NY Jets Have The Big Mo’ On Their Side

July 31st, 2007at 11:35am Posted by Eli

And by “Mo'”, of course I mean “Mozart”:

Instead of blasting hip-hop, rap and hard rock on their sideline speakers at Hofstra, a tradition that began last summer with the arrival of innovative coach Eric Mangini, the Jets have altered their play list, mixing in classical music-namely Mozart-with their old standbys.

It makes for an almost surreal setting: 300-pound men crashing into each other, with gentle melodies in the background. It’s a ballet of behemoths.

The ever-meticulous Mangini, always looking for a psychological or physical edge, isn’t playing classical music to entertain the 3,000 or so fans who show up every day to watch practice. There’s a method to his Mozart.

“From different studies, they assume … Mozart’s music and brain waves are very similar, and it stimulates learning,” he said. “They play it in a lot of schools around the country-kind of underneath, very low-so I thought if that’s the case, why not give it a shot?”

Scientists believe that listening to Mozart can help improve concentration and the ability to make intuitive decisions. They say the music helps both sides of the brain to work together. Fourteen years ago, a study revealed a significant increase in college students’ IQs after they listened to Mozart’s “Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major.”


The Jets usually play Mozart during the low-intensity drills, when the team splits up into individual units and the coaches are stressing mental work over physical. In team drills, when the speed picks up, they crank up the music, blasting everything from rock to rap. They do it to simulate crowd noise, forcing the players to increase their concentration amid the ear-splitting din.

It’s no secret what music the players prefer.

“Mozart, Beethoven, guys aren’t feeling that,” linebacker Jonathan Vilma said, smiling. Said defensive end Shaun Ellis: “It kind of puts you to sleep a little bit. I’m not complaining about it. They say it helps learning. As long as we get our music at the end of the day, it’s okay.”


Some experts believe that early childhood exposure to Mozart improves mental development, which explains the growing toy market. Mangini bought Baby Mozart for his two young sons, and it got him thinking about possible benefits on the football field. Not everyone is convinced that it has a benefit.

“It’s a very intriguing question,” said John Murray, a Florida-based sports psychologist. “My hat’s off to the coach for being creative, but I’m hesitant to take a strong stand either way. If it’s not pleasurable for the players, it’s not a good working environment.”

He paused.

“Then again,” Murray added, “if the players are upset with Mozart, maybe they’ll get angry and play better.”

Hey, it can’t hurt, can it? Maybe there’ll be a Superbowl showdown with the Tampa Bay Bachaneers.

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Music,Sports

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