Erik Coleman and the Jets attempt to seal a playoff berth against the Raiders
With a playoff berth up for grabs this Sunday, even Dick Clark would have a hard time scoring tickets to ring in the New Year at the Meadowlands. But thanks to the Raiders, who didn't use their entire allotment for the upcoming game, a handful of tickets went up for sale on Ticketmaster. And judging by the level of interest in the game, they won't last long.
"I am excited about being able to finish the season in front of our home crowd," said Jets head coach Eric Mangini. "It is always great to feed off their energy. It gets loud in there and that's always appreciated, especially when we're on defense. To be able to finish the regular season in with our fans is a great opportunity for us, so we're looking forward to that."
The Jets are looking forward to their most important home regular season game since 2002. On December 29 of that year, the Green & White won the AFC East by virtue of their 42-17 trouncing of the Packers after the Patriots defeated the Dolphins. That was a surreal afternoon because the Patriots and their defensive backs coach, Eric Mangini, trailed the Dolphins by 11 points with 10:00 to play in regulation, but would come back and win on an overtime field goal. Fans – tuned in on radios and cell phones – erupted at the Meadowlands when the early AFC East match-up was decided, and then the Packers got caught in an avalanche.
When we went out there, we didn't know what was happening,'' said former Jets cornerback Ray Mickens.The crowd went crazy when we got a penalty and we were wondering why. I looked at the scoreboard and we knew New England won."
The '06 Jets don't need any help this week. If they beat the Raiders, they will have earned an improbable Wild Card entry into the AFC playoffs.
"We're excited to be in the position that we're in, but we know that there's work to be done," said quarterback Chad Pennington, a top candidate for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. "It's not a game where we can sit back and rest on our laurels and expect things to happen. It's a game where we have to go get it. We have to go get this thing done and get it accomplished."
This is a special opportunity for the team and its fans. If the Jets earn a postseason trip, they'll be either the AFC's fifth or sixth seed. This will be the final time for fans to see their Jets at the home this season barring a fifth seeded Green & White team hosting a sixth seed in an AFC Championship.