In the Fall of 1963, my dad came home from work and said “hey, there is this football team called the NY Titans. (they were playing at the time in the old Polo Grounds) They are moving into the brand new “Shea Stadium” to play football under the name of the NY Jets. We can get tickets but they are very expensive…..field level, 40 yard line……...$9.00 per ticket.” That was a lot of $$$$ back then!!! We got the tickets and I can still remember in the Fall of ’64 going to my first game, climbing chain link fences to get into good ole Shea! It was a day I will never forget. (it was the year before Joe Namath arrived!)
Well, 50 years from the time we got the tickets, I can tell you stories that will make your head spin. It would be a novel! So, a few paragraphs or more will suffice. There have been lot’s of wild and tumultuous times
with the Jets over the years with a Super Bowl thrown in….1969. I was in college watching that game in freezing cold Rochester, NY, smoking a funny looking cigarette (I did not inhale!) and can still see that final score 16-7, (although a little blurry!) Jets beat the Colts. In 1973, my wife (at the time, Sandra) and I watched O.J. Simpson break the rushing record against the Jets….in cold, cold, Buffalo!
I remember driving home from Shea Stadium on many a nasty afternoon, wet and damp and pissed off as the Jets would blow games in ways that only the Jets could. My dad and mom figured it was better to stay home and watch some of the tortuous games on TV! So after mom and dad bowed out, Sandra and I would attend every and I mean every game. We always brought friends, as the kids at the time were too young! Sandra reminded me of the time when she caught pneumonia a week after watching the Jets lose to Oakland in a snow storm. Another time, there was a Patriot’s fan sitting behind us and harassing all Jet fans. Sandra turned around and said will you please “Shut the “F$##@” Up!” The guy was ready for a fight! Luckily I brought a friend along who was 6’4” tall and once he stood up, thankfully kept the peace.
Moving along and fast forward, the Jets moved into their 3rd stadium in the Meadowlands. Now, driving from Dix Hills to New Jersey was not fun. We had the best 4 hour “tail gate” parties you could possibly imagine and our Jet Friends became family! Going to the games was always exciting and upbeat,, but the drive home after a loss was torturous. My son, Bryan, was now on the Jets bandwagon (sorry Bry) and attended every game. Our daughter, Bryan’s sister, Lindsay had little or no interest in the Jets or the games…..the only smart one in the family! I will admit publicly that one of the reasons that Sandra and I are no longer married (but now, ridiculously close friends) are the NY Jets. I always wanted to leave the games early…..not Bryan and Sandra. They always wanted to stay until the final second. My attitude was they were going to lose anyway and we could get out of the parking lot faster. I remember sitting in bumper to bumper traffic going to the George Washington Bridge after a last second loss and I blamed it on my wife and Bryan for sitting in this traffic. That happened qutie often. I admit….”I was wrong.” (I’m going to hear about this!)
Well, fast forward again. First, my dad got the Jets season tickets, they were passed along to me and now my son has the tickets in the brand new “Met Life” Stadium. The 4th generation will be involved real soon. His boys, Jonah & Simon are into the Jets. Last Thanksgiving while watching the Jets play New England on TV in their home in London, (it was a blow out) I think I heard one of the little guys say “Jets Suck.” My other 3 boys, Aidan, Shea (named after Shea Stadium) and Luke are also on board! Welcome to the NY Jets, grand sons…..but I promise, it’s gonnah get better. We have been saying it for 50 years!!!
In closing, 2 weeks ago, my son and his lovely wife “Yael “took “Poppy” to a game. (and, we had a 4 hour “tail gate party!) The Jets beat Buffalo. It was one of the items my “Bucket List” ……my son took his dad to a Jets game in the 4th home of the NY Jets. It is a night that I will never forget. I hope I will be around to see his boys take him to a game.
J- E- T- S……Jets, Jets Jets.
Dad and mom…..I know you are looking down and enjoyed this little family story. And, yes dad, I know you rooted for the only real football team in NY, the Buffalo Bills!