Both Brendan Flynn and Peter Segall have sent me a link to the David Picker New York Times article excerpted below. The piece details some ugly halftime behavior at this Sunday’s Jets win that is pretty stunningly crass even if you didn’t already think of Jets fans as being intellectually and genetically quasi-tarded. I should point out that most people in my hometown — it’s generally a Giants-fan town, for whatever reason those things happen — do indeed think of Jets fans like that.
I’ve never been to a Jets game, despite the fact that Giants Stadium is about 15 miles from where I grew up. I have been to maybe three NFL games in my life, all of them Giants games, and can’t say I totally enjoyed any of them. This is probably in part because I don’t really love the NFL (don’t tell these guys, who pay me to write about it), but more than that, as amazingly fast and complicated as the game is up close, I remember most of my Giants game experiences as…well, imagine grabbing a none-too-comfortable seat in a packed, dingy sports bar that serves expensive beer, offers terrible snacks at worse prices, and boasts a clientele that’s near-uniformly five beers deep and in a nasty way by early afternoon. Now imagine that bar out of doors in a Jersey swamp. What I’m saying is that I’d rather watch in someone’s living room. That said, I’m still kind of surprised and definitely somewhat sicked out to read this:
At halftime of the Jets™ home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, several hundred men lined one of Giants Stadium™s two pedestrian ramps at Gate D. Three deep in some areas, they whistled and jumped up and down. Then they began an obscenity-laced chant, demanding that the few women in the gathering expose their breasts.
When one woman appeared to be on the verge of obliging, the hooting and hollering intensified. But then she walked away, and plastic beer bottles and spit went flying. Boos swept through the crowd of unsatisfied men.
Marco Hoffner, an 18-year-old from Lacey Township, N.J., was expecting to see more. Not from the Jets ” they pulled off a big upset over the Steelers. He wanted more from the alternative halftime show that, according to many fans, has been a staple at Jets home games for years…
Throughout halftime, about 10 security guards in yellow jackets stood near the bottom of the circular, multilevel ramp, located beyond the stadium™s concourse of concession stands and restrooms. One of the guards was smoking a cigarette; many fans do the same during halftime on the giant ramps, which are located at each corner of the stadium. Another guard later said they were not permitted to do anything about the chants at Gate D because of free speech laws. Yet when a reporter tried to interview two security guards after halftime, he was detained in a holding room, threatened with arrest and asked to hand over his tape recorder…
Such fan behavior is not uncommon at other sporting events in the United States, like Nascar races and the infield at the Kentucky Derby. There was even an infamous undressing in the National Football League™s marquee event: during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, a œwardrobe malfunction exposed Janet Jackson™s right breast before a worldwide televised audience.
But the Gate D tradition at Giants Stadium apparently is unique to Jets games; the Gate D ramps are comparatively empty at Giants games. Perhaps forlorn Jets fans, who have rarely had a winning team to support, are seeking alternative entertainment on game days.
œThis is the game, said Patrick Scofield, a 20-year-old from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
A YouTube clip of the ugliness is here, and it’s unpleasant in the extreme. I know that stadium security guards are semi-incompetent authoritarian doofs all across this great country of ours, but have any of you ever seen anything like this? I hate to think that this is Jersey-only, but I can’t say that, deep down, I’m totally surprised by it. Grossed out, yes. Surprised, sadly not.