Yesterday I drove 400 miles round trip to tour the swamps of Jersey. The Meadowlands are an absolutely miserable place to attend a football game. They are in the middle of doing construction at the complex which includes Giants Stadium, Continental Airlines Arena (Nets) and a race track. This construction has limited the available parking, so if you aren't a Jets or Giants season ticket holder they park you 2-3 miles from the stadium and bus you in. The only plus to that was the "satellite" parking lots were a sea of Pats fans and the beer flowed freely. I haven't been to Giant Stadium in years and it appears old and outdated compared to the state of the art Gillette Stadium. It was 90 degrees and sunny which you would think was great except there is absolutely no breeze in that stadium because it completely enclosed. Sweltering.
Being typical New Yorkers, the Jets fans were loud and obnoxious to the point of being living caricatures (In pre-game warm-ups they played lots of Springsteen and Beastie Boys which added to the parody). Their boorish behavior peaked when their QB Chad Pennington sustained a knee injury and limped off the field. They cheered his injury hoping to see the back-up Clemons, who, from what they say, tore up the pre-season (big-woop!!) . Pennington was16 of 21 with 2 TD's and no picks. I am no expert but that seems like a good day to me.
It was a good day for the , I would estimate, 10,000 Pats fans in attendance. It may be the only chance many of them would have to see their team this year, being tickets at Gillette are scarce. I picked up my tickets Saturday AM on Ticketmaster (15 rows up in the East end zone!!). Lucky. Many I spoke to at the game planned this trip for months knowing they had no chance getting tickets in New England. The rest areas on Route 95 heading back to New England were packed with smiling, content Pats fans.
I was struck by two things on the field.
1) Adelius Thomas may be the biggest man I've ever seen not playing on the line. In this defense he is a guaranteed All-Pro.
2) Randy Moss is the real deal. He dwarfed the Jets D-backs making them look like JV'ers playing on Varsity.
The lasting image I'll have of the Swamps of Jersey won't be the Swamps, but the view from the Swamps.
The NYC skyline looks naked without the WTC.
It is the first time since 9/11/01 that I have seen the skyline from the Jersey-side view over the Hudson (I have seen it from the air and it is not so dramatic). Stuck in traffic with lots of time to stare over at Manhattan I was transported back to that infamous day six years ago.
As much as I despise New York and New Yorkers, I have to give it to 'em. They are a bunch of tough, resilient bastards.
Tune in tomorrow for my picks this season. (Sunday's games didn't change a thing!!)