Former New York Jets Quarterback Joe Namath let it fly on why his former team is currently experiencing hardship on the playing field. With the pinpoint precision reminiscent of his passes during his early playing days in the Big Apple, Broadway Joe landed a bomb which resulted in a direct hit on Jets owner Woody Johnson. Namath is no stranger to being critical of the Jets, who have left themselves wide open to an attack due to a host of ill-advised decisions.
Namath was quoted as saying, “It’s more toward grabbing headlines, and everything starts at the top. And you can go back to when the seat licenses were initiated, how we started conducting things. I don’t think winning has been put at the top of the board. Winning headlines has replaced that.”
This is where Namath was right on the mark, hitting the Gang Green bullseye in full stride. To begin with, the Jets have had a difficult time selling season tickets because of the high price of the Personal Seat License (PSL), which cost anywhere from $30,000 per ticket to $2,500 per ticket, depending on seat location.
The Jets only require PSLs for lower and middle level season ticket holders and not for the 27,000 upper level seats. By not requiring PSLs in the nosebleed seats, are the Jets displaying a rare moment of generosity to their fans? This is about as far from the truth as those upper level seats are to the playing field.
The team would more than like to sell PSLs for the upper level, however, they do not have the demand for season tickets in these seats, even without charging PSLs. In contrast, the New York Giants do charge for PSLs in the upper level because they can, having sold most of their PSL inventory in the 82,500 seat MetLife Stadium. Even though the teams changed stadiums in 2010, the Jets remain second class citizens and a second class operation.
Basically, the PSLs are cash grabs for both the Jets and Giants, so they can pay off the exorbitant $1.6B MetLife Stadium. Oh yeah…PSLs also come with parking which is closer to the stadium, perpetuating class warfare by segregating non-PSL holders and making them feel like outcasts. Notice how the Personal Seat License label attempts to make the holders feel important?
In an effort to boost season ticket sales prior to the 2012 season, the Jets slashed the price of their PSLs in half for seats in the lower level of the stadium. They obviously feared not selling out home games, and therefore, having the NFL television blackout imposed on games in the New York metropolitan area, as was the case for most of the 1970’s when they played in Shea Stadium. Translation: the Jets are having problems selling season tickets.
This is where Namath’s perceptive comment about ‘winning headlines’ comes into play. The Jets have attempted to generate more interest in the team by picking up high profile players such as Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and Brett Favre. These moves were not sound football decisions aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the team, but instead, were geared towards grabbing headlines and publicity.
Unlike the Jets, the Giants have a loyal fan base and rarely make bonehead football decisions involving player personnel. The Giants must be well aware that quick fix publicity stunts can come back to bite you. All they have to do is take a quick glance over at their much less successful co-tenant.
The questionable moves by the Jets are acts of desperation by a clueless owner who is looking to make a quick buck on the backs of his fans. The strategy has appeared to backfire on the cash hungry Johnson…and Namath knows it. Namath has been around the block with the Jets franchise and continues to retain interest in his former team. Although Johnson has tried to pull a fast one on Jets’ fans, he is not going to pull the wool over Joe Willie’s eyes.
After all, having lived a flamboyant lifestyle while being the most popular Jet of all time, the Hall of Fame Quarterback knows a thing or two about winning headlines. I guarantee it.