Recap - Giants 27, Ravens 23
Game # 3 on my football journey was a local one. No airports or Greyhound terminals or suitcase to pack. Just a 40 minute drive up the turnpike to East Rutherford, NJ.
I’ve been to quite a few Jets and Giants games in my life, but today was my first visit to MetLife stadium. MetLife is home to both the Giants and Jets and is designed to be quickly changed between the two teams with all of the signage and logos changing and all of the primary colors changing between green and blue. With a capacity of 82,500, it is the largest venue in the NFL as well as one of the most modern.
Although this is home to both NY teams and they both are considered equal tenants, in reality this is the Giants house. Giant fans outnumber the Jets and are a lot more enthusiastic. Gang Green has not seen a Super Bowl since Joe Namath predicted victory over the Colts in SuperBowl III. The Giants have been to 5 and won 4 of them, 2 while under the command of current Giant QB and Peyton’s little brother – Eli Manning including the spoiling of what would have been a perfect 19-0 season for the New England Patriots in SuperBowl XLII
Rather than dealing with the turnpike traffic and the ridiculous lines and prices for stadium parking and the nightmare of fighting traffic on the way out, I opted for the wonderful alternative of the NJ Transit train line which stopped at Secaucus Junction where we grabbed a quick shuttle train right to the stadium’s gates. Very easy, cheap and stress free.
Getting from the trains and to the gates was pretty easy as was getting through security. The only thing you miss out on by taking the train is seeing the great tailgating experience at this place. Inside the stadium, it was really easy to get around with lots of area to move in and escalators to the upper levels. There’s lots of corporate presence inside (Verizon , Pepsi, SAP, Dell, etc.). Everything is all clean and relatively new – including the bathrooms and concession areas.
Concessions are better than in most stadiums I’ve been to – full size bars, etc. My favorite was the spicy chicken sandwich at Fat Rooster.
The seating area has plenty of room to get around and to your seat without stepping on anyone. Unlike the first few stadiums that I went to where I had lower level seats near the field, for this game I was in the upper decks. Why? Because Giants games are frigging expensive - much more so than most other NFL venues. Unless you’re a season ticket holder or know someone who is, you will most likely have to look on the secondary market if you want to go to a game on short notice.
Despite being high up, my seat was more or less mid-field and I had a great view of the game. MetLife has four video boards inside the stadium (one in each corner) and the stadium may be the most technically advanced venue in the NFL. It was built to handle any and every technology that is available today and beyond. Each electronic item, from the four massive 30’x 118’ HD video display boards in each corner of the stadium to the concessions check out register is digitally connected.
The fans by me were all friendly and really into the game. Of course the game itself had a lot to do with that.
The lead went back and forth in a game highlighted by offensive firepower and big passing yardage (710 total).The Giants were on the verge of a fourth straight loss after Terrance West scored on a 2-yard run with a 2:04 to play, giving the Ravens a 23-20 lead. The TD came three plays after Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was flagged for a questionable pass interference at the New York 8. But then, a banged-up Odell Beckham Jr. turned a short fourth-and-1 pass into a winning 66-yard catch and run with 1:24 to play giving the G-Men stunning 27-23 victory. New York's defense also stopped the Ravens on a fourth-down inside the 1 earlier in the quarter Beckham finished with eight catches for 222 yards. The win was the 700th in franchise history.
Being built in the middle of a swampland, there is absolutely nothing around MetLife except for highways meaning you could either try and get a jump on the crowd back to your car to beat the traffic , or just hang out in the parking lot and drink warm beer for two hours until most of it has died down. There is such a huge difference between downtown sports venues and those built out of the way.
Still, it was a gorgeous day and a great game at a clean, modern and comfortable stadium.
Next trip is right after the World Series ends – heading down to sunny Florida for the Bucs and ‘Fins
Fans - A - Giant fans are friendly and knowledgeable. They may be an acquired taste, but I am immune to the NY/NJ attitude
Features - B - Wide open concourse, phone charging stations, great signage
Location - C - Taking the train from the burbs or Manhattan is pretty easy. Driving sucks. Nothing to do after the game as the stadium was built in an old swampland
Food - B - Some more upscale options than I've seen elsewhere
Game - A+ - Great game - Lots of offense. Back and forth with G-Men pulling it out at the end on a Beckham TD catch and carry
Overall Experience - B - Beautiful weather. Good crowd. Exciting Finish