Rediscovering The MetLife Stadium

As you may already know, the MetLife Stadium which is located at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, US, is one of the most amazing American football stadiums ever built. This is also the only National Football League stadium that is the home to two teams, which are the New York Jets and the New York Giants. When it opened on April 10 2010, this second largest stadium in the NFL was known as the New Meadowlands Stadium. The MetLife insurance company that is based in New York acquired the naming rights to the Stadium, back in 2011 for 25 years at the cost of $17 to $20 million annually. Having a construction cost of nearly 1.6 billion makes this Stadium the most expensive one ever built.

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A Day At MetLife – Jets vs. Browns

In what was regarded by many as a “meaningless” game, the New York Jets beat the Cleveland Browns with an impressive effort on Sunday. Many teams often crumble once they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but the Jets fought like a team with new life. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith was efficient with three touchdowns and no turnovers. The defense held tough on their own end of the field multiple times. Overall, it was an exciting game to watch, especially from the south end zone. I was fortunate enough to attend the game with my father, a life long Jets fan since the Shea Stadium days.  Continue reading “A Day At MetLife – Jets vs. Browns”

New York Jets Fact Or False: Preseason Week 2 Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False previews the New York Jets pre-season game against the New York Giants

Chris Gross is back with his weekly Fact or False, this week previewing the upcoming Jets/Giants pre-season game. Make sure to give Chris a follow on Twitter and for God’s sake get yourselves a TOJ shirt before we sell out to current Jets players –

For this week’s New York Jets Fact Or False, we preview the preseason edition of the Battle of New York. Although the Giants remain the victor in this rivalry until the next regular season match-up, Jets fans still have much to watch for in Battle of NY Lite.

A Jets win will help forget about 12/24/2011. False.

Unfortunately for Jets fans, even if Gang Green beats their cross town rival in blowout fashion, the image of Victor Cruz’s 99 yard touchdown catch on Christmas Eve will remain burned in their memories until the next regular season match-up between the two clubs. The Jets would certainly love to take the game, and at least have some sense of pride in the city, however the Giants and their fans will hold bragging rights until the Jets take Big Blue down in the regular season, or until they win a Superbowl, whicever comes first. Until then, the Giants remain the Kings of New York.

Victor Cruz will dominate. False.

Anyone familiar with either of these two teams knows that Victor Cruz has had his way with the Jets over the course of his young career. Cruz became well known to both Jets and Giants fans when he torched Gang Green for 6 receptions for 145 yards and 3 Touchdowns in their 2010 preseason match-up. Cruz seemed to hold onto that flame in last year’s Christmas Eve game when he hauled in 3 balls for 164 yards and a touchdown, including the infamous 99 yard touchdown reception that all but ended the Jets’ 2011 campaign. However, with Hakeem Nicks out, and Mario Manningham now playing in San Fransisco, Cruz will likely play as the team’s primary option at wide receiver, meaning he will be matched up on All-Pro Darrelle Revis. While this is an excellent opportunity for Cruz to even further showcase his skills and dominance of the Jets, chances of anyone getting off of Revis Island are extremely slim.

Revis has been clashing with Stephen Hill in practice throughout all of training camp. After the rookie had his way with the league’s best defensive back earlier this week, Revis had reportedly buckled down and blanketed Hill in the week’s later practices. Revis has been practicing against great speed throughout training camp, something Cruz has plenty of. However, this will be nothing new to what Revis has seen in practice thus far, and I would expect him to come out on a mission, considering Cruz’s past success against the Jets.

The Offensive Line will struggle to get Sanchez protection early. Fact.

Although the Jets Offensive Line has vowed to improve upon their abysmal performance in Cincinnati, there is still a very serious issue at Right Tackle. Although Austin Howard held his own, and has earned praise from the coaching staff, the Giants defensive front is among the best in all of football, if not the best. Last year, Defensive Ends Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul combined for 3 sacks and 4 quarterback hits on Sanchez, leading the team’s total of 5 sacks and 6 QB hits. Although part of the blame for these numbers can be placed on former Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who called for an idiotic 60 plus passing plays, the offensive line will have their work cut out for them. Expect Giants Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell to attack the right side of the line with combinations of Tuck, Pierre-Paul, and Osi Umenyiora to get pressure on Sanchez. The task will be extremely tough for the guys up front come Saturday night.

The Jets will be able to run the ball effectively. Fact.

Although the Giants pass rush is a cause for concern, their run defense isn’t exactly stellar. The interior defensive line has been harped by early injuries, and the linebacking corps is average, at best. Last year, the Jets ran for 105 yards against them, on only 25 carries, for an average of 4.2 YPC. I would expect the Jets to try to pound the ball in the middle, while running a great number of draws in an attempt to take advantage of the Giants’ aggressive pass rush. For the first time, we could get an early glimpse of the Tebow package, as this makes great philosophical sense against a pass rush like the Giants’.

Eli Manning will throw for multiple touchdowns. False.

Other than the fact that he will hardly play past the first quarter, Manning actually struggled the last time he faced the Jets, contrary to popular belief. Other than the 99 yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz, which was more of Cruz burning the defense after the catch, Manning completed only 8 passes for 126 yards and an interception against the Jets last season. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine did a good job of keeping him in check by disguising coverages and mixing up blitz packages. Manning will also be going up against the most talented secondary he will likely face all season long. While he is among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, taking these facts, plus limited playing time into account, it is very unlikely that Manning tosses even a single touchdown pass, let alone multiple.

Quinton Coples still has a lot to prove. Fact.

Although Coples looked fantastic in his preseason debut for the Jets (5 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 Sack, 1 FF, 1 PD), he has taken a lot of heat recently. Following the Jets 17-6 loss in Cincinatti last Friday, Coples was still criticized as the majority of his statistics came against the Bengals’ second and third strings. Earlier this week, both Calvin Pace and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine questioned Coples’ practice habits, basically stating that they want to see the effort that he put into the game equate the effort that he practices with.

Coples has been under the microscope since the Jets selected him with the 16th overall pick in this years draft. Many have questioned the decision to pass on coveted OLB Melvin Ingram for Coples, leaving the rookie out of UNC with a lot to prove. Now, Coples needs to prove that he can make plays against the starters, while also continuing to prove that he has the proper mindset to improve day to day. Expect him to come out with a heavy chip on his shoulder yet again.

It Is Now Or Never For Jets Fans: Suggestions For MetLife Stadium

Chris Celletti with a call to action for Jets fans this Sunday and a few suggestions for the MetLife Stadium game-day production crew

I’ve been going to Jets games since the days of Boomer Esiason. I’ve seen some great moments for sure – plenty of bad ones, and now I’ve gotten to experience two different stadiums. MetLife Stadium has many faults. When it was being designed and then built, Jets fans were sold on the idea that this would be OUR stadium – not just a shared one with the Giants – even though we were sharing this one with them too. How would that be accomplished? By green lights, and green signs, and just a bunch of other green things. When I first walked into the place, the color that overrode everything was gray. It’s a huge hunk of steel and concrete. I suppose it is better than the Giants’ red that the seats in the old building had, but walking into MetLife stadium doesn’t exactly invoke an overwhelming amount of Jet pride.

Jets fans have always seemed a bit whiny when it came to not having their own stadium. I say this because there is no reason that on eight Sundays a year (and hopefully more, but who are we kidding?) Jets fans can’t lose their collective minds and go be completely off the wall in support of their team, regardless of the name of the stadium or the color of the seats. I watch enough NFL football on TV to know what a truly great home crowd is. Every other NFL stadium seems totally packed by kickoff; in most buildings the entire place is standing and cheering on the team’s first defensive possession. From being at every Jets home game this season, I can tell you that that’s not nearly the case at MetLife Stadium.

The place is generally about 60% full at kickoff. When I walk into the stadium from the parking lot, usually about a half hour from kickoff, I notice hoards of people still lounging in their bucket seats, knocking back Coors Lights and flipping burgers, priorities clear. Why you’d pay whatever you pay for a Jets ticket and waltz in 25 minutes late because you just had to have another sliver of Sal’s awesome skirt steak, well, I’m not sure. I hope Sunday night is different.

You have all day to tailgate. Get to your seat by 8 o’clock. Go nuts for the team when it is announced. Stand up, get loud, make it as tough as you can for Tom Brady. If the Jets go down by 7, or 10, don’t wallow. Rex Ryan and Bart Scott have both said the crowd could make a difference this week. They’re not crazy.

As for MetLife Stadium? Well, they cant change the colors. Whatever. But there are some things that can be changed.

-First off, don’t attack our senses at every chance. I don’t need to hear “Ridin’ Dirty” blasting in my ears after every Shonn Greene 10 yard run (thank God, in that sense, that he’s had a rough year). My brother, Rob Celletti, has made the very valid point that the blasting of music does absolutely nothing to get people pumped up. Instead, it has the reverse effect. All it does is drone on and drown out any crowd noise.

-Replace your PA announcer, please. I usually don’t begrudge people who do their jobs since, but I know I could do a better job. I swear I could. Almost anyone could.

-You’ve gotta be kidding with “Down With The Sickness” by Disturbed before kickoff. To every New York sports team who isn’t sure what song to play when their team comes out, here are four words: Empire State of Mind.

-Give me more classic highlights during TV timeouts! This was one of the best parts of the old Giants Stadium. So what if we’re losing to the Dolphins 3-0? Show me Ken O’Brien hitting Wesley Walker for an 86-yard bomb in 1988, and all will be fine.

So there’s that. The gameday stadium production will be the same, but one can dream. Either way, now is the time for Jets fans to step up their game and make MetLife Stadium a fortress. The team has given you plenty to cheer about the past two and a half seasons.

Now go cheer.