Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mr. Barnum's Dandelions

"Football's biggest game should finally be played on the world's biggest stage," New Meadowlands Stadium CEO and president Mark Lamping said, "and finally receive the star treatment it deserves." Apparently the church bell-sized testicles the folks who run the Giants and the Jets strapped on when they hatched the plan to soak each team's season ticket holders for Personal Seat Licenses can also be fitted to be worn when poking a stick into the eye of the folks who have put on the first forty-plus Super Bowls.

I am a Jersey guy. I have lived here my entire life - less the four years I lived in Boulder while going to the University of Colorado - and I will likely live the remaining years of my life here. Our family has had season tickets (two in the upper tier courtesy of Dad's connection to Sonny Werblin) to the Giants since the G-Men crossed the river to the Jersey side in the mid-1970's.

And yet, in spite of my own geography and my allegiance to one of the two teams that shall call the new PSL Stadium home, there are few ideas that strike me as being more inane than the NFL holding the Super Bowl in an open-air stadium in our renowned Jersey swamps. Nothing says fan-friendly quite like needing a portable space heater just to melt the ice that forms between your kneecaps simply from sitting in your seat watching a sporting event outdoors in early February. And if you think I am joking about the portable space heaters know this: Lamping said the Meadowlands host committee is responsible for raising $40 million — a higher figure than for any other city because of prices in this area and the cost of cold-weather provisions, including hand and feet warmers and self-warming seat cushions for all fans, heated concourses and fire pits in the parking lot. Fire pits in the parking lot? I hope that both local teams make it to the Ice Bowl. Nothing says, "high-spirited post-game hijinks" quite as well as liquored-up Jets and Giants fans with readily-available sources of fire to utilize in the inevitable post-game skirmishes that will occur throughout the parking lot. Although if Capt. Band-Aid does not sell a significant number of his remaining PSLs, the Jets could make the Super Bowl in the home stadium and their local fans be unable to watch it on television.

Of course, Messrs. Johnson, Mara and Tisch - who love us Garden Staters so much that although they play all of their games here, the only appearance New Jersey makes is in their mailing address and not in their team names - have every intention of having most of the significant Super Bowl activities take place in Manhattan. "I think it’s safe to say most of (the economic stimulus) probably goes across the river to New York," Giants co-owner John Mara said. "But there is a significant benefit (in New Jersey) as well." If you hurry folks, you might still be able to find a space in the "How to Parse Language" seminar that John Mara is hosting this weekend at the Meadowlands Hilton. What Mr. Mara means is that he and his fellow fat cats have not gotten to the points that they have gotten to in their respective lives thinking that anyone in the world wants to spend their time in the 'burbs of Jersey when they could be styling and profiling under Broadway's bright lights so we the people of the State of Concrete Gardens should be happy for whatever scraps fall off of the bandwagon as it makes its way over the George Washington Bridge.

Football in New Jersey under the stars of early February. Further proof of Mr. Barnum's theory of human behavior? It appears as if we may find out soon enough. And the nice thing about sheep - the thing that the football barons are counting on more than any other to fuel this particular dream - is that sheep come with their own wool coat. Better for keeping them warm. And ready-made for fleecing.

-AK

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