NY Jets: Curtis Martin talks Pepsi Homegate takeover and season predictions

NY Jets (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Pepsi)
NY Jets (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Pepsi) /

NY Jets’ legend Curtis Martin recently spoke to us about his involvement in Pepsi’s latest campaign.

The NY Jets are less than a month away from the start of their 2020 season — a season that promises to be like no other.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the football world has had to adapt. And for the first time in franchise history, the Jets will not have fans attending their home games this year.

For many, the football viewing experience simply won’t be the same. So much of this sport is tradition and there’s nothing more traditional than attending a game and tailgating with friends, family, and fellow Jets fans.

Now, in 2020, that experience will feel somewhat hollow. But what if that didn’t have to be the case?

Pepsi recently rolled out their “Tailgate in a Box” sweepstakes where 20 fans across the country will be able to have their very own tailgate experience right in the comfort of their own front yard.

To enter for a chance to win, you can click here.

One lucky Jets fan has already felt the so-called “Pepsi Homegate” experience. Pepsi searched far and wide for a diehard football fan who was willing to completely transform their front yard into a tailgating haven.

And that’s where lifelong Jets fan, Cindy from Piscataway, New Jersey came in. Pepsi hooked her up with an experience of a lifetime complete with stadium lighting, a parking booth, a new grill, an inflatable Jet, and much more.

But perhaps most notable was a special appearance from Jets’ legend Curtis Martin who shared his appreciation for Cindy and all Jets fans across the nation.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Curtis and discuss a variety of topics ranging from his role in Pepsi’s campaign to his predictions for the Jets this season.

Who does Curtis Martin think will have a huge year with the Jets in 2020? Does he prefer Coke or Pepsi? We asked the hard-hitting questions, folks.

Here are the results of our discussion.

NY Jets (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Pepsi)
NY Jets (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Pepsi) /

Justin Fried: “So you’re helping out with this Pepsi “Tailgate in a Box” Sweepstakes. How cool is it to be able to not only give back to the Jets community, but share some positivity amidst everything going on in the world today?”

Curtis Martin: “To be honest with you that’s the only reason why I’m doing it. I don’t know if you know a lot about me, but I don’t do a lot of publicity or interviews. But when I have an opportunity to reach out to the fans directly and do something with those fans, those are the things that I tend to lean towards. I’m one of those players who appreciates what the fans mean to us on the field. You don’t always realize, from a fan’s perspective, what those cheers do for the players that are on the field. So when Pepsi told me that they had someone who they wanted to honor with this Homegate experience, I thought it was cool, I thought it was fun, and I thought it was a way to engage with the fans.”

JF: “Right on, absolutely. Now I’m not sure how many games you’ve attended as a fan, but do you have any tailgating experience yourself? And if so, tell me about your favorite experience.”

CM: “It’s hard to pick my favorite experience. The reason this was so interesting to me was that some of the fans will tell you that before the games, when I was playing, I would sometimes randomly just go out in the parking lot and participate or say ‘what’s up’ to the fans who were out there tailgating. I’ll never forget my first game in New England, we played Cleveland and I scored the winning touchdown. And I just went out in the parking lot with everyone who was tailgating. I had a bottle of water and just went out and tailgated with the fans for a little while. And so that’s why I think this is pretty special. What they’re creating is something that I’ve never seen. I’ve been able to see some of the renderings and there’s a whole field goal post, screens, and a huge jet in the front lawn. I think it’s something that the loyal fans who have been around a long time and who have been supporting the game as well as the Jets through the good and through the bad, will appreciate. I just think it’s a good way to honor the fans and that was what was interesting to me.”

JF: “Right, Pepsi’s definitely going the whole nine yards. And you speak to loyalty, there are definitely very few fanbases out there as loyal as the Jets’ fanbase as I’m sure you’re well aware of.”

CM: “Exactly!”

NY Jets (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Pepsi)
NY Jets (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Pepsi) /

JF: “So since we’re a Jets site and we’re talking about the Jets, I think I got to ask you. What are your thoughts on the team this year? You thinking playoffs or maybe not? What’s your prediction?”

CM: “I’m hoping playoffs. At the end of the day, what makes football such an intriguing game is that there are so many different variables that are at play. You have injuries, you have fatigue, you have equipment issues, and the fact that one play can cost you a game. You never really know from the outset. Looking at the Jets, what they really needed was a solid quarterback and I think they got that in Sam Darnold. They have a great running back, one of the best in the NFL [Le’Veon Bell], and they beefed up their offensive line. The one thing they lost was Jamal Adams which I think would be a blow to any team because he’s one of the best, if not the best in the game. But I think they have enough to compensate for that and I expect to see the Jets in the playoffs this year.”

JF: “You and me both, let’s hope so! I guess in regards to the event, what are you looking forward to the most? I know you touched on interacting with the Jets community and expressing gratitude to the fans, but what specifically about this event are you most looking forward to?”

CM: “For me, there’s always been something about showing the fans that they’re appreciated. That’s always been something special to me, even to this day. I turned down millions of dollars, I turned down so much money to do other things, but I’m the type of guy who will do things for the fans for free. So when I found out what Pepsi was doing, it was just something I thought was really interesting and fun. I think it’ll be fun for the fans and all of their friends. To see them not be able to come to the game and have a substitute or something that is in the place of that game like this experience, I just think that it’s a good thing. And hopefully it’ll happen even more. I like when I see fans be appreciated and I think Pepsi is doing a great job at that.”

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JF: “Absolutely and I know I can speak from experience when I say that the fans definitely love that appreciation. After all that they put into watching this team and supporting them, they love getting that appreciation back. And I know you’ve garnered a reputation for doing just that. So speaking from a fan’s perspective, we definitely appreciate that.”

CM: “For me when I played, and even now in my post-career I appreciate that the fans appreciate what I did and sometimes you don’t know the impact that you can have on a fan. We are role models whether we like it or not. At the end of the day, to just be able to cheer someone up for the day, that’s what it’s about.”

JF: “Exactly. Well, I have one final question and I think it might be the most important of our entire discussion. Are you ready?”

CM: “Definitely, let’s hear it.”

JF: “Coke or Pepsi?”

CM: “Pepsi.”

JF: “Good answer, that was the correct choice. Alright, I appreciate you taking the time to talk, Curtis.”

CM: “Thanks buddy, you have a good one!”

Next. Sports Nutritionist Jaclyn Sklaver talks work with NY Jets players, Athleats Nutrition

Thanks again to Curtis and Pepsi for taking the time to chat with us and for doing their best to keep the tailgating tradition alive even during an untraditional season.

For more on Pepsi’s 2020 football campaign, “Made for Football Watching,” click here.