The Giants’ clash with the Pittsburgh Sunday was the home team’s Salute to Service game. Approximately 150 servicemen and women unfurled the full-field flag prior to the national anthem. They were led by General Ray Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff, and Admiral Jon Greenert, who is the Chief of Naval Operations.
In addition, about 100 first responders who have worked tirelessly helping people since Hurricane Sandy last week were invited to attend the game by the NFL. They met with Commissioner Roger Goodell prior to the game.
Many of the soldiers in attendance were from Fighting 69th (the 69th Infantry), a New York-based Army National Guard Infantry Unit, which returned from its tour of duty in Afghanistan in September and has been aiding the storm relief effort in New York City this week.
The Giants reached out to them when they were overseas. Many of them are members of the New York National Guard and have been first responders in the wake of the storm. They were home about six weeks when Sandy hit and they were asked to respond to the disaster.
“The NFL is high profile, but they always reach out to our soldiers and Marines,” Odierno said. “There’s a close bond and relationship there that means a lot to them that they have a chance to do this. It’s something some of them probably never dreamed they would get to do and here they are being able to stand in Metlife Stadium and have the opportunity to be recognized. It does mean a lot and shows that people still care.”
“People are willing to give something bigger than them and the Giants have been outstanding and so has the National Football League recognizing their service,” Greenert said.
Odierno attended the Giants’ practice and spoke to the team on Friday. He conveyed the message that in the wake of disasters like Sandy, people relish the opportunity to watch their favorite football team.
“I found when I was deployed to Iraq and I’d watch the servicemen and on a Sunday night, which was Sunday night there, when their team would play it gave them three hours to get away from some of the real difficult stuff they were dealing with,” Odierno said. “I see the same thing today. This is three hours with people who are dealing with devastation and issues and problems they can get away from for three hours and think about something else. I think it helps them. It helps them to build resilience; it helps them to cope with the things they have to do. So I think it’s important.
“It makes a difference. It just makes a really huge difference. So I communicated that to the players on Friday. I’m not sure I had to do that. I think they already had it, but it’s a great group of men they have on this team.”
Ninety minutes before kickoff, Goodell was shaking hands, chatting and posing for photos with the first responders, many from fire departments in Jersey shore communities hard-hit by Sandy.
“It’s hard to imagine what they go through,” Goodell said. “Many of them didn’t sleep all week dealing with this constant stress, dealing with people that are obviously going through some very difficult periods in their lives. It’s just remarkable we have people like; many of these folks are volunteers and to see that is really – it gives new meaning to hero to me.”
Ironically, the only disagreement during the pregame activities stemmed from football. Odierno, a native of Rockaway, N.J., is a lifelong Giants fan. Greenert, a native of the Pittsburgh suburb of Butler, Pa., is an avid Steelers fan.
“We’ve had some conversations about that,” Odierno said.
Asked if he planned to watch the game with the Admiral, Odierno said, “No.”
Uh oh, a rift between the Army and Navy, played out right here in New Jersey.
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14:16 — TOUCHDOWN STEELERS. Roethlisberger to Wallace for a 51-yard score. XP is GOOD. NEW YORK 20, PITTSBURGH 17 (Drive: 5 plays, 75 yards in 2:27)
13:18 — Eli Manning is sacked for just the seventh time this season.
12:56 — Punter Steve Weatherford saves a touchdown by tackling Emmanuel Sanders at New York’s 12 after a 63-yard return.
10:44 — Pittsburgh runs a fake field goal, but Michael Coe is there to tackle Suisham for a loss of one yard. Giants take over on downs on their own four-yard line.
4:08 — TOUCHDOWN STEELERS. Redman carries for a one-yard touchdown. XP is GOOD. PITTSBURGH 24, NEW YORK 20 (Drive: 9 plays, 51 yards in 4:53)
3:55 — After a holding call on the ensuing kickoff, the Giants begin at their own 12.
3:45 — Manning is sacked for a loss of nine yards and fumbles the ball. Kevin Boothe recovers and the Giants are forced to punt.
0:00 — STEELERS 24, GIANTS 20
Tags: Eli Manning, Kevin Boothe, Michael Coe, Steve Weatherford
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14:50 — Steelers take over on the Giants’ 35 after a 68-yard kick return by Chris Rainey.
13:36 — Justin Tuck notches his second sack of the game, this time for a loss of four yards on third down. Pittsburgh is forced to punt and the Giants take over on their own seven.
11:10 — Martellus Bennett’s second catch of the game — a 33-yard gain — moves the Giants into Pittsburgh territory.
8:30 — FIELD GOAL GIANTS. Lawrence Tynes makes a 50-yard attempt. NEW YORK 17, PITTSBURGH 10 (Drive: 9 plays, 61 yards in 4:37)
7:23 — Corey Webster intercepts Roethlisberger’s pass intended for Wallace. Giants take over on Pittsburgh’s 33.
1:36 — FIELD GOAL GIANTS. Lawrence Tynes makes 23-yard attempt. NEW YORK 20, PITTSBURGH 10 (Drive: 9 plays, 28 yards in 5:37)
*Paid attendance announced at 80,991
0:00 — GIANTS 20, STEELERS 10
Tags: Corey Webster, Justin Tuck, Lawrence Tynes, Martellus Bennett
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15:00 — Pittsburgh begins the quarter third-and-4 on New York’s 23.
12:20 — TOUCHDOWN STEELERS. After three straight Isaac Redman carries, Roethlisberger throws a four-yard touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders. XP is GOOD. PITTSBURGH 7, NEW YORK 0 (Drive: 11 plays, 58 yards in 5:54)
10:50 — Pittsburgh is called for passing interference for 41 yards on a pass intended for Hakeem Nicks.
7:06 — TOUCHDOWN GIANTS. Andre Brown moves the pile for a one-yard score. The play is challenged by the Replay Assistant and the play was upheld. XP is GOOD. NEW YORK 7, PITTSBURGH 7 (Drive: 8 plays, 72 yards in 5:08)
5:29 — TOUCHDOWN GIANTS. Osi Umenyiora strip-sacks Roethlisberger for a loss of six yards. Michael Boley recovers the fumble and returns it 70 yards for the score. The play was challenged by the Replay Assistant and the call was upheld. XP is GOOD. NEW YORK 14, PITTSBURGH 7
1:26 — On third-and-7, Jason Pierre-Paul sacks Roethlisberger for a loss of 12. That’s three on the day from the big three — JPP, Umenyiora and Tuck.
1:02 — Pittsburgh is called for passing interference on a pass intended for Domenik Hixon, moving the ball 46 yards into Steelers territory.
0:36 — Falling short, Lawrence Tynes misses a 51-yard field goal attempt.
0:05 — FIELD GOAL STEELERS. Shaun Suishman makes a 30-yard attempt. NEW YORK 14, PITTSBURGH 10 (Drive: 4 plays, 47 yards in 0:31)
0:00 — GIANTS 14, STEELERS 10
Tags: Andre Brown, Domenik Hixon, Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul, Lawrence Tynes, Michael Boley, Osi Umenyiora
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This week’s game is the 76th meeting between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants. The Giants lead the series, 44-28-3. The two teams have never met in the postseason. In their last meeting, the Giants defeated the Steelers, 21-14, in Week 8 of the 2008 season.
Kickoff: 4:25 PM ET
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Weather: Partly cloudy. 49°F. Wind: W 14mph, gusting to 24 mph
» 66 Diehl for 75 Locklear at RT
» 58 Herzlich for 93 Blackburn at MLB
» 27 Brown for 21 Phillips at SS
» 25 Allen for 43 Polamalu at SS
» 76 Adams for 77 Gilbert at RT
» 33 Redman for 34 Mendenhall at RB
15:00 — Game Day Captains are CB Corey Webster and G Chris Snee along with season captains QB Eli Manning, DE Justin Tuck, and LS Zak DeOssie. Giants win coin toss and elect to receive. Steelers will defend the west goal.
*After a 35-yard return by David Wilson, the Giants start the drive on their own 30-yard line.
14:53 — Giants once again take a deep shot on the first play of the game, but the pass from Manning to Hakeem Nicks falls incomplete.
13:10 — Justin Tryon downs Steve Weatherford’s at Pittsburgh’s two-yard line where the Steelers begin their first drive of the game.
10:29 — Jayron Hosley makes a great diving play and strips the ball from the speedy Chris Rainey, but the ball bounces out of bounds. Pittsburgh punts two plays later and the Giants take over on their own 36.
4:48 — On third-and-3, Antrel Rolle bats down Roethlisberger’s pass at the line of scrimmage. Giants get the ball back at their own 16.
3:58 — Manning completes a 26-yard pass to Victor Cruz, the longest play so far in the game.
3:14 — On the next play, Manning throws an interception intended for Cruz. Pittsburgh takes over at its own 42.
0:00 — GIANTS 0, STEELERS 0
Tags: Antrel Rolle, Chris Snee, Corey Webster, David Wilson, Eli Manning, Jayron Hosley, Justin Tryon, Justin Tuck, Steve Weatherford, Victor Cruz, Zak DeOssie
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If you are a fan living overseas, you can watch commercial-free games online and in HD with NFL Game Rewind.
If you live in the U.S., you can watch full replays of every 2012 regular season and playoff game, including upcoming Super Bowl XLVII, Coaches Film for every play in 2012, and any 2009-2012 games in their entirety.
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Tags: Mark Herzlich
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