You could say that New York has done more than enough to earn its reputation for abrasiveness.
Does anyone else remember the Snow Ball Game?
December 23, 1995. The New York Giants hosted the San Diego Chargers in the season finale. Multiple snowstorms in the days leading up to the game had left drifts amongst the seats in the Meadowlands. The last storm dumped nine more inches of snow on top of whatever remained from the previous two.
The stadium crew cleared the aisles but were unable to unearth all of the seats. Whole sections remained covered in snow, which had hardened to ice by kickoff. It wasn't long before many of the 50,000 fans in attendance began hurling snowballs at one another, then, at security guards, before eventually taking aim at the Chargers sideline.
Even camera operators trying to work the game on mobile platforms became moving targets.
"A very twisted sense of humor being shown here." said Marv Albert, a New Yorker broadcasting the game for NBC. If you know anything about Albert, then you know he is qualified to speak on that subject.
Officials warned the hostiles that the game could be forfeited if the snowballs kept raining down, but if you know anything about the gameday cocktail of: alcohol, crowds, and losing football then you know that threatening them with being a part of league history only incentivized them to keep balling up chucks of ice.
During one stoppage, as officials phoned the league offices for guidance, a snowball struck longtime Chargers equipment manager Sid Brooks in his temple. Brooks , who was 60-years-old at the time, fell face-first and unconscious onto the frozen sideline.
On television it looked as if the impact, and the subsequent fall, might have killed him.
As beloved as anyone in the entire organization, the assault on Brooks enraged the team's sideline. Coach Bobby Ross demanded the game be stopped and awarded to the visitors. But if dead presidents don't stop the NFL from playing football then what tiny violins they must have for dead equipment managers.
Brooks was revived in the Charger locker room as the Chargers were reviving their postseason hopes back on the field. Down 17-3 at halftime the team rallied without starting quarterback Stan Humphries—who left the game concussed after being turned into an ice cream sandwich in the first quarter.
Rodney Culver scored his last touchdown on an 8-yard run to tie the game at 17 minutes into the fourth quarter. (Culver and his wife would die tragically in a plane crash five months later.)
The Giants drove the length of the field and were about to retake the lead when safety Shaun Gayle jumped a route on the goal line to intercept a fluttering Dave Brown pass.
The sudden change of possession acts like mistletoe; every defender has license to kiss the New York player closest to him. The Chargers set up a wall of blocking as the veteran Gayle gets on his horse. He is even with Giants tackle Doug Riesenberg at midfield, until he isn't.
Defensive End Leslie O'Neil looks disappointed that he raced out to the 50-yard-line to find no more Giants giving chase for him to give some of the holiday cheer.
The last fifty yards are a fait accompli. But then Gayle remembers that he is running towards the end zone seats where the cheapest and rowdiest fans have remained. He tucks his head inside the ten-yard-line and covers the ball with both hands like a running back doing drills in the August heat. The New Yorkers, or rather the Crazies, as I imagine them, throw every last piece of ice they have at him. More on them later.
The snowballs are no match for the bolt of lightning. The 99-yard interception return was the game-winning score that clinched a playoff spot for the Chargers. The headline in the San Diego Union Tribune's (UT) sports page the next day read: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK.
The Giants, and the NFL were left with an embarrassing black eye. In all, ten security guards were injured, fourteen fans were arrested, and 175 more were kicked out of the stadium. The Giants took out a full-page ad in the UT to apologize.
A few bad apples don't represent us, the Big Apple.
Uh-huh. Sure they don't.
John Carpenter's film "Escape From New York" (1981) predicted a near-future in which Manhattan Island was walled off and turned into a Federal Penitentiary.
When Air Force One is hijacked and scuttled inside the prison the Police Commissioner recruits Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) to go over the wall and rescue the President.
Plissken, as a character, became iconic overnight. Kurt Russell was a child prodigy who had already appeared in a decade's worth of Disney films but had never played a tough guy before. In creating the character Carpenter and Russell modelled him on the laconic gunman Clint Eastwood played in the Man With No Name Trilogy He cares only for his own survival, is deeply cynical, and has no attachments or moral qualms.
He also just looks cool as hell. He looks a lot like Justin Herbert! If Justin wore an eye patch. Snake Herbert?
After starting the season 2-4, the Chargers will be trying to escape from Newark with their playoff lives intact and get back to .500.
In the film, feral gangs of faceless prisoners called Crazies prey on anyone and everyone they can. They pop up from under floorboards, hunt in wordless packs, and probably engage in cannibalism.
In regard to firepower, the Crazies are inventive; bricks, rocks, crossbows, tire irons. . . you name it, and the Crazies have already weaponized it. When Snake Plissken goes into Manhattan he goes with a tactical advantage that God (er, the Federal Government) gave him: a Mac-10 submachine gun outfitted with a silencer and scope .
The Federal Aviation Administration prohibit the Chargers from flying with assault weapons but Snake Herbert goes into MetLife Stadium with a cannon nonetheless.
Both New York football teams play their home games in another state. The Jets have not physically played in New York since 1983; the Giants haven't since 1975. And yet they both still affiliate themselves with the Big Apple for some reason.
Sounds like clout chasing to me.
When the Chargers moved to Los Angeles in 2017 they didn't try to hoodwink anyone by retaining the words "San Diego" in front of their name—though you can imagine how that might have gone over in San Diego.
The Chargers are saying all of the right things, but they have to know how dangerous it will be being dropped behind the walls of MetLife Stadium.
The New York football teams are coming off a rock fight waged last Sunday behind the tall walls of MetLife Stadium; a game that features 24 punts and only four first downs. The Jets, dead-last in the NFL converting third-downs (23 percent) went 2-15 on third-down—and they won!
Just like the urban blight in "Escape From New York," the game was a portrait of offensive football in smoldering ruin. If Carpenter's cinematographer Dean Cundy were available to light the dystopian game with torches and shoot the action on anamorphic lenses then the game tape would be. . . just as unwatchable as it was on television, but at least it would look more cinematic!
Just make sure that you stay off Broadway.
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Jets vs. Chargers Predictions
Bolt Bros Podcast
Kyle Sawyer (Season Record 4-3)
The "Broracle" reads the runes!
LOGUZ. Despite the uptrends of a few wins here and there we are still in a dire situation, and many have lost faith in this team already.
ALGIZ. Yet there is hope that lies ahead as the football gods have smiled on us this week. I feel a sense of confidence in this team.
TEIWAZ. We can use this newly gained sense of confidence and hope to lead us through the next phase of the season. But we have to concentrate on the week ahead of us and balance the game plan. The future of this team depends on more complete games.
Chargers 28 - Jets 24
Rivers Lake Yacht Club
Señor Snappy (Season Record 2-2)
The Chargers released their latest All-In episode with some revealing behind-the-scenes coaching session footage. One thing that stood out was the Defense Goals (screenshot below).
Now that we can see what they are, the questions to ask of the 2023 Chargers Defense Goals are: Can the Chargers Defense accomplish their weekly goals? Will doing so matter to winning this game? Let’s break it down by goal:
This goal is self-explanatory. Let’s go!
2. Prevent Score: 18 points or less
This game will be decided in the trenches for the Chargers defense. If the Chargers can win on early downs—putting the Jets in a lot of obvious passing situations—I like the Chargers chances at getting home for sacks this week. The key will be to limit explosive runs, and minimize yards on first down.
The Bolts must continue their current performance against the run to win, and I believe this will happen. If they do, and their pass rush plays to the 2023 standard, the Jets don’t sniff a double digit score until the fourth quarter after the game is decided.
Prediction: The Chargers hold the Jets to 17 points, and that clearly influences the outcome.
While I do not see 2 turnovers happening in this game, the Chargers win if they force 2 or more, so long as they protect the ball when they are on offense.
Prediction: The Chargers force 1 turnover, and it clearly influences the outcome.
4. 45% Red Zone NO TD
The goal is to prevent touchdowns on 55 percent of opponent red zone trips. Recent red zone performance by the Chargers has been improving, but it does not seem to directly correlate with victory.
Prediction: Chargers Defense is 50 percent effective at preventing red zone touchdowns will not prove decisive on the outcome
5. Less Explosives (3 or less runs of 10 yards, or passes of 20 yards)
The biggest issue for the Chargers defense has been explosive plays. At this point it seems to be a feature of Staley’s scheme, as opposed to a bug: Staley’s defensive tactics emphasize deception and forcing turnovers. It can be frustrating to watch the players give up yards to gamble on big plays, but they have been improving at it.
The fact that Less Explosives is on the board as a goal therefore seems misaligned with their actual strategy. Perhaps it is wishful thinking that Staley can have it all?
That said, the Jets offense has very limited explosive potential and it's hard to see them fooling the Chargers enough to have more than 4.
Prediction: 4 Explosives, and it does not decisively influence the outcome.
6. Penalties (Self-Inflicted)
One bright spot in the Chargers 2023 campaign has been fairly clean play, particularly on defense, once the team parted ways with J.C. Jackson. Travel, weather and the time zone difference will play a role and the Chargers may be sloppier than usual. If the Chargers start well, the penalties will not come. If they struggle early, penalties will start to mount.
Prediction: 5 penalties, and they clearly influence the outcome.
Jets 17 - Chargers 13
Kea Humilde (Season Record 3-4)
You know what they always say, catch flights, not feelings. But as a New York resident, it’s safe to say that these Jets are all up in their feelings about their win over their NYC rival in the Giants.
The Chargers will be jetting off for this matchup, making this a coast-to-coast battle you shouldn’t delay. And after Justin Herbert’s stunning performance last week with 31/40 completions, 298 passing yards, and 3 touchdowns it’ll be exciting to watch his take off.
Buckle up, this should be a turbulent ride.
Chargers 21 - Jets 14
Mark White (Season Record 5-2)
Herbert & Co. looked “right” against the Bears and will probably push into this game locked in. There are shades of a trap game here, with the Jets being a good, bad team. The only way the Jets win this is if their defense can get to Herbert often. Chargers win.
Chargers 34 - Jets 17
The Greek Uncles in Chicago
Abram Sexson and Panos Mamalis (Season Record 3-4)
Our Aunt Toula used to say that ties are like kissing your cousin, but for a team like the Jets it’s like kissing a third cousin—who you can marry.
A tie keeps you in the wild card race and then who knows? Defense gives you a deep playoff run, Aaron Rodgers wins the Super Bowl, or, likelier, a first round exit, just like cousin Mitso when he entered that donkey racing tournament.
The Jets’ noodle arm offense takes on Brandon Staley’s worst defense so far. The stoppable force meets the movable object and all movement stops in either direction.
Jets 20 - Chargers 20
Thunder Down Under Podcast
Jack Reed (Season Record 3-4)
With Aaron Rodgers in this offense I thought it was primed and ready for a Super Bowl run. Zach Wilson just doesn't have the command over the line nor does he have the skill. Breece Hall has had a good comeback year from tearing his ACL last season. Garrett Wilson is an exceptional route runner.
Can Wilson get them the ball? When it is third-and-long they are going to rely on his arm to win. I just don't think it is good enough.
Chargers 24 - Jets 13
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