Welcoming fans back will be ‘special’
As told to Brian Costello.
I grew up on Long Island, rooting for the Jets. When I signed with the team in March of 2020, it was the culmination of a lifelong dream. My grandpa was a fan, my dad took me and my brothers to games at the Meadowlands. After eight seasons in different NFL and CFL cities, I was coming home.
The pandemic kept fans out of the stands and in my first home game as a Jet last year. I looked around an empty MetLife Stadium and thought, “Well, this isn’t how I pictured it.”
When you’re growing up and you pretend to take that last-second shot or score the game-winning touchdown, you always end it with, “And the crowd goes wild!” Now, you could hear a pin drop. There was no juice, no energy … just emptiness.
I can’t wait to welcome the fans back. We missed you.
It will be a special moment when we play our first home game, against the Patriots in Week 2, in front of a full stadium. Some of my biggest fans — my wife, my mom and dad, my brothers, my in-laws, my extended family and my friends — have waited over a year to see me on the field in green and white. It will truly be a homecoming.
I have thought about what it will be like to run out of the tunnel with my teammates. To hear the roar of the crowd. I can remember going to Jets games as a kid, seeing Fireman Ed leading the “J-E-T-S” chant. We got a taste of the home crowd during our last preseason game. When I heard the chant just before kickoff, it felt right. It felt how football is supposed to feel.
During a few trips to some Islanders playoff games at Nassau Coliseum this spring, my teammates got a glimpse of how great I know a New York crowd can be. The fans embraced us, they made fellow lineman Dan Feeney (and his luscious mullet) a folk hero, and I’d like to think we helped to rock the old barn. It was a great bonding moment, and it also let my teammates experience how electric New York sports fans are.
I grew up in Rockville Centre. I went to Chaminade High School. I live in Long Beach. I am a New Yorker. I know what it sounds like when you win here. I cheered on Curtis Martin and Wayne Chrebet. I remember watching Vinny Testaverde and Chad Pennington. Cheering those Jets teams of the late ’90s and early 2000s are some of my fondest memories.
Now, I can’t wait to hear you cheer for us. We’re just as excited as you are to have fans back in the stands. We feed off the energy you bring. We know it will be loud. We know it will be raucous. We can’t wait to get back to Jets football with fans in the stands. Bring the noise!
Welcome back, we missed you.