An Open Letter to Woody Johnson

Thanksgiving Night, 2012

Dear Woody Johnson,

My name is James Fernandez. I am 38 years old and I have been a Jet fan since Richard Todd and the Mud Bowl game in January of ‘83. I have proudly worn the colors. I appreciate the growth in the fan base and the presence of the team in the Morris County area. I grew up there and can tell you that you staked your flag in the heart of Giant country. I became quick friends with any Jet fan back then because there weren’t many of us at all. You have grown the Jet brand. Excellent job!

Your team, on the other hand, sucks.

I just got home from the Thanksgiving night game. My sweet mother gave me tickets for my birthday last month. I had a great holiday afternoon with my family and proudly went off to lend my voice to the crowd in support of my team. I took the train to the game with my friend Andre. If I hadn’t spent the afternoon sipping the traditional Bud nippers at the Griffith’s house, I would have bought a couple for the ride but I was fighting off the ‘itis.’  I feel like hell for Andre because I probably ruined the guys holiday by asking him to come along.

I miss the old Giants Stadium. Do you hear what this Jet fan just told you, Mr. Johnson? You have contributed to building this behemoth of a monument to the color grey. You throw some green lights on the walls and tell me it’s my home. My best experiences as a Jets fan were in Giants Stadium. It doesn’t matter. When our Jets were in the building, and 80 thousand strong were in full throat, no other team existed in the world, especially the one across the field. No one but a Jet fan knows what that’s like. The building does not matter.

But let’s take a look at this thing you have now for a second.

First off, thanks for the scarf made in China and the dishrag made some other place. They kept me warm and inspired me as I watched the pregame pomp and circumstance honoring our soldiers and country. As I rode the escalator to my seats on the 300 level in MetLife Stadium, I was disgusted to see a large Verizon Wireless department with multiple booths where the customer can get that individual shopping experience.

Then Andre reminded me we were in the Verizon entrance. Bastards….

It cost me 15 dollars for a lukewarm hot dog and a Budweiser. How dare you sir, not negotiate a better deal for your fans with the vendors you choose to do business with. The product they deliver is not worth the prices they are charging. Despite your best efforts, there is absolutely no character or feel to this crowd or building.

Mr. Johnson, there were entirely far too many Patriot fans in ‘my’ stadium. This happened because with the building of this stadium, you fractured a humble and loyal fan base that built itself organically since 1962. There was a waiting list for Jet tickets that stretched for a decade when you broke ground on MetLife. Many of them were priced right out of the game with PSL’s and exorbitant ticket prices. When I started buying my own tickets, every seat in the house cost 25 bucks. Sure the place was full savage, often drunken louts and their children but we took care of our own. And they all loved their Jets despite the years of frustration. We’re Jet fans. We got no place else to go.

There were always fans of the opposing team at the games. I had season tickets for two years starting in 2002 and there was a guy who actually wore Pittsburgh Steeler gear to every game. But these opposing fans were taking a chance. It was our house and we always had the numbers. Jet fans had the market cornered on Jet tickets. You took your hammer to that and as a result, I was outnumbered by Patriot fans tonight. Don’t be fooled by the Tebow chants you heard Mr. Johnson. Those were Patriot fans laughing at us.

Then there’s the team.

In 2009, you took a chance and hired a hot rod of a personality. I was a fan of Rex Ryan from the moment he took the podium. Withconsiderable contribution from General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, Rex took Eric Mangini’s 9-7 team  and gave them a heart. They got hot and took it to the AFC Championship game two years in a row. Those first two years with Rex were some heady times for a Jet fan.

Twenty seven games later, I watched them lose that heart in 52 seconds.

The Jets mistakes against the mighty Patriots made a 7-0 game turn in to a 28-0 game in 52 seconds and a season has officially gone off the rails. It has been almost 15 years since Rich Kotite fired himself. Were you interested in the Jets by that year sir? Where were you in 1996?

Tonight’s Thanksgiving game felt a lot like one of Kotite’s teams was on the field.  You have lost three games at home this year by acombined score of 113-28. Two of them to division rivals. That is unacceptable. You need to find some people with new ideas. This pile is not working.

Starting with you as an owner, this organization seems to excel at over-evaluating itself because as a fan, I’m not seeing anybody do anything on a consistent basis. Actually that’s not true. This year your team ruined my Thanksgiving evening after ruining my Christmas Eve last year.

You’re on a roll, way to go.

Whoever’s idea it was to trade for Tim Tebow should be fired. If it was you Mr. Johnson, you should never be involved in a personnel decision ever again. Please. For that reason I am going to refrain from making any suggestions to you on how this team needs to improve. All points would clearly be lost on you. Hire a football man and get out of the way.

My fan experience with the New York Jets sucks.

Happy Holidays,

James Fernandez


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