The New York Jets and the Lupus Research Alliance got the ball rolling toward the start of the 2016 regular season by opening the doors for today's 16th annual New York Jets Kickoff Luncheon.
Guests entered Cipriani Wall Street, the luxurious venue that has hosted the event since 2007, by way of the green carpet lined by members of the New York Jets Flight Crew, and the event began with a performance by the Aviators Drumline. Shortly thereafter, Bob Wischusen, the emcee and radio voice of the Jets, addressed the crowd and introduced Owner Woody Johnson and Team President Neil Glat.
Glat introduced two videos. The first was to get the crowd into a "football state of mind," and it was followed by a sneak peak at the Jets' new initiative to prevent bullying. Then Johnson took the stage and informed the audience that the organization formerly known as the Alliance for Lupus Research has merged with two other organizations to become the Lupus Research Alliance.
"We're bigger, we're more powerful," Johnson said, "but our mission is exactly the same — cure, treat and prevent lupus."
Next on the docket was co-chair Anthony Scaramucci, who praised the Jets and their owner.
"This is the most charitable organization in the NFL," Scaramucci said. "It's not just for lupus and anti-bullying, it's the quiet things that Mr. Johnson and his family do for New York, New Jersey and the common people."
Following a brief intermission filled with fan photos and lunch, head coach Todd Bowles took the podium and transitioned to football.
"There are three things that I try to get across every day," Bowles said. "One thing is talent. We have talent. Talent shows you what you can do. It doesn't do anything else except show you what you can do. Motivation is the second, which shows how far you're willing to go. The last thing is attitude. Attitude shows you how to get there. It shows you how to get there in life and it shows you how to get there in football. When you have those three things in one team — talent, motivation and attitude — then you have something special."
Next, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick added his take on the upcoming season.
"About this football team, there are four traits that really stick out to me and that are important in having a successful team: competitiveness, talent, experience and smarts," he said. "We made great strides last year in what we did and now we're going to build off of that experience, add talent to the talent we had last year, and win football games. I'm really excited for this year."
Before the luncheon came to a close, Fitzpatrick really hit home, tying the two themes of the day together.
"From top down, it is first class," he said of the Jets. "It is by far and away the best that I have ever been involved with and it's events like this, the day-to-day stuff, the way they treat their players and the way everyone is treated with respect in the building. I just wanted to tip my hat and say it's a pleasure being a part of this organization."
Team Hosts Annual Event Supporting the Alliance for Lupus Research and the New York Jets Foundation