Two Jets Games Conflict With Jewish Holidays

The NFL makes a quarter of the schedule unavailable to observant Jewish Jet fans

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Apr 16, 2009  |  Updated 12:38 PM EDT
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Two Jets Games Conflict With Jewish Holidays

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Leon will have to run faster than normal to get fans home in time for services.

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Sandy Koufax became a hero to Jewish people by refusing to pitch in a World Series game on Yom Kippur, now Jewish Jets fans are getting a chance to do their best impression of his sacrifice. The Jets are scheduled to host the Titans at 4:15 p.m. on September 27th, which makes it all but impossible to attend the game and observe Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown that night.

The week before, the Jets host the Patriots at 1 p.m. on the final day of Rosh Hashanah, even though the team requested not to play at home on either of those days. The Giants made a similar request, which the league granted. It's surprising that the NFL, which is headquartered in New York, had such an ignorance of the Jewish presence in the city and among the football fanbase when they made the schedule.

With all of the care given to figuring out the schedule, it seems quite easy to make it so neither New York team is playing at home at times that are insensitive to a sizable portion of their fan base. It's not that the games conflict, any reasonable adult understands that will happen, it's that a quarter of some Jets fans' tickets are now useless to them except as bait for StubHub.

Thankfully, there's an easy fix. Moving the Jets game to 1 p.m. on Yom Kippur would make it much easier for many fans to both go to the game and observe the holiday. The Rosh Hashanah date is less easily fixed, but is also likely to provoke less of a reaction than a game on Yom Kippur specifically scheduled to run past sundown. It's the holiest day on the Jewish calender, and easily avoidable.

Once they settle the issue with the times of the games, it would be interesting to hear the NFL's explanation as to why the Giants had both of their requests granted, while the Jets were ignored on both counts.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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