Dec 262001
 
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Q&A: Bill Squires, Vice President/General Manager of Giants Stadium

Bill Squires is the Vice President/General Manager of Giants Stadium. He is an employee of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the state agency that manages the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

On 9-10, you were preparing for an opening game. Can you tell us a little about the NORMAL, run-of-the-mill operations as you prepared?

Preparations were taking place as they normally do for any regular season Giants home game (i.e. – field preparation and painting, cleaning of the Stadium after the Jets opening home game on 9/7 and seat repairs). Additionally, the event staff managers were scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss the Jets game and make preparations for the Giants game.

On 9-11 what was your first reaction to the news of the Towers? Can you talk a little about the emotional impact, as a former Naval officer, as a citizen, as the Administrator of a facility so close to Ground Zero?

On the morning of 9-11, I was on the field monitoring the shooting of a Wendy’s commercial when I was informed that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. As a former navy pilot my first reaction was that some knucklehead had been sightseeing and accidentally flew into the tower. I left the field and drove out to Gate C, which offers a terrific view of the New York City skyline. Just as I arrived I saw the flash of the second plane hitting the other tower. I did not know what I had witnessed until I arrived in my office and turned the news on. I then realized what was taking place. I, like everyone else in this country, was absolutely shocked and I will admit that I shed some tears.

I am a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a Naval officer (12 years active duty and 10 years in the Naval Reserves). The Academy lost 14 alumni during the attacks. It was as if I had lost members of my own family. My thoughts and prayers were with everyone touched by the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

After the attacks, it did not take long for the pain to turn to anger. My only wish was that I was 20 years younger and still in the service so I could help rid this world of those evil people. I thank God everyday that I am American and that our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are the best in the world.

Being so close to Ground Zero has been tough, but at the same time I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every day I commute on the New Jersey Turnpike and I look into the city, which gives me inspiration to do the best job that I can for the great people of the New York Metropolitan Area.

For those who criticized Commissioner Tagliabue for postponing that week of football, they had absolutely no understanding of how the tragedy affected the people at Giants Stadium. Minutes after the attacks, I saw numerous members of the Giants coaching staff and front office in the press box looking over the destruction of the southern part of the city. I’m certain that their minds could not have been any further from football. They lost days of preparation and the players could not focus. Additionally, my staff was dedicated to the recovery effort. I’m sure the time away from football helped the team to adjust and the recovery effort was very theraputic for the Giants Stadium staff.

How soon did you react, and what steps did you take? Did you place a call to the NFL or did they call you? How has the coordination been with the league officials?

We were actually in a holding pattern after the attacks. Yes, we were busy with the recovery effort at the Stadium, but we were all waiting for the NFL’s decision. I believe we could have handled a game that weekend, however the right decision was made. Postponing the games gave everyone the chance to absorb the tragedy and to regain their focus.

In regards to event safety and security, we felt that we were the most prepared stadium in the league. Giants Stadium is entering its 26th year of existence and has hosted over 45 million guests. Over the years, we have managed several high profile events that had an intense focus on security (i.e. – the Papal Mass in 1995, Men’s World Cup in 1994, and Women’s World Cup in 1999). Many of the best practices from those events were absorbed into our every day routine. In fact, I believe the NFL borrowed some of our policies and procedures for their security recommendations that they made to the rest of the league.

Because the world had changed, we decided to reassess our safety and security procedures. With the help of the New Jersey State Police, we looked at the Stadium for weaknesses that could be exploited. Again, our procedures were very solid inside the building, but we wanted to be sure that we were prepared a potential terroristic threat. We made very few changes, but they were high profile and they were obvious to the average fan.

Finally, we are extremely confident in our security procedures. You may have read in the paper of two instances that have been a source of pride for our staff. First, our security refused access to Commissioner Tagliabue because he did not have the proper credentials. Second, an automatic weapon was found in the player’s parking lot by the NJ State Police’s bomb dog during a Jets game. Those two instances support the idea that we are doing the best we can possibly do here at Giants Stadium.

How many facilities are under your care? Have uniform policies been implemented? Has there been a change in your hiring policies and what security operations are in place for employees?

I am responsible for Giants Stadium. I have counterparts at the Arena and Racetrack that have similar responsibilities. Many of the policies that are in place have evolved over the years. We review our policies on an annual basis to ensure that they are still current and effective. As a member of the board of directors of the Stadium Managers Association I keep current with what the other facilities are doing and I receive many calls asking how we conduct our business.

Our hiring practices have not changed. Everyone is thoroughly interviewed before they are hired. Not everyone who applies for a job is hired and those that are must complete a probationary period before they become members of the union.

All staff is processed for an identification card and that card must be displayed at all times including event and non-event days. All employees are screened prior to entering the confines of the Stadium. On event days they are searched and they are limited as to what they can bring into the Stadium. This has been an inconvenience for everyone, but the safety of our guests is our most important responsibility.

Your clientele places a high degree of confidence in you. Does this help you in implementing regulations for their safety?

My job description is quite simple. My primary focus is on the guest. I don’t control what takes place on the field, other than field maintenance, but I can control to a certain degree the safety, cleanliness and the other factors that contribute to the environment at the Stadium. A perfect day for me is one where everyone enjoys their visit, arrives home safely, tells their friends and looks forward to their next visit.

My biggest challenges are the guests. We do everything we can to contribute to a positive guest experience, but at times the guests make it difficult for us. If more people would car pool, take up only one parking space, not drink too much, curb their language and not smoke in the seating area, my job would be much easier. Most people don’t realize that when a game is sold out Giants Stadium becomes the 10th largest city in New Jersey and we will have our share of challenges.

We do not want to keep our fans from having a good time and letting off some steam, however we expect everyone respect the rights of their fellow guests.

Who initiated the implementation of the State Police Security mission? Do you see this as a long -term commitment?

As previously stated, the NJSEA and the NJ State Police work very closely together. In fact, the State Police have on office here on the Complex that employs several full-time officers.

The State Police work all of the events at the Sports Complex and the numbers vary depending on the event. As a result of the tragic events that took place on 9-11, we determined there was a definite need for an increased police presence. In the future, our staffing numbers for NFL games are unlikely to change.

How much more difficult is your job today than on 9-10?

To be perfectly honest, it has not changed a great deal. I must praise our event staff because they have really stepped up to the plate. Most of all I would like to give credit to our guests, the loyal fans. Although there have been policies that they may not always agree with they have nonetheless been patient and understanding. They have really made our jobs easier.

The next issue we need to address is that of throwing objects on the field. The situations in Cleveland and New Orleans unfortunately affected everyone in the NFL. As the person most responsible for the conduct of guests at Giants Stadium, I had to make the call to stop the selling of plastic bottles to our guests. It is unfortunate that the actions of a few affect so many others, but we do not want to be associated with another embarrassing situation like the snowball game.

We will revisit the new plastic bottle policy during the off-season.

How did you first get involved with Stadium maintenance? In other words, I’m wondering what was your career path and how did you come to be “the man” in charge of the whole stadium.

My title is Vice President/General Manager, Stadium Operations. My staff and I are responsible for all aspects of the Stadium, which includes all the event staff that supports the Stadium, maintenance, cleaning, oversight of the food and beverage, etc. It is quite a responsibility, but I have outstanding support from my staff and the many managers who run the respective departments.

I started in this business in 1987. I was a Lieutenant Commander stationed onboard the U.S.S. JOHN F. KENNEDY as the Communications Officer. In January, 1986 I found out that the ship was going to pull four days of rest and relaxation (R&R) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in March. At the time the Yankees were conducting their spring training there and as a fan of the team I arranged for 500 tickets to a game. I invited Mr. Steinbrenner and his family along with the players and coaches and their families for a private tour of the ship. At the game, I asked Mr. Steinbrenner how someone would get into the professional sports business. Believe it or not, he offered me a job right on the spot. It was a tough decision since I thoroughly loved the Navy, but I had a desire to one day pursue a career in sport.

The following is a brief history of my career:

New York Yankees (1987 – 1990) – Director, Stadium Operations
Giants Stadium (1987 – 1996) – Assistant General Manager, Stadium Operations
Disney’s Wide World of Sports (1996 – 1999) – General Manager
Cleveland Browns (1999 – 2000) – Director, Stadium Operations
Giants Stadium (2000 – current) – Vice President/General Manager, Stadium Operations

What part of the job do you consider to be the toughest part?

The great majority of the fans that visit the Stadium are absolutely terrific. Unfortunately, there is a small minority of people who make it difficult for other fans to enjoy the game. In the stadium setting, some fans feel a sense of anonymity. They begin to act in ways they would never dream of on a normal day. There are two things that all fans should understand when attending an event:

  1. They must respect the rights of their fellow guests 
  2. Not observing Stadium policies can result in serious penalties (i.e. – ejection from the Stadium, criminal prosecution, and revocation of season tickets)

It appears that you have not added sufficient people to offset the delays caused by the added security requirements (i.e. – searching each ticket holder). Is this in fact the case? If so why haven’t you added additional people? If not, are you looking at new ways to increase crowd flow into the game, as the current staffing numbers appear inefficient? I seem to have noticed under cover security in the stadium this year throughout the game? Is my paranoia getting the better of me or is this the case?

Since September 11, we increased our safety/security staff numbers by 25% and we have three times as many NJ State Police officers on site. Additionally, we have repositioned a number of event staff from inside the Stadium during pre-game activities to our bag-check areas at the gates. We also have added contracted security (green jackets) to help improve the flow.

We evaluate our staffing numbers and gate set-up each week and we feel that our current plans are the best they possibly can be. One great thing about Giants Stadium is the large number of parking spaces and the tailgating privileges. Unfortunately, most tailgaters continue to wait until about 30 minutes before kickoff to enter the Stadium. Because of this, we cannot eliminate the back up at the gates. The only solution is for people to enter the building earlier than usual.

We have used undercover security/safety members in the past. We usually do that to investigate guest complaints about another individual in his/her section. This procedure has not changed since September 11.

Given the obvious need for increased security, why has the time needed for fans to clear security and enter the stadium grown longer each week rather than shrunk as the staff adjusted to the new policy??? The system in place for week one, where the entry lines coincided with the turnstiles, seemed much better than the current system of making everyone enter to the sides of the gate.

Generally speaking, the delay to enter the gates has remained pretty consistent. We monitor the gates every game and we have not observed an increase. You could have experienced an extra delay on a certain game because you tried to enter the Stadium a little later than the week before or your gate could have had a larger traffic flow than normal. We hope that our guests understand the need for people to enter the Stadium as early as possible. If people begin to get complacent, the delays will increase.

We repositioned the barricades because the lines were spilling over into the roadways. This was obviously a safety concern. Our new layout has not changed the time that it takes for people to enter the gate.

Is there any kind of evacuation plan in case of an emergency?

Absolutely! In fact, we had an emergency evacuation drill on August 11. During the drill we simulated an emergency with our full staff on their regular posts. We do this at least once a year. We also conduct smaller training sessions once a month.

People who go to the games understand the new security procedures. But, it seems clear that more people must be hired to carry out those procedures. There are eight sets of turnstiles to Giants Stadium. There were six people patting fans down one-by-one. That translates into 48 people checking 78,000. I actually missed the kickoff! Any thoughts (other than head to my seats an hour before kickoff.)

If you are like me, you enjoy tailgating almost as much as the game. I understand that leaving for your seats an hour before kickoff may be inconvenient, but it is the only way to avoid the lines.

Our staffing levels at the gates varies due to traffic flow, but let me assure you that we have more than 48 people working the bag-check. In fact, I walk the gates every game and I count to make sure that we are staffed to the best of our ability. For the Jets/New England game, I have in my notes that we had 21 guards at Gate A, 19 at Gate B, 14 at Gate C, and 24 at Gate D. With all of the other posts, which include the locker room, field, parking lots, pedestrian bridge and seating bowl, we are staffing the gates to the best of our ability.

We all need to remember that the world has changed since September 11. It is not as easy as it used to be to get into Giants Stadium for a game. Getting to the gates early will help everyone.

We don’t mind being searched. We do mind waiting for the search. There aren’t enough security guards searching people at the gates.

Please read my previous responses.

Now that winter is here can we at least bring in a thermos of coffee or hot chocolate? The cups are fine at the stadium but 20 minutes later they are cold and my knees can’t take the hike up and down. Also, the seats in section 339, row 29, seats 9 and 10 have been broken for four years now and we have told people at the Stadium about it, can they get fixed?

Our official policy at the start of this season was that thermos were not allowed inside the Stadium. We were lax on enforcement of that policy because we recognized the convenience for our guests. In response to the embarrassing situations in Cleveland and New Orleans, we have adjusted our position. For the remainder of this season, we will not permit thermos, plastic/glass bottles, or cans into the Stadium. We will revisit this new policy during the off-season.

We have fixed the seats and we apologize for any delay. Our ushers turn in a broken seat report after each game. Obviously, there was some breakdown in the line of communications. We have addressed the importance of following through on those types of requests with our staff. Also, please use www.meadolwands.com in the future to communicate with the Stadium Operations Department. In the case of broken seats, our goal is to have that seat fixed before the next game.

What are the new regulations as to what can be carried into the stadium? Prior to this year I carried in a bag with a couple of essential items depending on the time of the year. Binoculars, small thermos etc.

After September 11 we have prevented the following items from entering the Stadium: backpacks, coolers, duffle bags, fanny packs and large bags/purses. This policy will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

In response to the embarrassing situations in Cleveland and New Orleans we are now prohibiting glass/plastic bottles, cans, and thermos inside the Stadium. Additionally, we will no longer sell beer, water, or soda in plastic bottles. We will revisit these new policies during the off-season.

I went to one game with HopeJ last year and she was constantly looking up and mumbling about all the things flying around above the stadium. I know this has been seriously curtailed since September 11. What is the latest status?

After September 11, the NFL decided to impose a no fly zone around NFL stadiums during games. That no fly zone is defined as at least 3000 feet above the stadium and at least 3 miles of vertical separation from the stadium. This was instituted to prevent the private pilots and tow banner pilots from flying close to a stadium during the course of a game.

As you probably know, Giants Stadium is located between two airports (Teterboro four miles north and Newark 10 miles south). We have made requests each week that Teterboro restrict take-offs and landings to those runways that would not require the planes to fly over the Stadium. Unfortunately, some weather conditions require an approach that is near the Stadium.

What is the reason for closing more lots for Parking Permit only? The lot I usually park in was closed off last week. I came off Rt. 3 and had to park in Pegasus, adding over one hour of traffic before / after game.

The flow of traffic into the complex for a football game can change from week to week depending on how the team is playing, who the other team is, game time, weather, amount of traffic entering from various points and problems on roads. The only lots held for permits only are as follows:

  • Lot #9/11 – team officials, media and suite ticket holders
  • Lot #15 – stadium club and suite ticket holders
  • Lot #10/12 – about 1/3 of the lot is held for employee parking
  • Handicapped parking spaces are reserved in Lots 4, 7, 8, 10/12 and 18

All other lots remain open until managers stationed on top of the Stadium, Racetrack and Arena feel that the lot is full. Traffic is then diverted to another area. Roving supervisors will also drive around a closed lot to see if spaces are available and reopen the lot if needed. Without mention of the time you arrived and the usual lot you park in it is difficult to answer your question directly.

Any plans to enforce parking rules? Fans just seem to park anywhere they’d like without regard to blocking exits, etc. ?

One of the best things about the Complex is that we have 27,000 parking spaces. It is also our biggest headache. Unfortunately, not everyone follows our direction. In the case of blocked exits, we monitor those areas with parking/traffic supervisors. If it appears that a vehicle is blocking entry/exit lanes the vehicle will be towed to another location.

The main complaint about Giants Stadium is no consistent and effective parking scheme to enter and exit the complex in 25 years. I know the responsibility for this is not Bill Squires’ but the NJSEA. The people they hire to do this job at the games are mostly off duty cops and cop wannabes who are just picking up a paycheck for standing around. The ridiculously overpaid political patronage hacks who are supposed to be responsible for developing and coordinating an effective policy for parking are sitting in luxury suites sopping up beer at the taxpayers expense. If it hasn’t changed in 25 years, don’t hold your breath. The rest of us mutts don’t have a pass to flash to access any lot or exit anywhere we want. They think there are no problems because THEY don’t have any problems.

The traffic plan for vehicles entering/exiting the complex has and continues to be developed by professional traffic engineers along with input from management staff from the parking/traffic department. In fact, Good, Kind, and O’Dea (a traffic engineering firm) completed a study about four years ago. That study revealed that the current traffic patterns are operating at their maximum efficiency. Without significant infrastructure changes there is no way to make any improvements. The proposed infrastructure changes would likely be part of future renovations at the Complex.

The people hired to work part-time come from various jobs. The actual number of police officers working in the parking/traffic department at this time is two. The Complex puts much effort into interviewing and hiring qualified team members. We recognize that our staff is not perfect. In fact, we have spent a lot of time and money over the last two years to improve our training procedures. I am confident that we are making improvements to make everyone’s visit to Giants Stadium more enjoyable.

Your comment regarding, “ridiculously overpaid political patronage hacks” is categorically untrue. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is a state agency and we receive direction from the Governor’s office. But, on a day-to-day basis, we operate rather autonomously. The operational decisions are made by people that have years of experience dealing with the challenges of the sports and entertainment industry. Further, I would estimate that the director and assistant director of the parking/traffic department both work between 50 and 80 hours a week. They do not get overtime or compensatory time.

Finally, we have an outside agency that surveys guests and investigates our operational procedures several times a year. They have identified some guest service issues that we are currently working on, but without guest cooperation it can be difficult for our people to perform their jobs. Let me assure you that every effort is being made to ensure the smooth operation of parking and traffic.

For years the parking has been a mess – extremely disorganized getting in and out of the stadium. Getting in, my dad tells me that the attendants close down lots, despite PLENTY of parking spaces (apparently, no one upholds the tailgating rules of one space per vehicle, which brings up another question – why don’t you have a separate area for tailgaters?) Anyway, if you tip some of the attendants, they let you park pretty much anywhere, which is not fair. Now getting out after the game, according to my dad, is a whole different ball of wax. He tells me it is extremely disorganized and there are few if any attendants around to direct the flow of traffic. Finally, dad has a suggestion: that the parking lots be run like Disney World, where they wave cars into each spot in succession until they are all filled up. No more random parking, which leaves spaces blank. This way, my dad reasons, there would be a better idea of when a lot is truly full, reward those who arrive early with a decent spot and push the parking from the inside of the stadium to the outer lots rather than sending folks to the outskirts right from the get go.

The parking/traffic department has a plan that is provided by traffic engineers along with input from management staff. The philosophy is to try to park the cars in the lots closest to the entrance in which they arrived. Many fans have other plans to meet friends in lots on the opposite side of the complex. This becomes very difficult because people have to drive against the flow of other traffic.

The parking lots remain open until the managers supervising the lots from places on top of the Stadium, Arena and Racetrack determine that the lot is full. Occasionally, it may appear to a driver that a lot is not full even though he/she was sent to another lot. This happens for two reasons. First, the manager estimates the number of spaces available and will ask someone on the ground to cut off the line at that number. While the cars that are still in line are making their way to the spaces, the other cars that were diverted to another lot will see the empty spaces. The second problem is tailgaters taking up more than one space. We do our best to contain this problem, however certain people refuse to follow our instructions. However, we are trying to be more forceful on the “one car, one space” rule. Regardless, we treat tailgating as a privilege for all of our guests. There are no plans to revoke that privilege.

The taking of money to allow guests to park is against work rules and staff members have been terminated for accepting gratuities. If you have an exact location and employee ID # (the # is on the uniform) please contact us so we can monitor the employee and take proper action.

As for exiting the complex after a game, parking/traffic staff are assigned to the major intersections to do the best they can with assisting 27,000 vehicles exiting the complex at the same time. The vehicles are directed to the exit closest to the parking area they are in. After the major crunch of exiting traffic is clear the staff will divert vehicles to other areas that are less congested.

As for Disney type parking – we have a different type of person coming to our football games. The attitude of people arriving for football is far from the family Disney style. Another problem is that people arriving early sometimes enjoy parking away from the Stadium so they can reach the exit faster or they have been parking in the same place for 25+ years. Additionally, my experience at Disney showed me that people arrive to the parks all throughout the day. At the Meadowlands, 90% of our cars arrive within a very short amount of time. Trying to park all of those cars one at a time would slow down the process. Finally, the parking lots at Disney were designed with their parking scheme in mind. With the way our lots are striped, we would not be able to maintain organization.

The rent-a-cops directing traffic in the parking lots are more of a hindrance than a help, but that’s just my qualitative observation on my part.

We design our traffic patterns based on the most efficient way to move 27,000 cars in a short amount of time. Sometimes, that traffic pattern may conflict with one person’s agenda. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about that.

What I find infuriating is that the loading for the NJT buses going to Port Authority Bus Terminal after the game is insanely slow and inefficient. Given the difficulty of driving out of the parking lots after the game, what are you doing to encourage use of public transportation? Instead they only load 2 or 3 buses at a time forcing people to wait on line as long as an hour in a cold and windy parking lot. Create a real bus depot and run enough buses so that there is no more than a 5 minute wait until you load and the number of people who use the buses will increase several fold helping to relieve the congestion of cars leaving the parking lot.

Buses are loaded 3 or 4 at the same time following the game depending on the number of people using the buses and the number of buses provided by NJ Transit, Community Coach or Coach USA. For a regular sold out game approximately 2,000 – 2,500 people use the bus service from the Port Authority bus terminal to Giants Stadium. The system of how many buses to load is decided by NJ Transit. They normally supply 20 – 25 buses. The buses make multiple trips between the Stadium and Port Authority bus terminal.

Your complaint about how many buses they load will be sent to NJ Transit. As for more people using bus service and a real bus depot, the last survey provided to season ticket holders gave us information that people enjoy taking their cars to a game.

Has there been any serious thought about running a train on game days on the NJT line that passes relatively close to Giants Stadium?

When the Stadium first opened a train/bus shuttle was available and it was not very successful. A train station at the Complex has been proposed for the renovation project.

Is it possible to install the same field that the University of Washington plays on in Giants Stadium?

We installed a similar surface in the practice Bubble last year. We like how it has performed so far, but we are not sure that it can handle the rigors of two NFL teams, an MLS team, college football games and several major concerts. The current grass tray system gives us the flexibility to adjust to those different events.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority made a substantial investment in the grass tray system (over $5 million since March ’00). Over the last 18 months we have learned a lot about field preparation within our busy schedule. We expect to see additional improvements next year and we are confident that the system will be a success.

Who is responsible for the turf? Even after the field was resodded or “retrayed,” it is in bad shape. Question – Has a long term commitment been made to the grass field system currently in place or are you on a year to year basis?

Both the Giants and the Jets agree that the field has performed better this season. In fact, we have made great improvements. The NJSEA, Giants, Jets and MetroStars all made a three-year commitment to this system. With continued improvement over the next season and a half, we are confident that the grass tray system will remain in Giants Stadium.

I thought the tray idea for the field was great but anyone watching games sees that players both home teams and all visiting teams are slipping much more frequently than at other fields. What’s wrong with the grass? Can it be fixed? Why did it drain so strangely on Sunday, with the areas closest to the sidelines in puddles, while the replacement trays in the center seemed to drain properly?

This year, we corrected the “divoting” problems we were having last season. The slipping you saw was happening between the sidelines and the numbers. Those areas were stripped bare by the end of the XFL season. With a heavy concert and soccer season, we were not able to “regrow” those areas as well as we had hoped. Therefore, a film developed on the surface that was causing some players to slip. We have done two things to correct that problem:

  1. We put in new trays between the 30-yard lines on November 14 and we will be replacing the trays between the 30-yard lines and the goal lines during the week of December 17-21.
  2. We top-dressed those areas to dry up the film. Top-dressing is a technique in which a thin layer of sand is spread throughout the top of the field. This promotes stability and helps level the field. If you look closely, you can see sand bounce up at most stadiums at some point during the season.

Regarding drainage, we feel this system drains better than any field in the league. The system is designed in a way that an average rainfall will run through the trays without affecting playability. Additionally, we have two vacuum units that will pull water out of the trays.

During the Giants/Raiders game we had drainage issues between the goal line and the 30-yard line. Again, those trays have not been removed since the field was installed in March of 2000. Therefore, the surface is very compacted, which prevents water from seeping through open pours. In our effort to eliminate slipping, the top dressing probably closed up most of those pours.

With the intensity and duration of the rain, we were very happy to see how well most of the field drained. In fact, we believe that most of the fields in the NFL would have turned into a giant mud puddle during the downpour that we had.

Will the no-banner rule ever be overturned? What are you scared of? (grin)

There are several reasons why we do not allow banners. First, there are people that like to push the envelope by writing offensive messages. To avoid embarrassing or inappropriate signs, we decided to eliminate all banners. Second, banners and signs can block the view of other guests. Eliminating the signs prevents potential altercations between guests. Finally, our safety/security representatives have noticed that some guests try to sneak in glass bottles and cans inside a rolled up banner.

Are you ever going to take down the banners when you first get off the escalator to the upper deck, Gate C? Romen Oben, Charles Way, and Brian Williams? I forgot the other guy, but I think he’s still on the team. You can see these from the parking lot and it’s just sad.

Those signs have three sides to them. The Giants, the Jets and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority have control of one side each. Depending on the event, the sign is rotated to the appropriate side. The Giants are responsible for deciding the content of their side of the sign. We will forward your question to the appropriate department within the Giants organization.

I sit on an aisle seat in the upper deck and I’ve never seen a concession vendor up there. All game, people climb over me during the plays to go buy food. And then when I finally get up myself to get a beer, the lines are really long. Is there any way to add concession (beer, soda, hot dogs, etc.) vendors to the upper deck to make the game experience a lot easier?

The industry term for vending in the seating sections is “hawking.” Over the last few weeks, we have dramatically increased the number of hawkers at the Stadium. Since your question was written, I would guess that we have tripled the number of vendors.

Our hawkers wear red jackets and an Aramark hat. They are now selling pizza, hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks, soda, water and hot chocolate.

Unfortunately, it is illegal to “hawk” beer in New Jersey. Because the hawkers are paid on commissions, it violates the State Law that prohibits the sale of alcohol by vendors that are given an incentive to sell as much as possible.

Why not have concession vendors walking around the stadium so people don’t have to keep getting up and down to get something? They might have started to change this because at the Raiders/Giants game I saw a guy walking around selling Dominos in the upper deck but that was it.

Please read the previous response.

Is it possible to raise the temperature of the water in the sink during the winter? It’s painful to wash your hands during the winter in ice cold water.

Unfortunately, the water temperature cannot be changed. When the building was designed the plumbing only included cold water to the restrooms. The cost of a retrofit would be astronomical. The Giants, Jets and the NJSEA have begun discussions for a new stadium or a renovated Giants Stadium. I’m sure that whatever happens in the future will include a correction to this problem.

Why don’t you pipe a radio/television sound feed into the heads? I have been to other stadiums and it’s nice not to miss a play while taking care of business.

Great idea, unfortunately we can’t do that. Currently, we broadcast the PA system on the concourse, in the restrooms and the suites. All of those spaces are on the same communication loop. If we were to change over the audio on the concourse we would have a lot of interference from the PA in the seats. We are considering adding a separate communication loop that would feed the restrooms separately for our 2003 capital budget.

Is there any way to show replays of all of the plays? Currently, it seems like only the great plays for the Giants are shown. Often, a bad play happens for the home team, and I’d like to get a second chance to see what happened – especially on close referee calls.

Yes, we are a little more selective when showing negative plays for the home team. However, we do show the replays that change the momentum of the game regardless of the affect on the home team. From what I have seen at other venues, I would say that other buildings are more conservative than Giants Stadium.

The new TV monitors in the Mezzanine level are great. Since I can’t see the scoreboard from my seats, I have been wishing for this for years. Thanks.

Those televisions were added at the request of another guest like yourself. Your feedback can be very important to making everyone’s experience at Giants Stadium better. Also, we want to thank you for the positive feedback. We always do our best to correct any problems. It feels good to know that we have helped.

Those new scoreboard monitors are awesome. Please show more replays on them. Half the time they don’t show a replay of a play being reviewed by the officials.

We do our best to show all replays under review. The league does restrict some of the things that we can show, however. I will let you in on an industry secret, though. We try not to show a replay that would lead a visiting coach to challenge a play. We want to keep them guessing. We consider the video boards to be part of the home field advantage.

Can you please stop that “charge” horn/song that is played over the loadspeakers when the Giants are on offense? It jinxes them every time!!!

Unfortunately, we can’t help the offensive or defensive execution. We are pretty sure that the charge song doesn’t hurt it either.

Please lower the damned PA system volume!!! It’s deafening.

You would be surprised by how many people say that it is not loud enough. Either way, we have just hired an outside contractor to tweak the system. We expect them to help clean up the quality of the sound. Please send me an e-mail (via www.meadowlands.com) listing your seat location and we will see if there is anything abnormal in your section.

The story about the doors being opened in the end zone in Giants Stadium to aid on field goals? Myth or fact? If it doesn’t happen now, did it ever?

Complete myth. I have stood in the endzone on very windy days and I’ve never noticed a day where opening or closing the doors would have helped or hurt.

Besides, don’t you think Bill Parcells would have complained about it when he was coaching the Patriots?

I was wondering if it’s been decided whether a new stadium is going to be built or if renovations are in store for the current stadium? If a decision hasn’t been made yet which seems to be the most likely to take place?

There are on-going discussions regarding renovating or building a new stadium. I’m uncertain which way the negotiations will go. Either way, I believe something will be done within the next five years.

Do you plan to sell the name of Giants Stadium to any corporation in the near future? This seems to be the trend nowadays.

Currently, there are no plans to sell the name of the Stadium. I’m sure that it will be discussed if there is a renovation to the Stadium or if a new one is built.

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Eric Kennedy

Founder and owner of BigBlueInteractive.com, which is now entering its 20th season. Follow Eric on Twitter @BigBlueInteract.

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