If it is indeed true that a house is made up of brick and stone but a home is made up of memories, then it didn't take long at all for New Meadowlands Stadium to feel like the New Home of the Jets.
Just over one half of football, actually.
In the first game of tackle football played in the Green & White's new palace, the Jets played hosts to the Giants back on Aug. 16. And after the first two quarters, the Jets home crowd in the new stadium witnessed their first magic moment — the halftime celebration for the inaugural Ring of Honor class!
As a lifelong Jets fan, I can tell you I've had this conversation in my mind many times: Who would be in the first class if the team ever elected to have a Ring of Honor? Of course, it was in there with a lot of other useful information, like who played sped-up B-flat piccolo trumpet on "Penny Lane" (Dave Mason) and where the best gyro spot is in NYC (Gyro II, naturally).
I've also had the conversation with a lot of my friends in and out of the office, and the names always came out the same. To then stand at midfield and see those names go up around the bowl was an honor unto itself.
The first class is first class all the way — three Pro Football Hall of Famers in Joe Namath, Don Maynard and Coach Weeb Ewbank (represented here by grandson Tom Spenceley), one who's on his way in Curtis Martin, and two others who by all rights should be there, Winston Hill and Joe Klecko. They all sported sharp-looking green blazers, another nice touch. The place was rocking, the honorees smiled, and in a few spots a little tear was shed. If we all gathered for a housewarming that night, well, I have to applaud the decorators.
My favorite moment came when, to thunderous applause, the players headed off the field as the teams returned for the second half. LaDainian Tomlinson, on his way to his office, spotted Martin, ran over to him and offered him a little congratulations. You know, the smile two stratosphere smashers give each other — subtle, with a hint of, well, timelessness. I snapped a quick shot because, well, they may meet again in some blazer-centric moments down the road.
I hope you enjoy the photos here as much as I did taking them. And just think, now that this is here, there's all the more room inside to think about important items like Ring of Honor Class No. 2 and, oh yeah, the goalie's name from "Slap Shot!"
Al Cove: Ring of Honor