Why You Should Be Watching NJAC Football In 2019
Here are 3 of the biggest reasons why you should be watching NJAC football in 2019!
The New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) doesn’t exactly have the glory or prestige of a Division I FBS conferences such as the SEC or Big Ten. Heck, it’s only produced a small handful of NFL talent over the last decade or so.
However, the conference more than makes up for this in a variety of ways. From the talented pool of players this season to the increase in parity in recent years, the NJAC has never been more intriguing. With the 2019 season starting in less than a month, here are the three biggest reasons as to why you should be watching NJAC football.
The Players and Quality Football
The collection of talented players across this year’s group of NJAC teams has arguably never been this good.
Six players in the conference were named to the D3football.com Preseason All-America Teams. The list is headlined by two of Rowan’s senior stars, wide receiver/returner Elijah Rehm and defensive end David Gajderowicz. Both are incredibly talented players that stand out on the field with their dominant play.
Another thing to note is the collection of quarterbacks in the NJAC is extremely deep. From the deep arm ability of guys such as Ja’Quill Burch (Montclair State) and Jack Anderson (Christopher Newport) to electrifying dual-threat quarterbacks such as Dave Jachera (TCNJ). You’d be hard-pressed to find a better group of quarterbacks in Division III compared to right here in the NJAC.
It would also be a shame to forget about the large number of defensive standouts in the conference this year, which includes the standout cornerback from Christopher Newport, Damian Jiggetts. The second-team preseason All-American can shut down any top receiver in the country and has excellent ball-hawking skills.
But to me, the level of play in the conference is simply on a different level. The conference always has a ton of talent across the board. Even a few NFL players have come from this conference. The NJAC has a much higher brand of football with lots of physicality and a faster pace of play. It is all due to the elite athletes that are on each team.
League Wide Parity
Having a conference full of extremely competitive teams not only brings out a good product on the field. It also allows every team to compete for the conference title each season. And for the first time in a while, I genuinely believe league-wide parity is back in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
When the 2019 NJAC Preseason Coaches Poll came out a few weeks ago, it was clear that even the coaches were split between their pick to win the conference. The first-place votes in the preseason poll were split amongst four teams. These teams included perennial conference powers such as Wesley and Salisbury, to up and coming teams such as Montclair State and Christopher Newport.
Other teams such as Rowan, Kean, and TCNJ also field very competitive rosters that can make some noise in the conference. This is especially true since both Kean and TCNJ returning several all-conference players and Rowan returns two of the very best players in the conference in Gajderowicz and Rehm.
With most of these teams fielding competitive rosters, it only makes every NJAC game more significant. We will see less meaningless conference games with elite teams going up against lowly teams and more competitive and balanced matchups. Even the best teams in the conference won’t be able to take games off and coast through the season as they did last year. This will only lead to some great matchups and entertaining football all season long.
Although it won’t mean the end of blowout victories or even every game going down to the wire, we can at least see more competitiveness this season throughout the league. In all honesty, there are several teams in the conference that have a real argument as to why they can win the conference this year.
I don’t have a favorite to win the conference right now. However, I think everyone is more excited than ever to see how the NJAC plays out this season. With the amount of parity in the league right now, the standings could look completely different then Coaches Poll predicted this season.
Passionate Fans and Cheap Tickets
Yes, believe it or not, people actually do come out and watch Division III football.
Although teams in the NJAC may not be attracting 100,000+ fans a game like Michigan and Ohio State, fans still do come out and support their local college teams. Teams such as Christopher Newport and Montclair State regularly drew in the thousands in 2018, as football is popular in those schools.
Homecoming games, in particular, always draw huge crowds because they feature festivities before and after the game that is always a treat to watch. These games often brought a lot of fan interest for NJAC teams who may not always have the biggest crowds.
I would also like to note that in the several NJAC games I have gone to in the past, I always saw loud and dedicated fans who truly cared about how their team played. From parents and students, to even alumni, Division III football can bring out the most passionate football fans to come out and watch.
But I think NJAC football and Division III football in general offer something that a lot of collegiate and professional teams cannot: cheap ticket prices. While Division I FBS and FCS tickets can cost in the thousands of dollars, you can still get quality football if you watch your local NJAC team play.
If you’re a college student at an NJAC school, it’s even better because I
know most, if not all, NJAC teams offer free admission to EVERY home football game. If you’re a football fan and in college like myself, there’s no excuse not to go out to the games.
If you’re a fan of good-quality football for no more than 10 dollars, see your local NJAC team play. You’ll not only see passionate fans cheering their hearts out, but you’ll get to watch some great football. It’s an absolute bargain.
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