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Host of Stadium's Opener? We'll Flip You For It


The NFL debut of the New Meadowlands Stadium is now just six months away. The Jets and Giants, co-owners of the 2-million-square-foot pigskin palace, want the privilege and honor of being the host team when that first regular-season game is played there in September.

Who will it be? The Green & White or the Blue & Red? The decision will be made by — what else? — a coin toss.

Both organizations have been vigorously stating their cases to the league office. The NFL has said the game will be decided by a coin toss and the Jets have presented a plan for the flip at the new stadium in the week ahead to make this decision easy. The details of the 50-50 proposition have yet to be fully worked out with the league, but the Jets are willing to let the verdict be determined the same way that the league's teams have settled some scores for decades.

The coin toss, so important to certain procedures that the NFL has a set of rules to govern it, has been around football since 1892. It has survived actress Elizabeth Taylor mistakenly being allowed to make the call of the opening toss in 1989 at Texas Stadium, and referee Phil Luckett's coin-flip faux pas before overtime in the Pontiac Silverdome in 1998.

Coin tosses are also used to break ties for draft position on an almost annual basis — in fact, for April's draft, three sets of teams had the same records and same schedule strengths and so three times heads or tails was called to break each of those ties for first-round draft order.

And "Step No. 12" in the most important tiebreaking procedures of all, those to determine which teams make the playoffs and which don't, is a coin toss (although no toss has ever been needed to break a playoff tie).

As mentioned, the date, time and other details of this New Meadowlands Stadium winner-take-home coin toss are still being "minted," so to speak. It's quite possible there will be media coverage for this mini-event and fans may be invited into the stadium to observe the proceedings and cheer on their side — meaning their team as well as their team's side of the medallion.

Think about it: the first coin toss at midfield of New Meadowlands Stadium, and it comes between the Jets and Giants.

If it lands Jets' side up, that would certainly be appropriate. The teams shared the old Meadowlands stadium for 26 seasons, from 1984 through last year. The Giants had the first home game of the season ahead of the Jets 18 times, while the Jets had the first home game eight times. That trend is even steeper in the Giants' favor in the past 16 seasons, when the Giants have had their home opener ahead of the Jets 12 times.

We'll provide you with more details when we get them.

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