Super Bowl 47 is supposed to be a contest between the Seattle Sea Hawks and the Denver Broncos. But locally, it is a titanic battle between metropolitan superpower New York City and late-night joke goat New Jersey.
When the New York Giants went looking for a new home, they signed an agreement in 1973, toe move to East Rutherford, N.J., where a new stadium complex called The Meadowlands was being built. Up until that time, the Giants had been sharing a stadium with the New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium. The Meadowlands is owned and operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA). The team, however, retained its original name, the New York Giants
The Giants played their first game at Giants Stadium on Oct. 10, 1976, and in 1984 the Jets joined them after failing to secure a lease renewal with the city of New York to stay in Shea Stadium. Giants Stadium was closed following the 2009 NFL Season following the construction of what is now MetLife Stadium in the surrounding parking lot. Giants Stadium’s final event was the Jan. 3, 2010 game featuring the Jets hosting the Cincinnati Bengals. A month after the game, demolition of the structure began and was completed on Aug. 10, 2010.
New Jersey was happy to host the Giants. But residents were furious when the team decided to keep its original name: the New York Giants. Garden Staters argued that the “Jersey Giants” sounded more alliterative. New Yorkers retorted by noting that New Jersey was a pigmy compared to New York City’s status as the largest city in the United States. New York had Broadway, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center (at the time), the Statue of Liberty (won by a yacht race around the island), the Metropolitan Opera, countless museums, five-star hotels, five-star restaurants, the elite of society, and was headquarters to most of the major media and major financial companies. What did New Jersey have? The New Jersey Turnpike with a spectacular view of garbage dumps and oil refineries.
Working-class New Jersey reminded New Yorkers, whom they regarded as champagne glass posers, that the Giants practiced in New Jersey and played in New Jersey. The New York Giants admit their legal address is East Rutherford, N.J., but note that they represent the New York metropolitan area.
All the pre-Super Bowl antics have taken place in New York City, including a ski course built in Times Square. Our area has been experiencing a Deep Blue cold wave, which is abating just in time for the kick-off on Sunday. At blog-post time, we’re still three hours away from the official forecast and temperature, but it looks as though the temperature will be about 40 degrees by 6 p.m., with cloudy skies. Certainly not too cold for the Denver Broncos and the Sea Hawks should be able to weather the weather.
As for the fans, 40 degrees should be tolerable weather. The two bands playing the pre-game show, the Syracuse University Marching Band and the Rutgers University Band, are both cold- weather bands, whose musicians are used to freezing temperatures. There will be a slight breeze of about 8 m.p.h., lowering the feel of the temperature by about 4 degrees. It could have been a lot worse if the game had been held a week earlier. Mother Nature must be a Super Bowl fan.
The game will wreak havoc with Sunday traffic on New Jersey’s Route 3. New Jerseyans may be proud of the fact that the game will be played in northern New Jersey. But it’s not a home-team game, and most seem to be perfectly happy to leave the stadium seats to those wealthy enough to be able to afford the tickets.
According to CBS News: “Trains, buses and cars taking fans from New York and parts of New Jersey to the stadium and back again “are going to be scanned, they’re going to be checked, they’re going to be swept,” said Col. Rick Fuentes, head of the New Jersey State Police.
“Roughly 80,000 fans are expected to pack MetLife Stadium on game day. Most fans will be relying on mass transit to get there. Officials have issued only 12,000 parking passes and taxis won’t be allowed near the stadium. The Transportation Security Administration will be screening all bags for explosives at the Secaucus Junction Station before passengers are permitted on trains for MetLife Stadium.
“Dress warm, bring the ticket and do travel light. Do not bring packages,” NJ TRANSIT Chief of Police Christopher Trucillo said.
“NJ TRANSIT is offering expanded bus and rail service. Amtrak will be making special pre- and post-game stops in Secaucus, where you’ll be able to transfer to MetLife-bound NJ TRANSIT trains. A Super Bowl shuttle will run from Secaucus Junction to MetLife Stadium beginning at 1:40 p.m. Sunday.
“Those boarding will have to show their game ticket, go through security screening and adhere to the NFL bag policy which permits only clear plastic bags and small clutches. Officials anticipate 15,000 passengers will ride trains between Secaucus and the stadium. Passengers are advised to allow extra time because of the screening.
“On the roads, highways surrounding the stadium will be open through game day, but drivers should expect extensive traffic congestion. The state police plan to assign up to 700 troopers at the stadium on Sunday, Fuentes said. There will be vehicle checkpoints as well as explosive sniffing K-9 units and Homeland Security agents with radiation detection backpacks.
“New York State police will also be watching out for drunk and distracted drivers over the Super Bowl weekend. The statewide crackdown on DWI and texting-while-driving violators starts Friday and runs through Monday.
“In New York City, the 13-block stretch now known as Super Bowl Boulevard means Broadway is closed between 34th and 47th streets through the weekend. Some adjacent side streets are closed as well. In the air, Black Hawk helicopters will be patrolling the no-fly-zone above MetLife Stadium on game day.
“Early Wednesday morning, the U.S. Air Force conducted military exercises over the Hudson River in the Bronx and lower Westchester in preparation for the Super Bowl.
“At 4:30 in the morning, if you had been up, you would have seen a couple of military jets, F-15s, streaking across the skies of New York City chasing a plane. They actually drill this when everybody’s asleep so nobody sees anything that would alarm them in broad daylight,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence John Miller told “CBS This Morning.” “If an aircraft violated the no-fly zone around the stadium, how would they interdict it and so on, it’s built into the plan.”
“U.S. Customs and Border protection agents are also armed and ready to intercept any air traffic that breaches the perimeter. Already, there are reports of suspicious powders being mailed to hotels near MetLife Stadium.”
The N.J. Star-Ledger reports: “Potential attacks on mass transit hubs around New York and New Jersey are among the chief concerns of the thousands of security personnel who will be at Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, law enforcement leaders said at a security briefing today.
“While there are ‘no credible’ or organized threats concerning the game, New Jersey State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes said recent bombings of transit terminals and buses in Russia, the site of the Winter Olympics, have gained the attention of law enforcement.
“Sometimes contingencies don’t just happen where you think they’re going to happen,” he said. Like northwestern New Jersey? Why weren’t the Black Hawks flying over the New Jersey suburbs, where there are a number of airports large and small, including Newark/Liberty? New Jersey – the “Take-Us-For-Granted State”.
“Thousands of law enforcement officials, including 700 state troopers, will be at MetLife Stadium long before kickoff on Sunday. At least 30 federal agencies, the New York City Police Department and countless New Jersey police departments will be involved in wide-ranging security protocols on Sunday, said Jeb Johnson, director of Homeland Security and a Montclair native.
“All vehicles headed to the Super Bowl will be scanned and checked before entering the stadium complex, said Fuentes. Detection devices have also been activated to counter possible bioterrorism, according to FBI officials, but they would not say how many devices were in place or where they’re located.
“This Super Bowl presents unique challenges, officials said, because the location of MetLife Stadium will force many fans to use mass transit to reach the stadium. With a crush of revelers coming in from all around New York and New Jersey, Johnson said police are urging the public to adopt a “See Something, Say Something” mentality in order to help law enforcement.
“’At a large and visible event on Sunday, security depends very much on the public also,’ he said.
“Fans will also be checked for tickets before they are allowed to board stadium-bound trains or buses, according to Jeff Miller, the NFL’s chief security officer. Miller said fans should carry as little as possible into the stadium grounds and released a list of banned items including alcohol, backpacks, flying discs, footballs, umbrellas and cameras with lenses longer than six inches.
“On game day, 80,000 fans are expected, and parking lots will open at noon, according to Miller, who warned fans that most parking spaces will be pre-sold and urged people to travel by train or bus. At about 2 p.m., fans can begin proceeding through security checks where they will have to pass through a metal detector and a pat down.
“While officials seem confident that they are well-prepared to secure the tri-state area on game day, they know that anything can happen at the Super Bowl.
“’You don’t want to get too over confident. … You just don’t know what you might face on game day,’ Miller said.”
Let’s hope terrorists take as little notice of northern New Jersey as the rest of the country. Mohammed Atta stayed in New Jersey…but he attacked the World Trade Center in New York City.