The New York Jets have called East Rutherford, New Jersey their home since 1984 after spending their first 24 seasons in New York — and a New York state senator thinks it’s time for them to come home.
The Jets played at the Polo Grounds from their inception in 1960 until 1963 before moving to Shea Stadium for the next 20 seasons. Gang Green then moved to Giants Stadium in New Jersey, sharing the venue with the team whose namesake was on the stadium. Both teams then formed a 50/50 joint venture to move into MetLife Stadium.
However, both teams are able to opt out of their lease in 2025 if they give the state of New Jersey 12 months notice. This will be both teams’ first opportunity to opt out before they reoccur every five years form then on.
A New York senator is hoping that the Jets can take up on that opportunity and return to their roots.
“I don’t know if that’s the hurdle you can’t overcome to realize the revenue and jobs that would come with bringing the Jets back,” Sen. Joe Addabbo told Legal Sports Report. “The Jets coming back to New York would be monumental.
“This is a huge, Herculean longshot, I get that. But I hate missed opportunities,” he added.
Addabbo, a Democrat, represents New York’s 15th district, which covers most of central and southeast Queens, the home of Shea Stadium when it stood and currently Citi Field.
Despite noting how unlikely it is to happen, the upcoming Citi Field/Willets Point project does give Addabbo some hope. The project, which is set to be completed in 2027, includes a 25,000-seat soccer stadium for NYCFC, 2,500 affordable housing units, and a hotel. But Mets owner Steve Cohen is also fighting for a casino license, and would likely place it in the area.
Of course, there are no known plans of a football stadium to be built there for the Jets, but Addabbo wants to at least entertain the idea.
“If you’re building a stadium — and I know it’s only 25,000 seats — but if you’ve got that kind of incentive to build a stadium, if the opportunity is there with the land and the expiring leases, we can connect the dots, why miss this opportunity?” Addabbo said. “They’d have their own stadium, a newer, more technologically-advanced stadium, with all-new amenities and everything. To go into a brand-new stadium as the New York Jets and the marketing behind it, that just blows it out of the water. And the original residual effect, at least to me, in terms of online sports betting… Imagine if New Yorkers actually got to bet on an actual New York football club called the New York Jets. I think it’s that much more of an enticing business that we would have for online sports betting.”
The Jets have not played a home game in New York since 1983, and the Giants since 1975. But both teams still use “New York” as their location.
“Personally, it pains me to see the Giants and Jets called the ‘New York Jets’ and ‘New York Giants,’ — even with the Giants having ‘NY’ on their helmets — playing in Jersey. It pains me,” the senator said.
Before MetLife Stadium was built, there was a stadium proposed to be built on the West Side of Manhattan and finished in 2008. The stadium would have been the exclusive home of the Jets, and would have served as the centerpiece of the 2012 Olympic Games, had New York City won the bid. But a month before the IOC’s decision, the proposal was defeated. Addabbo was on the City Council during new stadium talks in the mid-2000s. The location of the potential stadium is now the site of the Hudson Yards development.