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Jets-Giants Saturday preseason kickoff moved ahead five hours

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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The Giants and Jets have moved up the start time of Saturday's preseason game to 2 p.m. ET because of concerns over the threat of Hurricane Irene.

Giants president and CEO John Mara said Thursday that the game was rescheduled so fans would be able to get home safely afterward.

The game, set to be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., originally was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Hurricane Irene was on track to reach the New York area by Sunday.

Jets coach Rex Ryan said earlier in the day that he expected Saturday's game to be played on time. Several other sporting events already had been moved -- including a Major League Soccer game at Red Bull Arena, not far from where the Jets and Giants will meet.

Heavy rain early Thursday forced the Jets to cancel their planned practice on Long Island, their former training ground where much of their fan base is located. Instead of making the 90-minute trip from their new facility in Florham Park to Hofstra University, the team held a closed indoor workout. The Jets moved to New Jersey from Hempstead, N.Y., two years ago.

"I'm really disappointed that we couldn't have practice in Long Island this year," Ryan said. "Obviously, we were wanting to (go). You've always got to be thinking about the safety of fans and players first. That's traveling to practice, at practice and the return from practice. A lot of things went into it."

Ryan isn't exactly a stranger to weather wreaking havoc with a preseason game. He recalled a game when he was with the Baltimore Ravens against the Washington Redskins that was curtailed early in the second half by lightning and a heavy downpour.

Ryan certainly isn't throwing any water on what he sees as a heated rivalry with the Giants, whom the Jets host on Dec. 24, the next-to-last week of the regular season.

In his book released earlier this year, "Play Like You Mean It", Ryan proclaimed the Jets as the top football team in New York. They have been more popular on Long Island and in other regions surrounding New York but generally have taken a back seat to the Giants through the years. With trips to the AFC Championship Game the last two years while the Giants didn't make the playoffs, Ryan sees his team as No. 1 in these parts.

Asked if he still believes that, Ryan said: "Oh, absolutely. Absolutely I do."

"I guess we get to find out on Christmas Eve," he added. "Again, I am not backing down from one comment. I believe we are the best team in New York, and the goal is to be the best in the National Football League, not just in New York. I am not backing down one bit from that statement. I believe that will be the case."

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck mentioned that the new Meadowlands stadium, whose naming rights were just purchased by MetLife, still feels like Giants Stadium. Ryan took exception with that as well.

"He can think all he wants, but I think of it as MetLife Stadium and it's the home of the New York Jets," Ryan said. "I guess he can think of it that way. He'll probably be one of the only guys that think of it that way. I certainly don't think of it that way."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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