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Giants-Steelers To Go On As Scheduled; No Train Service For Game

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J (CBSNewYork/AP) — Sunday’s NFL game at the Meadowlands between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants will go on as planned despite concerns about the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to discuss transportation issues that could arise. Christie, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, says the league would not be “diverting any resources away from relief efforts.” There have been long gas lines throughout New Jersey and New York.

Aiello says Christie was pleased the game would be played.

Speaking at news conference in Brick at the opening of a FEMA office, Christie said only a few state troopers are assigned to the game and it was really a decision for the NFL to make.

“If they are ready, absent any change in circumstances, that we should go ahead with the game on Sunday,” Christie said, adding that during a tour of storm damage in nearby Moonachie, no one asked him to postpone the game and a couple of Giants fans urged him not to do that.

Goodell will be at MetLife Stadium briefly Sunday afternoon to meet with first responders, then will fly to Atlanta for a previously scheduled fan forum.

The Steelers changed travel plans because the hotel they booked in New Jersey did not have power. The team will fly in Sunday morning and leave after the game.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin wasn’t surprised that Sunday’s game would be played as scheduled.

“Nothing is pushed back in the NFL,” Coughlin said. “Everything is on schedule. Everything stays on schedule. We’ve made some adjustments to try to accommodate and anticipate some issues that we might have.

“We’re not denying what’s going on. I think that’s foolish. Everyone has been struck by this. Although, I would like very much to make sure that the focus is 100 percent on the task at hand. I think you do have to have a little bit of a mature attitude about these young men, their families and some of the circumstances they might me going through.

The Steelers changed travel plans because the hotel they booked in New Jersey did not have power. The team will fly in Sunday morning and leave after the game.

Coughlin said the Steelers’ decision not to stay in a hotel overnight was “noble” because it will give space to those who lost their dwellings.

“When you look at it, it’s a minor inconvenience considering what those people in New York and New Jersey went through,” Steelers offensive tackle Max Starks said Friday. “You have seven million people without electricity, and a football game pales in comparison to that. You just hope you can do your best to take their minds off such a travesty for a couple of hours by playing some football.”

Pittsburgh defensive end Brett Keisel said the one-day trip is nothing compared to what those hit by the storm are handling.

“Not having power to go to and from work, they’re really fighting through it, so this is minor compared to what they’re going through,” Keisel said.

The Giants urged fans attending the game car pool and arrive early for the 4:25 EST game. There will be no train service to MetLife Stadium, which normally brings some 9,000 fans to the stadium.

Free parking and shuttle service will be provided from two nearby locations.

Once at the stadium, fans can donate non-perishable food items, which will be donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

The Giants (6-2) are placing a high priority on this game, and it goes beyond football.

The team was given its marching orders Friday by Gen Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff.

A long-time Giants fans and New Jersey resident, Odierno toured areas in both states hit by the storm, visited with some of the 10,000 servicemen in the area, then watched practiced. He relayed his experience to the players, with Coughlin noting the general was impressed by the resoluteness of the people.

“I think they will take forward the toughness, the resiliency of the people in this greater New York-New Jersey-Connecticut, the entire Eastern Seaboard, that’s been affected in such a way by this huge storm; I think that the message is the toughness here, the resiliency,” Coughlin said. “We will not be stopped by the storm. We will come back. We will fight our way through this. We will get things right again. Just the pride that has been demonstrated to the general this morning, I think he verbalized very well for us out here. “

Several Giants players and their families were forced out of their homes by the storm. Punter Steve Weatherford, wife Laura and their three children, including a newborn, stayed at the home of placekicker Lawrence Tynes and his family. Guard Kevin Boothe, his wife Rosalie and their two young children did not lose power in their home and hosted tight end Martellus Bennett and his wife, Siggi.

“I think everybody just kind of texted one another to make sure everyone was OK,” Boothe said. “We were able to help Martellus and his wife out last night. So that’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re teammates. It was great.

“My son (2-year-old Dante) loves him. I think he thought Martellus was there solely to play with him, so they had a great time. They were painting and doing a whole bunch of other things.”

Running back Ahmad Bradshaw believes the Giants can help lift spirits during the recovery, similar to the way sports played a healing role after the terrorist attacks in 2001, when every game the following weekend was not played.

“We’re taking care of each other,” Bradshaw said. “Hopefully, we can take care of New York and it will be a good Sunday for everybody. We need to get everybody through this storm, this weather and everything else; get through this month and get back to normal. Hopefully, our wins and our success helps.

“We feel like we can spark New York. Just what we do, what we’ve done, I think we can also help everybody in New York and New Jersey that’s going through this.”

NJ TRANSIT announced Friday that there would be no rail service to the game due to continuing restoration efforts.

There will be bus service from Port Authority terminal, Giants public relations chief Pat Hanlon tweeted.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)