Two weeks ago I wrote a column about the quarterback situation with the New York Jets and I actually got some fans remarking I may need to be kinder. O.K. I will, for now.
Last year I interviewed two amazing long time season ticket holders, John W. from Mahwah and Tom D. from Rego Park, at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. They were attending a Boomer and Carton show that was broadcast live from Florham Park.
John W. has been a ticket holder since 1979 and sits in section 227 on the Toyota Club side at MetLife Stadium. He originally was a Giants fan, but couldn't afford the season ticket price. He became a New York Jets fan when he got a job and could afford Jets tickets. He told me his original seats cost $25 per game and that he has always had two seats since 1979. He remembered the parking lot cost no more than $3, beer was $2 and the bathrooms were bad. I wanted to ask him if he meant the outside bathrooms along Route 3 !
Tom D, his friend for years, has been a season ticket holder since 1974, but he took two years off when he couldn't afford to attend. He ran into John at a game and they became instant friends. Tom would always drive to the games at Shea Stadium and never took the train. He said the parking lot as Shea was a place of great New York Jets memories. Same thing for the parking lot at MetLife Stadium.
Tom and John both agreed that the introduction of Monday Night Football, which started in 1970, made the game of football even more exciting to them as fans. ABC Sports producer Roone Arledge turned the Monday night program into a spectacular entertainment event, after NBC and CBS felt it was a risky venture. ABC made the right decision.
Arledge was no fool, hiring controversial sportscaster Howard Cosell to be a commentator, along with play-by-play announcer Keith Jackson and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith. In 1971, Frank Gifford replaced Jackson and sports history and memories were made. The New York Jets have played many Monday Night Football games, but John and Tom reminded me of their favorite, the Miami-Jets "Monday Night Miracle", played on October 23, 2000.
John and Tom have been friends for more than 40 years. Some of their other fondest memories are of Shea Stadium, especially the frigid winter games. Go figure. They both remembered snow swirling over the top concrete of the stadium, crazy guys with their shirts off and even some who peed off the top seats of the stadium on the cars below.
Now these are two true New York Jets fans at their finest.