BY MANISH MEHTA
BY GARY MYERS
DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST
Bart Scott has a message for Jets fans who mercilessly heckled the team as it walked to the locker room at halftime following the 52 Seconds From Hell against the Patriots: He doesn’t care what you say or think.
“At the end of the day, if you made it to be able to put an NFL uniform on, then you are one of the best athletes in the world,” Scott told the Daily News. “The person yelling at you probably was picked last in dodge ball all through high school. So do you care about the opinion of them? No.”
Scott’s comments came as Deadspin posted a video depicting an ugly scene as Jets players and coaches headed to the locker room entrance directly behind their bench following a humiliating 35-3 first half against New England. Disgusted and furious Jets fans who couldn’t take it anymore hurled expletives at their heroes from less than 10 feet away.
The comments tossed at the Jets were filled with such venom it was a bit surprising not one player fired back as Rex Ryan did last year, costing him a $75,000 fine. They all just kept walking.
Scott insisted Wednesday that he didn’t hear the fans berating the team, even though he was within point-blank range. Maybe it’s because, like the rest of the players, he had his helmet on, even though the helmets don’t come equipped with earplugs.
When informed of the comments captured on video, Scott said the Jets have become conditioned to their fans yelling nasty things at them at home.
“That’s what we always get. We get stuff like that all the time,” he said. “Trust me, that’s not out of the ordinary. You get that behind our bench while we are playing. Trust me, there’s been worse stuff said behind there.”
I asked Scott, who most likely is playing his last five games with the Jets, if he can understand how frustration can lead to these outbursts. “Does it make it right?” he said. “Some of the personal attacks — I can only imagine.”
It’s been a rough week for the Jets and their fans. At just about the same time Fireman Ed was leaving MetLife Stadium on Thanksgiving night and subsequently retiring as the unofficial team mascot, an angry group congregated at the railing at the bottom of one of the expensive Coaches Club sections of the stadium as the half ended. They group was in an area that directly overlooks the path the players take to the locker room.
The Coaches Club seats come with at least a $20,000 PSL and $700-per-game ticket price, but fans can also buy them on a per-game basis on the secondary market. Fans from other sections of the stadium can’t move to empty seats in the Coaches Club because those sections have a separate entrance. Was Scott surprised it was the fans in the highest-priced seats who were giving them such a hard time?
“No,” he said. “Those are the ones who feel more entitled. I would love to go to his job and see what he does and sit in his ear and talk stuff.”
As the Jets paraded past the fans, here’s a sampling of some of verbal grenades that came their way accompanied by loud boos:
“You are pathetic. Every one of you.”
“You guys are a disgrace!”
“You are bums!”
“Tebow, I want you in the second half!”
“You should be ashamed of yourself!”
“Tebow, save us!”
“You suck Sanchez!”
“Don’t even come out after halftime!”
“Garbage! Garbage! Garbage!”
None of them was chanting,
J-E-T-S. Jets. Jets. Jets. After all, Fireman Ed had left the building.
Tebow, who was active despite having two broken ribs, said he didn’t hear the fans chanting for him as he left the field at the half. He said he tries not to pay attention to anything the fans say. “I didn’t even hear any of it,” he said. “I didn’t see any of the videos.”
At MetLife Stadium, the Jets exit the locker room and enter the field before the game through a tunnel in the corner of the end zone. At halftime, they enter the locker room through a side door 15 or so yards behind their bench. Fans from the Coaches Club seats are allowed to stand in a small area on the field just outside the field level club. These fans, virtually within arm’s length of the players when they near the locker room, were not yelling at them. One of them was taking a video with his cell phone.
The Jets had given up touchdowns to the Patriots on offense, defense and special teams in 52 seconds of the second quarter to fall behind 28-0 with 8:51 still left before the half. Fans pay good money and have the right to express their opinion when they don’t feel they are getting their money’s worth, but sometimes they cross the line. Jets fans were hardly in the holiday spirit after leaving the Thanksgiving table to spend the evening with the Jets.
Antonio Cromartie, the second player to enter the area leading to the locker room at the half, actually slapped hands with one of the fans above him as he neared the entrance before the crowd got loud and angry.
“It comes with the territory,” Scott said. “The same people two years ago were cheering, “We love you, we love.” They love you, they hate you. That’s what you sign up for. As long as they don’t put their hands on you, who cares what they say? Because they don’t know that they don’t know. We’re doing something that they couldn’t do.”
I asked Ryan on Wednesday whether he felt the Jets needed to win back the fans.
“No, but I’ll say this — I think obviously the fans were as upset as we were,” he said. “That was obviously a very disappointing performance. Like I said after the game, the fans deserve better. We all deserve better.”
The Jets have two jobs Sunday: Beat the Cardinals, who are on a seven-game losing streak and, like the Jets, are 4-7, and not get beaten down by their fans.