So the Jets and Giants played the first official NFL game in the New Meadowlands Stadium by a score of 31-16. While it was a just preseason game without regulars from either site playing much, believe it or not, to some it was the game for New York bragging rights.
From the Jets fans point of view, while the scoreboard said (L), the game itself was not a loss as they showed some of what fans had been looking for. Mark Sanchez was 13 for 17 with an interception & touchdown early in the first quarter. LT and Shonn Greene ran the ball well and had both speed and yardage to get into the end zone. Running behind rookie fullback "The Terminator" John Connor helped create extra running yards as he opened up the lane and created many key blocks. All in all, the Jets showed promise in their first preseason game and most importantly, no one was hurt.
From the Giants fans point of view, Eli Manning suffered a gruesome injury requiring three stitches when teammate Brandon Jacobs accidentally knocked Manning's helmet loose on a fourth-down play causing him to collide helmetless on the play. Thankfully for the Giants and Eli, the injury was not any more severe than the obvious wound as it could have turned out much worse. While Manning may not be be doing any TV commercials until the wound heals, there was no other trauma.
I believe the game itself took second chair to what was truly on the main stage tonight, the new Meadowlands Stadium. Last night's Monday Night Football game was the first time a Jets and Giants preseason game was held on a Monday night, let alone any preseason game on a Monday night. The team owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talked months ago about how a Monday Night Football game would really show the new stadium in a way that could not be shown on a Friday night or Saturday. The NFL, Jets and Giants made a collaborative concerted effort to have the game on prime-time on ESPN to make the place stand for those who were on the fence about a PSL's. It was not hard to notice that the camera shots not on the game and sideline made it feel more like an infomercial for the new stadium than a football game.
Coming back from commercial ESPN showed the bars on the mezzanine and lower levels, the Clubs around the Coaches Club area, the Green rooms where certain PSL holders get their free food, the Luxury suites with leather chairs and fireplaces and Coaches Club VIP areas behind the team's bench. I think the only thing they did not show was how spacious the bathroom stalls are. To me it clearly felt like an infomercial about the new stadium. A way to showcase it to millions watching at home as if to say "don't you wish you paid your money to be here?" Even the commentators were going on about the new stadiums amenities. Did everyone forget there was a game going on? Of course they didn't. They want fans to spend time out and about away from their seats in the other areas of the stadium. They already got their money for the PSLs and tickets, now it is time to spend it in other parts of the new stadium.
There will be those who will disagree with me and say how going to sporting events is a luxury and say how that is how it is these days and if you do not have the money then you cannot experience the way a game was meant to be seen. There are two sets of fans in NY now, those who have and those who had. The ones who had wish they could still be there, but do not or cannot pay for a PSL or sit so far up. Those who have are excited, able to watch their team in a state of the art stadium. But will it be worth the price in a few years? Many view the PSL as stock and feel that the PSL prices will rise.
What if the Jets become the Jets of old? What if the Giants go throw some lean years on the field? Last year certainly wasn't any good. At the moment, it seems like a great investment to many and many will hold onto them for life. But to others, the not so diehard fans who have been there for years, how long will they want them?
Many were very excited to be there tonight, win or lose. Able to gawk at the new concession stands, bars, and other areas to shake your wallet at. But in the end, everyone is there for the game; to see two football teams play on the field. If you are there to watch the game at one of the bars, VIP lounges, or any other screen away from your seat, what was the purpose in buying your seat? Just to say you have season tickets?
I happen to be a Jets fan and I wish the New York Jets well this season. I hope they can provide that elusive Super Bowl win they have wanted to give their fans for decades. But unless they sign Darelle Revis, what will those odds be? ESPN played one hell of an infomercial tonight. Woody Johnson must be proud of his new county club. I am sure the Jets and Giants sales representatives will be by their phones tomorrow hoping tonight's prime time sales pitch did its job.
David Levy is a lifelong New York Jets fan. He is also a football documentary filmmaker giving Jets fans a voice in "Gang Greed" & sports blogger. David is also working on other various media & writing projects for others and himself through Levy's Bakery Productions.
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