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Fitzy's Tale of Green Is a Short(s) Story


A couple of inches of snow could never cool Gene Fitzpatrick's passion for the Jets. Fitzpatrick, a Livingston, N.J., native, displayed his Green & White enthusiasm by donning a Wayne Chrebet Jersey, a retro Jets hat, boots and shorts while holding a "Gang Green" sign in front of his house.

"The photo was taken last year. I was out snowplowing the driveway and my son Michael had made a sign to put out on the front lawn when the Jets played and we also have a big Jets blowup player," he said. "I just went and put my shorts on and we took the picture."

Fitzpatrick displayed the toughness of a lineman for the shot, exposing his arms and legs to the elements. He's a long-time season ticket holder and started taking the now 28-year-old Michael to games when he was just a child.

"I guess we've had season tickets for about 15 years," Fitzpatrick said. "They were my brother-in-law's tickets and he passed away, so I kept the tickets in my sister in-law's name. So we've had the tickets pretty much ever since you guys moved over from Shea."

A fan since the beginning, Fitzpatrick said the 1968 Super Bowl winners "had a chemistry that could never be duplicated." But he was oh, so close from seeing the Jets play for a second title back in '98.

"If the Jets had beaten the Broncos and won the AFC Championship Game in Denver, we would have gone to the Super Bowl because we got picked in the lottery," he said. "I had everything booked but the airline. I had my car and my hotel room."

Just the week before, Fitzpatrick and 78,000 of his closest friends celebrated when the Jets dismantled the Jaguars, 34-24, in a divisional playoff contest.

"It was wild," he said. "Another great game was when the Jets beat the Colts, 41-0, [in the AFC Wild Card Game] back in '02. Those two stand out as far as home games."

Of the players on the current squad, Fitzpatrick is fan of QB Chad Pennington and ILB Jonathan Vilma.

"My son met Jonathan a couple of years ago. A fellow he went to college with is involved in sports and when my son went to his apartment in New York, Jonathan was there and he signed a football for me," he said. "It was very nice."

When the Jets move into their new practice facility in Florham Park, N.J., Fitzpatrick will be one of their new neighbors.

"I think it's great. I work at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and we have our office near where the Jets' new practice field is going to be," he said. "My house is less than 10 minutes away."

And they'll know if the snow's falling on a Sunday during football season, Fitzy might be out in shorts getting ready to cheer the boys on to victory.

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