Christie gives measured endorsement to NFL’s decision to play Steelers-Giants game on Sunday

Getty Images

The late-but-wise decision to cancel the New York City marathon serves only to put more focus on the decision to proceed with Sunday’s game between the Steelers and the Giants.

On Friday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie approved the decision, but his comments to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo contained enough nuance and equivocation to make us wonder whether Christie, if the decision were his, would have gone forward with the game at MetLife Stadium.

“I don’t think there’s going to be much of anything diverted away from us by having the game there,” Christie told Russo.  “The fact is that’s a completely privately owned piece of property now.  There are flushless toilets in the new MetLife Stadium.   This is just not a situation where I think there are going to be a lot of state resources diverted.  And ultimately, my philosophy is I don’t want the government involved in making those decisions unless it is an absolute emergency.  Now, if the East Rutherford area looked like Mantoloking?  Whole different story.  But you don’t have that kind of destruction up there.  You do have people without power but they have their own power system up there.  But the fact is I don’t think there is a lot being diverted.  If the NFL feels comfortable playing under those circumstances, that’s the NFL’s call as long as they are not impeding me from being able to help the state back to recovery.  And I don’t think those three hours are going to hurt the state’s progress towards recovery.”

Christie’s position was reinforced by the fact that East Rutherford, the location of the stadium, should have full power by Sunday.  “The fact is that if it came to a point where I felt like there was anything that was impeding our recovery, I know [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell well enough, we’ve spoken twice already this week, I would pick up the phone and call Roger and say, ‘Roger, listen, you’ve got to move it to Pittsburgh.  We just can’t do it.’  I don’t believe that’s the case and as long as it is not the case then I don’t want to get involved in Roger Goodell’s business.  He gets paid a lot more money than I do so I’m not going to get involved in his business.”

While Christie was clear that the game won’t impact the recovery effort, phrases like “that’s a completely privately owned piece of property” and “I don’t want the government involved in making those decisions” and “if the NFL feels comfortable playing under those circumstances” and “I don’t want to get involved in Roger Goodell’s business” suggests that, if it were Christie’s business, he would have moved the game or rescheduled it.

Apart from impeding the recovery efforts, the question becomes whether folks who have paid for their tickets will be able to go.  And whether they will want to go.  And whether proceeding with the game so soon after the state suffered one of the most devastating blows in its history shows the proper respect and deference to the situation.

A full 49 Novembers ago, Commissioner Pete Rozelle made a decision to proceed with NFL games in the aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy.  In hindsight, it was the wrong decision.  Hindsight could lead to that same conclusion here.

47 responses to “Christie gives measured endorsement to NFL’s decision to play Steelers-Giants game on Sunday

  1. The NFL and both states (NJ and NY) knew this storm was coming at least a week ago. Contingency plans could have been made last weekend so that everyone involved in this game would be aware of any change in venue, etc. I know an NFL game is not the highest priority when a storm like this headed to town, but the NFL at least should have been prepared with some sort of alternative plan.

  2. They should play Sunday. Moving it to Monday night would be unfair to the Giants, who still have not had their bye and they would have to travel to Cincy on a short week.

  3. It’s well known that Steeler Nation “travels well” – and this figures to really put that to the test.

  4. It should be moved to pittsburg like the saints game was moved to new york dUring katrina and actually considered a saints home game but we cant do that to the gmen

  5. As I mentioned in another post, the NFL should pledge a substantial percentage of the gate receipts for this game to the relief efforts in NY and NJ. That would go along way towards helping those in need.

  6. EVERY. SINGLE. GIANTS. FAN. That I know personally here in the city and in Jersey are counting down to the game. Get outta here with this pantywaist talk.

    And yes, most all of these people have no light, heat, power, gas, or food. Only a few got power tonight. Leave the politics at the door.

  7. He’s definitely got a point. The NY Marathon is a different beast because it completely closes off a whole lot of things and requires a lot more government resources than an NFL game.

  8. the NFL needs to say something better than:

    “I know a buncha people died, thousands of families have lost everything, and millions don’t have heat in the first storm of this winter coming up this weekend… but give us our ticket sales and ad revenue!”

  9. I was critical of the decision to go ahead with the Marathon.

    There was no economic benefit to NYC

    People in need of shelter were being forced into the cold from their hotel rooms to make room for marathoners.

    Needed generators were sitting idle in Central Park while people froze.

    In the case of a game in the Meadowlands, to my knowledge no one is being made homeless and forced into the cold as a result. There’s no generators that could be helping people in need that are being used to power the stadium instead.

    It’s an apples to oranges comparison.

  10. If there’s still lots of folks without electricity in the vicinity of the stadium come Sunday, there will be a lot of noise coming from them. Kraft had power to Gillette stadium after Irene last year for an exhibition game long before most of the town of Foxboro had their lights back on – and those town folks were not too pleased.

  11. Every single non-emergency-services-related enterprise within 50 miles of the disaster area should shut down indefinitely until the national Czar of Consciousness deems that life may continue.

  12. “…suggests that, if it were Christie’s business, he would have moved the game or rescheduled it.”

    No, it suggests he’s a politician. This way no one can say he was for the game and anger those who are against it. Likewise, no one can he’s against the game and anger those that want it. Remember this is the guy who was ripping Obama a new one a week ago and, now that he desperately needs the Feds, he and POTUS are BFFs. They don’t get elected if they aren’t blatant opportunists.

  13. I’m not a fan of Governor Christie in any way, but he has been incredible during this disaster. It’s refreshing to see two people on opposite ends of the political spectrum, he and President Obama, work together so harmoniously in such a trying situation. Kudos.

  14. Oh, the humanity! A pro basketball game is happening in New York City as we speak! And it’s packed?! Insane!!

  15. As Giants fan, can’t wait to watch. As nj resident, can’t imagine having this. Gas situation nuts, trees blocking roads all over, who can even get there?

  16. This is just a bunch of whining. If a disaster hit Dallas, Houston, or any of the “fly over” states, none of you all would give a sh*t. I feel for those hurt by the storm, but this is far from the worst tragedy to befall this country. Consider modernizing your infrastructure and your decision to live just few feet below or above sea level.

  17. Coach Tomlin will have his troops prepared no matter what day they travel. People of New Jersey and New York have real life matters to deal with, so Steeler organization has no issue whatsoever about traveling on day of game. They do get an extra hour to rest on Saturday night because clocks change to EST . . . not a real big deal, but it’s something to sleep on.

  18. Hey Governor Christie,

    Now that you have shown to be civilized man, you may want to switch parties. The GOP hard liners will not ever forgive you in helping out people over politics.

  19. I live in the area affected and had damage to my home. I’m a season ticket holder and I WANT TO GO TO THE GAME!

    BTW – generators are great for watching Monday night football with DirecTV during a Hurricane. Try doing that with cable…

  20. I don’t understand why they can’t just move it to Pittsburgh or a neutral location. The Saints had to play a “home” game against the Giants in their stadium, why can’t the Giants do the same? I’m not one of those “the league favors this team or that team” type of people, and the league can keep it that way by moving the game.

  21. Say what you will but they are taking away from the people that need help the most! You can bet your ass Met Life stadium is completely up and running Sunday with power and other facilities while citizens of NY and NJ suffer without power and basic necessities!

  22. Christie just doesn’t want to lose the revenue coming from the game from a “privately” owned stadium! Called tax dollars! I haven’t heard such BS since the last time Obama spoke

  23. if I recall, Katrina simultaneously destroyed the superdome, and forced it to be used to house residents who were chased from their homes. MetLife is not being used to house anyone… so there’s that. I’ll agree that the gas crisis is beyond crazy here, but I think this is more cathartic for those of us living up here than not. And totally, the marathon comparison is false.

  24. The Turnpike and Parkway are fine for travel. Its the side roads that have traffic lights with no power and trees across them that are the problem. I don’t know where people are getting gas to drive there but that’s a different story. No trains yet either. I have to thank Gov Christie for everything he’s done and doing for us here in NJ. Its a Rare breed that a politician cares about people over red tape n politics for once. I also would like to thank all the people from out of state that came here to help. I’ve seen power and tree service trucks from all over the U.S. the last 2 days on Turnpike. Its amazing to see that so many people care even if they’re getting paid. I thank you. Oh n to the scumbag looters in Seaside and other barrier islands, I hope the houses n business’s your stealing from collapse and crush you to death. We don’t need sub humans who’s first thoughts are to steal during a disaster walking on this earth anyway. Your a waste of space. If by somehow you don’t get crushed then I hope you drown or even better get blown up by the leaking gas lines. Made me physically sick when I heard this was happening on Tues. I know a lot of you have a great dislike for people from NJ/NY but please donate to red cross, we need you.

  25. There is no comparison to the Saints situation that I can tell. Yes, a lot of people are still without power and there are a lot of other issue, but having a football game in the Meadowlands has no impact on any of that. In the case of New Orleans, the stadium was a mess, which is why the Saints didn’t play another game in it that season.

  26. sportsfan69 says:
    Nov 2, 2012 9:19 PM
    Hey Governor Christie,

    Now that you have shown to be civilized man, you may want to switch parties. The GOP hard liners will not ever forgive you in helping out people over politics.

    ————————————————————-

    That’s the truth — congrats to Gov Christie for a job well done.

  27. Christie putting partisan politics aside, working together with the current administration to get flood victims back on their feet, is a thing of beauty.

    It could have been so easy for him to play presidential election politics to discredit FEMA and the current administrations response to the victims of Sandy. A lot of other politician would have put Party before State, instead he did what was right… Congrats Christie you got my vote next a election…. signed lifelong Dem

  28. What many people reading this article don’t realize about season ticket holders, is their passion for this game, this league and most importantly THEIR team. This game can be therapeutic to them. The have been living through hell for the past several days, and many will be looking forward to getting away from that for a few hours, trust me…They pay thousands of dollars a year and sit through blizzards for this team. This is good for them…

    As long as it doesn’t cause difficulty to the relief effort, and by all accounts it will not, imho this is a good thing.

  29. If I were king, the game would either be in Pittsburgh or moved to a week 18 and push the playoffs back one week.

    Playing this game in a city where people are cold and hungry reflects poorly on our priorities.

  30. Now there are several stories that say the utility workers from Alabama (over 1,000) were turned away from New Jersey because they did not belong to a union.

    This is not an isolated story. Reports are coming in from other places where utility workers from non-union right-to-work states are being told to “stand down” because they don’t have union credentials.

    “The crews that are in Roanoke, Virginia say they are just watching and waiting even though they originally received a call asking for help from Seaside Heights, New Jersey.”

    Some crews have “already headed back home.”

    Electric repair work for public utilities in New Jersey is dominated by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a unit of the politically powerful AFL-CIO.

    I wonder if the people in New Jersey are aware of this story. I bet they don’t care anything about a utility worker being unionized. All they want is their electricity back on.

  31. YES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m a Dolphin fan in Brick NJ and ANYTHING that can take our minds off of this misery for just even 3 hours is worth it!

  32. I live 10 miles from Metlife Stadium, and I’ve had no heat, power, or phone since Monday night. Aside from that, there’s nowhere near the devastation of the Jersey shore. Yes it’s hard to buy gas, but stores & restaurants are open, people are out and about, and life goes on as we wait for the light and heat to come back on.

    Quite frankly, people are looking for reasons to get out of the house and have some fun. Holding the game poses no real issues for the state relief efforts, and for a few hours football fans can either go to the game or get out of their freezing houses to watch the games with friends who do have power, or at restaurants & bars that need the business. I think it’s a great decision to play. Whole different scenario than the marathon, which is a huge drain on resources, and certainly far different from Katrina.

  33. You cannot compare this situation to Rozelle’s decision to play games on the Sunday after the Kennedy assassination. That was a national crisis, unprecedented in modern times, not a regional natural disaster. And one thing I’ve noticed about Gov. Christie: He doesn’t force you to read between the lines. If he’d wanted Goodell to move or cancel the game, he’d have no problem calling him out in public.

  34. From where I sit, it looks like Gov. Christie is saying and doing what is best for his state. Can’t ask a governor for any more than that.

    Sounds like having the game won’t hurt. It certainly could help folks in that region feel like life will someday return to normal.

  35. Txxxchief, 9 people were killed in PA from Sandy, none of them live within 100 miles of the coast. Do humanity a favor and take yourself out of the genepool. No one needs people like you who have no common sense and make ignorant statements like that. Don’t cry for help next time wildfires and tornadoes ravage your state again.

  36. sportsfan69 says: Nov 2, 2012 9:19 PM

    Hey Governor Christie,

    “Now that you have shown to be civilized man, you may want to switch parties. The GOP hard liners will not ever forgive you in helping out people over politics.”

    ———————————-
    Yeah the dems are really doing a wonderful job in New York aren’t they you inbred moron?

Leave a Reply