The inaugural installment of “Getting to Know the Writers” features TOJ writer and talk show host Stephen Zantz. We ask him about his background, why he wanted to write for TOJ, and his best Jets-memories.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I was born in Queens but grew up in Marlboro, NJ. Currently, I live in Midtown Manhattan.
Where did you go to school and what did you study? I am a WVU alumni who graduated with a degree in Marketing and a minor in communications. Go Mountaineers! Always will have a soft spot for Geno Smith.
What do you do for work? My job title is an Associate Director of Paid Search at an ad agency. I oversee the day-to-day of BMW and MINI Cooper’s paid search and manage a team of 5.
When and how did you become a Jets fan? I was born into this thanks to my dad (why couldn’t we like someone else as a family!). I would say it’s been my entire life but I didn’t really care a lot until middle school.
When was your first Jets game and how did it go? The 2004 home opener against Cincinnati. I’ll never forget it. Curtis Martin ran like a mad man against the Bengals defense. It was also Carson Palmer’s first career start. The Jets won so I thought they were a good team, little did I know.
What is your favorite Jets moment? This was the easiest to answer. The 2011 Divisional game against New England. As a 29-year old Jets fan, this is basically the super bowl for me because this team hasn’t won one in 52 years. The Bart Scott “Can’t Wait” interview is still my favorite to this day. Put some respect on Mark Sanchez’s name people!
Do you follow any other teams outside of the Jets? I love the Knicks (they are actually my favorite team but Jets are a close second). I am also a Yankee and Ranger fan but I’m not the biggest follower of both baseball and hockey.
How did you first become involved with TOJ? I followed Joe C on Twitter for years and read the site. I got pulled in by the weekly 12 pack and then really enjoyed the other content. Joe and I use to interact on Twitter and one day I reached out to him about becoming a writer. I sent him a sample and we published it a day later.
What is your favorite part about TOJ? It’s a great group of people who are super passionate about the team. Our slack group is much needed therapeutic relief of getting your thoughts and opinions out. I also love that every person who is part of the site doesn’t feel exactly the same. We share a lot of common opinions but we have some good arguments. I also like how everyone is really trying to find new ways to differentiate us from other websites. Couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.
What is your favorite hobby? I’m really into music. I love making playlists on my spotify account specifically for old school hip hop/rap. I used to randomly DJ parties for my fraternity in college and people would love the songs I would throw on. Also love to play Warzone with my friends. I’ve never played with Connor Hughes if anyone is wondering.
Which do you like more: podcasts or books? Podcasts for sure. I listen pretty much daily. I love Bill Simmons’ podcast. I also used to big into Pardon My Take but haven’t been as into lately. I think podcasts are the best form of media out there today because there is one for everyone and it can be heard on your own time no matter how old it is.
What is your favorite Jets twitter account? I feel like I’ll be called a shill if I say Joe C but outside of Joe, I would definitely say Drew from Jersey. The guy just cracks me up. His Mahomes and Kingsbury tweet that he has pinned is an all timer. I also love his analogies for coaching candidates as well.