Angel Navedo, theJetsBlog.com
With all those high-definition cameras the NFL boasts, recording from cinematic and practical angles while offering exquisite detail of the game, the thing that stands out most when watching from home is emptiness.
This is especially true with the metallic MetLife and all its drab, grey seating. The neutral color is a stark contrast against the vivid Jets green. That means when those grey seats are visible, they’re really visible — like ominous grey clouds consuming the horizon on a once lovely day.
I imagine it’s even more intense when you play for the Jets and you’re looking up from the field to acknowledge your fans. And see a fraction of the stadium’s capacity in their seats.
In the fourth quarter of the 2012 home opener, with the Jets dumping a 48-point pound of dominance on a division rival, MetLife Stadium was clearing. Some sections were already cleared, actually. For the first game of the season, after a preseason that frightened the fans, MetLife Stadium was emptying as though the Jets allowed 48 points.
That’s incredibly disheartening.
There’s an absurd fascination in the tri-state area with beating traffic. People have to do it because it’s critical to be among the first of more than 82,000 people in the stadium to circumvent the parking-lot tango for a quick exit. For a 1 p.m. game. The first of its kind for the Jets since Week 17 of last season.
It’s not my place to chastise the fans for leaving, so I won’t exhaust too much time doing it anyway. But seriously? Guys? What are you thinking? Did you miss the ESPN piece the other day about the Jets having the highest priced tickets in the league? What a waste. You’re late from the tailgate, and you’re leaving early. You paid a king’s ransom for two and a half quarters of a game.
We can speak in circles about the Jets history and that being reasonable cause for fans’ trepidation with showing too much support. Those poor, long-suffering, unique snowflakes. Sure, their hesitation is absolutely justified. But when you listen to New York sports radio and read New York newspapers accusing players of quitting on the team, you shouldn’t spend too much time pondering their frustrations.
This isn’t to suggest that fans dictate the environment and atmosphere around the team entirely. That’s silly. But it’s a pattern that warrants review. Here’s a quick reminder: Rex Ryan calling season-ticket holders with a friendly nudge to get through the gates before kickoff. That call was triggered by a flat, 9-0 loss to the Packers. The Jets won a 30-27 thriller against the Texans after Ryan’s voicemail. Yes, the X’s and O’s will always prevail, but maybe that extra support actually helped.
And because high school sports totally matter, I know it meant something to me and my teammates when we actually had cheering sections. The extra adrenaline was real.
What if the Bills actually rallied in the fourth and won the game? Especially with the way CJ Spiller exploited poor Jets tackling. You guys remember that Buffalo did win a few like that a year ago, right?
Let’s make it an open thread in the comments. If it’s not about beating traffic, what are the reasons for early departures? Does it frustrate you while watching from home?