NFL Stadium #7: MetLife Stadium (NY Jets)

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Hitting both New York teams in the same weekend made my trip to New Jersey extended which was great since I don’t get to see Liz as much as I’d like. I hung out at her place while she was at school (she’s a teacher) and when she came back on Friday we ventured up to the Bronx for a Yankees game. After last year, I swore I wouldn’t go back to Yankee Stadium, but with the team in playoff contention, I couldn’t stay away. They lost making me 0-2 this year. Why do the Yankees hate winning when I go to their games? I was sad, but at least I had fun with my friends. But for real this time, I’m not going back to that stadium until Jeter plays in a Legends game. I’m done. I’ll catch them on the road in the meantime.

Saturday was spent in front of the TV watching college football and planning out my future NFL trips. I have a two week, six city bender coming up and I’m a little nervous about that! Juan grilled out and Liz and I cheered on our Buckeyes. They’re still sluggish on offense, but they were better. I don’t envy Urban Meyer’s job at all. Gotta be stress-ful. To cap off the night we got ice cream and watched the Archer marathon on FX. Liz and Juan are my people.

For Sunday’s game, I left the house at 10 am and took the Newport Lightrail to Hoboken, where I waited for 40 minutes for the next train to Meadowlands. During Sundays they have trains that go all the way there, stopping in Secaucus, but saving you the train switch. I should’ve looked up the schedule before leaving, but I’m a fan of winging it. Better early than late, right? The train filled up with Eagles and Jets fans at Secaucus and many people were already busy pre-gaming on the ride over. I’ve heard enough about both fan bases and their mutual disdain for one another, so I was very excited to see them together. I got nothing. As I exited the train and walked around the parking lot tailgates, I saw fans just chillin’ and grillin’. There were a bunch of Eagles fans at this game, which made sense, it’s like two hours away.

The tailgate scene was more lively than the Giants’ one had been Thursday, but still not all that exciting. I decided to head in and meet my game contact, Jana to check in. Once I entered the outside concourse the fans were a little more vocal. Both fan bases like to chant and spell out their team’s names. They’re also both green and have great accents. It’s funny that they’re so similar to one another. But I find that’s true in many rivalry cases- New York/Boston and Cardinals/Reds are two other ones that I think are same people different team loyalties. Ohio State fans are greatly superior to their TTUN counterparts, so there’s an exception. I liked the chanting and excitement in the air I was picking up. I met Jana and headed down to the field to take some pre-game pictures.

I was impressed by the complete switch over from Giants to Jets – the field, the Ring of Honor members around the stadium, the team shop, and flags and outside signs. Looking around, you’d never of guessed this place was blue a few days ago. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised they can make the switch happen in three days, they’re professionals, but I still thought it was cool. I walked back to the outside concourse to take advantage of the added photo ops and noticed the Jets had more things for fans to do. I meandered around taking in the scene and listening to fans chant at one another before heading to my standing room spot behind the 100 level seats for team introductions. The stadium staff seemed more relaxed for this game and I didn’t have anyone ask for my ticket to stand there.

Since I’d already explored this stadium on Thursday I stayed in this area up until the first half two-minute warning. I was focused on the game and enjoying the crowd, which seemed almost split. Eagles fans were getting louder with each score and I have to say, it is hilarious to watch a grown man yell “Fly Eagles Fly” and pretend to be a bird. I can’t wait to go to Philly. The Jets had more production value during the game than the Giants. It definitely reminded me of the Yankees vs the Mets as far as game atmosphere, which made sense. The Giants like the Yankees rely on their team to be the entertainment and don’t give you the added frills. The Jets, on the other hand, had more pizzazz with the Flight Crew (cheerleaders) and upbeat stadium announcer (esp on third downs). I tend to like the latter because it’s a bit more fun as long as it doesn’t completely overshadow the sporting event. Also, if you rely solely on the team and they have a down year, man is that frustrating as a stadium visitor (I paid how much for that?!). But yeah, the atmosphere was looser and I loved watching the Flight Crew walk around, they do the craziest Fem Bot walk to their spots and are more cheerleader-y than dancers. They’re also all gorgeous… go Flight Crew go!

At the two minute warning, I headed up to the 300 level to say hi to a friend through blogging, Gary. He’s a Jets season ticket holder and quite the sports traveler himself. He’s been to all the stadiums and is going over to England next week to catch the game abroad. His extensive stadium travel is so enviable and he gave me all types of helpful hints for my upcoming trip to Lambeau Field. I spent most of the third quarter watching the game with Gary and his friends in the empty seats behind them. The language in the upper level was definitely more colorful and Gary mentioned there had been a couple fights. I missed all the action though downstairs. There were no fights down there, just your normal taunts and the “A—hole” chant. Up here with the “working man” though, that’s where you get a real taste for the fan base. The actual ticket holders for the seats I was occupying came back and I said goodbye to Gary and headed down to the press box to watch the fourth quarter.

The sun had come out and since I was dressed for cooler weather, I was baking and needed to cool off. Climate control in the press box seemed like the best option. The vibe was more relaxed with this crew of reporters, etc. and the guy sitting next to me said they were pretty entertaining most of the game. He was a free agent in working out with the Jets and was very polite as we talked about various teams. Truthfully, I don’t know very much about how free agents land on teams and I found him interesting as he explained his situation a little bit. Obviously, I’m not going to put him on blast, but I hope things work out and he has success. The game was definitely taking a turn in the Jets direction and it revitalized the crowd. I too was getting caught up in the turn of events and since you can’t cheer in the press box, I headed back to my 100 level spot so I could adequately express my excitement.

The Jets ended up falling short and the stadium cleared out fairly quickly. I took my required post game selfie and headed down to the Verizon gate to get my log book signed by Jana. We chatted a bit and I thanked her for her help the last two games. She was amazing! After saying goodbye I got in line for the trains back to Jersey City. The line was long and they cut it off pretty soon after the end of the game. At least they had later Sunday games on for us to watch as we waited. Fans also started getting chippy with one another in the confined space. The Jets fans resorted to talking crap about the Phillies and someone even retorted with a payroll comment about the Mets. Seriously? Get over payroll in baseball people, there isn’t a cap and doesn’t guarantee wins. Baseball has the most parody of any sport, so just stop. Finally, we got on the train and I could move away from this discussion. Again it was a long haul back, but totally worth it. After spending half the week in Jersey, I was going to miss the availability and relative ease of public transportation… and those accents!

Remember I am raising money for the Ronald McDonald House in Central Ohio. Please donate by clicking here.

Special thank you to Jana for her time and assistance during my visit!


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