New York Jets

Just Pey No

I know it’s been like a week since Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts announced they have agreed that after a storied career with the franchise, Manning would no longer be a Colt.  It’s sad, since he’s been very successful, but he’s also been what we call “hurt” and at the end of the day, we know this is a business.

Yet, I had people asking me to weigh in on it.  I thought since I’ve said it on Twitter that my position is clear on the idea of Peyton Manning on the Jets.  I mean, I am a Jets fan first, but there are players who deserve my respect, and I always respected the shit out of Peyton.  Thought it was a shame that if his career were to end, it would be this way and not via a retirement road show like he deserves.  That’s about the extent of it.

Meaning, don’t even bother asking me if I want him on my team.  The short answer is no.

The long answer – are you fucking crazy? Why the hell would he be a good fit for the Jets AT ALL in this lifetime?  Like, I don’t know why this is even a discussion.  Hell-to-the-NO is more like it for the long answer.

Besides, this was written on Friday afternoon, and by Friday evening, it was announced that the Jets had extended Mark Sanchez with a three-year deal.  So a lot of this is moot now.

Yet, I had some people try to argue with me why it would be a good idea for Peyton Manning to be a Jet.  I listened, since I like to think of myself as a compassionate version of Mike Francesa (ok, that’s a bad example, since I’m comparing myself to a know-nothing blowhard radio guy), but I don’t want to be abrupt or condescending.  If someone brings up a good point to me, I’ll acknowledge it but tell people how I feel afterwards.

Someone suggested to me that Peyton could help the Jets bring home a Super Bowl.  And if I eat broccoli today, I could take a dump tomorrow.  Look, maybe five years ago Peyton could win a Super Bowl in New York.  With his injury history and obvious deterioration, it’s not the best idea, especially when we already have Sanchez here.  Hiccups and all, Sanchez is our guy, as I discussed with Jon Presser on my podcast a few weeks ago.  Even Eli Manning has two Super Bowl titles, and he led the league in interceptions not more than two years ago!

I know Peyton Manning will end up somewhere.  But if anyone merely suggests that he could cure what ills the New York Jets at this point, they’re sorely mistaken.  Like, didn’t we just go through that mess with Brett Far-ver-uh in 2008?

Here’s where I think Peyton would be a good fit:

1.) Seattle Seahawks

2.) Miami Dolphins

3.) ….Yeah, that’s about it.

I know it’s a longshot, but you come here for my opinion, and I’m gonna give it to you.  I like and respect Peyton Manning, but to suggest he could do better or be better than what we have is a massive overstatement.  Sanchez is our guy and the sooner we realize that, the better off we’ll all be (and the Jets took care of that for us today).  But, you know, best of luck to Peyton on his job search.  He’ll be employed in no time.

Plus, I wouldn’t want that Sausage Race looking mother fucker on my team anyway.

 

Uncanny resemblance, right?

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IDK

I am a Jets fan.  I’ve made that clear on several occasions.  Hell, I even have a blog dedicated to my fandom of three teams, one of which is the Jets.  But football is a curious sport.  I came around late on football, although I always followed the Jets, it took me a long time to get into the rivalries and playoffs implications and having to pay attention to what other teams do.  Football is really for the ADD addled masses of our society.  It’s a one day thing (potentially spilling over to Mondays), and it gives you an excuse to drink beer, eat wings and go to bars on Sunday.  Not that a nice girl like me does things like that.

Okay.  You can stop laughing now.

Anyway, my point is, I never got Jets and Giants hating on each other.  I mean, whatever, I don’t dislike the Giants, I don’t exactly go out and buy their logo-emblazoned stuff, but I know many Giants fans and always am happy to see them happy.  This year, while watching Jets/Giants, I was at my mom’s.  Her boyfriend is a Giants fan (though if you ask me, he’s just a big NFC guy, he’ll make a special exception to the Baltimore Ravens because he likes their stadium.  Go figure).  She asked me what it was like watching a game with a Giants fan.  I shrugged.  He isn’t an idiot on Twitter, talking shit like they won the fucking Super Bowl.  But I was fine with it.  Besides, I knew the Jets season was over, win or lose.  It could have been, I dunno, the Packers for all I cared and I still would have felt “whatever” about it.

So now, I am walking around New York City, and EVERYWHERE I look, there is some kind of Giants thing around.  Whether it’s a booster, or someone posting a photo of Times Square, the Empire State Building…it’s everywhere.  This isn’t sour grapes or jealousy, it’s just something I thought of.  I was either ignorant to it or just maybe I was thinking of not jinxing anything (Yeah, remember what I said about the whole neuroses of sports fans earlier? I didn’t eat ANYTHING that was remotely Boston related when they played New England last year, and I also wouldn’t eat Heinz ketchup during the conference championship against Pittsburgh…yeah, I know)…but I don’t remember all this hullabaloo last year.

Yes, I know that the Jets practically “guaranteed” a Super Bowl entry.  I also like to point out that Mark Messier “guaranteed” a Rangers win almost 18 years ago, and ever since then, EVERYONE has “guaranteed” a win of fill-in-the-blank.  So whatever haterade coming towards the Jets is deserved.  But I seriously don’t remember such a big deal being made over the Jets last year.  I’d have barely known about it, except, I was a fan and the bar around the corner had beer specials.

I was talking to my Jets blogging touchstone, Jon Presser, earlier on Twitter, and we started off talking about the Mets, then I asked if there was this much attention being paid to the Jets last year.

I got a kick out of that.  After all, I’ve seen it myself.  I really don’t get it.  Football fans can hate whomever they want, but I’m sure there are teams that Jets fans should hate, and they’re not in the NFC.  I also don’t mind when Jets fans root for “New York,” though I don’t particularly do that myself.  Depending on the matchups, I decide who I am rooting for.  But that’s besides the point.  My issue is that Rex Ryan has said he doesn’t want the Jets to be “little brother” in this town.  They fell short, but I see what he means.  It wouldn’t have friggin mattered if the Jets went to the Super Bowl or won last year.  Because they didn’t make it this year, and the Giants are one game away from it, well, that is everything.  I know, woe is us, but I can’t catch a goddamn break with my teams. UGH!

When I said I didn’t dislike the Giants or their fans, yet it seems there’s an incredible amount of hatred towards the team in green, this was the response I got.

Well, look, here it is.  I wish my friends who root for the Giants the best of luck.  All I know is I will be a happy camper-ette if the Patriots lose.  Like Jon said, would the hypocrites come to roost, or because the team wasn’t expected to “do anything” this year, and they’re in the championship game, does it mean it was a success?

IDK.  But according to those same folks, the Jets not making it past the AFC conference game two years in a row meant nothing.  Well, I have to agree.  I would have liked it to go further and they didn’t do shit this year.  But if NYG’s don’t make it to the big show after Sunday, I don’t want to hear it.  Goddammit, anyway.

Meet The *New* Jets (Same As The *Old* METS)

Perhaps The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is one of the most plagiarized songs in sports.  If you think about it, the whole “Meet the old boss/same as the new boss” line gets rehashed over and over…and over and over…and over some more, and once again, in the sports lexicon.  No matter what sport, team or pro/amateur, whatever, we can always use that line to describe how a team we follow has performed.

I promised myself never to do that, since I believe it to be cliche.  Yet, I haven’t weighed in on the whole Jets performance at the end of the season for that very reason: it’s a cliche.  You have a semi-new “boss” who has talked a big game and practically predicted a championship  each year since his hiring.  You have a young stud hotshot whose hopes for the future have been pinned upon.  You have a bunch of mercenaries playing on a team that really just care about personal performance, but aren’t “team” guys.

Factor in a New York (“big market”) team facing a Miami (“small market”) team on the last game of the season with playoff implications for the big team and what do you have?  A recipe for disaster.

You may think I’m talking about the Jets, but I’m not entirely.  You see, I’ve read this story before.  It’s happened to the Mets as well.

I’ve often argued that 2006 for the Mets was the aberration: the year that should have never happened.  Yet, at the time, I was drinking the Kool-Aid like everyone else, or rather, I was just enjoying the time and place in front of me.  But who believed they wouldn’t at least *MAKE* the playoffs that year?  I can say until I’m blue in the face that the last series of 2007 for the baseball Mets was not the killer — we could point to any series lost against the Phillies after All-Star Break that year, not to mention the series before against the Washington Nationals where if they only won just ONE goddamn game, we wouldn’t be even blinking an eye about their floundering now — but rather it was indicative of the whole season.  The giant falls, and we’re not talking baseball or football giant, we’re talking a big market team, no matter what the pro sport.

But look at the Jets.  A team that simply got too big for its britches.  A team that believed everything its big talking coach told them, a team that believed its young stud quarterback wasn’t actually overrated.  Hey, you know what, I don’t apologize for liking Mark Sanchez.  He’s young, and may even be successful without the fish bowl of New York media.  But I’ve gotten attacked on Twitter for saying Eli Manning was overrated (so the fuck what about a Super Bowl title), but I was also saying that the Jets aren’t much better in that department.

Then look at how the Mets floundered in 2007.  I’ve often said the denouement of that quasi-dynasty was Carlos Delgado.  And he was barely a Met.  Yet, he came to the team, and they rode his confidence.  Yet, the second he started to slump, so did the team right behind him.  Perhaps Billy Wagner put it best when he looked to his locker after a game in 2008 and said, “f**kin shocker” in response to being interviewed in a game where he didn’t even play.

Substitute Santonio Holmes on the Jets for Carlos Delgado on the Mets, and you have yourself a good comparison. I have to admit that I like Holmes, and even past tense, especially when he was on the Steelers (for some reason, I have a lot of friends who are Steelers fans).  He’s been criticized by Joe Namath, but also by his own teammate LaDainian Tomlinson.  Injured reserve rookie QB Greg McElroy didn’t name names, but didn’t really have to when he said that the Jets locker room was infiltrated by selfish personalities.

If you look back to the reasons why the Mets faltered late in the season in both 2007 and 2008, there were rumors that a faction led by Carlos Delgado kind of undermined their “boss” Willie Randolph.  To be honest, I was not a fan of Willie Randolph, but it seemed like a bit of a longshot that Delgado or anyone on the team woud have tanked on purpose just to get him fired.  On the flip side, there was almost a direct correlation to the team doing better (especially specific players) after Randolph’s midnight firing.

So does this mean that the rumors were true — that Holmes, among others, were just tanking to get Brian Schottenheimer fired?  If that’s the case, then fuck ’em, these are professionals who should be playing to win.  Not lose to spite a coach they are not fond of IF IN FACT that is the case.  Yet, it’s doubly wrong and implies that Holmes, a team captain, wasn’t even trying for whatever reason, mostly selfish.

Back after the 2006 season, the Mets came out of nowhere to come within a game of making the World Series.  Each year after that, their performance has gotten worse and worse, and more embarrassing by the season.  Now, they are almost in a rebuild mode (a hybrid of cutting ties with “dead weight” and ties to previous losing seasons, and letting the young guys play, whether they win or lose).  Taking a cue from the public service announcement that “It Gets Better.”  For the Mets, though, it’s gotten progressively worse, and should continue to get worse before it ever gets better.

In 2007 and 2008, the Mets had respective season-ending series against the Florida (Now “Miami”) Marlins that could have swayed their playoff position.  I’ve argued that there were games each season that they SHOULD HAVE won and COULD HAVE won but DID NOT.  So when those series were lost, yes, it sucked, but I just took it.  The same goes for this big market football team, losing to a subpar team located in Miami, in a game where a win could have changed everything.  By the same token, a win anywhere else in the preceding three weeks could have changed everything too.

I root for three major New York teams — the Mets, the Jets and the Rangers.  Each one incompetent in their own special way.  But the Mets and Jets have more similarities than I care to admit.  And yet, I have to wonder if after a taste of almost success in making it to the conference championship could have been just enough of a taste for a team that didn’t make it quite as far as they should have.

The Jets are in a bind.  They believed their own hype and became too big for their britches and then what happens? Players start to quit.  And it becomes a bigger story than the team itself.  They lose games they should be winning by considerable margins.  But that’s just it: THE ENTIRE FUCKING SEASON WAS LIKE THAT.  I could go back to when they started 2-3 after losing three straight on the road.  Winning just ONE of those road games would have made a difference.  The shitshow back in November after Thanksgiving.  All in all, the Jets have no one to blame but themselves, since it’s a team loss.  But if you are having individual players making individual decisions about how the team should operate…then expect more of the same, as long as Mark Sanchez, whipping boy du jour, is around.

Kamikaze Jets

My husband is a "12th Man" for Seattle

My husband is a Seattle Seahawks fan.  True story.  He started watching them in December of 1983, and became a die hard ever since.  No one ever told my husband he was “basic,” and that’s the truth.  Although he’s a local Mets fan (but he grew up in the Bronx of course), his basketball team is located in Utah (Jazz), and football team is in a city he’s never visited (Seattle, natch).

Imagine his surprise when last year during the football playoffs, AM New York had a feature on team-focused bars, and they featured Carlow East, a Seattle Seahawks-fan bar that broadcasts every game (and since the Seahawks aren’t exactly a “national” team like, say, the Dallas Cowboys are, it’s rare he gets to see them on National TV).  They don’t have a kitchen, but they have cheap drinks, and are chill about allowing you to bring food into the establishment.  But on football game days, they do bring in a buffet.  Just your standard pastas, salads, wings, and wares like sausage and peppers.  Drawbacks are that they don’t make mimosas (no sparkling wine), don’t have coffee (so no nutty Irishmen or other adult coffee drinks), and they’re on the East Side of the island which is like Guam to me.  BUT they made up a lot of ground by offering us take out menus (an extensive list) and by suggesting I get my own coffee from across the street, and then charging me for a “shot” to “nutty it up,” as the bartender said.

For a brief moment, I wished I was a Seahawks fan, or just a team that doesn’t exactly have “local” roots.  During the game, they had Seahawks based chants like “SEA-Fense!” or “Sea! HAWKS! Sea! HAWKS!”  Whenever the Seahawks scored a touchdown, they gave everyone a round of Seahawk-blue inspired Kamikaze shots.  (Similar to what the Chapmans do on Mets opening day each year, they substitute Blue Curacao to give the margaritas a blue tinge, as opposed to using just plain ol’ Triple Sec, a colorless orange liqueur).

    

Yes, we went from euphoria (well, as euphoric as I can get watching a game with no rooting interest…but I did appreciate being there with a fan base I know so little), to watching the Jets game.  The life of a Jets fan, of course.

Anyone have a hit of Viagra I can use?  That game was as flaccid as…well…never mind.  Simply, the Jets were just awful.  It was so bad that I actually enjoyed, THOROUGHLY enjoyed cleaning my house.  I even cleaned the cat’s litter boxes.  My house is now clean, but the Jets still got annihilated.  At least I can hang my hat on THAT, watching it in a clean house.

So what went wrong?  Well, whatever it was went very RIGHT for the Eagles, a team I cannot stand.  Look, nothing business, just personal.  I hate the goddamn city.  I hate that they have a NYC complex (they should already know we’re the superior city).  I hate Michael Vick (Sorry but I actually DO think most animals should be treated better than people).  I hate the Phillies.  I hate all their stinking drunk idiot fans.  And they ALL spill over into the Linc when the Phillies aren’t playing.  I have an exception for Flyers fans though.  They seem to know their shit.  I can respect that.  All I know is for all the goodwill that the Phils are bringing to their city, sportswise, no one fucking appreciates it.  They’d give it all up for ONE Super Bowl ring, and they all know it.

Now that I got THAT out of my system.  The things that went RIGHT for the Iggles?  Well they proved that not only practice makes perfect (they have a chance to bounce into the playoffs after a lackluster start to the season, how about that for some shit), but that studying does indeed go the extra mile or in this case, extra few hundred yards or so.  The Eagles found the weakness of the Death Star of Jets defense, as they were running plays easily being called.  Fab.

I suppose if there were a game they had to lose, it would be today.  In the category of how ’bout that for some shit, still, the Jets didn’t technically lose any ground.  Huh.  It’s not going to be easy of course, considering they had their life in their hands, and blew it.  Well, all I can say is they better fuckin’ win next week, in the Toilet Bowl as EJ from Happy Recap called it on Twitter yesterday.  Because Sexy Rexy is running his fuckin’ mouth AGAIN.  Look, say what you want about Rex Ryan, but he always flaps his trap (he won’t stop so we may as well enjoy it).  Yet, he can admit where he’s wrong afterwards and ALWAYS takes the heat off his players when it comes down to it.  Seriously though, after this shit show the NY fans had to be subjected to this week?  Although with the shoe on other foot, when the Giants countered with a trash-talk won’t help the Jets, but hey, this game has just as much bearing on the G-men too.

If all was right in the world, this game would mean nothing but bragging rights to the winning fan base (and honestly, I don’t dislike the Giants. I just prefer the Jets).  But lately there’s been a lot of “my overrated quarterback is better than YOUR overrated quarterback” so I’d nothing better than to bash the Giants’ skulls in at any chance.  Yet this game is all of a sudden a must-win scenario for either team.

JUST WHAT I NEED ON CHRISTMAS EVE WHEN I’M AT MY MOM’S, PEOPLE.

I started the day drinking Kamikaze shots in honor of my husband’s team, while the Jets shitbombed their own kamikaze attack on themselves to make a game that should have meant nothing mean everything.

Sounds about right to me.  Merry Fucking Christmas, Jets fans.

The Decemberists

Football games in December, especially in the northeast, midwest and any place typically north, are well-known to be cold.  We’ve been fortunate in New York this season though.  On days that you would expect to be just cold (not even factoring in “bitter” or “wind chill”), it’s been balmy and dare-I-say “unseasonable” weather.  My dream is to someday live in San Francisco, and we’ve been blessed with Bay Area-like weather.

Of course, not on the day I was scheduled to go a game.  But as you see, my friend and I dressed appropriately.  A few years ago, I read an article about dressing for games during the playoffs at Lambeau Field.  I remember the guy had like 10 different layers, but most importantly, thermals with the butt flap.  We don’t have it that bad, at least, not yet.  But for me, I had thermals on, a sweatshirt, my Jets jersey, jeans, a North Face, a scarf, and I had gloves.  I didn’t really need the gloves, and I had a hat for a break-in-case-of-emergency.  My friend wore her Jets cap though, for reasons other than weather (I’ll get to that in a minute).

Dee, who posts for Metscellaneous, and I met a few years ago.  Brought together by our love for the Mets (and baseball), we realized we had some eerie things in common.  We’re both only children, we like to write (which is technically how we met), we both don’t like raw tomatoes (but we like tomato-products…I have a hard time explaining this to other people, but luckily, she gets it), we love margaritas and chain restaurants (don’t judge), and we’re both born in December.  It’s irony, really, because we are not WINTER folks (though, that is her last name..again, irony), but we can identify with the season and having our birthdays overshadowed by everyone else getting into the holiday spirit.

I never got the whole “this is your Christmas AND birthday gift,” mainly because I’m an only child and my parents never were torn in other directions.  What we did get, though, was the whole nightmare of trying to plan birthday parties that were convenient for your friends, family and kids’ parents.  I have a better appreciation for it now as an adult.  But now since we’re adults, we’re taking matters into our own hands.  We not only decided to have a joint birthday party and “share” our friends and the wealth of having a December birthday (and some people can get territorial about their friends, go figure), we said, hey, we can’t go to a baseball game for our birthdays…but we CAN go to a football game.

So December 11th it was, against the Kansas City Chiefs.  I was so concerned about buying tickets for this game, yet we were told at the tailgate we went to that we could have easily waited till that week and gotten super-cheap tickets in the upper levels.  It ended up not mattering either way, and I’ll get to that later.

So first things first, we meet at Penn Station, me with coffees in hand and we chill for the train to Secaucus, and transfer to Meadowlands.  We’re there before 10:30 am.  That may seem early but when you’re tailgating, the time passes very quickly.

I went to the same tailgate I attended back in October, when I went to the game against the Dolphins.  My friend Kevin is part of a tailgate group, where they basically have a communistic set up of beverages, snacks, real food, and then other wares, like chairs and wood-burning stoves.  Kevin is married to another baseball chick I know, Sharon, and she came to celebrate our birthdays (since this was the birthday game).  Sharon ended up going to the game, which wasn’t part of the original plan, but it ended up benefiting us for several reasons.  One is that we love Sharon and she’s a lot of fun to hang out with…the other is that later on, we got to sit with Kevin and a few of his friends in the 200 level.

 

Dee and I were greeted with a strawberry margarita (courtesy of Kevin’s battery-operated margarita maker), and there were comforts of home such as yummy food and wood-burning stoves.  We didn’t really need it though, since you can see I lost my scarf and had my coat al fresco after a bit (plus I was drinking a frozen alcoholic drink).  The guy on top of the truck was leading us in a J-E-T-S chant, and the dude in the middle of our photo is Frank, the ringleader of the L11 tailgate.  There was also a filming of a television show that these dudes were pitching to Food Network, for I guess best tailgate burger.  Frank was the winner of the golden spatula.

I wanted to get there earlier, after all there were huevos rancheros on the menu there, because two and a half hours does go by quickly.  After all, times flies when you’re having fun.  It came time to go into the stadium and root for the Jets.  It was Dee’s first live football game, after all.  And yes, I’m trying to set a record for the most “after alls,” in one paragraph.

Our seats weren’t terrible, but because they were underneath the lights, we got dripped on! (It rained here midweek, but I guess the sun shining brightly for days afterwards led it to melt any ice that may have formed).  I felt like I was back in the Mezzanine at Shea, when you were underneath the awning, even if it had rained like a week before, if there was a puddle, you got dripped on.

 

 

We had a pretty good view of the field, more so than my first game of the season where I was behind the goal post.  Don’t get me wrong: those seats were awesome on the 100 level, and my friend basically just gave the ticket to me so he wouldn’t eat it.  But the drawback here were the drips…Dee had to put on her hat so that it wouldn’t drip on her head! We had a good view of Fireman Ed here (as evidenced above), but the crowd really wasn’t going strong till later in the first quarter.

Sharon told us her husband had some empties by him, and we should head down there.  Good thing we did!  We stayed there the second half, and for the rest of the game.  Look how sweet these seats were!!

 

 

We had a better view of Fireman Ed, who basically has carte blanche to do anything at JetLife Stadium.

As for the game, yeah, it was a blowout, and as well it should have been.  There wasn’t much to say except Mark Brunell came in the game eventually to relieve Sanchez, since there was no point in keeping him in there.  The Jets are now in control of their own destiny too, as far as playoffs go.  That can be a good or bad thing.  Mostly good, since they don’t have to rely on other teams losing, but then they have to depend on winning and we all know how well that can go sometimes.  I have an impeccable record for Jets games though, and now so does Dee.

When we walked out, we had another post-game tailgate to hit with another December baby, the friend we affectionately refer to as Woooooo because of his greeting on social media networks.  He is the consummate host, offering us beers, different types of foods (rice and beans, london broil, bison burgers, dogs)…there was even a birthday cake, since his is coming up this week. Sure, the cake was half-eaten by the time we got there, but it was still yummy nonetheless, and a great capper of the evening.

 

NJ Transit is ass-backwards as far as game day travel is, but we had a finite time to return which was 5:48, the last train out of dodge.  Of course, they kept us waiting and waiting and waiting, and the train Dee wanted to take back was missed by literally two minutes.  Not to fret, we decided to go outside to get some hot cocoa at Dunkin’ Donuts.  She casually mentions, yeah I’d like to see the tree.  I say, hey, what else do we have to do tonight.  So after the game, we pranced all over the city and did touristy things and made the day even more complete.

 

(Some bears made a special appearance)

As we walked towards the L7 tailgate after the game, I asked Dee what she thought about the game.  It’s a different atmosphere than a baseball game, for sure, she said.  She did say she almost liked it a bit better than baseball.  I can understand.  Nothing will ever replace my love for a spring or summer day game or even a night game, socializing with friends, drinking booze, eating nachos.  But it can get diluted for me, which is sad, but it is what it is.  Like Dee, we go to way many more baseball games.  This has to do with proximity, availability and the number of games.  I get a little jaded at times simply because I go to many games.  I can take it for granted.

Football games are special though.  There aren’t many, but there’s a lot of commitment in going to a game.  Woooooo told us there was a friend of his in the tailgate who drove up every weekend from Washington, D.C.  D.C.!!!!  I bitch and moan about NJ Transit having a pain in the ass schedule on game days.  This is especially dedicated for tailgaters too, like Wooooo and Sports Yenta (whom I met yesterday, oy!) and Frank and Kevin and everyone else.  Thank you all for hosting us and making our birthday game special.

Dee and I were bonded by birthdays and baseball, and always hated that we couldn’t spend our birthdays going to baseball games.  What a crock!  We should have been grateful for what we did have, and that’s football…but then again, we are Jets fans, so that could have something to do with it.  But now we have our own tradition and are making it our own.  So as I’ve said before, I not only gained a baseball friend, I gained a baseball sister.

So happy, happy birthday to my dearest Dee.  May all your wishes come true, and I hope you look back on this game with as much fondness as I do you!

Build It Up (Tear It Down)

There’s that old saying that you build things up to tear them down.  Kind of like celebrities.  Entertainment media spends a lot of time bringing people up to a certain standard, and when they can’t live up to it, people seem to relish in the fall.  It’s almost, like, humanizing I suppose.  Look at Kim Kardashian and her 90-day marriage or however long it was and the backlash from having a ginormous glitzy wedding televised (though in my opinion, she had it coming).

The same could be said about sports and sports figures.  Remember at the beginning of the football season, the Buffalo Bills were the toast of the town, man.  They won their first three games, and prior to their bye week in Week Seven, were 4-2.  Their losses were even razor thin, and could have easily been won.  Pretty soon, they were 5-5 along with the Jets.  Now they’re writing about how this could be their worst “collapse” ever (As a Mets fan, I know a thing or two about collapses).

The Jets, however, were the boners.  The Bills were overplaying to everyone’s expectations, which is always a good thing.  The Jets behind Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez along with Darrelle Revis et al had made it all the way to the Conference Championship game in two seasons…they hadn’t “earned” the right to successfully gloat.  Which I mean, come on, Rex is a blowhard sometimes but he’s funny and always owns up to his mistakes.  If the shit was on the other foot, i.e. I was not a Jets fan, it may piss me off too.  The Jets are boners, apparently, to the masses.  Possibly because of my eclectic sports affiliations and interactions, I find a lot of haters.  Haters don’t piss me off…my philosophy behind them is that you’re doing something right if people dislike you to the point of bashing.

Yet, a few weeks ago, the Bills were the toast of the league, and now the Jets beat them (it was ugly Sunday, that’s for sure) and it’s all, “Well, it’s not that big of a win…it was the Bills.”  Well, fuck that bullshit.  I’m sick of the double-standard.  If the Bills had held on to a lead, I’m sure it would have been about how the Jets suck and they’re horrible and Rex Ryan likes his wife’s feet and blah blah blah.

I was supposed to attend today’s shit show live.  I had a shit show of my own that needed attending to when I was at home and didn’t think it to be a good idea to go a game.  I was sad, I was mad…nothing I hate more than wasting those tickets.  So I just sat home with my green tea, my yogurt and upped my probiotic intake.  And I didn’t drink though for most Jets games, it should be mandatory that I’m stinking fucking drunk.  Period.  End of story.

I know the Jets are flawed.  If ANYONE knows that it’s me.  But back to the haters thing, why not give credit where it’s due.  The Jets and Bills are battling for a playoff spot — if they’re LUCKY — and it’s the JETS who won and who are getting the shit of the end stick regardless.

And what’s worse?  I love taking to Twitter to bitch about them. Yet I was called out for saying “Just forfeit” in jest to someone I follow…a saying, by the way, I’ve been saying for 14 years.  People who aren’t even Jets fans RELISHING in each misplay, misfire, miscue.  Look, I know they half bring it on themselves.  But it’s like they’re the Rodney Dangerfield of football: they get no respect.  Stevie Williams mimes shooting himself in the leg scoring a touchdown, and people defend it.  Plax got the last laugh there, so it’s all good as far as I’m concerned.  Tweeters calling a Jets loss before they even finish.  Do I need to remind them that a few years ago they were all but out and “backed in” only to go almost all the way…and that was a year they weren’t expected to do much!

It reminds me of when the Yankees are in the playoffs.  ALL the haters come out of the woodwork.  Now, I’m not a Yankees fan, but I can respect them and their fans (especially since I’m friendly with many of them).  On the flip side though I understand where the hate for the Highlanders come from.  They’ve at least earned the right to haters, if that makes sense.

So the Jets are a quirky team with a quirky head coach who likes to talk a lot and their QB is a pretty boy with some neurosis (hey, he’s a QB for a NY team that I like…I take the blame for that).  Sit down and shut the fuck up.  I’d like just for once to hear about how it’s the BILLS who dropped the proverbial ball (twice, mind you, against the Jets) and not how the Jets won the game because the Bills decided to lose it.  Fuck that noise.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to sit on the toilet again.

Kinky Kelly and The Sexy Stud

You fucked up! You trusted us!

Such is life for a Jets fan.  After the horrific loss to Denver on Thursday, I was basically in the acceptance part of my grief process.  I was detailing how I would be able to start my detox earlier this year, not to be interrupted by going to bars or drinking and eating poorly during football playoff games. Till then…I have two games that I am attending live.  I’d hate to think there is nothing to play for.  Then again, in previous years, many things have fallen into place, with the Jets quote-unquote backing into the playoffs, or perhaps the schedule will bear out.  Oh, and there will no margin for error.  Something, at which, the Jets have been acutely inept at this season, that whole low-margin-of-error thing.

My advice to you is to start drinking heavily

“My advice to you is to start drinking heavily,” said my friend, whom I refer to as WOOOOOOO, over on Twitter the other day. This was mostly in response to me bitching there about the games I am attending live in the future, money spent, hopes dashed, disappointments met, and about cleansing myself of this sports hex I have put on myself.

In my life, there have been a few constants.  One is my sports fandom and its affiliations: Mets.  Jets.  Rangers.  The other are my love for John Landis films.  Blues Brothers.  Trading Places.  Coming to America.  Animal House.  Besides sports, perhaps music and film draws people together in the same way. Sometimes, they collide and I can quote movies and enjoy sports at the same time.

When I was on the West Coast last week watching the Jets play the Patriots, I had to speak my tweets because my phone was charging.  Meanwhile, the other three folks I was watching the game had no vested interest in the game conclusion (though they seemed to want to the Jets to win, since I was rooting for that conclusion).  So they started talking about movies, like Kevin Smith films.  Clerks.  Jay and Silent Bob.  Mallrats.  Understanding these movies is cult-like.  We throw around quotes like it’s Shakespeare.

When the conversation turned to Clerks II, I started going nuts.  I HATED that movie, and thought it was better off not made.  My husband and our friends disagreed. They loved it, especially the part about “ass-to-mouth.”

I guess you have to watch the movie to understand the context.

Meanwhile, when I say, “Jets 2011: Ass to Mouth,” you can get the drift.  It’s roots are in a Kevin Smith movie, but the ramifications are far spread.

Think about it.  The context of it in the movie was just for gross-out humor.  Not that I’m not up for that.  But this is what the Jets have been doing all season.  This highly unsanitary and unorthodox of way of conducting themselves, when it should be easy.  YOU NEVER GO ASS TO MOUTH.  AND YOU DON’T DO STUPID SHIT AGAINST TEAMS LIKE THE BRONCOS.

See, I almost wished they lost that game I went to against the Dolphins.  Maybe they would have snapped out of it.  Then again, they are doing all the wrong things.  They’re entitled to lose games, but they games they lose to are even messed up.  Like losing to AFC teams that could potentially be a “tie-breaker” when it comes to playoff time (though, I just have to wonder if this is just not the year).  Special teams being atrocious.  Brian Schottenheimer convinced that as offensive coordinator his job is to fit the QB to the offense, not the other way around (as @metsjetsnets88 and @robzloto discussed on Twitter, this isn’t anything new…he’s done this was THREE QBs). I don’t think Schotty is the only problem (like, where is the backlash against Westhoff, as an example), but it’s clear that it’s PART of the problem.   The problem being consistency.

And yet at the end of the day, the people taking it up the ass with the mouths of the media are Mark Sanchez, the “pretty-boy quarterback,” and Rex Ryan, the only man documented to have a foot fetish, because they are visible.  Because they are the quarterback and the head coach.  Hey, I’m not saying Sanchez is completely blameless.  It seems like he almost has to trust himself to get the job done because of the way things are going.  It’s not good.

Like when I watched the Mets faltering in 2007, I said losing games to the likes of the Washington Nationals in August (that they could have easily won) leaves no margin of error. Good teams find a way to beat the teams they are supposed to beat.  The Jets of 2011 are making me feel the same way.  Ass-to-mouth might have been funny in the context when my friends and I were discussing quotes from Clerks II.  When talking about the Jets 2011 play, it’s certainly one that’s as unsanitary and undesirable in the short- and long-term.

Stand By Your Man

“So…who wants to watch Blues Brothers?” I said in the fourth quarter last Sunday, when it just seemed painfully obvious that this was clearly not the Jets day.  Nor was it their night. (Operative word there was “painfully”).

A few things to go on that background.  First, I was on the West Coast, with a Seahawks fan (my husband), a Giants fan (Solly) and a 49ers fan (Mrs. Senor Solly).  I was still on East Coast time, since I was basically there for what amounted to a long weekend.  I was in bed most nights around 10 pm PST.  Yeah, I’m lame. But also since the game was on East Coast time, we were done around 8 pm watching the game.

Oh and I had done a Petco Park tour in San Diego earlier in the day, and while walking out of the stadium, I ran into two Jets fans, presumably on their way to watch football somewhere.

Jets fans meet in downtown San Diego

They admitted they were both Yankee fans, but I let them get away with it…Nobody is truly perfect after all.

My phone had died out at one point.  So I made a conscious decision to not live-tweet during the game.  So I did the second-best thing: I talked to the TV as if, you know, the team could hear me (they can, can’t they?), and said some pretty Coop-tastic things.  Such as “Fuck you and your mothers.”  “Kiss my ass.”  You can see where I can pull some of my most primal thoughts on Twitter.  My thoughts were being tweeted anyway, even though I wasn’t doing it myself (Be sure to follow @Fsolomon75 for more info on that).  Love modern technologies. And the power of outing your friends on Twitter.

To say I was giddy with anticipation for the week’s game would be an understatement.  I was ready for payback, especially when it comes to the New England Patriots, or as I like to call them, the “HATEtriots.”  The first game really left a bad taste in my mouth, but I figured this team has faced Tom Brady and his crew a gajillion times, we can take ’em.

Anyway, I make no bones about whom I love on the Jets this year.  And the constants of course.  Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, Plaxico Burress, Mark Sanchez are my big four this year.  The obvious choices.  I don’t care if Burress shoost himself in the foot, uh, literally.  If he wants to audition for the Darwin Awards on his time, far be it for me to stop him.

Moving right along, people get on Mark Sanchez for not being an “elite quarterback.”  Well, let’s take a step back and think about what an elite QB is.  Look at the Colts, as an example.  Their “elite” QB, Peyton Manning (the human Milwaukee Brewer Sausage Race Sausage) has been injured this season…guess what?  His team is probably going to get the first-round draft pick this year.  Right?  Then there’s Tom Brady, the *barf* “elite” QB.  Look I can give credit where it is due, but I don’t like Brady because he’s the enemy.  But yet when he was hurt a few years ago, the Patriots were hardly the vaunted threat they usually are, and didn’t make the playoffs.

So to say “Mark Sanchez isn’t an elite quarterback” is a very loaded accusation.  For one, the Jets are seriously not a one-man team, like say the Colts are constructed to be or were.  Now, I don’t pay close attention to Colts games, just basically follow them on game trackers or whatever, so if there’s something else going on there feel free to clue me in.  The Jets are constructed to have a heavy D (RIP…wait, wrong D), so when that fails, Sanchez’s errors are more glaring.

That’s not to say, on the other side of the coin, Sanchez’s idiotic move (what Rex Ryan coined as being one of the dumbest moves in the history of football) of calling a timeout too soon during the first half wasn’t to blame.  Yet, the defense can’t keep giving opportunities to a seasoned team like the Patriots.

I feel like Sanchez doesn’t make “rookie mistakes” per se, but I feel like his own hype can get in the way at times.  Meaning, I could tell he was getting rattled during the game.  That might seem like rookie nerves, but who knows what happened in the locker room during the half…Ryan could have put his fist down his throat, and made his asshole into a pinky ring.  I could see that rattling someone.  Yet, they are still professionals and should know better.  So play better, you tools.

Lastly, at the root of it, is a team effort.  I saw just overall the team making mistakes that could be construed as “rookie,” but since Sanchez is the “face” for better or worse (I mean, it can’t get better…he’s seriously cute), but this was a team loss.

Is it the end of the world?  No.  Yes, as a fan I would prefer beating the Patriots on any day of the week, let alone on a football Sunday.  I still have faith, as blind as it may be.  I believe in my heart of hearts that the Jets are going to come up huge this season.  Just unfortunately, it didn’t happen on a national platform, against the hated Patriots.  The schedule bears out for the Jets for the rest of the season…so just man up and play better.

After all, they’re just a team…

Stand by your men

And if you love them…Oh be proud of them…’Cause after all, they’re just your men…

Stand by your green men…

Giving Thanks

This might have been a phone conversation I had with my dad the other night.

Me: “So I’ll be seeing my friends Fred and Jenn this weekend.”

Dad: “Fred Solomon??? Man, I feel like I know that guy.”

Funny, because “Solly,” as we like to call him, has never met my dad (neither has his wife, Jenn).  Yet, because of this wonderful thing called social media and Facebook, it’s introduced me to a universe of friends that I probably would not have known otherwise.

And at the root of it?  It’s our shared fandom of certain teams.

Fans at a Jets game (From L to R): Kevin, Coop, Mr. E and Kace

When I was a kid, my dad would take me Mets games at Shea Stadium.  Mr. E, as we call him, has a natural approachable and friendly personality.  Anyone who meets him loves him.  He’s just the right mixture of lovably wacky and heart-of-gold.  This weekend, he turns 60. He’s showed me what it’s like to be a die-hard fan of sports and what it takes to be a friend.

I’ve probably loved him and hated him equally for making me a Mets, Jets and Rangers fan though.

Yet, when we used to go to these games, he’d go with his best friend, affectionately known as “Uncle Gene,” and I’d tag along.  They’d keep me occupied with Cracker Jacks, fountain sodas and ice cream (did I mention how hyper I’d be at these games too?).  They used to sit in a section with these guys Dominic, Rob and Mike.  You’d never know it, but they just met and socialized at the games.  They always seemed like they knew each forever.  But it was sports.  Sports is what drew them together, and what was an initial common bond.

Sadly, they lost touch over the years, but I can’t tell you how many times Dominic, Rob and Mike popped into a conversation with Mr. E or Uncle Gene while we talked about going to Mets games.  I always remembered though that I loved the in-the-trenches humor that Mets fans have, and it kept me around, even in down times because it was always a common thread we have.

My dad also got me going to Rangers hockey games and into the Jets a long time ago.  After the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2008, I said, “It’s bad enough that you made me a Mets and a Rangers fan…but a JETS FAN???”  Pops took me to my first Mets baseball game and Rangers hockey game…but I took him to his first Jets game last year.  So I guess one good turn deserves another.

Mets Fans at AT&T Park (From L to R): Ed, Coop, Senor Solly and Mrs. Senor Solly

So this brings me back to Fred and Jenn, or Senor Solly and Mrs. Senor Solly.  I don’t know if I’d know them outside of sports.  I’d like to think somehow our paths would have crossed but outside of our mutual fandom, sadly I don’t think that would be the case.  So even when my teams are horrible and they suck and they piss me off, I have the relationships and bonds I’ve formed as a result of them.  Yet, because my dad has been “introduced” to them as a result of tools like Facebook or even about me bringing them up in conversation, they are kind of like my versions of Dominic, Rob and Mike.  Though maybe if Facebook existed back in the ’80s, we wouldn’t be wondering “What happened to those guys??” and maybe seeing them at games more regularly.  Last we heard, Dominic got married and was living in Greenwich, Connecticut, and had two kids.  That was back in 1994.  His kids might have graduated college by now.

This is the time of the year we are supposed to give thanks to what we have and friend we have met and for our family, but most of all I am thankful that my dad got me into sports.  I may get mad at him for rooting in exercises in futility sometimes…yet, I also know the thrill of winning, which is why I stick around and it makes the bad times worth it.

But most of all, it got me to meet some lovely people over the years.  If you are not a sports fan, then perhaps this is a bit out of the realm of your comfort zone.  There may be common bonds you form with different groups of people.  For us, we get together, and bitch about our teams, and reminisce about the good ol’ days, and then we find we have more in common than we ever thought.

Shadows of the Seasons

Spending a bunch of time at baseball games during the year would have maybe tired out one person, but not this chick.  Baseball is the very heart of my being, but during the cold winter months, I need something else to spice up my life.  Football is for the short-of-attention spans…hockey is for those who like hulking men beating the crap out of each other.  There’s not as much commitment in these sports as 162 games a year hold…but there’s a commitment of its own respect and a deep passion attached to each of them.

Of course, some of my worlds interconnect or go off the beaten path during the non-baseball months.  I know that Mets, Jets and Rangers fans exist, but most of the time, they coexist. I find that I get along with most Mets fans but if they are not Jets nor Rangers fans, I’m okay with that.  I know a few Mets fans who are also Giants and Devils fans.  Or Mets fans and Islanders fans.  Hey, nobody’s perfect.  Lately, though, I’ve been intermingling with Jets or Rangers fans who are not necessarily Mets fans.

Take Saturday night…I went to my first Rangers game of the season.  I got to see my friend Conor at the Blarney Rock (one of the bartenders who never forgets a face or a…face), and I got to meet up with @Stefmara from Twitter, a die-hard Yankees and Rangers fan.

  

I used to have a problem with Yankees fans, but not fans like she is. She is knowledgeable, passionate and not a Johnny-Come-Lately (or Lifelong Fan*… *Since 1996).  I had a good friend of mine, Paulee Vee, who was also a big Yankees fan.  We’d argue a lot, but he said that we had similar passions.  So the passion is there, we can agree upon that…to a Mets fan though, it’s always tough to identify with 27 championships, but we’re our own little quirky universe.  I’m comfortable with that, and there’s never a reason to be ashamed.

Anyway, it turns out that besides the Rangers, we had much in common, such as people.  We were officially introduced in @AmandaRykoff‘s espnW piece on intense female fans in the New York area.  Turns out she knew a bunch of people I knew in person, and it would have only been a matter of time before we were introduced anyway.

It was easy to see how hard core Stef is.  She was raised in a hockey family, understands the nuances of it like any professional player…and even is such a Wisconsin fan, she has a Derek Stepan jersey from his days at Wisco.  I always say that baseball is my first love, but I always appreciate a dyed-in-the-wool hockey fan.

I’ll comment on the Rangers/Canadiens game I actually went to in a later post, but I will say that I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.

The first Sunday in November is always a big day in New York City: Marathon Sunday.  It’s a day that drivers curse, and especially those who live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan can’t get around because the race route goes right up 1st Ave and down 5th Ave for several blocks.  I considered myself lucky because I’m on the West Side…except that the high-profile finish line is right by where I live.  My Mets friend Dee (the artist formerly known as Mets Writer) came in because we hadn’t seen each other in awhile, but also wanted to catch a Jets game on TV together.  When she arrived, around 11 am, the crowds from the Marathon hadn’t quite reached their apex, but once we got out of brunch it seemed like every single finisher was showing up right in my neighborhood.

The Marathon is a great part of New York City culture…just get the Hell out of the neighborhood.  Ah, I simply joke.  Because next year I will be one of those finishers…I’m sure you’ll hear a lot about it, being that I will be running for charity next year.

 

The Marathon is something I probably would have thought “I’d love to do it someday but…” and find a million excuses as to why I shouldn’t/couldn’t do it.  Yet, one of my dear Mets friends ran it last year, and it inspired me to figure out why I was holding myself back. So 2012…here I come!

Getting back to my day with Dee, she and I are both Jets fans too. We have December birthdays, and decided that we are going to treat ourselves to a Jets game in December (her first ever…it will be my third game of the season at this point).  So we took in the Jets/Bills game at Dallas BBQ.

All I know is that: the Jets won, they beat the highly-considered Bills, and that no one in the mainstream media is discounting the win. Funny, I was ready to queue up my cheeks so the naysayers could kiss my ass.  It didn’t happen though.

Yet the weekend was framed by two birthday parties…one for @laurmkor (a friend of mine who happens to be a Yankees fan) and Amanda’s, which is always going to be surrounded by sports- and beer-loving folks.

All my seasons came together this weekend, and it made me realize how fortunate I am to know these people.  Love may make the world go ’round, but sports is what keeps your relationships interesting for sure.