NFL RedZone: Barely Warm Inside New Meadowlands Stadium


Say what you will about the cost ($1.6 billion), the transportation (how can you build a venue in a suburban area and now have enough parking spaces - again?) and the ugly exterior of the New Meadowlands Stadium (venetian blinds comes to mind).

Inside, its technological modernity was supposed to be all that. As colleague Todd Spangler calculates, there are more than an acre of HD screens in and around the new home to the NFL’s New York Giants and Jets in East Rutherford, N.J., just across the lot from where Giants Stadium once stood and Bruce Springsteen played 24 times.

Indeed, there are some 2,200 HD sets in concession stands and suites and other places around the building and a 4-by- 1810-foot ribbon board circumscribing the stadium between the lower bowl and luxury suites and the structure’ s second level. In each corner of the end zones, there is a 118-by-30 foot HD video display board. Outside, there are 20 HD vertical “video pylons,” running the gamut from 20-by-40 to 20-by 60 outside the stadium.

Supplied by Daktronics, the big screens appeared to be functioning well — certainly better than the Giants in their disheartening 29-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 26.

You know, things might have been even better if the New Meadowlands had placed a permanent Daktronics screen housing NFL scores. Imagine a dedicated football stadium without a dedicated place to look at the out-of-town scores!

You know, maybe a static screen — like in the old place — that over the course of the afternoon would indicate New Orleans 14 Atlanta 10, Pittsburgh 38- Tamps Bay 6, or what have you in a continual manner. I know the blue and green twain are never supposed to meet and are separated in their new shared abode. But somehow I’m sure there would have been more than a few in attendance interested in how the co-owners were faring — if the Jets were playing the Dolphins that afternoon, instead of on Sunday Night Football.

As such, if fans/fantasy players/bettors didn’t tap their own mobile devices, they were forced to wait until the scores — replete with team logos — showed up sporadically on the large end zone display boards.

Moreover, those screens only managed to show NFL RedZone scoring highlights about twice a quarter. For instance, Atlanta took the lead 24-21 over defending champion New Orleans on a Roddy White 22-yard TD reception from Matty Ice with 9:25 left (You want the NFL? Go to the NFL) in the fourth quarter. That replay wasn’t depicted on the video screen board until 2:47 remained in the contest.

Now, I can understand why you don’t necessarily want to distract/detract from the product in front of you. But it’s football for chrissakes, where the 60-minute game plays out in somewhere around eight minutes of actual action on the field over the course of three-plus hours for TV purposes. Dead ball rules in NFL stadia and I’m not talking about 15-yard penalties. C’mon, if there isn’t enough time to tee up NFL Red Zone highlights between plays, there certainly is between the 2 minute-30-second commercial pods. Compounding the problem, the Giants-Titans game highlights were also displayed only intermittently.

As for the ribbon, it supplied many individual player stats in between the ads for Timex, Continental, MasterCard, Stop & Shop, Walgreens and Heinz, the sponsor of Sunday’s game. That information was useful (not only to fantasy players) and I certainly get that bills have to be paid. But if a permanent board just won’t do (or was forgotten), why not include NFL scores here on a recurrent basis?

In this day and age of instant information, why we were we stuck in a pro football cocoon in an expensive stadium that will host Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014?

After the game, as my daughter and I waited to board New Jersey Transit, the pylons outside the Met Life gate showed the Washington Redskins-St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles-Jacksonville Jaguars contests below and atop images of Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s post-game press conference on the middle panel. I’ll give the operator a bit of a pass here — G-men divisional rivals were in action. Yet, the Saints-Falcons were in OT, the only 1 p.m. that had not been decided at that stage.

Don’t get me wrong. My sightlines from the 45-yard line in the upper tier were very good and our tickets reasonably priced. And I do find NFL games to be enjoyable in person because you can see the pass patterns develop and get an earlier sense if the QB is going to be under duress in the pocket than you can on TV.

Still, the transportation mess involved with getting to and from the New Meadowlands is the same as with its predecessor. And the giant electronics outside/inside the building certainly could be utilized much more effectively. You know, like when you watch NFL games at home or in a tavern.