CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Around mid-afternoon Thursday, Cortland hosted a parade for the Jets as the team arrived for the start of training camp. The two Jets buses pulled onto Main Street in Cortland and local Jets fans cheered as Rex Ryan joined local officials to receive the keys to the city.
“I can’t tell you how much we missed you,” said a notably slimmer Ryan, “obviously, it showed on the field.”
There were fans who cheered, like Connie Neff and her two daughters wearing Jets gear. Ashley, 10, and Kassandra, 12, went to a few Jets practices on the SUNY campus two years ago and are now avid fans.
“You can get autographs from them,” Ashley said.
Connie became a Jet fan when her brothers chose to root for the Dolphins and the Bills, sparking the family rivalry.
“I rooted for the underdogs that year because they were very big underdogs,” Connie recalled. “And the next year they went to the playoffs.”
All along the commercial corridor, merchants had put out banners to welcome the Jets. One shirt shop had a display of Tim Tebow shirts. But not everyone was happy the Jets have arrived.
Not too far away, Tommy Mudge and his fiance Sara Cortright wore Giants jerseys as they walked into a nearby CVS.
“The only people happy they’re here are the companies,” Mudge said.
He added that there is a whole swath of residents who will be avoiding the Jets and all the tourist spots. As for the team itself, wearing his Justin Tuck jersey, Mudge didn’t mince words: “Everyone is saying it’s Tebow Mania when all he is is a benchwarmer.”