Orlando - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stood by his decision today to have the Jets and Giants play on opening week at the teams' new Meadowlands stadium, and defended using a coin toss to determine that the Giants would be the first to play at the $1.6 billion facility.
Jets owner Woody Johnson was upset that Goodell had initially rejected the idea of a coin toss, only to change his mind and use the move to determine which team would play first. Johnson wanted his team to open the new 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 had initially suggested a coin toss to break the impasse, but the Giants didn't want that format and Goodell initially agreed not to use it. But 10 days ago, Goodell changed his mind and flipped a coin in his office alongside another league official. The Giants won the toss and Goodell informed 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," Goodell said. "I think we came up with a great solution."
There was some 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 today he had heard no criticism about the coin flip flap from any owners.
Goodell said he believed the Super Bowl would be rewarded 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 makes 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. [New York/New Jersey] will be competing against Tampa Bay and Miami."
The 2014 Super Bowl will be awarded at the owners' May meetings in Dallas.