Home Sports Giants already used to fanless NFL: ‘Just like a normal game’

Giants already used to fanless NFL: ‘Just like a normal game’

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The Giants learned Monday night what most of the NFL found out a day earlier: This is quite strange.

The Giants opened their season in front of a sea of gray seats at MetLife Stadium, a COVID-19 ghost town for now and the foreseeable future. Will there be fans at any point this season? No one knows.

“It’s definitely different maybe on play one, but you get so locked into the game that it really kind of doesn’t have an impact,’’ Saquon Barkley said.

The pumped-in crowd noise was fairly subtle and the loudest the Giants sideline got was after Daniel Jones hit Darius Slayton on a 41-yard touchdown connection for a 10-3 lead in an eventual 26-16 loss to the Steelers.

“When Slayton scored that big touchdown for us it felt just like a normal game,’’ Barkley said. “Obviously we would love to have the fans there, we have amazing fans and we know they’re cheering from home.’’

Daniel Jones takes a snap in a fanless MetLife Stadium.Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Golden Tate was inactive. He was slowed the past two weeks with a hamstring issue and listed as questionable for the game. This is the second consecutive season Tate, 32, was unavailable to the Giants for their season opener. Last year, he missed the first four games while serving a suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Tate might have been able to give it a try, but hamstring injuries tend to linger and can be exacerbated with activity. The Giants hope this is only a one-game issue and Tate will be ready to face the Bears in Chicago in Week 2.

Without Tate, the Giants relied on Sterling Shepard (6-47) and Slayton (6-102, 2 TDs).

The only other wide receivers on the roster are Damion Ratley and C.J. Board. The Giants have four receivers on their practice squad, but they opted not to activate any of them for this game. Safety Sean Chandler and offensive lineman Chad Slade were activated off the practice squad. Teams are allowed 55 players on the roster for games, with 48 active.

Tate’s absence continues a trend the Giants want to put behind them. With myriad injuries to his main targets last season, quarterback Daniel Jones never took one snap with Tate, Shepard, Slayton, Barkley and Evan Engram all on the field or available to him in any game.

The other inactives for the Giants were LB T.J. Brunson, LB Cam Brown, LB Tae Crowder, G Shane Lemieux, OT Jackson Barton and DE RJ McIntosh.


Losing breeds change. This was clearly evident by the lineup the Giants put on the field for their 2020 opener. Of their 22 starters on offense and defense, 13 were new from the 35-17 loss to the Cowboys in last year’s opener in Arlington, Texas. Gone from the team entirely are WR Cody Latimer, C Jon Halapio, RT Mike Remmers, TE Rhett Ellison, QB Eli Manning, LB Alec Ogletree, LB Tae Davis, CB Antonio Hamilton, CB Janoris Jenkins and S Antoine Bethea. LT Nate Solder opted out for the season and DT B.J. Hill are LB Markus Golden remain on the roster but were not in the starting lineup.

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