The game between the Super Bowl champion New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J., will be played despite transportation and power issues and growing concerns for weary and heartbroken residents displaced and devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday, and Christie assured him that the game would not divert any major resources from relief efforts.
Speaking at a 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.
There have been 53 deaths associated with the storm in New York and New Jersey, and more than 2 million people were still without power Friday. There have been long lines to purchase gas throughout New Jersey and New York, and power is still being restored. There will be no rail service to MetLife Stadium, the Giants said.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin always felt the game would take place, and believes his team will be ready to lift the spirits of the people of New Jersey and New York.
"I think the mission will be quite clear," Coughlin said. "Trying to provide a few hours of enjoyment for so many that have been devastated. I think they'll do a good job of that."
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.
Pittsburgh defensive end Brett Keisel said the one-day trip is nothing compared with 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," said Keisel, a former BYU Cougar.
Around the league
Lions • Detroit placed running back Jahvid Best on the physically unable to perform list for the year due to concussion problems, ending his season before it started. Best was limited to six games last season.
Broncos • Cornerback Tracy Porter didn't travel with the team to Cincinnati and will miss his third straight game as doctors continue to regulate his medication to control seizures.
Vikings • Running back Adrian Peterson is listed as probable to play at Seattle on Sunday, despite his absence from Friday's practice as he rested his sprained left ankle.
Dolphins • QB Ryan Tannehill (left knee) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Indianapolis. If Tannehill doesn't start, he would be replaced by veteran Matt Moore.
Week 9 schedule
• San Diego 31, Kansas City 13
• Arizona at Green Bay, 11 a.m., Ch. 13
• Chicago at Tennessee, 11 a.m.
• Buffalo at Houston, 11 a.m.
• Carolina at Washington, 11 a.m.
• Detroit at Jacksonville, 11 a.m.
• Denver at Cincinnati, 11 a.m., Ch. 2
• Baltimore at Cleveland, 11 a.m.
• Miami at Indianapolis, 11 a.m.
• Minnesota at Seattle, 2 p.m.
• Tampa Bay at Oakland, 2 p.m.
• Pittsburgh at N.Y. Giants,2:25 p.m., Ch. 2
• Dallas at Atlanta, 6:20 p.m., Ch. 5
Open • N.Y. Jets, New England, San Francisco, St. Louis
• Philadelphia at New Orleans,6:30 p.m., ESPN