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Goodell defends decision to let Giants open stadium

A view of the completed field at the

A view of the completed field at the new Meadowlands Stadium, which will host the Jets and the Giants beginning in 2010. (Dec. 8, 2009) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

ORLANDO, Fla. - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Monday stood by his decision to have the Jets and Giants play on opening week at the teams' new Meadowlands stadium. He also defended using a coin toss to determine that the Giants will be the first to play at the $1.6-billion facility.

Jets owner Woody Johnson was upset that Goodell initially rejected tossing a coin, only to change his mind and do it to determine which team would play first. Johnson wanted his team to open the stadium.

"I didn't have a reaction to it," Goodell said. "I'm used to criticism. If you're not used to criticism, you better not be in this job. We think we created a win-win situation for everybody. It was clear the two clubs weren't going to be willing to do it on their own, and it was my decision to make. It was my authority, and I did so."

Johnson said he initially suggested a coin toss to break the impasse, but the Giants didn't want that format and Goodell agreed not to use it. But 10 days ago, the commissioner changed his mind and flipped a coin in his office alongside another league official. The Giants won the toss, and Goodell told the teams of his decision.

Goodell said he considered the Giants "heads" because he saw "In God We Trust" on the coin and used the letter "G" for Giants. "I did my best," he said. "I think we came up with a great solution."

There was concern that Johnson's reaction might cause some owners to be reluctant to award the 2014 Super Bowl to the Giants/Jets bid, but Johnson said Monday he had heard no criticism about the coin flip flap from any owners.

Goodell said he believes the Super Bowl will be awarded on its merits.

"I don't have a vote and I can't even take a position," he said. "It's the 32 clubs that make that decision. I think it was right for us that it be one of the alternatives. I think it's very attractive to ownership and the NFL. will be competing against Tampa Bay and Miami."

The 2014 Super Bowl will be awarded at the owners' May meetings in Dallas.


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