As a senior in high school, I tried to like the Jets. I had purchased a Jets hat because the green matched my Meade County letterman jacket, and my favorite player, Boomer Esiason, was traded to the Jets for a third round pick. Luckily, I was able to find new favorite players and continue to pledge my allegiance to the Bengals. The Jets, like my Bengals, weren’t very good. Neither team has been to a Super Bowl since, so it’s not like I missed out on something special. I am glad I didn’t give up on my team.
There have been moments of difficulty, after all. The Bengals are 1-9 against the Jets since 1990. It’s a team that I have grown to dislike over the years, especially now that my wife likes the Jets. I guess there were too many losing seasons and hopeless moments for her to endure as a Bengals fan, and once Rex Ryan took over the team she was hooked. She was torn, though, as she also loved Tim Tebow. Women! When he was traded to the Jets this spring, it was all but official. Such is life.
I had long ago decided that I wanted to take the family to this game, as I can generally get preseason tickets pretty cheap on eBay. 2 tickets in section 158 row 1 with a parking pass for $49 bucks. I scored three more tickets for $60 and we were rolling Party of Five style to the game.
I spent the first half of the game in the south end zone, enjoying the view from the front row. I knew that I had to switch with my son Alex at half time and sit with my older son and his girlfriend, so I was hoping to see something remarkable on my end of the field. I enjoyed watching Mark Sanchez get slaughtered by the Bengals front seven. The Jets line could not withstand the onslaught of our talented line, which registered 5 sacks on the night. The Jets were bracketing AJ Green with Darelle Revis and a safety, yet we still made it to the 4 yard line just as the first quarter ended. Unfortunately, the team had to switch ends of the field and the action moved away from me and to the other end zone. We took the lead 3-0. My wife anxiously awaited Tebow Time. After 20 years, she has earned it I guess.
Tebow made some impressive runs to get the Jets moving, but his drive faltered and the Jets tied the score at three. As the half wound to a close, my kids were the ones that got to see Dan Skuta block a punt up close and personal. Cedric Peerman recovered the ball in the end zone for a Bengals touchdown, and PBS came to life. There was a certain buzz in the air that said the game meant something to the Queen City.
After halftime, I found myself in the other end zone in row 5. Tebow has another nice drive going, and it seemed like my wife, wearing a Tebow jersey in the front row, might get to witness some Tebowing from her spot just above the play clock. Tebow failed to notice Vontaze Burfict make a great read and cut across the flat to haul in his pass and end his night. The Bengals went on to avenge the playoff loss from January 2010 by a score of 17-6. Best of all, I drove home knowing that my team is the better team.
I also enjoyed meeting a fan of the show, Brian Sparkman from Waterloo, IN. Brian and I hung out and discussed injuries to key players, nice play from receivers Marvin Jones, Brandon Tate, and Armon Binns, and a great game from the linebackers. It was a fun experience, and I highly recommend making your way to PBS to enjoy a game.