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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Jets' 'Fish Bowl' is draining

Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets is

Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets is sacked by the Houston Texans. (Nov. 21, 2010) (Credit: Getty Images)

The nostalgic lads in the editors' offices in Melville continue to dial up the Way Back Machine and send me to cover football games, as I did regularly earlier this millennium.

Here is the latest evidence, a column I wrote about the most recent great escape by the Jets and their quarterback.

After the game, the media reporter/critic in me kicked in upon observing the scene in and around the interview room in the Coaches Club at NMS - a/k/a "The Fish Bowl."

Oh, my. All I can say is: Thank you, Giants, for having the good sense and professionalism to move your postgame interviews out of there last month and into a room not open to the public.

Understandably, Jets fans were excited about the victory, but for coaches, players and journalists, news conferences are work places, not postgame parties.

Rex Ryan arrived to cheers from the high-paying fans outside the glass-enclosed room, but before the first question someone from the audience shouted, "Where's the defense?"

Ryan responded, "I appreciate that. It wasn't very good, but it was good enough."

Later, Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes arrived to cheers. But when Sanchez also left to cheers, they drowned out a question to Holmes, who had to ask a reporter to repeat himself.

Go ahead and complain about elitist journalists not wanting fans to crash their cherished space if you want.

But the fact is the setup is unprofessional and awkward. (Imagine the vibe if the Jets had not come back after allowing 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter!)

The Jets understandably are sensitive to keeping their high rollers happy, so it is unlikely they will follow the Giants' lead and move interviews out of the Coaches Club.

But something must be done, if not now then before next season. Perhaps there is a way to install thicker glass that would allow fans to see into the room but not to be heard in it.

Before the news conferences started, I heard a persistent tapping behind me, but I had no idea what it was about.

Finally, a colleague pointed out that a fan was trying to get my attention to move out of the way so she could take pictures unobstructed.

Sigh. The fans pay good money and deserve the best the team can offer in terms of seats and food and whatever else comes with a game day experience.

Sorry, but shouting and cheering during news conferences should not be one of those things. 

Tags: Jets

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