Talk about taking the money are running with it.
The New York Jets are about to pull off one of the biggest cons since Bernard Madoff made off with billions of investor money with his infamous ponzi scheme.
After years of work, $75 million spent on building a facility, and increased taxes on the people of New Jersey and Morris County, the Jets are telling the people of the Garden State that their new Florham Park training facility is not good enough to host a training camp. Then why build a gigantic complex that is twice the size of the old one at Hofstra University with an indoor practice field and a swimming pool included for good measure? Toss in the state of the art equipment and let it rot for months. I suppose the Jets needed a warehouse for this stuff and New Jersey offered the perfect spot.
The Jets and new coach Rex Ryan are now looking to move the team's camp to Cornell University in Ithaca, or the State Univeristy of New York at Cortland, which, by the way, is a three hour and 47 minute drive from Florham Park, New Jersey, and a four hours and nine minute drive from New York City.
The reason for the idiotic move? "The Florham Park facility does not have dormitories for players nor bleacher seating for fans, two factors that may have worked against the Atlantic Health Center's favor" (qtd. Sarah Schillaci, Star Ledger).
Ummmm? In case you are wondering there are three schools that are near the Jets so-called new home. Drew University, Farleigh Dickinson University and the College of Saint Elizabeth. All three schools have dorms. The only people who would even take up residence in the dorms during the summer are college athletes preparing for fall sports. That leaves enough room for the Jet players to take a little nap.
Unless Drew, FDU, and Saint Elizabeth told the Jets thanks but no thanks, which makes little sense to begin with, there is no excuse for the Jets not to have explored the possibility of living in one or two of these schools.
In fact, FDU has a brand new dorm that is exactly across the street from One Jets Drive. Gee, I guess the Jets don't want their players walking across the street. Heaven forfend players would have to wait like the rest of us for the traffic light to change to cross the street.
The Jets also complained that there are no bleachers for the fans. Is it really that hard to go out and buy a bunch of steel bleachers and throw them somewhere. I mean, the Jets do have five fields at this new facility; can't throw up a couple of bleachers?
When the Jets were at Hofstra, the only room for fans was standing room. Parents had to pick their kids up and throw them on their shoulders to watch their team practice. There were some bleachers, but not many. Nobody complained.You tell me that fans would have cared that there were no bleachers and only standing room? No one cared; they just wanted to see their team. Surely, the same is true for the New Jersey site.
But, I guess there are bleachers at Cornell and Cortland. Too bad nobody from New York or New Jersey will be there to watch, because it is a longer distance to travel than it was from Jersey to Hempstead and back. Maybe the Jets can have a scrimmage and share some laughs with Terrell Owens and the rival Buffalo Bills. The Bills are closer to Cornell and Cortland than the Jets will be to their own training facility and stadium. Sound's ridiculous, doesn't it?
Did the Jets know that it's a bad economy right now, and people are pinching pennies to the point that they will not even travel very far in order to save on gas? I guess the Jets missed that memo.
Only the Jets could think of something like this.
With no Jets in Jersey, hundreds of thousands of dollars will be lost that could have been had by restaurants, hotels, and small mom and pop shops if the Jets practiced here. Summer jobs will be lost, or never created, because the Jets are not in town to attract people to visit. In short, the Jets would be contributing to an already crippling economy. Life is bad enough right now.
Michael Frodella, who is the executive director of the Park Avenue Club, was quoted by the Ledger as saying that the lack of the Jets presence could hurt business in the area, "It could have a negative effect on other eateries in town." (Star Ledger).
Even Senator Richard Cody is pissed at the Jets. "It's a great site to build up a great fan base in New Jersey," Cody said, "Taking camp somewhere other than Florham Park, that is a mistake." (qtd. Star Ledger).
Sure, New York City fans were not happy to see the Jets move away from their Long Island home for New Jersey, but the drive from Hempstead to Florham Park is only ninty minutes with no traffic, that is 65 miles if you use Google maps. The drive really wasn't that bad.
This pending move is a black eye for Jets owner Woody Johnson, who already has a black eye from his PSL plan, that will kick out loyal season ticket holders who don't fit Johnson's "seniority" policy in the upper deck of the new GIANTS STADIUM!
Johnson's business is located in New Jersey; he should have put his foot down to prevent such a drastic move. What is he thinking? It's his cash that built the house to which nobody is welcome.
People in New Jersey and New York City have been spurned by such antics way too often. A move to upstate New York will put people over the top.
Johnson can do countless interviews on SNY, claiming that he is selling tickets, but the fact is that the regular fan can't afford to pay for tickets anymore, and the regular fan now can't afford to even see his favorite team during training camp, unless he or she is willing to fill up their car three different times.
Thank you Jets organization. You all continue to prove that the New York Jets are the most incompetent franchise in football. Congratulations, you make the Lions and Raiders blush.
Michael R. Cohen
Cohen's Corner Sports.