MetLife Stadium’s Coming Out Party

New stadium hosts its first playoff game this weekend.

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MetLife Stadium hasn't heard many compliments during its first two years of existence.

It has all of the worst traits of the wave of new stadiums we've seen come online in New York and elsewhere over the last few years. It is antiseptic, overly slanted toward luxury amenities and devoid of the character that made the buildings they replaced beloved parts of fandom.

Making matters worse, neither of the building's occupants have done anything particularly special in the new stadium since it opened.

The Giants and Jets haven't gained any home field advantage from playing in front of PSL holders who seem a lot less interested in the game going on in front of them than the folks who packed Giants Stadium for years.

All in all, the first two years in the new building have done nothing to change the impression that the new building was an overpriced and largely unnecessary addition to the landscape that only serves to benefit the bank accounts of Woody Johnson, the Maras and the Tisches.

It doesn't have to remain that way.

We saw some inklings of the old life and atmosphere in the last two weekends as the Giants saved their season with wins over the Jets and the Cowboys. There was emotion and electricity in a building that had never seen it before, raising hope that there might actually be a day when the new place felt like the old one. 

Sunday can be another big step in the right direction. It's the first playoff game at the new place and that should jolt even the least interested of the new downstairs folks into actually putting something into the game that they are paying big money to watch.

The fans are only half the battle, though. Two weeks after winning a game with the Jets that Gang Green tried to make a referendum on whose home it was, the Giants have to take advantage of the chance Sunday provides to really make this building "their" building.

Before the last two weeks, there would be serious doubt about their ability to do that. The Giants have not played well at home over the last two seasons, but the last two weeks showed that they might just be starting to feel comfortable in the new digs.

Getting off to a fast start, like they did against the Cowboys, will get the crowd going and that life should feed the energy of the Giants. Should it come to fruition, that's an intimidating mix that can give the new joint the identity that has been missing since it came into existence before the 2010 season.

MetLife Stadium gets a chance to define itself on Sunday and the Giants get a chance to win a playoff game for the first time since the Super Bowl run. The result of each effort will linger well beyond the end of this football season. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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