EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—When Columbia’s 64-player travel roster was informed that the Lions would be conducting their pre-game walk through at a “football field somewhere in New Jersey,” no one assumed that it would be at 82,500-seat MetLife Stadium. The Lions were visibly moved and surprised when the team’s three buses drove into the Meadowlands and pulled into the MetLife Stadium loading dock.
As the team exited the busses, the camera phones came out as the team proceeded through the tunnel and onto the MetLife Stadium turf to complete its pre-game walk-through in preparation for its Saturday game at Marist. After a few minutes of snapping photos, Columbia quickly began its walk-through with offense, defense and special teams’ sessions under sunny skies.
Located in the Meadowlands and home of the National Football League’s New York Giants and New York Jets, MetLife Stadium has hosted a variety of events including Super Bowl 48 since the stadium opened in April 2010. At a cost of $1.6 billion, it is the most expensive stadium ever built and is the second largest stadium in the NFL in terms of seating capacity.
Following the walk-through, the Lions were treated to a tour of the Jets lockerroom and field-level luxury suites. Lions players made sure to snap a photo of former Columbia player and current New York Jets linebacker Josh Martin’s locker (No. 95).
Some interesting facts also emerged about several Columbia players during the visit. Sophomore defensive lineman Alex Robin’s family has had New York Giants tickets for 50 years running, sophomore wide receiver Josh Wainwright’s favorite player is New York Giants’ Odell Beckham and even sports a similar haircut, sophomore defensive lineman Daniel DeLorenzi’s father works at the stadium and first-year linebacker Cameren Carter is a huge New York Giants fan. In addition, first-year defensive back/kick returner Will Allen’s father played for the New York Giants (2001-06) and was selected by the Giants in 2001.
Columbia (3-0, 1-0 Ivy League) plays its final non-conference game at Marist (3-2, 2-1 Pioneer Football League) on Saturday at Noon. The Lions are off to their first 3-0 start to a season since 1996.