British Fan Can't Get Enough of His Jets

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The Jets ran into many wearers of the green and white on their trip to London last month. Their British fans came out in force for the NFL rally at Trafalgar Square and at Wembley Stadium the day of the game.

But few of those faraway fans have the depth of Jets experience that Jonathan Earl has.

"I honestly don't know how I became a Jets fan," Earl told me on the sidelines before the Jets-Bills game at MetLife Stadium last Thursday. "I started watching American football, I guess, 15 years ago, when Curtis Martin was playing. I really enjoyed the sport and I really loved the way Curtis played, and it all just went from there."

Earl wasn't even a teenager when he probably first watched Martin, the eventual Hall of Famer and Ring of Honor member, performing back in 2000, and he's been a faithful fan ever since. Now 27 and living in Nottingham — "That's very close to Sherwood Forest, where Robin Hood lived, if that helps," he said — he's in banking. And he's so taken with following the Jets that when he goes on holiday, he follows them to the U.S.

Last year he took in the Jets-Broncos game at MetLife Stadium, then traveled to Foxboro via Boston for the Jets-Patriots Thursday night game.

This year he was already planning his Jets junket when he ran into someone he recognized on the sidelines at Wembley before the Jets-Dolphins game.

"I saw Mike Maccagnan, I recognized him, so I shouted out to him," Earl said. "I took a selfie with Mike because it's 2015 and I'm gonna take a selfie. Then he said, 'Let me know when you're coming over.' "

That would be next month, which is now this month. In fact, Earl is in the middle of a sports junkie's Jets-flavored dream vacation. He arrived stateside for the Jets-Jaguars game Nov. 8, returned for Jets-Bills, then while here also journeyed to Madison Square Garden for Knicks-Cavaliers.

"That game had a lot of appeal with LeBron [James] and Carmelo [Anthony]," he said. 'But otherwise I'm a football guy."

Sunday it was back to MetLife, this time for the Giants-Patriots game. Then on Monday night he attended the Taste of the Jets gala at 4 World Trade Center in New York, meeting up with Maccagnan again.

Finally, after a stopover in Chicago this week, he's heading down to Houston to root on the Jets against the Texans. Only then will it be back to the treasury department of his building society in England.

Photos from Thursday Night's Divisional Matchup Against Buffalo

I asked him who his current-day Curtis Martin is on the 2015 Jets. "Obviously Revis," he said, opening his jacket to show his Kelly green No. 24 jersey already purchased ahead of the new uniform unveiling, "but that's too cliché. Brandon Marshall — he's great, and he's on my fantasy team. Eric Decker's getting the touchdowns and Marshall's making the big plays."

Earl's even met Marshall, after first chatting up Brandon's wife before the Jacksonville game.

Tallying things up, after Sunday, Earl (who I determined was not in fact an earl or had any earls he was aware of in his family) will have been in attendance at six of his favorite NFL team's last 21 games. Not a bad percentage for a guy who lives 3,500 miles away from any given home game. And we suspect we haven't seen the last of him, because as all Green & White fans everywhere know, when you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way.

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