New York Jets – Thoughts On Home Field Advantage

Dan Marcus with thoughts on the New York Jets lack of a home field advantage

Alright Jets fans, it’s time to address something that has been bugging me for quite some time and finally came to a head last week. For the longest time, I heard that the Jets lacked a real “home field advantage” because they were playing in someone else’s building with bearing the name “Giants Stadium.” Naturally when the Jets moved across the parking lot to the giant gray slinky now known as Metlife Stadium, one would think that things would presumably be different. In the inaugural season of then “New Meadowlands Stadium,” the Jets brass were playing the “this is our house” mantra up to the “nth” degree and sure the the first Monday night game against the Ravens and the match-up against the Patriots the subsequent week were pretty full and reasonably loud but things have been on a precipitous decline ever since.

I would say that the Jets’ hierarchy is largely to blame with the institution of PSL’s and going in as 50/50 partners with the Giants despite the fact that their clientele/season-ticket holder base was vastly different socio-economically than the Giants. The Jets acknowledged this difference to an extent by making the entire Upper Deck “Non-PSL” seating but at the same time charging severely inflated prices from the Giants Stadium days. The Jets quickly realized that although they once had a robust base of season ticket holders and a sizable waiting list, very few of them were willing to pay for a Personal Seat License (which is essentially the NFL equivalent to volcano insurance) let alone the exorbitant per game ticket prices they had to pay in addition.

The Jets quickly burned through their waiting list and priced out the real fans that made the Giants Stadium stands rock in favor of a more upscale crowd who would be willing to pay for luxury suites, PSL’s, and the right to sit field level in the “Coach’s Club” not realizing that the game is pretty tough to watch behind 6″5, 300-pound behemoths. The Jets saw erratic attendance and a season-ticket holder base that continued to dwindle each season in the new stadium and with it any hope for a formidable home-field advantage. Most tickets in the building are not held by avid fans/season-ticket holders but are instead sold on a single-game basis to tourists who wouldn’t know a Shotgun from a Hand gun.

However, where most tickets are going to that has myself and fellow season-ticket holders so upset, is in the hands of visiting team fans, which came to a head last Sunday against the Steelers. I understand that the Steelers have one of the largest national fan bases but it was downright pitiful as I would wager that Jets fans were outnumbered in the stands and I’m sure even those who watched on TV could tell, especially any time Heath Miller saw the ball, the stands rained down with chants of “Heath” that were enough for most Jets fans in attendance to feel the tailgate fare they just consumed coming back in the opposite direction.

You may be asking yourself: “Why is this a big deal now?” Why wouldn’t it be? It’s Patriots week, the one week each season that MetLife Stadium should be deafening even Rex understands the importance of creating a home-field advantage as he is once again making a “call to arms” to the fan base to show up en masse and make Brady’s life a living hell. Think about the last time the Jets beat the Patriots at home in 2009 and 2010, the one common denominator was the jarring crowd noise that had the building rocking and Tom Brady shaking in his presumably UGG-lined cleats. This week it is even more crucial as the Patriots come in even more banged up than they were in Week 2 and with a mostly inexperienced supporting cast, it could prove to be the difference in the game.

The in-game experience hasn’t really been the same in MetLife Stadium and has been on a progressive decline only exacerbated by the “retirement” of Fireman Ed Anzalone from his fake job as leader of the Jets Chant and his subsequent replacement by an obnoxious drum line. The Jets have really missed the boat since moving over to their new stadium, marked by a series of strategic missteps and blunders. However, when it comes to Patriots’ Week in a game that has some very big implications for the remainder of the Jets’ season, it is imperative that those who have tickets show up and that the stands make it look and feel like a home game because the Pats are vulnerable and its the Jets’ last chance to get them this season, so I’m making my own call to arms: if you can make it, show up, wear green, be loud, and let those spying/cheating SOB’s know whose house it is on Sunday, if only for one game.