That double-secret coin flip commissioner Roger Goodell conducted a couple of weeks ago supposedly provided a compromise in the honor of opening the Giants' and Jets' new stadium. The Giants will open the regular season there, and the Jets were supposed to open up the preseason.
But wait. The Jets won't get the preseason opening all to themselves. In a break with tradition, the Giants will be there, too. The just-announced preseason schedule pits the stadium co-habitants in the exhibition opener on Monday night, Aug. 16, on ESPN. The Giants and Jets traditionally play each other the third preseason game, which is always the exhibition that comes closest to a real game with real starters.
But this switch is kind of interesting considering Jets owner Woody Johnson's outburst over how the commissioner conducted the private coin flip. The Jets' owner, without actually using the words, hinted that Goodell rigged the decision to favor the Giants. One might see this, then, as the NFL's way of sticking it to Johnson for his ill-advised candor.
The fans actually get cheated in all this, since Week 1 of the preseason usually features the starters playing for a couple of series before they hand things off to the second-teamers and soon-to-be-departed kids for the final three quarters or so. So don't expect any of the spirited play you've come to expect from the typical Giants-Jets matchups.
Well, at least the schedulemaker kept it as a Jets home game. That should pacify Woody. Or maybe not.
The exact dates and times for the rest of the Giants' preseason have yet to be announced. But they will host the Steelers the following week, and will travel to Baltimore for the third game. Their last game will be Thursday, Sept. 2, at home against the Pats. They finish up against New England for the last six years, with Bill Belichick always providing a pulsating, exciting mix of third-teamers and people pulled from the lines at Dunkin Donuts to run out the preseason.
None of their preseason opponents appear on the regular season schedule. That schedule will be announced at some point in April.
Wonder if Woody will have cooled off by then.