Giants Stadium

Giants Stadium
The Meadowlands
The Swamp
Giantsstadiumlogo.png
Aerial view of Giants Stadium.
Address50 Route 120
LocationEast Rutherford, New Jersey
Coordinates40°48′44″N 74°4′37″W / 40°48′44″N 74°4′37″W / 40.81222; -74.07694
OwnerNew Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority
OperatorNew Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority
Capacity80,242[1]
SurfaceAstroTurf (1976–1999)
Grass (2000–2002)
FieldTurf (2003–2009)
Construction
Broke groundNovember 30, 1972[1]
OpenedOctober 10, 1976
ClosedJanuary 3, 2010 (final game)
DemolishedFebruary 4, 2010 – August 10, 2010
Construction costUS$78 million
($335 million in 2017 dollars[2])
ArchitectKivett and Myers[1]
Ewing Cole Erdman & Eubank[1]
Clauss & Nolan[1]
General contractorGeorge A. Fuller Company[1]
Tenants
New York Giants (NFL) (1976–2009)
New York Cosmos (NASL) (1977–1984)
Garden State Bowl (NCAA) (1978–1981)
New Jersey Generals (USFL) (1983–1985)
New York Jets (NFL) (1984–2009)
New York/New Jersey Knights (WLAF) (1991–1992)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (NCAA) (1993)
New York Red Bulls (MLS) (1996–2009)
New York/New Jersey Hitmen (XFL) (2001)
New York Sentinels (UFL) (2009)
New Orleans Saints (NFL) (2005, one game)

Giants Stadium (sometimes referred to as Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands or The Swamp) was a stadium located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in the Meadowlands Sports Complex. The venue had been open between 1976 and 2010, and it primarily hosted sporting events and concerts in its history. The maximum seating capacity was 80,242.[3] The structure itself was 756 feet (230 m) long, 592 feet (180 m) wide and 144 feet (44 m) high from service level to the top of the seating bowl and 178 feet (54 m) high to the top of the south tower. The volume of the stadium was 64,500,000 cubic feet (1,830,000 m3), and 13,500 tons of structural steel were used in the building process while 29,200 tons of concrete were poured.[4] It was owned and operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA).

In the early 1970s the New York Giants, who at the time were sharing Yankee Stadium with the New York Yankees baseball team, began looking for a home of their own. The Giants struck a deal with the fledgling New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority in 1971 and ground broke on the construction of the new facility in 1972. The 1972 season was the Giants' last full season in Yankee Stadium, as the ballpark was closed for a massive reconstruction following the end of the Yankees' season. Since their new stadium would take a significant amount of time to finish, and they could not use their home facility due to the construction, the Giants moved out of state and played in New Haven, Connecticut at the Yale Bowl early in the 1973 season. After spending two years in New Haven, the Giants would return to New York for one final season in 1975 and shared Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens with the Yankees, New York Mets, and New York Jets. The Giants finally moved into their new home on October 10, 1976.

Eight years after Giants Stadium opened, it gained a second major tenant. The Jets' lease at Shea Stadium, the home of the New York Mets, had expired at the end of the 1983 season and team owner Leon Hess was having trouble negotiating terms of a new lease to stay in Queens. The city of New York was unwilling to agree to his terms and Hess decided to move the Jets to the Meadowlands permanently (the team previously played a regular season game there in 1977). Their first game in Giants Stadium was on September 6, 1984. With the Jets now playing at the stadium, the grounds crew needed to find a way to set their games apart from Giants games and make them more inviting for their fans and eventually came up with a series of green and white banners and coverings that were hung over the field-level blue walls that circled the stadium and (later) the four entrance gates outside the stadium.

The sharing of the stadium by both the Giants and Jets enabled it to break a record that had long been held by Chicago's Wrigley Field. Entering the 2003 season, its 28th, Giants Stadium had played host to 364 NFL games, second only to the 365 played at Wrigley by the Chicago Bears in their 50 seasons there. The Giants' season opening game with the St. Louis Rams tied the record, and the following week the Jets' home opener against the Miami Dolphins broke it.

Giants Stadium was also home to the New York Cosmos, a professional soccer team that attracted record crowds during the late 1970s. The New York/New Jersey MetroStars (later the New York Red Bulls) of Major League Soccer, later played in the stadium from 1996 to 2009.

Giants Stadium was closed following the 2009 NFL season following the construction of what is now MetLife Stadium in the surrounding parking lot. The stadium's final event was the January 3, 2009 game featuring the Jets hosting the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football. A month after the game, demolition of the structure began and was completed on August 10, 2010. The New York Giants and New York Jets both moved to MetLife Stadium in 2010.

History

Giants Stadium was the first major league sporting venue in New Jersey (though the Brooklyn Dodgers had played seven home games at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City in 1956 & 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.[citation needed]

First year in business

Giants Stadium opened on October 10, 1976, as 76,042 fans witnessed a 24–14 loss by the Giants to the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants had played their first four games on the road that season. College football made its debut at Giants Stadium on October 23, 1976, with Rutgers University defeating Columbia 47–0 and extending their winning streak to 14 games.[5]

The New York Giants played their season-opening home game in the stadium on September 18 of the 1977 season (a 20–17 win over the Washington Redskins).[6]

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; the New York/New Jersey Hitmen of the XFL and the New York Sentinels (who played one game at the stadium in the United Football League's inaugural season). The 1985 USFL championship game which turned out to be the last USFL game played was held at Giants Stadium.

In the second week 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 Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. One end zone was painted in Saints colors, Saints banners were hung on the walls around the sidelines, and the Saints wore their home jerseys. The game was rescheduled to a Monday night with a special start time of 7:30 PM EDT, preceding the other scheduled game on Monday Night Football.[7] The Giants were normally not visitors at Giants Stadium unless they were playing the Jets.

College football games

The stadium hosted college football games, including the Garden State Bowl from 1978 to 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 Dome 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 Stadium in Philadelphia, 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.

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