The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

November 2, 2012

Game must go on

Steelers, Giants will play as scheduled

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The NFL game between the Super Bowl champion New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday will be played despite transportation and power issues and growing concerns for weary and heartbroken residents displaced and devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke on Friday and Christie assured him that game would not divert any major resources from relief efforts.

Speaking at news conference in Brick at the opening of a FEMA office, Christie said only a few state troopers are assigned to the game and it was really a decision for the NFL to make.

“If they are ready, absent any change in circumstances, then we should go ahead with the game on Sunday,” Christie said, adding that during a tour of storm damage in nearby Moonachie, no one asked him to postpone the game and a couple of Giants fans urged him not to do that.

There have been 53 deaths associated with the storm in New York and New Jersey and more than two million people were still without power on Friday. There have been long lines to purchase gas throughout New Jersey and New York and power is still being restored.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin always felt the game would take place, and believes his team will be ready to lift the spirits of the people of New Jersey and New York.

“I think the mission will be quite clear,” Coughlin said. “Trying to provide a few hours of enjoyment for so many that have been devastated. I think they’ll do a good job of that.”

The Steelers changed travel plans because the hotel they booked in New Jersey did not have power. The team will fly in Sunday morning and leave after the game.

Coughlin said the Steelers’ decision not to stay in a hotel overnight was “noble” because it will give space to those who lost their dwellings.

“When you look at it, it’s a minor inconvenience considering what those people in New York and New Jersey went through,” Steelers offensive tackle Max Starks said Friday. “You have seven million people without electricity, and a football game pales in comparison to that. You just hope you can do your best to take their minds off such a travesty for a couple of hours by playing some football.”

Pittsburgh defensive end Brett Keisel said the one-day trip is nothing compared to what those hit by the storm are handling.

“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,” Keisel said.

The Giants urged fans attending the game to car pool and arrive early for the 4:25 p.m. game. There will be no train service to MetLife Stadium, which normally brings some 9,000 fans to the stadium.

Free parking and shuttle service will be provided from two nearby locations. Once at the stadium, fans can donate non-perishable food items, which will be donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

The Giants (6-2) are placing a high priority on this game, and it goes beyond football.

The team was given its marching orders Friday by Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff.

A longtime Giants fans and New Jersey resident, Odierno toured areas in both states hit by the storm, visited with some of the 10,000 servicemen in the area, then watched practiced. He relayed his experience to the players, with Coughlin noting the general was impressed by the resoluteness of the people.

“I think they will take forward the toughness, the resiliency of the people in this greater New York-New Jersey-Connecticut, the entire Eastern Seaboard, that’s been affected in such a way by this huge storm; I think that the message is the toughness here, the resiliency,” Coughlin said. “We will not be stopped by the storm. We will come back. We will fight our way through this. We will get things right again. Just the pride that has been demonstrated to the general this morning, I think he verbalized very well for us out here.”

Goodell will be at MetLife Stadium briefly Sunday afternoon to meet with first responders, then will fly to Atlanta for a previously scheduled fan forum.

The Giants have adjusted their football schedule since the storm struck Sunday, but many players have had to live without power at home.

Punter Steve Weatherford, wife Laura and their three children, including a newborn, stayed at the home of placekicker Lawrence Tynes and his family.

Guard Kevin Boothe, his wife, Rosalie, and their two young children did not lose power in their home and hosted tight end Martellus Bennett and his wife, Siggi.

“I think everybody just kind of texted one another to make sure everyone was OK,” Boothe said. “We were able to help Martellus and his wife out last night. So that’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re teammates. It was great.

“‘My son (2-year-old Dante) loves him,” Boothe said. “I think he thought Martellus was there solely to play with him, so they had a great time. They were painting and doing a whole bunch of other things.”

Giants middle linebacker Mark Herzlich understands some of the desperation felt by those affected by the storm. His life was thrown into turmoil roughly three years ago when he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. He missed the 2009 college season.

“I think it in some ways it does because you have to start all over,” Herzlich said comparing the storm and his illness.  “You’ve basically put your life on hold. You take everything, and it stops in its track. You say, ‘Now where am I going to go from here?’

“You lose your house, you lose everything that you’ve ever had, you have to put it in the tank and say, ‘That’s it. That’s my life,’ or you can say, ‘Where do I go from here? How do I fight back?’ ” Herzlich said. “How do I regain my possessions? How do I rebuild my life? I think that’s the same thing that cancer patients and cancer survivors have to do. If they get a bad diagnosis, are they going to let it destroy them and defeat them or are they going to take one foot and put it in front of the other and fight back?”

Veteran defensive tackle Chris Canty, who has been involved in charitable work in New York City, believes the people in the area are resilient.

“Just understanding, when we take the field on Sunday, hey, we represent those folks,” Canty said. “That was the (general’s)  message. It was a timely message and it was an important message.”

Canty said playing for those affected by the storm is an honor and a privilege.

“To represent the people of a great city and two great states, all our fans, especially with all the loss, all the damage and destruction, just to be able to provide a sense of normalcy, even for a couple of hours. They can know their football team is going to play hard and it’s going to be tough, and fight. I think that is important. It’s important for our football team to understand.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Steelers Patriots Front.JPG Gronkowski cleared to play at Patriots training camp

    Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play at the New England Patriots training camp.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dodgers Pirates Polanco, Walker lift Pirates over Dodgers

    Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump with a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
    Polanco, hitting just .133 in his previous 11 games, smacked a bases-loaded single with two outs in the sixth to put Pittsburgh in front for good.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy 0720 McIlroy holds on to win British Open

    Walking off the 18th green as the British Open champion, Rory McIlroy kept gazing at all the greats on golf’s oldest trophy.
    On the claret jug, his name is etched in silver below Phil Mickelson.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0719 Pirates take second straight over Rockies, win in 11th inning

    Jordy Mercer doubled home Neil Walker with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
    Walker led off the inning with a single against Colorado’s Chad Bettis (0-2), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored one batter later when Mercer hit a drive deep into the gap in left-center.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • out at home Eighth-inning rally carries Pirates to victory over Rockies

    Travis Snider’s pinch-hit double in the eighth scored Neil Walker to spark the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
    Walker trotted home when Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez couldn’t track down Snider’s sinking line drive off reliever Matt Belisle (2-5). All-Star Josh Harrison added a sacrifice fly one batter later.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • score Pirates in race, hope for late surge

    The Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in an average, every day – if still heated – pennant race.
    A season after shedding the yoke of two decades of failure with a stirring run to a playoff berth, the Pirates are just another solid if not spectacular team trying to keep pace in the jam-packed NL Central.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Derby 0714 Cespedes wins again, beating Frazier in HR derby

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-Star Game 0714 Pitching matchup features two of game’s most dominant arms

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads