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NFL's Jets-Giants Ruling, Johnson's Response

The NFL today issued a release that explained what the league will do about the Jets' and Giants' shared desire to play in the first regular-season home NFL game in the New Meadowlands Stadium in the fall.

And the league's response prompted a response by Jets owner Woody Johnson this evening.

The news in the NFL's release is that the Jets and Giants both will play at home in the new stadium on the opening weekend of the 2010 regular season. The Giants will play first, on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 12, and the Jets will play in the first nationally televised Monday night game of the season on Sept. 13. The opponents for both of those games will be announced soon.

Commissioner Roger Goodell explained the decision to give the Giants the first game and the Jets the second game to be played in the NMS.

"After extensive discussions with both teams," Goodell said, "we have come up with what we believe is a unique approach for celebrating the opening of the New Meadowlands Stadium."

Goodell said both Jets and Giants ownership felt passionately for their fans about being the first to play at home on the opening weekend of the regular season and couldn't agree on how to resolve the issue, including whether to conduct a coin flip.

The commissioner said he concluded that the fairest resolution would be to play both teams at home on the opening weekend and to make his decision on which team plays on Sunday by flipping a coin. Goodell flipped the coin last Friday with his staff at the NFL office. He then notified both teams Friday of his decision and that he flipped a coin to determine the team that would be playing on Sunday.

Johnson explained his thoughts on this procedure in a statement released by the team this evening.

"An NFL coin toss has a few fundamental elements that are missing here, most notably the presence of the teams involved. That's how it's always done in the league, whether it's determining the order of the draft or deciding who's going to kick off the game," Johnson said.

"When the issue of which team would be hosting the first regular-season game could not be resolved on the merits, I suggested a coin toss as the fairest way to resolve this issue. The league rejected that idea. Then, I was told on Friday that a coin toss had taken place at the league office and that the Jets had lost.

"We rejected a process in which neither team was present. The league departed from our time-honored tradition and declined the opportunity to set the matter straight with a transparent process."

Besides revealing when the stadium mates would be playing their regular-season openers, the NFL also announced that the Jets will host the first NFL game of any kind at the new stadium during the preseason in August. The opponent for that game will also be announced soon.

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