THE MEADOWLANDS – An old friend of mind from college that I’ve known since 1985, has two boys. The oldest is a reasonable human being; like his dad, he thinks watching sports is boring and stupid. However, the 8-year-old has the disease that afflicts everyone reading this site: He thinks watching grown ups play children’s games is cool.
The kid’s already memorized all of the NFL teams. Half of his attempts at conversation involve spouting random football stats. And for reasons only the gods are privy to, this central Jersey boy is devoted to Gang Green instead of Big Blue.
This is why we don’t let eight year olds vote.
So my friend asked me if I’d like to come up and join him as he brought his youngest boy to his first-ever NFL game. That was back in September. I said sure. And that’s how it came to pass that I was attending the Jets-Dolphins game at Some Corporate Sponsor Name Stadium just as this hurricane-within-a-noreaster that they’ve dubbed “Sandy,” was slowly closing in on us.
I hadn’t been to a Jets game in about 20 years, and their fans were worse than I remembered. Unadulterated doltery. Particularly up in the $75 corner-endzone nosebleeds (Section 333), you’re not dealing with the finest that the New York metropolitan area has to offer.
There seemed to be a lot of Parliament smokers.
Of course the Fins fans were no charmers either. Like the one Miami moron who threw a mostly empty beer cup at a Jets fan who was wearing a big, furry panda bear head mask. You can’t make this stuff up… Instantly, there was shouting and a potential ganging up on said drunkard – until the New Jersey state cops showed up. As my friend pointed out, they really do look quite gay, with those tight blue shirts and those strange hats with the short, black brim.
Think Freddie Mercury’s German leather S&M phase.
The game itself was equally disastrous. The Jets . . . yeah, I don’t need to explain that to you guys. Suffice it to say, that without Darrelle Revis, and with Mark Sanchez, they suck about as bad as sucking gets.
I probably should’ve found a more articulate way to express that, but the place kinda rubbed off on me.
Anyway, we stayed until the 7 minute mark of the 4th, which was a fair bit longer than most Airplane fans. All in all, it was a brutal display on many fronts.
Fronts. That’s a storm pun. Get it? And Airplanes?
The best part by far was the halftime speech that former Jets lineman Dennis Byrd made when they retired his #90 jersey. It’s been twenty years since he was crippled after colliding with Scott Mersereau. Yet, he walks again. It was truly inspiring.
“I learned to be a man in Oklahoma,” Byrd said. “But I grew to be one in New York.”
Not quite Gehrig, but damned good stuff. He deserved better than bloated lunks and drunken buffoon parading as Jets fans.
Afterwards, I got in my car and headed home to Maryland. Managed to make it here ahead of Sandy, in one piece, and with time leftover to write this column.
So let’s hear it Jets fans. Have I unfairly disparaged thee? Lemme have it.
West Coast Craig will not be in today, L.A. has been evacuated because of Sandy.