EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — If the NFL settles its labor dispute, the New York Giants will open the 2011 season in Washington on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The schedule released by the league Tuesday has the Giants playing four prime-time games and features a Christmas eve game against the New York Jets and a season-ending contest on New Year’s Day at home against the Dallas Cowboys.
There also is a home game on Dec. 4 against the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, who edged the Giants (10-6) for a playoff berth last season.
The opener against the Redskins will have special meaning since New York and Washington were where terrorists crashed jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon a decade ago.
“For nearly 10 years, we have felt an obligation to use our platform to make sure none of us ever forget the tragedy and heartbreak and courage and heroism of Sept. 11, 2001,” Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said. “As we observe the 10th anniversary, that responsibility becomes even greater.”
Pittsburgh was a third NFL city intimately affected by the devastation on 9/11 after Flight 93 crashed 80 miles away near Shanksville, Pa.
Three of the Giants’ first four games will be away from the New Meadowlands Stadium, with the exception being a Monday night game on Sept. 19 against the St. Louis Rams, who are coached by former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
“As always, we face a very challenging and difficult schedule,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “Two of our first three games are division road games, so we have to start well, because your divisional games count twice as much. We have to be ready to play.
“But our deal is how we finish and we play three of our last four games in the NFC East,” Coughlin added. “We need to play good football at the end of the season. Part of our objective for the 2011 season is going to be how our football team plays in the fourth quarter and how we finish. And it’s an extremely challenging finish.”
New York will play the NFC East champion Eagles in Philadelphia on Sept. 25 and travel to Arizona the following weekend to face the Cardinals. It will be the Giants’ first game in University of Phoenix Stadium since defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII
The Giants will return home for a three-game homestand against Seattle, Buffalo and Miami. New York will have a bye between the Bills and Dolphins games.
The game against Miami will be the 1,200th regular-season game in Giants’ history.
The rest of the schedule has games at New England on Nov. 6, at San Francisco on Nov. 13, versus Philadelphia on Sunday night Nov. 20, followed by a Monday night game at New Orleans on Nov. 28.
After the Packers game on Dec. 4, the Giants finish the season with a Sunday night game at Dallas on Dec. 11, a home game against the Redskins on Dec. 18 followed by the games against the Jets and Dallas.
New York Giants
Sept. 11 at Washington, 4:15 p.m.
Sept. 19 St. Louis, 8:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.
Oct. 9 Seattle, 1 p.m.
Oct. 16 Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Oct. 23 BYE
Oct. 30 Miami, 1 p.m.
Nov. 6 at New England, 4:15 p.m.
Nov. 13 at San Francisco, 4:15 p.m.
Nov. 20 Philadelphia, 8:20 p.m.-x
Nov. 28 at New Orleans, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 4 Green Bay, 4:15 p.m.
Dec. 11 at Dallas, 8:20 p.m.-x
Dec. 18 Washington, 1 p.m.
Dec. 24 at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.
Jan. 1 Dallas, 1 p.m.