The New York Jets and New York Giants are bad enough, but the last thing they need is a lingering NFL conspiracy theory about the shoddy new turf installed at MetLife Stadium. The San Francisco 49ers aren’t thrilled to be playing the Jets and Giants in consecutive weeks at MetLife Stadium on the same new “sticky” turf the Niners think contributed severe injuries to five players, including season-ending ACL knee injuries.
After losing Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Nick Bosa, Tevin Coleman, and Solomon Thomas to injuries against the Jets in Week 2, the Niners are reticent to return to MetLife Stadium to battle the Giants in Week 3.
The Jets and Giants share a facility at MetLife Stadium, located in the New York City suburbs across the Hudson River in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Career-Ending Turf at MetLife?
MetLife installed a new rug before the start of the season. It’s still has that new-rug smell, but it’s the sticky nature of the new turf that whipped up paranoia for the Niners.
The NFL scheduled San Francisco for back-to-back games against the New York Jets and New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. After smoking the LOL Jets, the team remained on the East Coast to avoid the slog of multiple cross-country flights in consecutive weeks. But it’s the condition of the field that they’re worried about. It was bad enough to play one game on the crappy new turf, but the Niners are stuck with playing two games at MetLife Stadium.
The Niners are hesitant to return to the janky playing field, and rightfully so. Bosa and Thomas suffered season-ending ACL tears, and Mostert ripped up his MCL. Starting QB Jimmy G messed up his ankle with a high-sprain.
“I’d be lying to tell you we’re not going to be thinking about it or it’s not going to go across our minds,” said San Francisco’s O-lineman Trent Williams.
“I know that’s as many knee injuries and ankle stuff, and people getting caught on the turf as I have ever been a part of,” said San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan. “Our players talked about it the entire game, just how sticky the turf was. Our guys were concerned about it right away, and the results definitely made that a lot stronger.”
The NFL launched a special investigation and tested the quality of the new turf at MetLife Stadium. The league determined the field met all requirements as a suitable playing surface. But despite the stamp of approval, the Niners are still skeptical about the turf at MetLife. After all, they saw their brothers carted away on Sunday.
A decade ago, developers constructed a new football stadium next door to the old sporting facilities at the Meadowlands, which included a race trace, an indoor arena (and former home to the New Jersey Nets and NJ Devils), and a pigskin cathedral formerly known as Giants Stadium.
The Nets have since moved to their new home at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Arena. The Devils headed down the turnpike to Newark for their own hockey arena.
Yes, it’s a minor annoyance if you live in the NYC tri-state area to know that both NYC pro football teams play in the swamplands of New Jersey. If you ever want to win a sports trivia contest, make sure you know that the Buffalo Bills are truly the only pro football squad that plays its home games in New York State. Then again, if you ask denizens of the five boroughs, they’ll say that northwest NY state and Buffalo might as well be Canada.
Anything involving the New York Jets and local “contractors” in New Jersey sounds super shady to me. But as the great movie “Jerry Maguire” once said, “It’s not show friends, it’s show business!” You do not have to live in the shadows of Hollywood to know the primary mantra of the entertainment industry: the show must go on.
Jimmy Hoffa End Zone
The Meadowlands in New Jersey has a long-standing connection to the mafia, both real and imagined. Francis Ford Coppola shot one of the most famous scenes (“Leave the gun; take the cannoli!”) from “The Godfather” in the Meadowlands.
As a kid growing up in NYC in the 1980s, we heard an urban legend that the mafia whacked Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa and buried the body underneath the end zone at Giants Stadium. Hoffa disappeared on July 30, 1975, at the same time that Giants Stadium was under construction. The timelines matched up and there were no shortage of people sharing the Hoffa end zone myth. Even “The Simpsons” poked fun at the urban legend in one of their episodes.
The Jimmy Hoffa end zone and NFL conspiracy theory never came to fruition. When wrecking crews demolished old Giants Stadium, they dug up both end zones to make sure they didn’t find the skeletal remains of Hoffa, or any other mafia bosses — or Al Capone’s lost gold, for that matter.