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preseason football

The Jets Are Taking Tonight’s Meaningless Football Game Seriously

The Jets and Giants open their respective preseason schedules tonight in the first football game — well, first American football game — at New Meadowlands Stadium. Generally, preseason football is enjoyed only by (a) die-hards, and (b) fans of devastating injuries sustained in otherwise non-important games. But tonight's game carries just a bit more meaning, for one of the teams at least.

Having lost the controversial coin flip to host the first regular-season game at the new facility, the Jets are treating tonight's home contest like a big deal: At halftime, they'll induct the first five men into their Ring of Honor. During a preseason game. It's hard to blame them: After years of playing in a stadium with another franchise's name on it, it's only natural that they do whatever they can to claim the new venue — the one that should be all lit up in green tonight — as exactly one-half their own.

On the field, Rex Ryan says he plans on playing his starters for a bit more than the usual one quarter tonight — something about a long layoff, though their off-season wasn't nearly as long as the Giants' — and Mark Sanchez says he's looking forward to getting hit, to test his surgically repaired knee.

On the other sideline, the Giants — and particularly the Giants defense — mostly just want 2010 to begin so they can forget about the disaster that was 2009. Still, it's sort of a big night for them, too: Their first game in their new stadium (and on their new turf), if not their first game in front of their season-ticket base.

Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images