By Garen Ferstandig
Only two more years in that big grey eye-sore in the swamp that we hardly call home. The Meadowlands (as I’d rather call it) has been an electric place to watch Jet games for over the past three decades. So why is it that we as Jet fans don’t get the credit we deserve for having one of the best game-day experiences in the league? I’ve only been to a few other NFL stadiums but I still feel that I can safely say that Jets game-days are in the upper echelon.
For starters, we don’t have some goofy cartoonish mascot, we have a real live human, that being Fireman Ed of course. I’d take a guy whose emotions you can actually see on his face rather than some silly ever-grinning costume. Unfortunately Fireman Ed missed basically all of last season due to an injury (seriously) and I think we now know why our home record was so horrific last year.
Fireman Ed also hasn’t been getting the respect he deserves at the Stadium. Seems like the Meadowlands doesn’t allow him to conduct his famed J-E-T-S chants with the respect he deserves. They’ve been blaring music right in the middle of the chants and Ed and the beloved chant deserves better than that. And it’s about time they get rid of that moronic frowning green football they call “game face.” What are we, 6 years old? Do I have to listen to some talking football on the scoreboard to help me get pumped up? I think not. I’d like to get Doug Brien to take “game face” and do what he does best, repeatedly kick him directly into the uprights of a field goal post.
Thank goodness we finally have a legitimate cheerleading, dancing team or whatever category they want to be placed in. Last year there were about six girls who stood around and did a lot of nothing, now there’s about 20 of the Long Island and Jersey Shore’s finest. Maybe this year they’ll start doing something other than waving flags. Some may say you go to a football game to watch football so who cares if we have cheerleaders or not. My response to that is, well if you aren’t watching football, what’s the next best thing you’d rather look at? Exactly. So when the play is dead or it is in between quarters make sure you have your binoculars ready to go. Once play has resumed and you’re still staring the girls with drool dribbling down your chin, then you’re just creepy and need to re-evaluate yourself.
Not too long ago, ESPN’s SportsNation released a report they conducted through a fan survey to determine the best all around franchise based on a variety of categories. The Jets placed 79th out of 122 teams. Okay, I can live with that. But, as far as stadium experience goes we finished 115th. What!!?? In the words of John McEnroe, You cannot be serious!! The Atlanta Hawks finished 90th which is impressive for a team who if not for the ushers and concession guys would have nobody else showing up in the stands.
How can a team that fills every seat of a 78,000 seat stadium each and every Sunday with some of the most die-hards in the land wind up so low on that list? Ok, granted the incidents over at Gate D this past year were a black eye for Jet fans, you can’t let what a few clowns did disparage the collective game-day experience of going to a Jets game. We’re on our feet for every offensive and defensive third down screaming our lungs out. Opposing players know they’ve entered a hostile environment when they come into town to face the Jets. Jet fans are the reason why the visiting players are no longer introduced individually as a result of the ad-libbing we do after the player’s name is announced.
Looking to the 2008 season, with all the reason in the world to be optimistic, Jet fans will be ready to support a team that will play physical, fast, and smart football.