Gameday Guide: MetLife Stadium, New York Giants & New York Jets

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MetLife Stadium

Opened: 2010 | Tenant(s): New York Giants, New York Jets | Capacity: 82,500

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History

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Despite sitting in the meadowlands of East Rutherford, New Jersey, MetLife Stadium is home to New York City’s two National Football League franchises – the New York Giants and the New York Jets – and is the only NFL stadium to have that distinction.

Opened in 2010 to replace nearby Giants Stadium, which the two teams formerly shared, it has state-of-the-art technology, comfort and amenities, making for a fantastic matchday experience.

The modern venue holds over 80,000 spectators and is a multi-purpose venue, hosting concerts, football (soccer) matches and also hosted WWE’s WrestleMania 29.

Who are the New York Giants and New York Jets?

The New York Giants are the oldest of the two New York-named teams. Established in 1925, they were one of five teams to join the National Football League that year and the only one still in existence. To distinguish themselves from the baseball team of the same name, the team was incorporated as the New York Football Giants in 1937.

The Giants enjoyed success in their early years, winning the 1927 NFL title with an 11-1-1 record in only their third season, while adding two more to the trophy cabinet in the 1930s. The franchise would have to wait until 1956 for their next triumphant campaign, before returning to the championship game two years later, losing to the Baltimore Colts 23-17 in the first-ever NFL playoff game to go into overtime. It has since come to be dubbed “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

The New York Jets, on the other hand, formed in 1959 as the Titans of New York and were founding members of the American Football League. The team’s name was changed in 1963 when the Titans moved from their inaugural home at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan to Shea Stadium in Queens, which was near LaGuardia Airport.

  Jets quarterback Joe Namath led the team to victory at Super Bowl III in January 1969.

Jets quarterback Joe Namath led the team to victory at Super Bowl III in January 1969.

In 1966 the first Super Bowl was played, pitting the winners of the NFL Championship against the AFL Championship winners. In 1968 the Jets were the first of the New York teams to get to the Super Bowl, progressing to a showdown against the Colts after capturing the AFL Championship. They were massive underdogs going into the game as the quality of teams in the NFL was generally seen as vastly superior to those in the AFL. But following a famous guarantee from then-quarterback Joe Namath – a pioneer in the world of celebrity sports stars – the Jets went on to upset Baltimore, thus winning Super Bowl III, which became one of football’s most significant victories.

It would be two decades until the Giants tasted such success, doing so under the stewardship of Bill Parcells, with defensive powerhouse Lawrence Taylor leading the team to their first title of the Super Bowl era in 1986, which they followed up four years later with victory at Super Bowl XXV.

Since winning the Super Bowl, the Jets are yet to register another appearance in the big game and have become something of a comical club, being on the receiving end of events such as Dan Marino’s fake spike and the infamous Buttfumble game.

  Eli Manning's New York Giants have tasted victory twice in recent Super Bowls, defeating the New England Patriots on both occasions.

Eli Manning's New York Giants have tasted victory twice in recent Super Bowls, defeating the New England Patriots on both occasions.

It has certainly been contrasting fortunes in New York, with the Giants adding two more Super Bowls to their name with victories over the New England Patriots in 2007 and 2012 – the former of which was the Patriots’ first loss of that season.

Getting to New York

  Viewing the Manhattan skyline from across the tarmac at Newark Liberty International Airport. Image credit:  Ken Lund / Flickr

Viewing the Manhattan skyline from across the tarmac at Newark Liberty International Airport. Image credit: Ken Lund/Flickr

New York City is served directly by three airports – John F Kennedy International and La Guardia which are both in Queens, and Newark Liberty across the water in New Jersey. Most international travellers will arrive through JFK or Newark, which have great connections to Europe.

All of the airports are well connected by public transport, while taxis are readily available from arrivals, but are also a more expensive option. To find out how you can save by travelling from the airport to the city, check out this guide.

Norwegian have recently started operating flights from western Europe to Stewart International Airport, which is in New York state but is approximately 90 minutes north of Manhattan. The cheapest option to get from the airport to the city is by using the Stewart Airport Express.

If you’re travelling domestically or from Canada, then New York is well-served by rail, and the city’s two major stations Grand Central, on the east side, and Penn Station, on the west, have routes going out of the city and out of state.

Getting to MetLife Stadium

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To get to MetLife Stadium from New York City, take a train from either 34th Street-Herald Square or 34th Street-Penn Station.

If going from 34th-Herald board a Hoboken-bound PATH train on the mezzanine level. Then get off at the Hoboken PATH Station and walk upstairs to the NJ Transit Rail Station where you can get the train to the Meadowlands. From 34th-Penn Station, take a train to Secaucus Junction then switch there to a train bound for the Meadowlands. Due to gameday traffic, it is advisable to travel by rail to the stadium.

Tours and Merchandise

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Tours of MetLife Stadium are available on select in-season Saturdays for individuals – that is tours for small groups of less than 10 people. For information of dates, click here. Group tours for 10 or more paying guests are offered Monday to Friday at 10:00, 13:00 and 16:00, starting at $17.00 for an adult ticket.

Guided tours include a visit to premium spaces such as the Commissioners Club, Coaches Club and MetLife Stadium’s luxury suites, as well as taking a walk on the field where the athletes and superstars ply their trade.

New York Jets and New York Giants merchandise is readily available throughout the city. As well as being sold from the megastore at the stadium on gameday, various sports shops are dotted around the borough with everything from jerseys to dog accessories. They also have online stores selling official team merchandise. Click here for the Giants store and click here for the Jets shop.

Matchday Experience

  Meeting famous New York Jets fan Fireman Ed.

Meeting famous New York Jets fan Fireman Ed.

In the United States, American football games provide the ultimate fan experience. From hours before the event to postgame extravaganzas, even non-sports fans would struggle to have a bad time here.

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Tailgating is one of the most popular pastimes in American culture. Get to MetLife Stadium early and roam the parking lots to find one of many tailgate parties taking place. Meet local fans, eat amazing food and toast your team while standing at the back of a pickup truck. Various pregame amenities and activities are available around the ground before kick-off. Food vendors, merchandise stalls and fun team-themed games line the immediate area around MetLife Stadium, while various ceremonies take place before the game, including player warmups, cheerleading routines and a guest singer to perform The Star-Spangled Banner – America’s national anthem.

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Unlike football in the United Kingdom and Europe, fans tend to mix when it comes to North America’s big four sports. At Jets and Giants games, don’t be surprised to find that you’re sat next to a member of the opposing support. Although away fans tend to be in the minority, they are often dotted around in amongst those rooting for the home team. In general, there is a friendly atmosphere at these games and they are events which you can take your family too.

Tickets

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Tickets for New York Giants and New York Jets games can be purchased on NFL Ticket Exchange – a platform regulated by the league, but powered and verified by Ticketmaster. This is the most reliable and safe method of purchasing tickets for games as it is an official ticketing retailer, where fans can also sell tickets.

StubHub is another option for those wanting to secure their seat. It is similar to NFL Ticket Exchange and prices aren’t too different. There are other outlets which sell tickets, but the two aforementioned are ones I would recommend as I have used them both successfully in the past.

Safety

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As you would imagine, gamedays and events have a large security presence to ensure safety of all in attendance. Prior to entering the venue, all attendees will be subject to a courteous screening by a member of the stadium’s safety services team and all bags searched, while all vehicles are inspected before entering the MetLife Stadium Sports Complex.

People wishing to buy alcohol on the premises who are deemed to look 40 years or older must present a valid form of identification, while non-US citizens must present a valid passport in order to purchase an alcoholic beverage as part of New Jersey state law.

MetLife Stadium also has a list of prohibited items as well as a number of other guest policies, all of which can be found here.