The NFL game between the Super Bowl champion New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday will be played despite transportation and power issues and growing concerns for weary and heartbroken residents displaced and devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday and Christie assured him that the game would not divert any major resources from relief efforts.
There have been 53 deaths associated with the storm in New York and New Jersey and more than 2 million people were still without power Friday. There will be no rail service to MetLife Stadium, the Giants said.
“I think the mission will be quite clear,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “Trying to provide a few hours of enjoyment for so many that have been devastated.”
The Steelers changed travel plans because the hotel they booked in New Jersey did not have power. The team will fly in Sunday and leave after the game.
“When you look at it, it’s a minor inconvenience considering what those people in New York and New Jersey went through,” Steelers offensive tackle Max Starks said. “You have 7 million people without electricity, and a football game pales in comparison to that.”
NFL fines players
The NFL fined Chicago Bears safety Chris Conte $21,000 for striking Carolina Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell in the head and neck area when LaFell was defenseless last Sunday.
Fined $15,750 were Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour, Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty, Jets linebacker Marcus Dowtin and Titans rookie defensive tackle Mike Martin.
Fined $10,000 was Dolphins rookie tackle Jonathan Martin for clipping against the Jets.
Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen and Tampa Bay tackle Donald Penn were fined $7,875 each for pulling one another’s face masks.
Saints lose Sproles
New Orleans Saints running back and return specialist Darren Sproles underwent surgery for a broken hand and won’t be able to play Monday night when the Saints (2-5) take on the Philadelphia Eagles at the Superdome.
Interim coach Joe Vitt revealed the injury after Monday’s practice, though he wouldn’t say which hand was hurt. Sproles will be re-evaluated next week to determine if he can play against the NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons.
Sproles set an NFL record with 2,696 all-purpose yards last season and is a vital part of the Saints’ offense and special teams.
Around the league
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (left leg) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at Indianapolis. Backup Matt Moore could get the start. ... The Jacksonville Jaguars will be without safety Dwight Lowery (foot) and cornerback Rashean Mathis (groin) Sunday against Detroit, and cornerback Derek Cox (back) was listed as questionable. ... Washington Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon (torn toe ligament) and safety Brandon Meriweather (hamstring) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, while linebacker Perry Riley (hamstring) is questionable. ... Denver Broncos cornerback Tracy Porter is doubtful for the game Sunday at Cincinnati as doctors regulate his medication to control seizures. ... Just two weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain, Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin is expected to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.