Football

Giants superfan working to avoid Cowboys crowd takeover

Nobody needs to ride through towns in the New York metropolitan area warning that “The Cowboys are coming!”

Every Giants season ticket-holder is keenly aware because Sunday’s game is a business opportunity as much as a rivalry. Decades of games have proven that when the teams meet in the Meadowlands late in the season under these circumstances — the Cowboys in the playoff hunt and the Giants headed nowhere — home-field advantage shifts because local fans of “America’s team” easily can attain cheap tickets.

“Whoever is in the stands, we’ve got a great atmosphere,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “Our fans have been great this year, and we look forward to getting out there in MetLife [Stadium] this weekend and hearing the fans in our jersey.”

A groundswell movement started by Giants superfan Joe Ruback — better known as “License Plate Guy”— is trying to counteract a small percentage of the hostile takeover. Before every home game — but especially this one — Ruback asks ticket holders who can afford a financial loss to pass along unused tickets so he can redistribute for free among Giants fans who claim not to be able to afford tickets and first-time attendees.

“It’s taken on a life of its own,” Ruback told The Post. “As jump-off-the-edge as our fan base can be, they can come together in a positive way.”

Joe Ruback, known as ‘License Plate Guy,’ is working to help prevent Giants fans from selling their tickets to Cowboys fans.
Kevin P. Coughlin

The average Giants-Cowboys ticket price on Vivid Seats is $212, which represents a 25 percent increase from the Giants-Eagles game when Michael Strahan’s jersey was retired, according to data provided by the ticket marketplace. It’s the most in-demand Giants home ticket, surpassing the season-opener ($173).

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“The last five years have been dreadful. I’d rather somebody go who’s never been before,” said Cory Curtis of Albany, who has been to more than 100 Giants games but only one this season on his two season tickets costing $2,500.

“I don’t think I’ll ever go to a Giants-Cowboys game again because the invasion is insane. In 2019, we were surrounded by Cowboys fans using NC-17 language the entire game and I said, ‘This isn’t fun for me.’ You know it’s going to be that way this Sunday.”

Vivid Seats’ Fan Forecast algorithm predicts MetLife Stadium will be made up of 55 percent Cowboys fans, when a typical game is projected at 85 percent in favor of the home team. So, Giants fans willing to give up Sunday’s tickets are passing on an easy buck.

Jerry Camera of Colts Neck, N.J., pays $5,300 per year for four season tickets. Many weeks, including this one, they go to Ruback’s list.

“I want nothing but the best for the team, but I can’t even find anyone to go with me let alone sell them most weeks,” Camera said. “This is my small way of taking a position — whether it matters to the Maras or not — until The Giants Way gets back to the old Giants way. But there are still kids who have no discernable way of getting to a NFL game, so I’m honoring my protest and still feel like I’m doing something good.”

The list caught the attention of Giants defensive backs Darnay Holmes (who contributed tickets and publicized it on Twitter) and Logan Ryan, who has worked with Ruback on charity-benefiting raffles in the past and is willing to buy a block of tickets for redistribution.

“I don’t want to see Cowboys fans in there. I don’t appreciate that,” Ryan said. “I want to see Giants fans, obviously.

“So I was trying to find a way to kind of be on that same wave, try to take a situation where you hear that’s happening and try to get those less fortunate in the stands, or those who wish to be at the game. You want to have enthusiastic fans, and I understand people spend their hard-earned money, so give it to LPG and he’ll do a good thing with it. I support him.”

Ruback’s list includes nearly 150 requests — families of four or more, couples and singles — prioritized on a mostly first-come, first-served basis. He has received a couple dozen tickets so far, but the amount usually multiplies late in the week and up until kickoff. It’s not fool-proof — some opposing fans have conned their way on a rare instance.

“In this day and age, the tickets and the Personal Seat Licenses are very expensive, and if you can get your money back by selling them to an opposing fan, I can’t blame you,” Ruback told The Post. “When can people who can’t afford tickets go? When the team is losing. Some Giants fans come at me because they want other fans in the building to send a message to ownership, but I tell them. ‘The tickets are already paid for.’ ”

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