New York Daily News

July 18, 1974

By Clint Rosewell

Star-Struck First Nighters WFL Pioneers

New York came out last night. The helicopters were circling above watching a phenomenon unfold below as the Star-crazed happening people took their positions in Downing Stadium. It wasn't as much football as it was the beginning of something new that drew its onlookers to another first night in fun City.

"Curiosity is what brought me here," said Jack Feeham of Riverdale. "There's a new team and a new league in this city and I want to see what they got. It looks good, they play pretty good football. I'll be back."

So will Gary Boyan of Yonkers. "I'm very interested in this league. I wanna give 'em a chance and from what I saw tonight, it's gonna go over, the only thing is they do something about the stadium."

Most people didn't mind the concrete seat or not being able to get refreshments, or even the traffic problem. They were pioneers, getting in on the ground floor of a new commodity which was a fresh as the cool breezes that swirled down from the clear sky. There was another reason for happiness.

"This is the first football game I've been able to get a ticket for since 1968," said William Mueller of Glen Ridge, New Jersey. "I could never get a ticket to see the Jets. These guys are pretty good. I'm really surprised. They play a tough, gutsy rough game. It's exciting."

Phil Sash has been a season-ticket holder to the Giants for the last 14 years, but he came out to see what the new boys in town had to offer. "They're pretty good, better than the AFL when it first started, but I don't think I'm gonna come back. The lighting is the worst, and I'm afraid to go home. Do you realize what that traffic is gonna be like?"

Most of the 17,943 fans made it in time for the opening kickoff, but for others it was a last second effort. "The traffic was so bad getting in people were disregarding the police and going over wooden barriers so they could make the game. I don't expect to get out, but I'm glad I came.

"I like these guys, they're playing their hearts out to get this thing mapped out. The only reason I go to the Jets is to see Joe Namath and he's probably gonna come here next year and make this league a winner."

The crowd enjoyed itself also. A new loyalty emerged for the New York football fan and when the Stars scored, fans rose from their seats and waved their arms and their team on. The cheerleaders below kicked and danced to a cheer of the times: "Power to the Stars, Right On" and cries of "Defense" and "Go back to Bama" shot out from the stands.

"I'm a real football fan, I have season tickets to the Jets," said Steve Prince of Huntington. "I'll tell ya' why I came out...because on third and ten, they're not gonna play conservative ball and they're gonna spend money on their players."

"It's a great game, more exciting than NFL games which began to bore me with its regularity," said Joel Sobelson of Manhattan. "I don't know what I'm gonna do about sitting on concrete. I think I could get the piles from this."

But not even the concrete could put a damper on the opening night fun.

New York is still a first night town.