Archive for the newyorkjets Category

There was an interesting blog entry on the Fifth Down blog of the New York Times this past week. It seems that the waiting list for New York Jets tickets is now non-existent. It used to be an estimated ten years long, and they charged people $50 a year to stay on the list. It says that you can pretty much sit where you want now by just walking in with the cash. I’m still angry at the way we were taken for granted after over 40 years of attendance, but at least I got to go to games. Imagine paying $500 to stay on a waiting list ($50 times 10 years) without having been to a game, and then learning that once seats were available, anyone could get them for the same that you could (provided they had a lot of cash or wanted to take out a new mortgage)? The main subject of the blog entry was that the Giants were cutting prices and having trouble selling their seats. The blog said that the list for Giant tickets had been an estimated 25 years long and I remember hearing it was 50 years at one point. I wonder when the NFL will wake up and realize that enough is enough. Killing the fan base can’t be good for the league. The money is isn’t going to the league. It’s being spent to pay for a stadium that isn’t needed and which costs $1.6 Billion (with a B!).

I’ve got a basement full of old grills for before the game and a closet of Jet hats and scarves and other paraphenalia that I’ll no longer be using. For years, it’s been a rite of passage around here to go to your first Jet game and get your first hat. Half of our weekends during the season were spent at Shea Stadium and the Meadowlands, cheering for our team even when they were really (REALLY) bad, which has been more years than they were passable, let alone good. On the other weekends,  we made sure to be home or at Dad’s to see the game or hesitated to drive in a direction away from New York in case we got out of range of the radio signal before the game was over.

At least when Leon Hess was alive, the fans mattered a little. Having been told, in so many words, by Woody Johnson that loyalty to the fans was something he and the team don’t have, do they really think we’re going to go out of our way to listen to or watch a broadcast or buy the licensed products they depend on?

Returning to the stadium for one last year before they move across the parking lot is going to be more a nod to nostalgia and one last set of visits with our friends than an expression of loyalty. It might be nice to hear someday that Woody Johnson lost more than he expected on his purchase of the team. That would be fair for a man who took the team from its fans.

I’ve never been a big sports fan. Sure, once it gets to time for the baseball playoffs, I’ll usually watch some or all of the games, but it’s never been something that I’ve arranged my day around. The exception has been that for 45 seasons the guys in my family have followed the New York Jets as season ticket holders.

For the first year or so, it was my father and some work associates, joined by my brother and myself when we could. On a few occasions, by grandfather came, too, and we had three generations enjoy the game together. We had our green and white hats (most people wore the old wool hats rather than the baseball hats that are more popular now) and our green and white scarves. Mom found a new source of ideas for Christmas presents, and we got green socks and similar items in December. We’d pack up blankets and head over to Shea stadium, listen to the New York Jets band play from the open end of the stadium and watch the little guy climb into the little jet and drive up and down the sideline whenever OUR team scored while jets from LaGuardia flew over head and an icy wind blew off of Flushing Bay. (more…)

We’ve been fans of the New York Jets since the beginning. That’s not an exaggeration, either. My dad wandered over to their offices on Madison Avenue in New York and picked up our season tickets before they played their first game at Shea. The only way anyone could have been following the team longer was to have attended Titan games at the Polo grounds. We remember going to Shea with my grandfather, who’s been gone for 35 years now. We remember “bumping into” Ed Sullivan there (literally), who was a fan, and the excitement of the Superbowl win is an actual memory of a real experience rather than something we read about. This year marks the 45th season we’ve been going to games.

After several years at Shea, we discovered that if we left the house 15 minutes earlier, and brought food, we could sit outside the stadium and watch everyone else come in from our folding chairs in the parking lot. We cheered with everyone else in the lot when the temperature display on the billboard near the parking lot dropped another degree and headed inside to endure the wind off of Flushing bay so we could watch our team with friends we only knew from the games. The woman I married met my parents for the first time when I brought her to a game at Shea.

We followed the team to the Meadowlands, where they were a tenant of the Giants, and almost the entire section moved with us. Lenny, who sat behind us at Shea, still sits behind us now. We thought it would be nice if we could actually have our own stadium, but we didn’t think about it a lot.

We learned a few years ago that a new stadium was going to be built next door to Giant Stadium, which would be owned by both teams. The current stadium is still fine, but this one will have luxury boxes, which really don’t apply to us. This year we learned the details. To purchase seats in a similar location at the new stadium requires the purchase of a Personal Seat License for fifteen thousand dollars a seat, which then allows us to buy the same seats going forward for about the same price as we do now. The only allowance being made for 45 seasons of attendance is that seniority will be applied before lotteries are held to allow us to choose licenses for seats at the new stadium. And, since the team records only go back to 1974 or so, we’ll need to compete with with everyone else who has attended for 35 to 45 years, or so. We are also being allowed to compete for seats that are two sections further from the field and don’t require a license or a new mortgage. Either way, there’s no provision we’ve heard of that would sit us near Lenny or all the other Sunday friends we know by face if not name.

I spoke to Lenny last night (after so many years, we do have the number), and he said that this has definitely changed things. He used to live and breathe all things “Jet”. After the way the team has handled this, it isn’t the same. We found out the loyalty only extended one way.