Albert Einstein, who preferred Mozart, socialism, and modern physics to sports once proclaimed "if the facts don't fit the theory -- change the facts!" Years later, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie accurately pointed out that "the only thing 'New York' about the Giants is the 'NY' on their helmet." Einstein would have agreed with the likely 2016 Republican Presidential candidate as football fans from across the Hudson have altered indisputable datum to deny the Garden State what is rightfully theirs: the Giants and the Jets!
Witness the woebegone New York City pro-football fan, whose only state team actually resides in a place called Buffalo. That is a fact even Einstein, who lived in Princeton, New Jersey, could not change. As the 2013-14 NFL season commences, gridiron devotees in the five boroughs and the surrounding suburbs will turn their rapt attention to Big Blue or Gang Green on any given Sunday (and Monday, and Thursday) until the season culminates with the Super Bowl XLVII, which will be held in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Not the vanity address of New York City -- as advertised!
In my New York City lifetime, the Garden State has been the Big Apple's punching bag on issues ranging from sports, politics, culture, to the artist merits of Bon Jovi. In fact, travelling to New Jersey is equated by many New Yorkers as outright punishment. Recall the merciless George Michael Steinbrenner III and his countless threats to uproot the beloved Yankees to Jersey as an act of vengeance, more so than leverage, lest we the people of New York City agreed to finance a new and improved stadium for the Bombers.
In sports, we live and die by statistics. Here are ten statistical facts about the Jets and Giants that some fans may not recall, or perhaps are not aware of:
1. In 1973 the football Giants departed Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The team carpet-bagged in New Haven, then settled in the Jersey Meadowlands in October 1976. A a decade later the Jets followed, abandoning Shea Stadium in Queens, New York for the Meadowlands of East Rutherford, New Jersey -- which is 13 miles west of New York City.
2. In 2010 the Jets and Giants moved 0.6 miles from the Meadowlands to MetLife Stadium, also in East Rutherford, New Jersey -- which is still 13 miles west of New York City.
3. MetLife Stadium is managed by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority located in... East Rutherford, New Jersey!
4. According to a New York Times report in September 2010, demolition of the old Meadowlands Stadium still carried a debt to New Jersey taxpayers of approximately $110 million dollars -- or $13 for every New Jersey resident. New York state taxpayers were unaffected.
5. Though the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium was constructed sans subsidies, the teams are still seeking various tax exemptions... from the state of New Jersey.
6. The Giants' team offices and training facility -- The Quest Diagnostics Center, are located in Bergen County, New Jersey... not New York.
7. The corporate offices of Quest Diagnostics, which runs the Center wherein the Giants reside, are in Madison, New Jersey, which is about 25 miles west of downtown Manhattan.
8. The Jets are headquartered in the Atlantic Health System Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey -- a borough in Morris County which is about a forty minute drive to New York City.
9. Atlantic Health System, which is in partnership with the Jets, has facilities in Morristown, Summit, and Newtown -- none of which, incidentally, are in the state of New York.
10. Since 2001, over 50 percent of Giants' season ticket holders reside in New Jersey. The Jets do not release such information, however you can check with the NSA.
In January 1987, New York City's greatest mayor, Ed Koch, rightfully refused to grant a permit for the Giants' first Super Bowl victory parade in Manhattan, boldly declaring "if they want a parade, let them march in front of the oil drums of Moonachie!" When the Giants fled Gotham in the mid-70s I recall Hizzoner's attempts to either enact or consider legal action against the Giants to remove "New York" from their name. However the laws which govern such issues asserted that the owners of privately owned businesses -- i.e. the Jets and Giants -- can name their doggone teams whatever they wish.
New York City folk, in general, consider themselves to be the most erudite, cultured, and progressive minded citizens in these here United States. In spite of this, the Jets and Giants fans of New York continually defend their fragile position by a decidedly deceptive decree that their teams represent the "greater New York City area." Oh really? Mention to a Queens or a Brooklyn lifer that their glorious boroughs are geographically located on Long Island -- and that the essential tenets which separate the derided "Island" from the hallowed "City" are an imaginary line, higher property taxes and no right turns on a red light -- and you will surely experience a most unpleasant confrontation.
A famous Bronx born, Long Island raised singer-songwriter-piano man once crooned that New York is a "state of mind." JAY Z and Alicia Keys did Manhattan proud with "Empire State of Mind." However New York City football fans are in a state of denial. New York is not, nor ever will be New Jersey. And, depending on your pop music disposition, the greatest song about New York City was sung by a guy from Hoboken, New Jersey.
Message to New York City: Stop livin' on a prayer! It's okay to root for a team from New Jersey... or Dallas... or San Francisco... However if you insist on rooting for a New York based NFL team -- you have one choice: the Bills. That's a fact.
This post has been updated since its original publication.