IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE 11/4 GIANTS VS. STEELERS GAME AT METLIFE STADIUM
By Michael Eisen
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in a regular-season game that will anything but normal.
Played just days after the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy, the game will include food and money drives to help victims of the storm, an acknowledgement of U.S. servicemen and women as part of the National Football League’s Salute to Service and for fans accustomed to attending Giants home games, significant changes in transportation and parking protocols.
At the forefront of it all will be thoughts and prayers for the victims of Sandy, one of the most violent and damaging storms in United States history.
“Our thoughts are still with the people who have lost so much during this past week,” Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said in a joint statement released today. “A football game by comparison is such an insignificant event, but hopefully it will bring some sense of distraction or comfort to those of our fans who have been hurt in any way by this storm.
“We want to thank Governors Christie and Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg for their unwavering leadership in dealing with the devastation caused by this storm. And we are very grateful to have the opportunity to host several hundred servicemen and women and first responders at this week’s game. We owe each of them an extraordinary debt for everything that they have done for this region and for our country.”
The Giants players, many of them without power and still looking for gas like so many others, are well aware of the temporarily healing power of the game.
“We’re playing a football game and these people have lost their houses and have damaged everything they own,” said linebacker Mark Herzlich, who will make his first start of the season against Pittsburgh. “If they can even watch the game, then hopefully we can give them something to be happy about.
“It’s kind of interesting, the first game of my career was against the Redskins on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. You felt that emotion that day in Washington and I think that when we go on the field this Sunday, you’re going to feel that emotion again. This is a strong country and everybody in the stadium, whether they’re Pittsburgh fans or New York fans, they’re going to be pulling for the people who are fighting back from the storm.”
Fans attending the game are strongly urged to a) carpool and b) arrive early. Because the train station in Secaucus is not in operation, New Jersey Transit is unable to run trains to MetLife Stadium. For a normal Giants game, approximately 9,000 fans take the train from Secaucus to the stadium. The vast majority of those will likely have to drive, increasing the congestion around the stadium. Carpooling and early arrivals can reduce that congestion.
The Giants will offer their fans FREE parking and free shuttle service to and from the stadium at two locations: the parking lot at the Secaucus train station (675 New County Road at Seaview Drive, 4.5 miles from the stadium) and at 20 Murray Hill Parkway in Rutherford (1.5 miles from stadium).
There will also be very limited cash parking at the MetLife Stadium lots.
In addition, N.J. Transit bus No. 351, the Meadowlands express, will run from the Port Authority Bus Terminal and return after the game. That is not a free service.
“That will service about 2,000 people,” said Bill Squires, an operations consultant to the Giants. “We’re hoping to be able to increase that.”
To obtain the latest parking and transportation information for Sunday’s game, go to Giants.com, and follow us on twitter, @giants, beginning Friday evening. For additional information, fans in the metropolitan area can tune to Sports Radio 66, WFAN throughout the weekend.
Once they arrive at the stadium, fans will have opportunities to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The Giants-Steelers game already had been designated for the team’s annual Food Drive. The Giants are encouraging those attending Sunday’s game to bring non-perishable food items, which will be donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.
Since 1997, the Giants have hosted an annual food drive to help feed thousands of their neighbors during the holiday season. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, every donation is even more valuable to our neighbors and communities. Thanks to the generosity of Giants fans, nearly 5,000 pounds of canned or non-perishable foods are collected each year.
Each donor on Sunday will be entered into a drawing for the chance to be randomly selected as the “Food Donor of the Game.” The selected donor will also receive an autographed Hakeem Nicks jersey.
A designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, as well as a member of the New Jersey Federation of Food Banks.
The Giants have been working with the state, Red Cross, Salvation Army and many others since before the storm hit. The items they hope to collect on Sunday include Meals In a Can, canned tuna, peanut butter, granola bars, canned fruits, vegetables and soups, shelf stable milk, cereal, diapers and baby goods (no glass jars).
Fans wishing to donate to the American Red Cross will be able to text “Red Cross” to 9-0-9-9-9 to donate $10. They can also call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
As the Giants Salute to Service game, approximately 150 servicemen and women will unfurl the full-field flag prior to the game with General Raymond T. Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff who is a New Jersey native, avid Giants fan and close friend of Tom Coughlin.
The Giants will welcome home Soldiers of the Fighting 69th during this Sunday’s home game.
The Fighting 69th (the 69th Infantry), a New York-based Army National Guard Infantry Unit, returned from its tour of duty in Afghanistan in September and has been aiding the storm relief effort in New York City this week.
The Giants reached out to them when they were overseas. Many of them are members of the New York National Guard and have been first responders in the wake of the storm. They were home about six weeks when Sandy hit and they were asked to respond to the disaster.
The NFL is bringing 100 first responders from the metropolitan area to the game on Sunday. They will meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Giants have donated tickets so they can watch the game.
Speaking of tickets… if any ticket holder lost tickets or had them destroyed in the storm, or they are unable to retrieve them for any reason, they should go to one of the service windows – which are located at each stadium gate – and the tickets will be reprinted at no charge. Fans need to provide the name of the subscriber and the seat locations.