The brainwashing started almost a half century ago — the moment one of New York City's National Football League teams started playing “home” games in New Jersey, while being allowed to continue calling itself “New York” (the other “New York” NFL team quickly followed, the moment they realized the first one was going to get away with it).

• “It's not a big deal. They're right across the river.” — A lot of news and sports writers and commentators

• “You couldn’t put MetLife Stadium in Manhattan.” — A lot of news and sports writers and commentators

It's come to the point today where people don't even bat an eye about it, but try to really think about this one: The Buffalo Bills are about to play the New York Jets and New York Giants in weeks 1 and 2 of the 2019 NFL regular season and not a single second of either game is being played in New York state nor New York City.

New York state's two biggest cities, Buffalo and New York — going head to head in a major professional sport on back to back weekends — in New Jersey — and not many people seem to care. Imagine the Los Angeles Rams opening the 2019 NFL season in Portland, Oregon, against the San Francisco 49ers, then taking on the Los Angeles Chargers a week later in Albuquerque.

That's the reality of what we look like, but who cares, right?

You'd think our state elected officials would be all over this one, but ...

“It’s the New York Jets and that’s how the Jets want it. That’s how the country wants it and New York is New York. Sorry Jersey,” Sen. Charles Schumer said more than a decade ago when asked if the Jets and Giants should be forced to change their names to New Jersey to reflect where they play home games.

"It's a sad day for Gang Green and New York when neither of our two NFL teams maintains any physical presence in the Empire State. I am also concerned about the economic impact of losing the Jets to Hempstead," Schumer said in a complete 180 just a few years ago — moments after the Jets arrogantly abandoned this state completely by moving their practices as well out of New York and over to New Jersey.

In summary: The Jets and Giants don't play in New York, they don't even practice in New York, they don't live in New York and they certainly don't give New York the revenues it deserves for abandoning us completely, while still being allowed legally to bare our name.

The excuses were lame 43 years ago and they've never changed. The fact is it's a tremendously big deal. Follow the money for proof of that. Millions — probably billions by now — of lost potential revenue to the Garden State.

No room is the biggest lie of all. They've got all kinds of everything going up right now. Businessmen everywhere, unlike the greedy NFL and its privileged owners, but people who truly want to invest in New York state, are constantly finding ways to do it.

“There's no freeway access.”

Listen folks, it wouldn't matter what kind of new road or highway you build in that area of the country. You're going to be in a traffic jam for hours listening to car horns and sirens. If all the lights didn't stay red for two minutes on Manhattan, maybe the traffic would flow a little smoother. Just a thought.

But it's network brainwashing that has bothered me the most. Throughout every single Giants and Jets game over decades, there are dozens of camera shots of the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, Central Park and other places in New York state. Gee, watching the game, you might actually think the game was being played in New York.

It isn't, trust me, but the brainwashing is so obvious (to me, anyway) that it makes me laugh aloud every time it appears on screen. The reality of what's going on and what people are successfully pulling over us is sickening.

It's Buffalo versus New York in weeks one and two of the NFL season, people.

In New Jersey? Enjoy the games, suckers (and that includes me).

Follow veteran US&J sportswriter John D'Onofrio on Twitter at @JohnD'Onofrio7.

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