Nick Alfonse – 3/16/10
Ever since Giants Stadium opened its doors on October 10, 1976, it’s been home to the storied and decorated franchise of the New York Giants. Amidst the controversy and in-fighting over naming rights and opening of the new $1.7 billion stadium, the long time New York Jets tenants have become disgruntled over their status as “second class citizens” in the football community. After nearly 16 years of sharing the same residence, Jets owner Woody Johnson is doing everything in his power to crawl out from under the Giants Stadium moniker. Unfortunately, Roger Goodell and the “football gods” don’t seem quite ready to allow the Jets out of the Giants’ shadow.
Obviously, discussions on which team should open the stadium would be loaded with disagreements and conflicting opinions. The Giants suffered a disappointing season, and an even worse closing, allowing themselves to be embarrassed by the Carolina Panthers as their defense completely came apart at the seams. The Jets had their turbulent moments, but somehow managed to squeak their way into the playoffs with a rookie head coach and quarterback. People can argue until they’re blue in the face about whether or not the Jets received “a gift” from the Colts and Bengals, but their performance was still better than the Giants. Thus, the mysterious coin flip idea was born, shrouded with angry reactions from the Jets brass and faithful following.
The best piece of using a coin flip to determine which franchise would officially open the stadium is the manner the NFL front office used to carry out the idea. First, Woody Johnson suggests the idea to the league offices, only to have the thought immediately rejected. Afterwards, the Jets are informed that a coin toss took place, however with neither team present. Finally, Johnson and the rest of the franchise are told they lost, and the Giants will be hosting the first contest. The expected outpouring of complaints and frustration floods the New York airwaves and papers of how the Jets were cheated. What was Big Blue’s response to all this chaos? “The Giants had no complaints,” was the only comment in ESPN’s news article.
As if this wasn’t perfect enough, the Jets arguing for rights to open the new cathedral of New York football and failing to succeed seemingly fits into their franchise’s history. If Johnson wants to argue on the basis of team merit, let’s take a closer look at each team’s accomplishments. Even though the Giants have been around for an extra 35 years, their win percentage still trumps the Jets at .547 (3rd all time) to .455 (23rd all time). Since the Jets were formed (originally as the Titans) in 1960, the Giants have won seven division championships, compared to the Jets’ four. Breaking down even further, the Giants still beat them out on playoff appearances since 1960, at 17 to 14. Of course the most glaring example is of the 32 active teams in the NFL; only eight have won three or more Super Bowls, including our New York Giants.
Of course, Jets fans have a right to be upset about their team playing second in the new stadium, however kicking off with a Monday night game on national television isn’t too bad of a second prize. After all, everyone already knows who the class of New York football is, and to argue the Jets are more deserving, based on merit or anything else is nearly as ludicrous as claiming the Mets should open, or do anything at all, above the Yankees. With the exception of Joe Namath’s miracle run in 1968, the Jets haven’t enjoyed much steady success, or even another Super Bowl appearance. Besides, if the NFL front office really wanted to excite everyone, they would’ve opened the new stadium with a head-to-head matchup, and settle this nonsense for at least one season. At least the Yankees and Mets play each other every year.