For the longest time, my blood ran Kelly Green. Today, my blood technically pumps Hunter Green. That's because I'm a New York Jets fan - as hard as it is to say these days.
Ever since I was a kid, the New York Jets have been my team while being surrounded by scores and scores of New York Giants fans. Most of my friends were New York Giants fans, and with one particular guy, paid great dividends for me.
I've suffered through some dismal years rooting for the Jets, and this year is shaping up to be another one of those. With Rex Ryan leading the way, this year has already been one to bring up a lot more questions than answers.
Who will be the starting quarterback? Will Ryan survive the season? Will fans show up at Met Life Stadium? Why should fans show up at Met Life Stadium?
For me, Ryan doesn't have the appeal he did when he first was named head coach. The Jets made the playoffs with Mark Sanchez at quarterback, but nothing too impressive. Not reaching the playoffs and continuing to not reach expectations has many fans asking, 'What have you done for me lately?'
I've lived and died with the Jets for years, so I'm not expecting much from the Jets this year, so any inkling of brilliance would be a nice surprise. The Jets open the season Sunday (Sept. 8) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jets fans have waded through a variety of subpar coaches - Bruce Coslet, Joe Walton, Charley Winner and ... gulp ... Rich Kotite. There was even the Pete Carroll experiment. And Bill Parcells was one of the few coaches to escape from the Jets with a winning record.
I've seen the Jets play at Giants Stadium and at Shea Stadium. I have a bunch of tickets from baseball, basketball, soccer and football games I've attended. I came across some ticket stubs the other night.
A ticket to see the Jets play in the 1970s cost less than $10. One ticket for a game at Shea was $8.33, with 67 cents for tax, which brought the total to $9. Another ticket for a game at the Meadowlands was $8.09, with 41 cents for tax and 50 cents for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. A comparable upper deck ticket at Met Life Stadium this year ranges from about $75 to $147. Wow!
While looking at the ticket stubs, I was able to remember some details about the games. What I remember most was the weather. There were games at Shea Stadium that were brutal because of the cold and wind. I have a ticket from a Nov. 14, 1976, game between the Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Shea. The Jets won the game 34-0 during Tampa Bay's first season in the NFL.
What's interesting is who played in that game. Joe Namath was in his last season as a Jet and tossed a touchdown. I was a huge Joe Willie fan.
Here's what's ironic about the game. The Jets were coached by none other than Lou Holtz, ESPN analyst and former coach at Notre Dame and South Carolina in the college ranks. Holtz lasted just one season with the Jets, although it wasn't a full season. Some guy named Mike Holovak coached one game that year and it was a loss.
The information comes courtesy of www.pro-football-reference.com and the New York Jets media guide.
With one South Carolina connection already uncovered, I continued to look at the stats from the game.
There it was - another Palmetto State connection. Quarterbacking the Bucs was Steve Spurrier. It was his last season in the NFL after spending 1967-75 with the San Francisco 49ers.
I don't remember much about Spurrier from that game, but I should. He was 8 of 19 for 75 yards and had one interception.
As odd as it sounds, I've been to more New York Giants games then I have New York Jets games. A friend's dad was a longtime Giants fans and season ticket holder dating back to their days in Yankee Stadium.
When the Giants moved to the swamp lands of northern Jersey, he had season tickets. I was fortunate to go to quite a few games in the 1970s and '80s. What made it even better was the games I got to go to weren't against the "Scrubinos" on the schedule. I was there for some of the classic rivalry games against the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers.
Those were the days of Phil Simms against Danny White and Simms against Joe Theismann.
The last couple of years, I've gotten my oldest son tickets to Carolina Panthers games in Charlotte either for birthday or Christmas presents. The Jets play the Panthers this year late in the season. I'm not sure if tickets are on the gift list or not, but if they are, the game against the Jets might just be the game to send him to see.
It might just be one of the last games for Ryan to be on the Jets sideline and for Sanchez to be in a Jets uniform. Memorable? Forgettable?
It all depends on your perspective.
Sitarz can be reached at 943-2529 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.