When ironman and stalwart Pro Bowl left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson - who had never missed a game for Gang Green and who had a streak of 160 consecutive starts - suddenly retired in April, 2016, New York Jets fans became worried. Naturally. Now that he is gone, who will lead the “Home of the Jets” chant? (Also, who will protect the blind side of the quarterback and those things.) Postgame footage always showed Brick leading the team in the locker room after every win. “Home of the Jets on three,” he would say, and after the count, teammates would joyfully sing or yell, “And the home of the JETS!!!”
The Jets only recite this chant after victories. After losses, they would huddle together and repeat some sort of motivational word or phrase. “Team on three!” Or “Hard work on three!” Or “Let’s take a look at the film and find ways to improve on three!”
Jets players chant “Home of the Jets” after every win. And in recent years, so too have their fans. This practice came to prominence after successful seasons in 2009 and 2010 when the team site and SNY aired the locker room victory celebrations. And then social media gave it further recognition.
Tony Richardson led the team chant around that time. As the team hosted the Chiefs in 2011, some noted that T-Rich used to play for Kansas City and that in their stadium, the fans there would chant “Home of the Chiefs” at the end of the National Anthem. So some speculated that the veteran brought the chant that fans do at the start of games for Jets players to do in the locker room after winning games. That’s kind of a crazy theory, although it is sports and stranger things have been known to happen.
But I knew for sure this chant had been around before Richardson.
Before the days of MyFace and SpaceBook and Twiddle and what have you, I had to find ways to satisfy my Jets hunger. One of those was a TV show I happened to stumble upon one Sunday morning. It was called “Jets 24/7 with Herm Edwards”. Back when he was head coach of the team, Herm would appear on this show and speak about the previous game and the upcoming opponents. They would do player profiles, ask trivia and share old game film. And most of the time they would air locker room footage, including Herm addressing the team after games. I watched this show religiously and noticed the pattern that they would do the “Home of the Jets” chant after wins but not following losses. (Incidentally, this show has transformed into “Jets Flight Plan”, which generally still airs on Sunday mornings on CBS.)
They never did explicitly explain the reason for it though, nor the history. So a few years ago, I posted this question here on Gang Green Nation, and I was lucky enough to be informed by one of the tradition’s originators. There is definitely some involvement with the Kansas City Chiefs and their fans’ tradition. And some of you have read this before, but let me go into it a little deeper.
First, let us go back in time with Huey Lewis. He is workin’ for a livin’ as a musician, but he happens to like sports. He was born in New York, which is everything and there is no place he would rather be, but apparently, L.A., Hollywood and the Sunset Strip is something that everyone should see. So he ended up in California and eventually became friends with San Francisco 49ers QB Joe Montana. In 1993, Joe Cool was traded to the Chiefs, who hosted the Denver Broncos on Monday night in September 20, 1993. The Kansas City Star reports that Huey Lewis sang the “Star Spangled Banner” before the game and substituted the word in the end to exclaim, “and the home of the Chiefs!” The home fans obviously liked that, and thus, a tradition was born.
This practice was known around the league by the time the New York Jets travelled to Arrowhead Stadium in Missouri to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in November, 1998. They were visiting a loud and hostile stadium which was the home to a formidable playoff team. Naturally, you would expect Gang Green to come in as the underdogs. At the start of the game, Chiefs fans continued their National Anthem tradition.
Let Gang Green great Kevin Mawae explain the rest, from his email in 2011:
In 1998 the Jets went to Kansas City to play the Chiefs. The game was a hard fought one that went to the wire. The Jets won the game on a John Hall field goal at the end of the game. The Chief's fans are known for saying "home of the chiefs" at the end of the National Anthem...and I must say, it's pretty cool!
Well, once we were in the locker room after Bill Parcell's post game speech, the team was called up for the final team break down at which point someone (don't know who) started yelling "and the home..." at this point the rest of the team chimed in..."of the, JETS". We did it every game we won after that win...
the next week we went on to play the Buffalo Bills...very memorable because as I was enjoying the win coming onto the plane, Parcells asked me why I was so happy. He went on to tell me that he didn't bring me to the Jets to beat KC, but to block Ted Washington, who would be matched up against the following week.
Anyways, we went 12-4 that year and that is how the "Home of the Jets" chant started.
The Jets went on to sweep the Buffalo Bills that year, so I would guess Kevin did what Bill Parcells brought the Pro Bowl center here for. Now, if we can figure out who that first player was who decided to sing out, “and the home” to start this glorious tradition. Personally, I like to imagine it was Hall of Famer Curtis Martin.