EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers are still on for their game Sunday at MetLife Stadium as recovery efforts continue in devastated New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy.
The NFL confirmed on Saturday that the matchup is still scheduled for its 4:25 p.m. kickoff Sunday afternoon. Gov. Chris Christie did not address the game during a briefing Saturday, and a spokesman deferred questions about it to the league.
Christie and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke on Friday.
The New York City Marathon, also scheduled for Sunday, has been canceled – although the New York Knicks opened their season on Friday night at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan and the Nets were playing Saturday night for the first time in their new arena in Brooklyn.
Given the gas shortage in the state – New Jersey has implemented a rationing program – and the lack of mass transit available, the Giants have urged fans to carpool. In their conversation before the weekend, Goodell was assured by Christie that the game would not divert any major resources from relief efforts.
The league will bring 100 first responders to the game to meet Goodell as well as members of the Giants before kickoff. The home team will also hold a food drive to support those affected by the storm.
”Our thoughts are still with the people who have lost so much during this past week,” Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said in a joint statement Friday. ”A football game by comparison is such an insignificant event, but hopefully it will bring some sense of distraction or comfort to those of our fans who have been hurt in any way by this storm.”
The Steelers altered their travel plans in light of the situation. Originally scheduled to fly in on Saturday, and stay in Jersey City, N.J., they will instead travel on Sunday morning and return to Pittsburgh right after the game.
”That’s nothing compared to what those people have been going through because of the hurricane,” Pittsburgh defensive end Brett Keisel said. ”Not having power to go to and from work? They’re really fighting through it, so this is minor compared to what they’re going through.”