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Politi: Jets need to get over their 'Jan Brady Complex' with the Giants

Mr. P

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Maybe, when discussing what has irked the Jets for the past four decades or so, we should begin with a daily affirmation from Stuart Smalley, the old Saturday Night Live character.


You’re good enough. You’re smart enough. And doggonne it, people like you!


Really. They do. Thousands of them, filling a parking lot eight times each autumn, buying your authentic team jerseys and, well, most of your PSLs. The Jets are one of the most popular teams in football.


What will it take for them to finally overcome this Jan Brady thing they have going with the Giants?


So the Giants get the first home game in the new Meadowlands stadium. That’s ooo-kay. People will still come for your game 24 hours later, and they’ll still be just as excited. For nearly three decades now, fans of the two teams have led completely separate existences in the swamp.


The rambling statement from team owner Woody Johnson on Monday night about the “secret” coin flip didn’t just come across as a deleted scene from the movie “Conspiracy Theory.” It leads back to the deeper issue with the franchise, one it has to get over.


The Jets, maybe more than any franchise in professional sports, are obsessed with the shadow of the more successful -- and, let’s be completely honest, more popular -- team in town.


Some of it is understandable. They have, after all, played their home games in a building named for the other team for nearly three decades. Their efforts to build their own stadium on the West Side of Manhattan failed miserably, forcing them to come crawling back to their co-tenants.


But now the wrecking ball has arrived, and the new stadium will bear the name of the highest bidder and neutral colors. Still, the team is flipping out over the coin-flip, just the latest example of the Gang Green envy. Just two months ago, after the kind of playoff run that made everybody forget about the other team, head coach Rex Ryan couldn’t help but reference the Giants in his end-of-the-season address.


“Let’s go take this thing,” he said. “Let’s try to get a home game. Let's play this game in front of our fans and our stadium, the New Jets Stadium. That is going to be (the name of) it when we play in it. I can’t wait. We get our stadium and we are not the visitors in our stadium.


“This is our stadium. We are the biggest show in town and that’s what it’s going to be.”


The sentiment is fine, and maybe it fired up a few fans. But saying you're the biggest show in town and actually being it are two different things. That only happens with winning.


The Jets needn’t worry about who plays the first game in the new stadium. The fans are much more focused on who plays the last game there, in the playoffs next winter.



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