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Giants Stadium
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Giants Stadium

Giants Stadium is the home stadium for the New York Giants and New York Jets NFL football teams, and the MetroStars of Major League Soccer. It is located in East Rutherford, New Jersey in the Meadowlands Sports Complex, which also hosts the Meadowlands Racetrack and the Continental Airlines Arena. Official seating capacity as of 2004 is 80,242.

Giants Stadium opened October 10, 1976, as 76,042 fans witnessed a loss by the Giants to the Dallas Cowboys. College football made its debut at Giants Stadium October 23, 1976, with Rutgers University defeating Columbia University, 47-0.

The New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League moved to Giants Stadium for the 1977 season and remained until the league folded in 1985. Soccer legend Pelé played his last game here October 1, 1977, playing the first half for the Cosmos and the second half for his old Brazilian team, Santos.

In 1984, the New York Jets became co-tenants with the Giants.

Other professional football teams that have called Giants Stadium home over the years include the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League; the New York/New Jersey Knights of the World League of American Football; and the New York/New Jersey Hitmen of the XFL.

The stadium has also hosted numerous college football games, including the Kickoff Classic from 1983 to 2002; the New York Urban League Classic since 1981; and the Army-Navy Game on several occasions, most recently in 2002.

Nine games of the 1994 World Cup soccer tournament were held at Giants Stadium, along with several games of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. In 2003, the SuperCoppa Italia, an annual match pitting the winners of Serie A (Italy's top division) and the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup), was held in Giants Stadium instead of in Italy because both clubs involved (Juventus and AC Milan) were touring the United States late in the summer, when the event is normally scheduled.

The largest crowd to ever attend an event at Giants Stadium was 82,948, as Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass during a rainstorm on October 5, 1995.

Concerts have also been a part of the Giants Stadium experience, as performers ranging from Bruce Springsteen to the Grateful Dead to the Three Tenors have taken the stage before appreciative audiences.

To accommodate these varied events, Giants Stadium has sported various playing surfaces in its history. AstroTurf was the original surface for the playing field. This surface was covered by sod for the World Cup. A system of interchangeable grass trays was implemented from 1999 to 2001, but was replaced by a new artificial surface in 2002.

Legend has it that Jimmy Hoffa is buried under Giants Stadium.

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