By David Cruz
When you live in the shadow of New York, it’s easy to get overlooked. Here in Jersey, we deal with that all the time. But when the NFL’s Big Game comes to your state, you expect to reap some of the benefits. And if you live here, you might not be surprised to find that that’s not exactly the case.
“I don’t think the NFL stepped up to the plate to help us like they could,” said Secaucus Mayor Mike Gonnelli.
Gonnelli is overseeing the setup for his town’s Winter Blast today. He would’ve liked to have called it Super Bowl Blast, but the league wouldn’t give him clearance to use the name.
“We wanted this to be an NFL-sanctioned event and it couldn’t be because we have a sponsor like Coca-Cola, and they’re not an NFL sponsor. And you know, I think their rules are just a little too strict,” he added. “You know for a town like this to do an event like this we need sponsors. We’re not gonna spend taxpayer money to have a party.”
The league says it’s spread the wealth between the two states. New Jersey did host Media Day and both teams are staying at Jersey hotels. But a look at Super Bowl Boulevard in New York reveals a mile-long Super Bowl extravaganza complete with toboggan and field goal kicking site. Meanwhile, Super Bowl Drive in New Jersey has none of those attractions. In fact, there are scores more Super Bowl events in New York than in New Jersey, and if you look closely at the official Super Bowl program, New Jersey is relegated to a small spot, way in the background.
“I think the NFL, there was certainly — if not actually — implied that they were going to create an environment in which New Jersey was going to be featured,” said Sen. Bob Menendez earlier this week. “And largely, as we can see from their program cover, we don’t have a New Jersey that is being featured.”
The glitz of an iconic city like New York is always going to attract the most eyeballs, but, in case you needed reminding, come game time, the eyes of the world will be focused here, in Jersey, for what it’s worth.