bad in last year’s postseason. They took down the Patriots who were already being crowned champions. They forgot to show up for the first half against the Steelers, but almost pulled off one of the greatest playoff comebacks in history.

I am not trying to take anything away from the Packers or the Steelers by saying this. Both were much more deserving of a championship after the way they have played in the playoffs. Just because the Jets were a worthy candidate does not mean other teams were any less deserving.

Credit: SportsNewscaster.com

Things get even harder knowing there might be a lockout on the horizon. Knowing that there is a possibility the Jets will not get a chance to play in the Super Bowl in 2012, nor will any other team, is a tough reality to face.

I could go on about this, but all football fans are feeling the same way about this except maybe Packers fans that have the privilege of enjoying a championship for two years if there is a strike, but I am sure even they would rather lose than not have football.

Knowing that we will all be at least a year older before the Jets get another shot at a Super Bowl run is a feeling that I have felt time and time again. I have always hated the offseason because of how long I have to wait for Week 1. I hate the offseason because of how long I have to wait for the AFC Championship. Again, no guarantees that they will make it again, but it’s tough to feel like the Jets would fall short again.

It seems as Jets fans we are always waiting.  Always waiting until next season hoping that will be the season the Jets win it all.  If there is no next season, we just have to wait longer.  Easier said than done.

Jets Hard Knocks Review & Giants One Up Jets

HBO Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The New York Jets week 2 has come and gone.  It showed the Jets still have a lot to do if they want to make a run for the Super Bowl this season.  I am not just talking about the loss to the New York Giants, but the work all the playing lines have in front of them.  Let’s go over this all one piece at a time, shall we?

Show opens with Bruce Springsteen singing a little diddy about New Jersey and the old Giants Stadium.  The one I had covered and was told to not come back to to take pictures.  I can see why.  They were using clips of it for Hard Knocks and wanted to make a dramatic impression with the images.  Well, I captured some of the same images they did.  Check the pictures & video below to the footage in Hard Knocks. You can read more about my coverage of the old stadium in previous posts.  It was a nice tribute to open the show.
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REx Ryan showing why he is one of the NFL’s top coaches and knows they are a little off but know they will get it.  The team will be on before the season begins.  Jets have cut two players so their replacements will have to get up to speed real fast.  Tim McKnight, better known as Nicky, is getting tested on the plays and routes.  He is a rookie running back off to a rough start.  He threw up on the field during mini camp and failed his conditioning test at rookie camp.  A stand out player in high school, he shows what made him a top recruit for USC and times he does not show the potential.  Joe has the potential to give the team more speed in the backfield.  He just needs mroe confidence in himself and his playing.

IS Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum always stuffing their face?  The more they show them sitting around the more I see them eating.  Maybe they should be in a conditioning program along with the players.  Mark Sanchez complaining about paying $.59 for ranch sauce is like Darelle Revis complaining he is only getting one million dollars this year.

Mark Brunell has the right experience to back up Mark Sanchize and give him the tips he needs to improve as starting QB.  Being one of the NFL’s top QB’s, it makes sense to have Brunell as a back up and pass along his experience.  At age 40, he has been around the league long enough to make Sanchez’s sophomore year a better one than having Clemens as his back up.  But Brunell is right, keeping his 18 year old daughter away from Mark Sanchez.  Nice to see a father that cares.

Brian Schottenheimer has a great role model in his father Marty.  A former head coach who can pass along the right knowledge and experience.   He may be on Sanchez’ case a lot, but it is for good reason.  It is that constant drilling that will make Mark make less mistakes.  Passing that experience from his father to Mark on top of Mark Brunell’s is something many QB’s do not get.  Even QB’s coach Matt Cavanaugh telling Mark to hold his head high and respond affirmatively to advice will make him a better player.

Once again, the Darelle Revis show takes place.  This time they announce a media blackout and keep all future information confidential.  Which they should have done from the beginning.  The media should focus on the team that is at training camp, not the ones holding out.  Kyle Wilson, rookie draft pick filling in Revis’ spot, is someone the media should be talking about.  He is at camp and doing what it takes to fill that spot and make the main roster.  Antonio Cromartie on the other end in his forth year is making sure no one forgets him or his seven kids.  Or is it six?  He is a true talent and needs to live up to that potential.  If he blows a tackle the way he blew one against the Jets in the playoffs the fans will not let him forget it.

You can tell Rex loves to coach.  He wants to be on that field no matter what.  No issues about being hands on and getting in the face of the players if he has to prove a point.  That is what all the Jets coaches do.  They are touch as nails, balls to the walls coaches who do what they have to do to make sure the players learn everything.  Even when reviewing film they know if they made a right or wrong decision.

Mike Tannenbaum asking rookie Tight End Jeff Cumberland what are the three things it takes to make the team lets the rookies know what they need to do.  That answer?  Special teams, special teams, special teams.  Special Teams coach MIke Westoff has survived cancer of his femur for the past 23 years.  He has used special shoes, braces, crutches and anything else he needed to walk.  He pretty much has a rebuilt leg with more metal in there than Wolverine.  It is that heart and dedication to his coaching that makes Mike Westoff an effective coach.  His resilience and determination is something those rookies can learn much from.  Special teams is filled with unknowns and rookies looking to make the team.  His job is to make them into solid football player worthy of wearing that Jets jersey.

Punter Steve Weatherford did something I thought was hysterical.  He bought 100 Shake Weights to give out to his team to help get them either motivated, in shape, or get them laughing.  If you shake it a certain way the players only need five minutes alone in their rooms to use it.  Maybe best used in private.  I heard it does wonders for certain muscle groups above the waist.  Seeing the players and coaches faces when using them was priceless.  I have wanted to use one myself.

Nick Mangold and Kris Jenkins are fantastic teammates.  Each one pushing the other further.  Taking it one step further so the other performs better when they are on the field against their opponents.  Jenkins is itching for the season to start after missing half of last season.  These guys are such forces on the field. I feel sorry for whoever the oppose on other teams.

Vernon Gholston moving to Defensive End is a last ditch effort to make a solid player out of him.  A bust since he was drafted two years ago, he hopes taking a pay cut will show the team he is serious about keeping his job.  Rex Ryan has faith in him and believe in his abilities.  He is playing well, but is well good enough?  Even being tested in a fight on the field showed that he does want to keep his place on the team.  Every Jets layer is stepping it up this year.

Good to see the team head to the movies to relax.  Now Rex may have taken a small popcorn with no butter, but did he grab a diet soda?  The world may never know.  If he did pig out then the title of the move says it all: Dinner For Schmucks.

John Connor is edging out veteran Tony Richardson in the Fullback spot in my opinion.  His showing in training camp and the Jets/Giants preseason game shows he wants to hurt people.  He loves throwing blocks and making opposing player lie on their backs.  Richardson is passing his knowledge and experience along, that may be his undoing in getting a starting spot on the roster.

I do not have to go into details about the Jets/Giants preseason game.  Everyone has done their reviews and saw the highlights.  Seeing Woody Johnson walk around the parking lot makes me laugh.  He is the owner of the team, not a fan and one of the true fans.  It is more about a PR session for him that knowing what the true fans are about.  Maybe if he sat in the upper deck, the non PSL seats for a whole season he might know what it is like to be one of the true fans of the Jets.  Everyone wants their picture with him, I got mine.  But I also asked him some touch questions.  If you see him walking around, confront him, he is fair game.

REx Ryan has every right to yell at the team.  They are a playoff caliber team.  The second and third string players need to show they want to make the team.  They need to step up their game and prove to the coaches they want it as bad as the high paying starters.  This is why there is a preseason, to make your impact.  Show the coaches you want that first team spot.  Make the tackles, the catches, the key blocks.  They still have some time to prove they are worth that spot.  I know they will do what they can.

OK, today the Giants announced they would put single game tickets on sale.  IN return, the Jets said they would not put single game seats on sale.  The Jets have under 1,000 PSL’s remaining from the 9,000 marked down seats.  This does not count other various seats still unsold throughout the stadium.  If the Jets do not sell out these seats by opening day, what will they do?  They have to sell them one way or another.  It will come down to the wire.  If Woody Johnson does announce single game seats, he will have to backtrack his steps as far back as Cleveland.

The Giants do what is right and it shows in their sales.  They have made wise decisions in their sales practices.  The Jets are still playing second fiddle, caring more about the bottom line than doing what is right to sell them off.  Maybe the fans would not be so upset if for once they listened now rather than later.  I was told by one high ranking official in the Jets organization that they can not please everyone and do what they can.  They are confident they will sell all of the PSL’s by opening day.  What if they don’t.  What will be their next decision.  The closer it gets to opening day, what will the right decision be?

New York Jets rally Videos NJ Training Center Sept 12, 2009

Well, I went to the New York Jets training facility in East Hanover this morning.  I got there nice and early to wait with other Jets fans outside the gates.  Had a chance to speak with Fireman Ed who was there to show his support for Gang Green.  We had a chance to talk about the documentary and might be sitting down to go over the Jets soon.  The rain did not damper the spirits of the fans that came out.  Many of the kids were able to play and bounce on several of the inflatable play areas.  The Hanover Park High School marching band was there to provide the music.

Several hundred fans lined up in two areas to create a “tunnel” for the Jets to run down and slap everyones hands.  Everyone was stacked up shoulder to shoulder.  Some little kids managed to squeeze their way in to see the players.  Dustin Keller was one of the first to come down the tunnel followed by Rex Ryan, Thomas Jones, Nick Mangold, Kellen Clemens,  & Ryan Sanchez to name the ones that passed me.  They gave out free lotto tickets, key chains, and other promotional related stuff.  Everyone who came out had a great time and could not have spent a better rainy morning.

Fans coming in, Jets inflatable play areas, and the band

Kids playing, or waiting to play

Kids being kids…..hitting each other with inflatable sticks

Long time Jets fan Fireman Ed gets the fans psyched for the players

Bob Wischusen & The NY Jets Flight Crew prepare the fans

Bob Wischusen, Rex Ryan, and Kerry Rhodes speak and then the Jets give the fans what they wanted, the team! Dustin Keller, Rex Ryan, Nick Mangold, Kellen Clemens, and Mark Sanchez are a few you will see.