Back in 2005 or 2006 I first stumbled onto something called SB Nation. I thought it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. It was full of websites where fans provided analysis of their favorite teams.
A few months later I decided I really wanted to run a website on SB Nation for one of my favorite teams. The Yankees were already taken, but there was no Jets website. I sent an inquiry. I was told that I was unfortunately too late. They had just hired a person to start a Jets site.
Shortly after, that Jets site popped up on SB Nation. It was called NY Landing Strip. I was pretty bummed about it. A few months later, that site had stopped producing content. I sent in another inquiry. I never heard back. Soon after, a new manager took over NY Landing Strip. I abandoned hope that I would get to run the Jets website at SB Nation.
Late in the summer of 2008 a different company approached me with an offer to cover the NFL. I e-mailed a friend of mine named Jerry Wilson to get his take. I had met Jerry doing a few other sports blogging ventures. At the time he was running SB Nation’s websites that cover NASCAR and the San Jose Sharks. He mentioned that there was once again an opening at SB Nation to run the website covering the Jets.
I was skeptical. I told Jerry that I didn’t think the people at SB Nation were very impressed with me. I had applied twice and gotten nowhere. I wasn’t even referred to the site manager for a job as a staff writer. I asked him whether he would recommend me to people he knew at SB Nation. He was kind enough to do that.
I soon got an e-mail from the guy who ran SB Nation’s NFL sites at the time. He wanted to make sure I actually knew things about the Jets beyond the fact they had just traded for Brett Favre. I replied with some paragraph about how Kris Jenkins would be a huge upgrade over Dewayne Robertson at nose tackle. That was apparently enough. I was offered the job.
They asked me whether I wanted to keep the old name of NY Landing Strip or come up with something new. I felt like I wanted the site to have a fresh start. They asked me to send five names. They would pick the best one. They suggested Favre’s Freaks as one of the names. Even then, I had been through enough rodeos with the Jets that I could foresee the mistake that would be. I struggled to come up with five names. One of them was Born at LaGuardia since the team had been named the Jets due to its home stadium’s proximity to LaGuardia Airport. My favorite was We Wanted Sapp, an homage to the famous clip of Jets fans chanting, “We want (Warren) Sapp! We want Sapp!” during the 1995 NFL Draft. The Jets passed on Sapp, who had a Hall of Fame career, instead picking bust tight end Kyle Brady. I can’t remember two of the names as I was using an old and now inaccessible e-mail account.
I had trouble coming up with a fifth name. At the last minute, I somehow pulled Gang Green Nation out of the air. I thought it stunk, but it didn’t matter. I had a fifth name. They would pick one of the good submissions. As you might have guessed, they picked Gang Green Nation.
SB Nation went into overdrive to get the site up and running before the Jets’ Week 1 game at Miami, but they fell a little short. They only got the site live the day after that game. We launched that day. That day was September 8, 2008, exactly ten years ago.
This week I’ve been very reflective on Gang Green Nation and the last ten years of my life.
I have thought back about where my life was on September 8, 2008. There aren’t many things that are the same as they were on that day. I have changed jobs. I have moved a few times. People have come and gone. Gang Green Nation is one of the few constants.
Overall, my life is a lot better today than it was ten years ago. That is due in no small part to Gang Green Nation.
This site has helped me find jobs. It has started treasured friendships. It has driven me to learn the game of football at a much deeper level. It has allowed me to develop a relationship with the people running my favorite team, interview players, and cover major events.
I’m the only person who was here that Monday night a decade ago. You found us later on. Maybe it was during the fun years of 2009 and 2010. Maybe it was in the dark years that followed. Maybe it was in the last week.
This site probably has come to mean something different to everybody. For some of you, it is probably a chance to escape the stress of work each day in your office. For some of you, it is a place to joke and talk football with fellow Jets fans. Hopefully for some of you, it is a place where you learn something about the game and receive smart analysis about your favorite team.
For me, Gang Green Nation has meant everything. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everybody who has been a part of this site in any way for making the last ten years so incredible.