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Giants Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium located in East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker, USA, in the Meadowlands Sports Complexmarker. It primarily serves as the home stadium for the New York Giants and New York Jets American football teams of the NFL, and the New York Red Bulls soccer team of MLS. Maximum seating capacity is 78,741, making it the third-largest NFL stadium behind FedEx Fieldmarker and the brand-new Cowboys Stadiummarker. It is also the ninth-oldest stadium used by an NFL team. Giants Stadium will be closed and demolished in 2010 when the new Meadowlands Stadiummarker opens.

The stadium is located at State Route 120 and State Route 3 (which is accessed from Midtown Manhattan via the Lincoln Tunnel). The New Jersey Turnpike is also close by. It is also accessible by rail via New Jersey Transit's Meadowlands Stationmarker, but only for events when more than 50,000 attendees are expected.

History

Giants Stadium was the first major league sporting venue in New Jerseymarker (though the Brooklyn Dodgers had played some home games in Jersey Citymarker in 1957), and its success, along with that of the Giants in the 1980s was a major impetus behind increased pride and enthusiasm among New Jersey residents.

First year in business

Giants Stadium opened on October 10, 1976, as 76,042 fans witnessed a loss by the Giants to the Dallas Cowboys. College football made its debut at Giants Stadium on October 23, 1976, with Rutgers University defeating Columbia 47–0.

The New York Giants played their first home opener in the stadium on September 25 of the 1977 season (a 20–12 loss to the Baltimore Colts).

Other pro football teams that have used Giants Stadium

Other professional football teams that have called Giants Stadium home over the years include the New Jersey Generals of the USFL; the New York/New Jersey Knights of the World League of American Football; and the New York/New Jersey Hitmen of the XFL. The New York Sentinels will play one game at the stadium in the United Football League inaugural season.

In the first game of the 2005 season, the New Orleans Saints used the stadium for a "home" game against the Giants because of extensive damage to the Louisiana Superdomemarker after Hurricane Katrina.

College football games

The stadium has also hosted numerous college football games, including the Garden State Bowl from 1978–1981; the Kickoff Classic from 1983 to 2002; the New York Urban League Classic since 1981; a number of Rutgers homes games (including all their home games during the 1993 season); several Notre DameNavy and Notre Dame–Army games; and the Army–Navy Game on three occasions, most recently in 2002. Syracuse also played two home games at Giants Stadium during the 1979 season, against West Virginia and Penn State, while the Carrier Domemarker was under construction. Columbia also played some home games at Giants Stadium in 1983, due to construction at its home stadium. Temple, needing a home field due to a schedule conflict with Veterans Stadiummarker in Philadelphiamarker, used Giants Stadium as their home field versus Penn State in September 1996. Princeton also played one home game at Giants Stadium (against Yale) during the construction of Princeton's new stadium in 1997.

New Jersey high school football finals

From its opening until 2000 (coinciding with the installation of grass) and again from 2003 to the present (coinciding with the installation of the FieldTurf surface), Giants Stadium has been host to six championship games in the New Jersey state football playoffs. The games are held in early December over two days, the first Friday and Saturday of the month, with a doubleheader on Friday and a quadrupleheader on Saturday. As is the case at the other large neutral site venue the state uses (Rutgers Stadiummarker), it is not determined who plays at Giants Stadium until after the final matchups are set and the combined distances of the schools are calculated. (It should be noted that Giants Stadium and Rutgers Stadium are the only two venues where the state holds multiple games on championship weekend; in certain cases the state either holds games at other neutral sites or has the finalists play at the home stadium of the higher seeded finalist.)

Soccer at Giants Stadium

The New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League moved to Giants Stadium for the 1977 season and remained until the league folded in 1985.

Seven games of the 1994 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament were held at Giants Stadium (including the Italy v Bulgaria semi-final), along with several games of the 1999 Women's World Cup. In 2003, the SuperCoppa Italiana, an annual match pitting the winners of Serie A (Italymarker's top division) and the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup), was held in Giants Stadium instead of in Italy because both clubs involved (Juventus and AC Milan) were touring the United States late in the summer, when the event is normally scheduled. In 2005, the stadium played host to several matches in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, including the final, which saw the USA defeat Panama, 3–1 in a penalty shootout after the sides played to a scoreless draw. It again held the final 4 years later for the CONCACAF Gold Cup which saw Mexico defeat the USA 0-5. It has seen many European soccer tours in recent years, hosting games involving such major soccer clubs as Manchester United, Glasgow Rangers, Celtic F.C, Chelsea, Liverpool, F.C Barcelonamarker, and many others.

The New York Red Bulls (formerly the New York/New Jersey MetroStars) of Major League Soccer played at the stadium for their first fourteen seasons. They will move to the soccer-specific Red Bull Arenamarker in nearby Harrison, New Jerseymarker in 2010.

Pope John Paul II at Giants Stadium

New York Jets playing at Giants Stadium, November 2001
The second largest crowd to ever attend an event at Giants Stadium was 82,948, as Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass during a rainstorm on October 5, 1995. The record was broken on September 24, 2009 with an attendance of 84,472 at the U2 concert.

Concerts

Concerts have also been a part of the Giants Stadium experience, with notable acts such as Madonna, The Jacksons, The Eagles, U2, Kiss, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Bon Jovi, AC/DC, Paul McCartney, The Cure, Grateful Dead, David Bowie, Dave Matthews Band, The Police, Depeche Mode, Metallica, Billy Joel, Radiohead, Elton John, Genesis, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, Boston and Green Day, taking the stage before appreciative audiences.

Most of all, Giants Stadium as a concert venue is associated with Bruce Springsteen, who played there six nights in the summer of 1985 during his Born in the U.S.A. Tour and an even greater ten nights on his The Rising Tour during the summer of 2003. Springsteen returned to Giants Stadium on July 27, 28 and 31, 2008 in support of his Magic Tour. Springsteen returned to perform on September 30, October 2, 3, 8 and 9, 2009 for a special final season event for the stadium.

On Sunday, June 25, 1978, the "First Concert Ever" hosting The Beach Boys, Steve Miller Band, Pablo Cruise, and Stanky Brown was held here. The concert was named "Almost Summer". It kicked off at 12:30 with Endless Summer playing beforehand on the big screen as the gates had opened at approximately 8:30 that morning.

On Saturday, June 15, 1986, Amnesty International's Conspiracy of Hope Tour ended at Giants Stadium. The final show at Giants Stadium show was a sold-out, all-day event, running from noon until 11 p.m., broadcast on MTV, and at an outdoor stadium rather than the indoor arenas used for the first five stops. As such, these additional artists played there: John Eddie with Max Weinberg, Third World, The Hooters, Peter Paul & Mary, Little Steven with Bob Geldof, Stanley Jordan, Joan Armatrading, Jackson Browne, Rubén Blades with Fela and Carlos Santana, Yoko Ono, Howard Jones, Miles Davis, and Joni Mitchell. Spoken introductions were made by Bill Graham, Bill Bradley, Darryl Hannah, Robert DeNiro, Christopher Reeve, Michael J. Fox, and Muhammed Ali.

Pete Townshend was scheduled to play the Giants Stadium show, but cancelled at the last moment when his father, Cliff Townshend, became gravely ill. This would have been Pete Townshend's first ever US solo appearance.

In July 1994, Pink Floyd performed their last ever North American concerts at this venue in support of their album The Division Bell. These concerts are noted as it was one of two U.S. venues where the band played The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety on the US leg of the tour. These shows are available on bootleg.

On October 9, 1999, Giants stadium hosted the US side of NetAid, showcasing bands such as The Counting Crows and Jimmy Page.

On July 7, 2007 Giants Stadium was one of the hosts to the Live Earth concerts. Several artists performed at the concert including Bon Jovi, KT Tunstall, Kanye West, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Smashing Pumpkins and The Police, just to name a few.

The majority of the "Paradise City" music video by Guns N' Roses was filmed at the stadium in 1988.

AC/DC and Anvil performed at Giants Stadium on July 31, 2009 on the Black Ice World Tour.

In 2009, Hot 97 had their last Summer Jam in Giants Stadium.

U2 played two nights at Giants Stadium, supported by Muse on September 23rd and 24th, 2009 as part of their 360° Tour. The concert tour had the band playing on a center stage, enabling the entire stadium to be utilized. This allowed the concerts to set a Giants Stadium attendance record, as over 82,000 people attended each night. Both shows sold out in a matter of minutes from the public onsale.

The Jimmy Hoffa urban legend

For some years, a popular urban legend purported that the remains of Jimmy Hoffa, whose disappearance coincided with construction of the stadium, had been buried under one of the end zones at the field. This led a Sports Illustrated writer to suggest that "This lends new meaning to the term coffin corner!" In a similar vein, sportscaster Marv Albert once said that a team was "kicking towards the Hoffa end of the field."

Film

In the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still a scene shows the stadium being destroyed.

Changes and co-tenants

New York Giants playing at Giants Stadium, December 2005
To accommodate these varied events, Giants Stadium has sported various playing surfaces in its history. AstroTurf was the original surface for the playing field. This surface was covered by Bermuda grass sod for the World Cup in 1994, identical to that at the Rose Bowlmarker where the other semifinal and the finals were held (so that both teams in the finals would have played on identical surfaces). The grass was removed after the World Cup, as it would have died in the New Jersey winter. The MetroStars, however, installed a grass field each spring, but was removed prior to the football season, forcing the team to play its final home games each year on AstroTurf. The AstroTurf was removed in 2000 and a system of interchangeable grass trays was implemented from 2000 to 2002, but was considered a failure, since the quality of the field worsened as the NFL season progressed. Notably, this was the era when the New York/New Jersey Hitmen of the XFL played their games; XFL regulations required a grass surface, which Giants Stadium normally did not have. (Part of the problem may have stemmed from the fact that the original AstroTurf field was kept in place under the grass, to help in drainage.) It was replaced by a new artificial surface, FieldTurf, in 2003.

When the New York Jets left Shea Stadiummarker and moved to Giants Stadium in 1984, many predicted the stadium would be renamed. Understandably, the Jets organization preferred not to reside in a facility named after another team. However, under the terms of the stadium lease, changing the name of the stadium requires the Giants' approval, and the Giants refused to change the name. The Jets formerly referred to their home field as "The Meadowlands," not "Giants Stadium." However, in recent years, Jets tickets and other materials have given the official stadium name. The proposed stadium is expected to bear a sponsor's name as bids for the naming rights are currently being accepted.


Thanks largely to the dual occupancy of Giants Stadium by two NFL teams since 1984, it has surpassed Wrigley Fieldmarker (home of the Chicago Bears for fifty seasons) as the venue to have hosted more NFL games than any other in league history. The game played between the Jets and Miami Dolphins on September 14, 2003 was the 366th regular season NFL game at Giants Stadium breaking Wrigley's regular season record.

While the stadium has a decidedly blue atmosphere, matching the Giants' team colors, when the Jets play there, the walls are covered with green banners, matching their colors. In addition, the gates outside the stadium are covered with green Jets logos to hide the standard blue and red. As of 2007, both the Jets and Giants have returned to using color in the endzones (the Jets script is now a dark green, the Giants script is now blue), so the grounds crew must paint one logo on over the other when the stadium is being converted.

In mid-December, traditionally the stadium hosts a Saturday-Sunday NFL doubleheader, with the Giants playing a home game one day and the Jets playing the other. The night between the games is a challenge for the stadium grounds crew, as they have only hours to convert the stadium from one team's colors to the other. As per the NFL schedule, the Giants and the Jets play each other once every four years. In that case, there is a predetermined home team, and a predetermined away team. In those games, the away team gets a rare away game in their own home stadium. The Giants and Jets typically play each other every year in the third week of the NFL Preseason, and the teams annually rotate the home and away teams.

Notable moments

  • October 10, 1976: 76,042 fans witness the Giants losing to the Cowboys in the first game ever played at Giants Stadium.
  • October 1, 1977: Soccer legend Pelé played his last game, an exhibition match between the Cosmos and Santos. He played the first half for the Cosmos and the second half for his old Brazilianmarker team.
  • October 28, 1978: Rutgers beats Columbia 69–0. The Lions' humiliating defeat was the last game in one of the oldest rivalries in college football. Columbia's young coach Bill Campbell retired from coaching after the game and went on to a vastly more successful career in Silicon Valleymarker.
  • November 19, 1978: Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik fumbles the handoff to Larry Csonka with just seconds remaining in the game, allowing Herman Edwards (later a Jets head coach) to scoop it up and run it back for a touchdown, giving the Philadelphia Eagles an improbable 19–17 win. This play would be known as "The Miracle at the Meadowlands," and helped lead to the hiring of Ray Perkins as head coach, and later George Young as general manager.
  • September 6, 1984: The New York Jets move into Giants Stadium.
  • July 1984: The Jacksons perform three sold out shows of their Victory Tour.
  • July 14, 1985: The Baltimore Stars defeat the Oakland Invaders, 28–24, in the 1985 USFL Championship Game, the final game in league history.
  • August - September 1985: Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band perform six sold out shows on the final leg of their Born in the U.S.A. Tour.
  • January 11, 1987: The New York Giants shut out the Washington Redskins 17–0 in the NFC Championship game. Two weeks later, the Giants would win Super Bowl XXI, their first Super Bowl victory.
  • June-July 1994: Giants Stadium serves as a venue for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, opening with Ireland's 1–0 win over Italy, and concluding with Italy's 2–1 win over Bulgaria in the semifinals.
  • October 19, 1997: Following the Jets defeating the Patriots, two individuals are violently accosted and stabbed by an underage and drunken Patriots fan. The incident would lead to various lawsuits and the establishment of higher security standards and no alcohol being served after the 3rd quarter at Giants Stadium.
  • December 13, 1998: The New York Giants defeated the then-13–0 Denver Broncos.
  • October 23, 2000: In what has been called the greatest game on Monday Night Football, the New York Jets come back from a 30–7 deficit by scoring 30 points in the fourth quarter and another 3 in overtime to beat the Miami Dolphins 40–37. The game is known as the Monday Night Miracle.
  • January 14, 2001: On a field of painted mud, the New York Giants defeat the Minnesota Vikings 41–0 in the NFC Championship Game to send the Giants to their third Super Bowl.
  • July-August 2003: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band break their own record with 10 sold-out shows on the Rising tour.
  • September 1, 2005: The punk rock band Green Day sold out Giants Stadium with Against Me! and Jimmy Eat World. It was their biggest concert of all time (80,000 people)
  • December 26, 2005: The New York Jets & The New England Patriots fight each other in a classic battle on the last Monday Night Football game on ABC. The Patriots defeat the Jets 31–21.
  • January 8, 2006: The largest crowd to witness a Giant game, 79,378, witness a Giants 23-0 playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers.
  • July 29, 2006: Bon Jovi Plays their 8th consecutive sell-out of Giants Stadium. This was also the last concert of their Have a Nice Day Tour.
  • July 7, 2007: The "New York" portion of Live Earth, a worldwide series of concerts of pop and rock music featuring various bands and musical artists planned to inspire global warming activism, was held at Giants Stadium. Kenna, KT Tunstall, Taking Back Sunday, Keith Urban, Ludacris, AFI, Fall Out Boy, Akon, John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge, Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews Band, Kelly Clarkson, Kanye West, The Smashing Pumpkins, Roger Waters, Bon Jovi and The Police all performed.
  • August 18, 2007: 66,237 attended as the largest crowd ever for a regular-season MLS match at Giants Stadium (or any match between two MLS teams here). The MetroStars/Red Bulls previously had several matches with 50,000-65,000, and this day's match was also their highest attendance home or away for a regular-season match. This LA Galaxy versus Red Bulls match also set a new high for an MLS match that was not a part of a double-header, even beating the highest MLS Cup Final attendance (in 2002: 61,316).
  • September 9, 2007: New England Patriots CB Ellis Hobbs set an NFL record by taking the second-half kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the New York Jets. The play also tied the record for the longest play in NFL history at the time, matching the 108-yard missed field goal returns by the Chicago Bears' Devin Hester against the Giants in 2006, and the Bears' Nathan Vasher the previous season against San Francisco.
  • December 29, 2007: The New England Patriots closed out their undefeated 16-0 regular season at Giants Stadium. In the fourth quarter, Tom Brady threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Randy Moss, setting the NFL all-time record for most passing touchdowns in a single season at 50. On the same play, Moss set the record for most touchdown receptions in a single season at 23, breaking the record held previously by Jerry Rice. The Giants eventually would defeat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
  • February 5, 2008: The New York Giants have a ceremony celebrating their Super Bowl XLII victory 2 days after a 17-14 victory over the New England Patriots.
  • July 26, 2009: In the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final in front of 79,156 fans witness as Mexico beat the USA 0-5, this was Mexico first win against the USA in American soil in a decade.
  • September 23-24, 2009: U2 play two consecutive sold out shows at Giants Stadium, their last two shows of the famous venue, as part of their U2 360 tour. On the second night of the performance, Bono announces that the attendance record has been broken. He also jokes that "not even the pope had as many people there." The final attendance was 84,467.
  • October 9, 2009: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play the final concerts to be performed at Giants Stadium, playing five nights, highlighting Springsteen's classic albums, Born To Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Born In The USA as well as debuting a new song in honor of New Jersey, the Giants, and Giants Stadium entitled, "Wrecking Ball.


References

  1. http://www.gotickets.com/venues/nj/giants_stadium.php
  2. The NFL History Network 1977 Linescores.
  3. Strauss, Robert. "WORTH NOTING; So Who Really Is Buried Under Giants Stadium?", The New York Times, June 13, 2004. Accessed January 20, 2008. "For years, New Jersey lore has had the body of Mr. Hoffa, the longtime Teamsters president, interred somewhere under Giants Stadium, whose construction coincided roughly with his disappearance in 1975."
  4. Cross, B. Duane. "The runaround: Sticking with ground game pays off in Week 2", Sports Illustrated, September 14, 2003. Accessed August 6, 2008. "According to Elias Sports Bureau via Michael Eisen of the G-Men, the Dolphins-Jets game was the 366th NFL regular season game played in Giants Stadium, surpassing Wrigley Field in Chicago as the most frequently used stadium in NFL history (regular season only)."
  5. http://www.college.columbia.edu/cct_archive/may05/cover.php
  6. http://history.giants.com/page/Giants+Stadium+Facts
  7. Home
  8. http://www.u2.com/tour/index/


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