By Peter Schwartz
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I’ve been in your shoes before.
When I had Jets season tickets, there were plenty days when I thought about staying home.
You’re miserable and you want to take your frustrations out by leaving your ugly, gray seats empty. (Although they were red when I had tickets at Giants Stadium.)
Now that the Jets have been eliminated from playoff contention, your first inclination is probably to put your seats up on StubHub or TicketExchange, get a few bucks, and sit at home in front of your big-screen television watching the NFL RedZone channel.
I can totally understand that.
I’m contractually obligated to be at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, but I think there’s a legitimate reason for Jets Nation to be there as well. Leaving those seats empty might send some sort of symbolic message to Jets owner Woody Johnson, and you would be hitting him with a loss of concession revenue. But remember this — he already has your ticket and parking pass money.
So who are you really hurting?
And now there’s the added drama of Greg McElroy making his first NFL start.
I’m not saying McElroy will eventually punch his ticket to Hawaii or even lead the Jets to the promised land, but what if this is the start of something special? You’ve spent all season booing Mark Sanchez (rightfully so) and wondering when Tim Tebow was going to get some extended playing time (just like all of us in the press box).
But now here’s the guy that many Jets fans wanted to see. They got a little glimpse a few weeks ago when he replaced Sanchez in the third quarter and led the Jets to a win over the Cardinals. If I still had season tickets, I would want to be in the stadium for what could be one of those “remember when” days.
How will you feel 10 years from now if McElroy is a Pro Bowl quarterback? If he managed to guide the Jets to a Super Bowl title and the television announcer says, “Remember when McElroy made his first NFL start against the Chargers? The Jets were in a chaotic state and McElroy turned out to be the savior.”
And then you’d kick yourself, because you got rid of your tickets and took your wife to the mall to do some holiday shopping.
DON’T DO IT!
If you have tickets and nothing is stopping you from going, then go! Don’t regret not being there to potentially see the dawn of the McElroy era. Again, I’m not saying that this is going to turn out like it did for the Patriots and Tom Brady. McElroy could very well be nothing better than a solid NFL backup signal-caller.
He could also turn out to be nothing at all.
But what if he’s special and you were there to see his first start? The NFL did everybody a favor by flexing this game to a 1 p.m. kickoff. You can gas up the car, drive to the Meadowlands, have a good time at a football game and be home in time for dinner.
Remember the line in “Forest Gump.”
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
That’s how I feel about Sunday’s game.
The Jets could have found their Brady. But they also could have another Troy Taylor, Browning Nagle or Kellen Clemens on their hands.
ANOTHER REASON TO COME ON SUNDAY
The Jets, in conjunction with A-1 First Class Moving and Storage, will hold their annual coat drive Sunday to benefit Jersey Cares. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used coats to be collected at all gates upon entering the stadium.
JETS-CHARGERS ALL-TIME SERIES
Including the playoffs, the Jets are 12-19-1 all-time against the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers. The most recent meeting was last year, when the Jets beat the Chargers 27-21 at MetLife Stadium.
New York has won six of the last 10 games played between the two franchises. The recent streak is a stark difference from the beginning of this series, when the Jets lost 11-of-13 — with one tie — to the Chargers from 1960-1965.
The Jets have won both postseason meetings against the Bolts.
Kickoff on Sunday is at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be televised by CBS-2 HD with Marv Albert and Rich Gannon on the call.
DL Muhammad Wilkerson is producing one of the best seasons by a Jets defensive lineman since head coach Rex Ryan took the helm in 2009. He has recorded the most QB pressures (26), the second-most forced fumbles (3), the second-highest number of tackles (81) and the third-highest number of sacks (4).
New York’s defense has held opponents to a 9.1 percent (4-of-44) third conversion rate during the last three games, tops in the NFL.
Since 2009, LB David Harris has recorded more sacks (16.5) than any ILB in the NFL. For the fourth consecutive season, Harris has recorded three or more sacks from his inside linebacker position.
G Brandon Moore has started 135 consecutive games, the most of any offensive linemen in the NFL, while T D’Brickashaw Ferguson has started 110 straight contests, the most by any tackle in the league.
My record this season: 11-3.
With the Jets out of the playoff race, it’s hard to tell whether Greg McElroy can inspire the Jets to a victory on Sunday. It’s very possible that once the clocked ticked down to 00:00 Monday night in Nashville, many of the players could have checked out.
I think McElroy will play well — but I don’t know how much help he’s going to get.
Chargers 27, Jets 17
That’s all for now. Check back Monday for more!
Do you have tickets for Jets-Chargers? Tell us if you’re going or staying home in the comments…