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American Football in New York

There are few experiences in this city as special as watching a Giants game. Find about it yourself!

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

9 min read

American Football in New York

Image of the Giants' field in New York | ©Met Stadium

Have you ever experienced the craziness and excitement that football brings to New York? Attending an NFL game is one of the most exciting experiences you can have during a trip to the city. Get your ticket and get ready to enjoy the king of sports live and in style. You'll have a great time!

1. NFL teams in New York

The stadium entrance | ©Izaac Crayton
The stadium entrance | ©Izaac Crayton

New York Giants

Founded in 1925, the New York Giants is the football team based in the New York metropolitan area. They belong to the NFC East Division (National Football Conference) and throughout their history have won 8 NFL titles: four in the pre-Super Bowl era (1927, 1934, 1938, 1956) and another four after the advent of the Super Bowl (XXII in 1986, XXV in 1990, XLII in 2007 and XLVI in 2011).

The New York Giants face off in the most passionate classics against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, their legendary rivals.

The New York Jets

Founded in 1959, the New York Jets compete in the AFC East Division (American Conference) of the NFL. The team hasn't played in the Super Bowl after winning the NFL Championship in 1969. They are one of the only three National Football League teams to have won only one Super Bowl in its history, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints.

The Jets' most iconic stadium-shaking opponents are the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills.

Where do the Giants and Jets play?

Interestingly, the Giants and Jets share the same stadium. They both play at MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford (New Jersey) located just 30 minutes west of Manhattan.

  • Where: 1 MetLife Stadium Dr, East Rutherford, NJ 07073, USA.

  • How to get there?: You can get to the stadium by public transportation by taking Coach USA Bus Service's Meadowlands Express 351 bus service from Port Authority to MetLife Stadium on game days and get there in just 30 minutes or so. To get your bus tickets you must go to the Coach USA ticket office directly.

2. What is the NFL season like?

Inside the stadium | ©Adrian Curiel
Inside the stadium | ©Adrian Curiel

One of the things that set the American Football League apart from other major competitions in the United States is the apparent equality among its 32 teams. That is to say, although there are teams that dominate the NFL from time to time, this championship is one of the few where every year every team has a real chance of winning, which makes this league even more exciting.

If you are wondering how the football season works, you should know that the 32 teams that participate in the National Football League are divided into two different conferences called NFC (National Football Conference) and AFC (American Football Conference), which are made up of 16 teams each.

The regular season runs from September to January and the 16 teams from the same conference play each other. The American Football Conference and the National Football Conference overlap only in a few games, but it is at the end of the season when the winners of each conference face each other for the Super Bowl, the game that decides who is the best team of the year.

However, throughout the year there are many key dates in the football calendar that you should keep in mind:

Training Camps (late July)

Before the start of the preseason games, NFL teams concentrate at various American universities for a few weeks to train and prepare for the first friendly games.

Preseason (August)

The preseason takes place in August and NFL teams play between five and eight friendly games before the start of the season as such.

Football tickets tend to be cheaper for these games because the teams are in the middle of their training camp, so they often reserve their stars and the spectacular nature of these games is less spectacular.

Regular Season (September - December)

The NFL regular season has a 17-week schedule with a total of 256 games against division opponents, as well as several interdivisional and interconference games. During the regular season you should mark on the calendar several dates of great significance:

  • Thanksgiving: the NFL schedules 3 games for this important holiday in the United States.
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas (December 24-25): if these holidays fall on a weekend or Monday, the NFL usually schedules some games during Christmas.
  • NFL All Star: also known as the Pro Bowl, this is a game held at the end of January where the NFL brings together the best players from the NFC and AFC selected by the fans to form the football dream team. The American Football Conference players wear red and the National Football Conference players wear blue. As a curiosity, only the helmets refer to the teams they belong to.

The NFL Playoffs (early January - early February)

After playing the regular-season games, the top two teams from each conference qualify to the "Divisional Round Games" directly, where they face the four winners of the preliminary round called the "Wild Card Playoff Round".

This is followed by the Conference Championship Games, from which the winner of each conference will compete in the big event of the year: the Super Bowl.

At this stage of the competition, the teams play in the playoffs and only the best teams remain. The games become even more exciting and the price of football tickets for the NFL Playoffs goes up, but the show is totally worth it.

The Super Bowl (February)

It's the game every team dreams of winning! In the Super Bowl, the champions of the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference battle it out for victory in a deathmatch. The whole country comes to a standstill to watch the sporting event of the year and it could be said that it is lived almost like a national holiday.

  • How long does the Super Bowl last?: The grand finale can last 3 hours and 45 minutes approximately, something more than the regular games because this game has a great musical show at halftime that makes it last longer.

Naturally, football tickets for the Super Bowl are the most expensive of the season because everyone wants to be there and witness this great game. It is a unique experience!

3. How to buy NFL tickets in New York?

The Giants helmet
The Giants helmet

Football is the king sport and game tickets sell out months in advance. Now that you know the schedule and the New York teams to buy football tickets you have two options:

On the Internet

If during your getaway to New York you want to include a football game, I advise you before you travel buy tickets for the NFL online.

  • Demand for football games is high that it is common for tickets to sell out early. The key is to buy them as early as possible to get the best seat in the stadium at the cheapest price.

  • Since the ticket market is dynamic, prices go up as the date of the game approaches and supply decreases (just like flights, for example). If you wait too long you run the risk of running out of tickets or having few tickets at a high price and in sectors with less spectacular visibility.

  • In addition, when you buy football tickets online you can choose the seats you like the most. In my opinion, this is the fastest, easiest and safest option.

At the stadium box office

I do not consider it the most advisable option in my experience. There are several reasons, I'll explain why:

  • Buying football tickets at the box office means that you will have to do it when you are in New York, so you will have to adapt to the opening hours of the ticket window, travel to the stadium, and wait in a very long queue to buy them.

  • This means that you will lose valuable time on your trip to New York when you could be discovering the city by taking a cruise around the Big Apple or going to a Broadway musical instead of waiting in line at the gates of a stadium.

  • Getting your football tickets at the box office means you will be doing so months later than when you could have bought them at home. So there will be far fewer tickets left and perhaps at an unreasonable price. Or they will have sold out outright due to the high demand the NFL has.

Beware of resale

If I have to give you one last piece of advice when it comes to buying your football tickets, it's to be wary of scalpers hanging around the stadium. You may end up paying an excessive price for tickets that have poor visibility or, in the worst-case scenario, the tickets will not be authentic and you will not be allowed to enter the game.

4. Which place to choose in the stadium?

The inside of the stadium | ©Wikimedia
The inside of the stadium | ©Wikimedia

MetLife Stadium is a new and large venue. In general, there are no bad seats inside the stadium and in any sector, you will be able to feel the atmosphere and the emotion that this sport awakens. However, when it comes to choosing a good seat in the stadium, the idea is to strike the perfect balance between good seats and price. The cheapest tickets correspond to the highest and farthest stands from the field, while the closer you get to the field, the higher the price increases.

If you are a football fan and want to see the plays and players up close, I recommend you invest a little extra money to get good seats. The experience is worth it!

You'll be able to enjoy the game from every seat

In any case, if you have doubts about the visibility of each sector, at the time of buying football tickets online you will see on the screen a picture with the exact views from each seat so you know what to expect from each location. In short, the price of NFL tickets depends on how close you are to the field.

5. Game day is here!

At the stadium | ©Izaac Crayton
At the stadium | ©Izaac Crayton

When to go to the stadium?

MetLife Stadium is located in New Jersey, quite far from downtown New York so on game day I recommend that you get there well in advance so you don't arrive late in case something unexpected happens on the bus ride to the stadium. At least one hour before the start of the game.

In addition, you will have some time to walk around, visit the team store, find your seats or buy a snack. You will see the atmosphere before the game and how the stadium gradually fills up. A sensational moment is when the players take the field: the stadium roars and the fans welcome them like heroes!

Can you eat inside the stadium?

Yes, inside MetLife Stadium there are many food carts selling sandwiches, pizza, sandwiches, tacos... there is a lot of variety although the prices are somewhat higher than outside. However, you can also access the stadium with food in clear plastic bags and bottles of water or soft drinks of 0.59 liters or less as long as they are factory sealed.

Is it possible to enter with backpacks or cameras?

  • According to MetLife Stadium policy, each fan may enter the stadium with a clear small bag or less. Also, small purses or clutches are permitted. All bags, purses, and bags will be thoroughly inspected by the security team before entry.

  • Regarding cameras and video cameras, MetLife Stadium policy states that cameras with lenses larger than 6 inches are not permitted. Cameras with lenses 6 inches or smaller are allowed. Go Pro cameras are allowed as long as their use does not interfere with other spectators' enjoyment of the event.

  • No tripods, monopods, or selfie sticks are allowed in the stadium.

6. Information of interest for watching the NFL

The logo on the stadium turf | ©Adrian Curiel
The logo on the stadium turf | ©Adrian Curiel

How long does an NFL game last?

A football game can last almost 3 hours. If we talk about the Super Bowl it can last 4 hours including the musical show.

Do children pay admission?

According to MetLife Stadium's access policy, children up to 34" can enter the stadium for free but must sit on the lap of an adult who has their ticket. Also, MetLife Stadium does not allow strollers or diaper bags.

7. What other sporting events are there in New York?

NBA game | ©NBA
NBA game | ©NBA

If you are passionate about sports and want to attend another event during your vacation in New York I recommend other options such as: