"The whole world is falling apart." - Burt Young as Paulie in Rocky Balboa
When the Jets play the Giants Saturday night, it should be a friendly exhibition game. After all, it is just an exhibition game. The third of the usual four preseason games is usually when these two teams meet. This might be just another game for the players and coaches on the field. But for the fans at the New Meadowlands Stadium, there is nothing friendly about this game.
While the Jets and Giants will play in the regular season this year, this game is another way for both teams to prepare. The Jets are coming off another strong but heartbreaking campaign. The Giants, on the other hand, are facing question marks and uncertainty. The game this Saturday, though, is another opportunity for certain "fans" to start fights with people just because they like the "wrong" team.
Everyday on WFAN fans of the Giants call in and take shots at excited Jet fans. "You haven't won anything yet-stop talking!" This is a popular line. Jet fans try to fight back. "The Giants signed another guy nobody ever heard of." All of this is entertaining during a regular commute. The same words in person, however, will undoubtedly spark fist fights. But no matter how many fights break out, they will be taken care of in a timely manner and the unviolent fans can go back to watching the game. It's not like we are in California.
If you watch the news you have an idea about the problems in California. Gang violence continues to rise. A recent poll of the top 10 car theft cities in the U.S. included seven in California. Now they seem to have the most violent fans as well. The baseball world is still up in arms about the San Francisco Giant fan nearly beaten to death by two Los Angeles Dodger fans. One of the most famous sports rivalries never had things like that happen when both teams played in New York. Just last week the same state had a problem with another rivalry.
During a preseason game between the Raiders and 49ers, a scary scene broke out. In the stands! A straight up fist fight was going on for a good two minutes before any security took action. The 50 or so fans seated around the fight just watched like the fighters were in an octagon. When security finally showed up two assailants started walking away from the scene. One of them nonchalantly took his jersey off and tried to blend into the stands with his fellow fans. Then after the game a girl fight broke out in the parking lot. Again. More than 50 other fans watching like it was fight night and maybe half had their cell phones taking video hoping for youtube glory. It gets worse. Two other fans would get shot after another fight broke out. This is just sick and unacceptable behavior by fans of two bad football teams.
When I talked to my brother about this he made a good point. Garbage likes this makes you not want to go to away games where your team is playing. When it comes to football he and I get into heated debates as he is a Brady boy and I am a Jet believer. One of our recent debates on a beach got loud. But it was all in good fun. We do the same thing with Met fans or Red Sox fans when we go to games. We might even get into it with a Cubs fan just because. At the end of the day we want our team to beat your team. If at the end of the season our team loses, there is always excitement for the next season.
The sports world needs to get safer. For the longest time stories of fans this violent were usually only found in other countries. Two of the major four professional sports have taken black eyes the last four months. Hopefully the days ahead are the bright ones we used to long for. Images of victory parades in wall street. Checking to see if Sports Illustrated has your team winning it all. Others have more dangerous agendas...
"Some people just want to watch the world burn." Michael Caine as Alfred in The Dark Knight