MetLife Stadium – New York Jets
Home Sweet Home
The New York Jets were founded in 1960 as one of the original eight AFL teams and were initially called the New York Titans because, according to owner Harry Wismer, “Titans are bigger and stronger than Giants.” The Titans first played at the Polo Grounds, then moved to Shea Stadium in 1964, where they remained until 1983. The move to Shea Stadium came with a name change. Around 500 new names for the team were submitted, and the front office chose “”Jets: because of Shea’s location between La Guardia and JFK Airports. All this time, they had been sharing a stadium with their older brothers, the New York Football Giants.
In 1984, a new, football-specific stadium was constructed in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The name of this new stadium? Giants Stadium. All of that – well, most of that – changed in 2010, when the somewhat antiquated Giants Stadium, also known as Meadowlands Stadium, was torn down and a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium was constructed right next door. MetLife was quick to buy naming rights, and while MetLife Stadium might not be the most attractive name, at least Jets fans don’t have to stare at “Giants Stadium” while tailgating anymore. The Jets still share a stadium with the Giants, but you really can’t tell. On Jets’ game day, the exterior of the stadium is bathed in Jet Green light, and the souvenir shops, banners, and end zones are all changed from Giants to Jets. At long last, the Jets truly have a place they can call home.
Food & Beverage 5
The phrase, “If you can dream it, you can have it,” has to be slightly amended to, “If you can dream it and you have plenty of money in your pocket, you can have it,” here. The somewhat inflated prices, however, do not take away from the fact that this place has just about everything. Seriously, they have Chinese food, Mexican food, pork on a stick, at least one pub, cheese steaks, steaks, pastrami, corned beef, hot dogs, and pizza to name a few. The portions here are also larger than at most stadiums. For a complete list of concessions and where to find them, click here. In addition to the permanent concession stands spread out across the three seating levels, there are also nearly twenty portable stands. Before the game starts, or during the game, head over to MetLife Central, located in the lower level just inside the MetLife Gate. There are so many different options here that long lines really aren’t a problem. Whether it’s ribs and sausage from the BBQ Shack, dumplings from Lucky’s, or wings from Wing Man NYC, MetLife Central has you covered.
If you’re looking for a place to hang out with other Jets fans while enjoying a pint or two, head over to the West Side Pub behind section 143. If beer just isn’t strong enough, there’s always the Bow Street Irish Whiskey Bar located outside section 109.
There is a reason the NFL decided to hold Super Bowl XLVIII at this stadium. It is an open-air stadium, but the architecture here does an amazing job of trapping the sound in and creating a dome-like atmosphere. The staff are all friendly, which may seem like a small thing, but it really does make a difference. Here at MetLife, they know how to put on a show. Pre-game introductions include fire, smoke, and fireworks. For the National Anthem, a stage is placed on the 50-yard line, season ticket holders unfurl Jets flags on either side, and an American flag is spread out behind the stage. Another unique game day tradition is the sounding of the air raid siren. Former Jets, celebrities, and season ticket holders all take part in this tradition. There are four video screens between the 200 and 300 levels at each corner, instead of one behind the end zones. Two of these show in-game stats and the other two show the game. Also, this place gets loud, especially when 82,000-plus fans pack the stadium. That doesn’t happen very often for the Jets, but even 70,000 people are capable of making quite a bit of noise. Being part of a packed house and hearing the famous “J-E-T-S, JETS JETS JETS!!!” is really quite an experience.
If it’s your first Jets game at MetLife, head on over to MetLife Central, where you can have your picture taken, printed out, and put on a lanyard and get a certificate with the date and opponent of the game. All of that is completely free, and is by no means limited to just the Jets fans. The staff here make everyone feel welcome, regardless of where your loyalties lie.
The stadium is located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and shares parking lots with the Izod Center and the Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment horse track. Aside from that, there’s a Popeyes up the road, as well as a bagel shop. In that same area is Redd’s, a local sports bar that offers tailgating packages, parking, and shuttles to the game. The shuttles are free for the people who park at Redd’s and $10 round-trip for everyone else. Don’t try walking. There might not be much in the immediate area, but New York City is just a quick train ride away and there is plenty to do and eat in the stadium.
While they can be a bit rough around the edges, Jets fans are among the most loyal fans in the NFL. On top of being extremely loyal, Jets fans also have the tendency to be brutally honest when it comes to how they feel about the front office. Another trait of Jets fans is that travel very well. It doesn’t matter if they are playing in Buffalo, DC, Nashville, or Kansas City, Jets fans will be there. These fans have always been a blue-collar, hard-working group and some have complained that MetLife and the organization have priced out the “real Jets fans.” Prices have gone up since Giants Stadium, but you will still find a good number of fans in the stadium. They say that football is family, and nowhere is that more true than at MetLife. The loyalty of these fans has been passed down through the generations, literally. Most of the fans here are families whose ages range from two years old to over 80.
It’s also time to put to the idea that all Jets fans are obnoxious and abrasive. These people can be very friendly, but if you draw undue attention to yourself, you will be treated accordingly. The lesson here is this: be friendly and you will be welcomed; act unfriendly, and that attitude will be reciprocated.
A round-trip ticket from Manhattan to MetLife Stadium costs $11, and is your best and easiest bet for traveling to and from the game. If you’re coming from New Jersey, you can still take the transit and have an easier time than the people driving to the game. If mass transit just isn’t an option, bring cash to pay tolls before you get to your parking spot. On-site parking will cost around $40 and parking at Redd’s costs $30. The last transit train leaves from MetLife two hours after the end of the game; you’ll be stuck in traffic longer than that if you drive. Surrounding the stadium and outside the gates are bag check stations. These stations are trailers where fans can leave any items or bags that security would not allow into the stadium. Gates open two hours prior to kickoff, and fans are free to leave and re-enter the stadium up to one hour before kickoff. Once inside the stadium, you will find that restrooms are plentiful and water fountains aren’t hard to find. The concourses are wide and easy to navigate at every level, and the overall lack of obstructed view seating is a nice bonus. Some seats in the upper deck might have a bit of a rail in front of them, but it’s not enough to dramatically alter the view of the field.
Return on Investment 4
Most places charge for any pre-game festivities, but at MetLife, most of these are free. At MetLife Central, there is a mini-football field with a goal post and cutouts of Jets receivers. Fans have the opportunity to throw passes to these cutouts and if you can kick two out of three field goals, you win a prize. The game we attended was in December, so the prize was either a blanket or a Jets draw-string bag. That’s all free. The retail price for tickets at MetLife is fairly high, but due to the team’s overall lack of success, tickets on the resale market place are cheap. Tickets were available in the lower level for a Monday Night game here for under $20.
Be sure to check out MetLife Central before the game. On top of the pre-game radio show, it is fairly common for former Jet greats to sign autographs and take pictures with the fans here. You’ll also get to see the Jets cheerleaders perform various routines leading up to kickoff. Another thing to note about this stadium is that it is incredibly clean. You won’t see trash lying around anywhere in the stadium, which is nice.
Overall, a Jets game at MetLife Stadium is the best game day experience I have ever been a part of. The pre-game entertainment, friendly staff, clean and open concourses, terrific sightlines, and abundance of food all add up to make this an amazing experience. The game itself might not be that great, but, if you’re lucky, you might get to see a couple fans rush onto the field, only to be aggressively detained by security.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Vapid, sterile, overpriced, and lack of team history dooms this place compare to other NFL venues that have opened up in recent memory.