The most important things about NFL preseason games are practicing plays teams want to run during the regular season and the avoidance of injury. The final score is virtually unimportant. That was pretty much the standard response given by Jets players and head coach Rex Ryan following the team’s dismal 26-3 drubbing at the hands of the Giants last Saturday evening.
It should be noted that Big Blue did not exactly march the ball down the field themselves. They merely took advantage of the Jets’ four quarters of ineptitude.
In spite of all of the hype, neither of the Jets’ two quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, looked sharp, as they constantly either under- or overthrew their receivers. To be fair, the team’s two starting wideouts, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley, did not play, while their offensive line, which was woeful last year, was in midseason form as it failed to protect either QB. Sanchez was sacked three times in the first half while Tebow got dropped four times in the second.
After the game, Rex said the Jets didn’t come into the game with any thoughts of avenging their Christmas Eve defeat to the Giants that both knocked Gang Green out of the playoffs and propelled Big Blue to their fourth Super Bowl championship. The Jets’ lackadaisical play confirmed that.
Rex may be bothered a lot more by what he has seen from his troops than he let on at his press conference. As fate would have it, we were both leaving MetLife Stadium at the same time. I tried to brighten his mood by telling him that I enjoyed his performance in the horrible Adam Sandler film, “That’s My Boy,” which did not do much at the box office when it was released earlier this summer. I then asked him if he plans to do any more films. “I don’t have anything lined up right now,” he replied. “Of course, if we don’t start winning games soon, I may have to look into an acting career!”
This is a great time to stop by the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Park to see some of the game’s up-and-coming players compete for the “wild card” slots for the US Open, which gets underway on Monday. There is no admission charge to watch the qualifiers.
The US Open lost some luster when Rafael Nadal was forced to withdraw because of a variety of nagging injuries. Nadal’s departure won’t mean much for American men, however. The USA’s best hope remains Mardy Fish. To paraphrase the late Mister Rogers, “Can you say ‘longshot,’ boys and girls?”
The PGA Tour makes its an annual stop in our area starting today as the Barclays gets underway at Bethpage State Park on Long Island. All of golf’s big names, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and St. John’s University alum Keegan Bradley will be competing. The Long Island Rail Road will have frequent service to Farmingdale, where shuttle buses will take spectators to the course.
Douglaston native and Harvard University junior Kristina Saffran, who was profiled in the July 5 issue of the Queens Chronicle for starting a foundation called HEAL (Help to Eat, Accept and Live), has received a $1,000 grant from Godiva Chocolates as part of their Lady Godiva Honoree campaign to recognize the work of outstanding women in this country. Kristina, whose efforts have been covered twice in the Chronicle, has successfully overcome anorexia, and her foundation offers support to others who are affected by it.
It’s no secret that Atlantic City has been facing a lot of competition from neighboring regions including Queens since Resorts World Casino New York opened. To its credit, the venerable New Jersey resort town is not taking things lying down. The mammoth Revel Hotel, whose architecture reminds one of the United Nations Building, opened officially this past Memorial Day, and so far has been able to fill up most of its 1,900 rooms. It has also won raves for its fine restaurants, which include the first offshoot of Philadelphia’s popular Village Whiskey.
Revel’s neighbor on the north end of the Atlantic City boardwalk, the Trump Taj Mahal, which was not so long ago the jewel of AC casinos, has done a great job attracting convention business. It has also been creative in differentiating itself from the pack. The Taj has contracted the I-Fly Trapeze School to provide circus aerial lessons through Labor Day, in case you want to unleash your inner Wallenda.
The Parx Casino, located a stone’s throw from Philadelphia in Bensalem, Pa., has been the biggest threat to Atlantic City. Unlike Aqueduct’s Resorts World or Yonkers’ Empire City Casino, Parx offers real table games (as opposed to the electronic kind) for blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and baccarat. It is also different from most casinos that I have ever stepped foot in because it is bright and surrounded by windows.
Parx sits on the location of the old Philadelphia Park racetrack, and there is still thoroughbred racing here four days a week. One of the nation’s most prestigious fall races, the Pennsylvania Derby, takes place on Saturday, Sept. 22.
The biggest problem for Parx is that it doesn’t have a hotel on its premises. There are, however, plenty of reasonably priced lodging options nearby, including the Crowne Plaza on Street Road in Trevose.