Jets Fans In The Top 5? No Really, It’s True!
A survey released this week ranked NFL fan bases by “equity.” Rather than a traditional survey or questionnaire, the good folks at the football powerhouse Emory University (it’s a real place, a private research university in Atlanta that has 15,000 students yet accepts only about 25 percent of applicants, so it’s like, a thing), anyway the good folks there ranked NFL fan bases by things like attendance and buying team gear.
A blog on the university’s website explained the process better than I could:
“We are really trying to get at is what team has the most avid, engaged, passionate and supportive fans. The twist is that we are doing this using hard data, and that we are doing it in a very controlled and statistically careful fashion. By hard data we mean data on actual fan behavior. In particular, we are focused on market outcomes like attendance, prices or revenues… It’s one thing to just say you are a fan of a local team, and quite another to be willing to pay several thousand dollars to purchase a season ticket.”
Unfortunately, the fans of the Dallas Cowboys were number 1. Because nobody likes Cowboy fans, we’ll ignore that for now. For me, the shocker was that Jets fans landed in the number 5 spot. We’ve seen the stories about how the Jets are not the favorite NFL team in any single county in America. Even Facebook data shows something similar.
You have to understand, I’m a Jets fan myself and being placed in the Top 5 surprised me. Jets fans are no-nonsense, blue collar, curse-every-other-word motherfuckers. Many of us are alcoholics and we do bleed green (perhaps that’s leftover green beer from St. Patrick’s Day, of which we consumed about a keg and a half). But then it made sense: Richie is a plumber and a typical Jets fan. He spent his take home pay on a Brandon Marshall jersey, beer, and four tickets to the Jets first pre-season game off of StubHub. Sure his kids eat Ramen noodles three nights a week, but Richie figures they are getting Asian(ish) culture and, goddamnit honey, I’m takin’ the kids to a preseason game. We’re livin’ the dream over here.
Jets fans are loyal, but people remember what they see over what they hear. When Emory University cites “fan behavior,” I think not of a gift shop, but my attendance at dozens of Jets games. These memories may not be far different than what you might see at other NFL games, other than the polo matches that are Giants games attended by trust fund rich guys named Chauncey and his two kids Courtney and Tripp, but I have to think Jets fans are a little different. We’re sicker in the head.
Among the experiences I’ve had or seen attending Jets games:
- A guy in the parking lot during a tailgate noticed my Keyshawn Johnson jersey; he wore the standard #80 Wayne Chrebet, that of the scrappy undrafted wide receiver from little known Hofstra University in the NY area. So this guy says to me: “I was going to get a Keyshawn like yours, but I figured I’d give the money to the white guy instead.”
- At halftime, fans stand along those “curly-Q” exits to smoke, drink or stretch. I’ve witnessed grown men (in height only), toss pennies from the top level about 75 feet onto the ground. When kids would inevitably scamper to pick up the coins moments later, the men then poured beer on the children.
- At a Jets-Raiders game (which should just be played in London for everyone’s safety), a Jets fan two rows behind me was jawing at a Raiders fan about a dozen rows below us. It was late in the game, and the Jets were getting manhandled so there were plenty of empty seats between the two. It got ugly and personal and Raiders fan told Jets fan to shut his mouth or have it shut for him. Jets fan dared Raiders fan, who proceeded to climb the rows of seats in a surprisingly athletic way. The moment Raiders fan arrived one row below Jets fan and looked up at him, Jets fan unloaded a right hook on Raiders fan, knocking Raiders fan back three rows. Raiders fan was a woman.
- When the restrooms were full late in a game, one Jets fan decided to pee elsewhere – in the drinking fountain.
- A family was making its way into the stadium, rushing through the parking lot, which was strewn by smoldering grills and garbage. The youngest boy, a lad of about 12 years old, picks up a beer can, swirls it around, discovers that it’s not empty and chugs the rest. When he catches up with his family, dad says to him “You found a wounded soldier, not a dead soldier. Good work, son.”
Ladies and gentlemen, THESE are the 5th best fans in football.
I’m not being fair. Most Jets fans I know are wonderful people, they raise great children, and would never intentionally dump out a beer. We’re a wounded clan, for sure, but the losing, historical ineptitude of our franchise, and excruciating jealousy-slash-hate of all things Patriots are more like badges of honor.
As Emory University points out, Jets fans go to the games, they buy the jerseys (even if it’s the white guy’s), and we invest back into the team. Like alcoholism, Jets fandom is a disease that tears families apart and often destroys the very futures of those afflicted. But, it’s an addiction and we are proud of it.
And God Bless Emory University for giving us our just reward. We fuckin’ earned it.
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