Monday, September 13, 2010

Back In The New York Groove

If you've ever been to a Giants game in New York, you've come to notice that after every touchdown they play the lesser known KISS classic "Back in the New York Groove". If you're Jeff Goldberg, and you just spent a handsome portion of your paycheck to see the Giants score 31 points against the Panthers, you get awfully sick of hearing "Back in the New York Groove". I was glad to see that the Giants brought this tradition over to their new stadium, which they opened yesterday with a big 31-18 win over Carolina that was typical mediocre Giant Football for the first 30 minutes and a dominant offensive and defensive performance in the second half that has Big Blue 1-0 on the young season.

If the traditions of the old stadium feel like they're making it into the new one that's probably because the old Stadium didn't a feel a whole lot different from the new one. As I got off the NJ Transit train to walk towards my team's new home, I noticed a Mrs. Fields cookie stand that was outside the new building and deduced that that must be what $1.6 billion gets you. Sure there are some obvious, noticeable differences. For one, the extend is covered with steel rods, which give it a slick and futuristic feel. As well, it better enables the stadium to project a blue or green presence depending on who is at home that day. To boot, the grounds on the outside seem much smoother, and neater.

The interior no longer has blue and red seats, which made it feel like the Giants home, but when one considers that the Jets footed half the bill for the stadium, that probably makes sense. The inside is not a combination of charcoals and grays that make it seem almost astonishingly neutral. In my mind that robs the building of some of the character that the old one had. Then again, the old one probably didn't make a whole lot of sense if you were a Jets fan.

Beyond those key characteristics, aside from looking neater, there isn't a whole lot else about the building that sparks any interest unless you happen to be holding one of the outrageously expensive club seat tickets. Of course, those seats do provide some advantages -- particularly if you managed to spend an ungodly amount of money on the seats that allow you to literally stand on the sidelines some 46 feet away from the field. How these people are seeing beyond the legions of players, coaches and team employees that stand between them and the actual playing surface is a mystery to me, but the other exciting and noticeable addition to the new building is that even if you don't get to see the play live, you'll have no problem catching a replay. Fortunately, this isn't because the Giants and Jets decided to add a new gigantic video screen that can hang over the middle of the field and interfere with play like some foolish teams.

No, instead the New Meadowlands Stadium features four video screens in each corner of the stadium, which may not seem too big from your seat, but if your seat happens to be right next to one you realize that they're fucking massive.

So all in all, the new home is nice, if not completely necessary, but despite the expensive Personal Seat Licenses -- as a Season Ticket Waiting List member I was offered a pair of seats that only would have run me $23,000 in the first season -- the new building was put together with private funds, so it's hard to criticize the organizations for charging an arm and a leg when tax-payer money didn't factor into stadium's construction.

Also, and perhaps most importantly, the Giants, you know, "won". I'm not one of those silly people who thinks Big Blue got revenge on Carolina for beating them in the finale of Giants Stadium. That kind of logic is silly, the king of those situations being when the Mets swept the Cardinals in the opening series of 2007, "avenging" a loss in the 2006 NLCS.

Uh, I'd rather have won the World Series.

It's a new season, a win is a win and there's no better way to start off the season for the Giants than a solid victory of a Panthers team that may or may not prove itself worthy of the playoff hunt. Now because it's a new season it is, obviously, too early to get too excited, but starting off with a victory is as good as can be hoped for, particularly in your new house. And particularly when a much more challenging foe awaits in week two in Indianapolis.

That opponent got a little more tough to face when the Colts lost their season opener to the Texans yesterday. One week's game doesn't necessarily have any bearing on the next's, but I simply can't see a team as loaded as the Colts losing its first two games of the season. After all, this is a team that won every game it tried to win last season with the exception the Super Bowl, and it's not as if they laid a dud. Peyton Manning was still his classic self with 433 yards and three touchdowns. Were it not for a monster day by Arian Foster, Indy probably would be 1-0. As it stands, the loss may leave them tough to beat in their home opener next week against Big Blue, a game which I will rather excitedly be attending at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Even if the Giants lose, they got a small bit of help in the division this week to give them some early breathing room. Despite letting Mike Vick put on a show in the second half in place of the injured Kevin Kolb, Green Bay dealt the Eagles a nifty loss that may have brought a little bit of a sully to those totally sweet 1960 NFL Champion throwback unis the Iggles had on. Personally, I would have preferred the Vince Papale/Ron Jaworski Super Bowl XV duds, but these weren't too shabby. Either way, the Eagles are 0-1, which really can't hurt.

Even with those outfits they still managed to lose the competition for most exciting uniform development in the NFC East yesterday, when the Redskins took the field for their surprising win over the adorably dysfunctional Dallas Cowboys. For the past several seasons the Redskins have been pairing their maroon jerseys with white pants, which is a tasteful if unprovocative combination. In recent years, the Skins have taken to wearing their white jerseys at home with maroon pants for the single reason of forcing Dallas out of its comfort zone and into its seldom used navy uniforms. But by and large the pant color has remained the same.

Until last night. Last night Washington changed the game, making their unis infinitely more impressive by breaking out the golden pants. These pants are truly stunning. Not only do they make a more striking visual or create a link to their past, but they're just all sorts of totally awesome. Aside from being way cooler than the all-white or all-maroon combinations Washington has trotted out in the past, they bring up reminders of the totally awesome throwbacks that Washington has trotted out in the past decade. Last night's fashion almost made me think I was watching Super Bowl VII. You know, if they were playing the Cowboys and the footage was grainy.

The pants were so awesome that I was completely distracted from the fact that yesterday I found out one of my favorite teams of all time had released an absolutely horrifying video. It also made me almost forget that I, you know, hate the Redskins. Therein lies the rub. I enjoyed the uniform changes made by the Eagles and Skins yesterday, but the sight of both teams makes my blood boil. I take some solace though. With the Eagles losing, and the Redskins, whom I don't expect to be competitive over the long run, beating the Cowboys, whom I do, yesterday worked out pretty much as well as it could have. Even if I don't think next week will.

But you never know. That's why they play the games. And as it stands, I'm kind of irked I don't get to see the Giants play again for seven more days. But at least I'll knock a new stadium out of the way when I do.

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