Are Insurers Secretly Rooting Against the New York Jets?

Last Updated Jan 23, 2010 5:30 PM EST

For the insurers who cover the Super Bowl functions - security force, crowd control, concession stands, even the stadium itself - kickoff comes right after the previous Super Bowl ends. But certain things have to be decided at the last minute when they find out which two teams make it, and what their fans are like.

And while no one is saying it officially, insurers will probably worry a lot more if the New York Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts and make it to the big game.

"Certain teams have reputations for enthusiastic and boisterous followers," says one insurance broker who assists the owners of the stadiums in finding insurance and help to manage these events.

From the insurers' perspective, they would probably like it if the crowd was in their '60's, wearing suits and sipping tea. But that is not the case with Jets fans who are the youngest in the NFL and known for their 10-beer tailgate parties before finding those omnipresent concession stands to further quench their thirst inside the stadium. The Jets even hand out "rowdy towels" in the bleachers.

In fact, Jets fans have such a reputation that the stadium flagged its fans before the last home game with the Cincinnati Bengals in January, refusing to serve any alcohol in the Meadowlands. Part of the reason might have been that this was also the last game at Giants Stadium, where both the Jets and Giants play, and management was worried that the fans might strip it for souvenirs.

Jet fans even drew the ire of New Jersey senate president and former governor Richard Codey after the New York Times reported that at a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers fans gathered on a pedestrian ramp at Gate D chanting for women to expose their breasts and cheering when they actually did. Codey said Gate D apparently stands for "drunk and disgusting."

But Jets fans say they are no worse than any others. "(Our) people tend to get a little wild and bitter after years of disappointment," says one. They claim that New York Giants fans pelted the San Diego Chargers with ice balls, one reason why outdoor stadiums are always cleared of snow ahead of time. And, of course, there are the Philadelphia Eagles fans who booed Santa Claus.

Ultimately rowdy fans aren't going to stop America's Biggest Party, although insurers may insist on a few ground rules, such as no face paint. And if the Minnesota Vikings make it into the Super Bowl, they may have to take off those pointy helmets.

Chris Rogers, who handles risk control for Aon Entertainment Group, points out that the Super Bowl, with its high ticket price, tends to attract an older, more conservative crowd, many of whom attend because of corporate contacts. For the rest of us, including those Jet fans, there's always the parking lot.

  • Ed Leefeldt

    Ed Leefeldt is an award-winning investigative and business journalist who has worked for Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones, and contributed to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He is also the author of The Woman Who Rode the Wind, a novel about early flight.