It's always a great start to the week when the Jets win on Sunday. It's even sweeter when it's against your most hated rival, the New England Patriots at home.
Rex Ryan knew it was going to be a challenge, and let's be honest, MetLife stadium up to this point has been anything but an opposing team's nightmare because of the potential 12th man and noise. We know the atmosphere is different because of the acoustics of the canyon-like layout, the lack of die hard fans due to PSLs pushing them out, and love him or hate him, the man to orchestrate the Jets chant, Fireman Ed has retired.
The Jets organization and Ryan had a challenge on their hands. How do the fans make it miserable for Tom Brady and the coach we love to hate, Bill Belichik?
Bring up the History
Ryan got the fans involved early in the week by calling us out to help with the noise level. He referenced the time that Jets’ fans received the game ball in 2009 when a similar callout resulted in the Jets upsetting the Patriots. Each season ticket holder received a miniature replica game ball that they give out to the players after each game.
Name the Day and Give the Fans the Tools
The Jets determined the day should be an official "Green Out" and then took it one step further by supplying the fans with Green Rally Towels. During the game, the big digital boards would prompt the fans to wave the flags. Fans were in full force when New York’s defensive linemen were lining up during a commercial break on the Patriots their first offensive possession of the game. Mo Wilkerson started pumping his arms, Quinton Coples was twirling his arm to motion the fans to spin the towels, and some other players put their hands up to their helmets telling us that they couldn't hear us.
From the Patriots first drive, the place was loud. All the fans were standing and a sea of green was gyrating in the stands. It was a great start for the fans, but as always, it's very easy to take us out of the game on one big play. The pick six Geno threw deflated the crowd fast and furious.
I personally didn't think the excitement would come back but the first series in the second half pumped up the volume with our own pick six by Antonio Allen on Tom Brady. After that moment, the momentum shifted and the Patriots fell short due to that controversial penalty on the kick in overtime.
The Jets Chant is Alive and Kicking
Everyone knows that the man who led the Jets chant at every home game, Fireman Ed, retired last year during the infamous Thanksgiving game. No I'm not going to type the name of the play. I'll spare you.
I was always worried that if a fan didn't pick up where Fireman Ed led off, the chant would die. Yes there were some people in the stands that tried to give it a go, but if the person does have the camera on them in addition to being charismatic, it wouldn't have a chance.
In the beginning of the season, the Jets had the idea to designate and assign fans to a letter. There were flag holders who each represented a letter of "J-E-T-S" and would prompt you to cheer when your letter came up. I can honestly say that I never saw it work and thought it was doomed from the moment I read the segment on their brochure that came with my season tickets.
So how did it get going yesterday? If you have been to a Jet home game you have seen, or rather have heard the new Jets Drum line. About 15 or so guys and gals that pound away on various drums that march before, during and after the games. The Jets even gave them an area in the stands. During crucial moments of the game or after scores, the cameras focus on the group, they bang their drums but here is where one of the drummers figured it out intentionally or by accident. He silences his group by putting his hands out like Fireman Ed used to, and then proceeded to make the J-E-T-S while holding his drum sticks. Bingo. Once the big boards showed that, the fans engaged. The first couple chants were lukewarm, but by the end of the game the last chants were the loudest I had ever heard in the new stadium since Fireman Ed retired.
They aren't as loud as Ed's (yet), but the chant is alive and kicking.
Keeping the Momentum at Every Home Game
The Jets did something I never saw before and thought it was a phenomenal tool. Someone on the sideline had a noise gauge to measure the noise levels of the crowd. A camera man shot live video of it and showed it on the board. It would start at 95, and when the fans saw it, it caused them to get louder raising the level quickly to 99.
If the Jets could use this technique at EVERY Game by using the video OR simulating it on the video board in a nicer appealing fashion, it would change the atmosphere and also give fans a queue to get loud. Getting instant feedback of how we the fans are doing helps tremendously.