Despite the mediocre start for the New York Jets in this 2012 season, longtime fans continue their tradition of tailgating and continue to hope that their team will reach the coveted Super Bowl.
The New York Jets team and management, as well as the staff at MetLife Stadium, fully encourage tailgating. All they ask is that fans use some basic common sense.
Here is a guide to tailgating for Jets fans:
Venue: MetLife Stadium
Playing Surface: Field turf
Year Opened: 2010
New York Jets' All-Time Home Record: 202 home-game wins as of September 23, 2012
New York Jets' All-Time Regular Season Record: 361-422-8
Sellout Streak: From 2006 to present, the NY Jets have maintained >95% attendance at their home games
Tailgating times: Fans may enter the stadium parking lot as early as 5 hours prior to the start of the game. Fans may also use an off-site parking lot that allows tailgating as early as 4 hours prior to the start of the game.
Tailgating Prohibited Areas: The parking garage next to the IZOD Center.
Grilling and Fire Rules: All grills are permitted as long as they are used in the same parking spot as the fan's car. Open fires are prohibited. Grill use is prohibited near buildings or near areas where people or property could be injured. The MetLife Stadium provides large hot charcoal bins throughout their paid parking lots for the disposal of ash and charcoal.
Prohibited Vehicles: Charter buses are restricted to the L parking lot. Recreational Vehicles and other large vehicles are prohibited from parking in the IZOD parking garage. These vehicles will be directed to park along the curb of the parking lot instead of the lined parking spots.
Corporate Tailgates: I suppose you could say that semi-corporate tailgates are a part of every home game. For around $30, fans can enjoy a food and drink tailgate party with Tailgate Joe in the Green Lot, E10. The Jets' management also invited local food trucks to join the tailgating experience starting with this season. Any other outside corporate catering is prohibited.
Alcoholic Beverages: While consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted in the paid parking lots, fans must obey the laws of the New Jersey State Police.
Reserved Parking: With the exception of the Toyota Coaches' Club and Commissioners' Club parking, all parking lots at the MetLife Stadium are considered pre-paid parking.
Paid Parking Lots: Parking at the MetLife Stadium must be purchased in advance. Season ticketholders can purchase season parking permits according to the number of seats purchased. Single ticket buyers can purchase a single game parking permit at Ticketmaster.
Free Parking and Affordable Shuttle Service: There is no free parking, whether in the stadium parking lots or in satellite locations; however, fans can park at the Secaucus Park and Ride or the Murray Hill Parkway for prices ranging from $20 to $35 and then ride the shuttle or New Jersey Transit for an additional cost. Tailgating is permitted at the Murray Hill Parkway only.
Personal-Experience Parking and Tailgating Tips: Unless you already have a group together for tailgating, I highly recommend purchasing a ticket to Tailgate Joe's Tailgate party. You can expect a friendly atmosphere regardless of which team you support, and it's all you can eat and drink! The staff is almost all volunteer, and the food keeps getting better with each home game. If you haven't already purchased your parking lot ticket and want to park in the stadium parking lot, I recommend buying the yellow or "yell" pre-paid parking ticket. In my mind, it is the most reasonably priced and puts you fairly close to the stadium.
Deborah W Halasz is the full-time football wife to a man who has been a New York Jets fan for more than 30 years. He often shares stories of tailgating when he was a season ticketholder, and his favorite memory was stopping at Whitecastle before the game and buying 50 burgers for his friend and him. Deborah has since become a passionate Jets fan as well and looks forward to her first live Jets game when they play the Seattle Seahawks in November 2012.