NY Giants Co-Owner John Mara Miffed that “Monday Night Football” Game is Scheduled for Rosh HaShanah - The Jewish Voice
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Thursday, June 30, 2022

NY Giants Co-Owner John Mara Miffed that “Monday Night Football” Game is Scheduled for Rosh HaShanah

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NY Giants Co-Owner John Mara Miffed that “Monday Night Football” Game is Scheduled for Rosh HaShanah

Edited by: TJVNews.com

If you just happen to be an observant Jew who is also a huge NFL fan, it appears that some disappointing news has been announced. And if you happen to be based in the New York City area or thereabouts, you may be crushed to learn that the only Monday Night Football game that the New York Giants are scheduled to play in the 2022 season will take place on Rosh HaShanah.

Also miffed at this decision is Giants co-owner, John Mara. Speaking to the New York Post, Mara expressed his disappointment with the NFL scheduling. He told the paper, “I am well aware of that and not happy about it. I made my feelings known to the league as soon as I saw the schedule. We have always requested the league take the Jewish High Holy Days into consideration when formulating our schedule. Not sure why it happened this year.”

The game in question takes place in the 3rd week of the NFL season and observant Jewish fans of the gridiron will be deprived of attending the heated NFC East rivalry matchup, as was reported by the Post.

The paper reported that the NFL scheduling protocol allows teams to submit requests to the football league for accommodations to be made as the officials compose the annual schedule. To offer an illustration of such a request, the Post reported that if an NFL East Coast team will play two games on the West Coast, they might place a request that those particular games occur in weeks that are back-to-back.

The Post reported: “Teams (the Giants this year) can ask to not have their bye week immediately after returning home from an international game. Stadiums have concert dates to consider and tractor pulls to fill up their seats, prompting teams to ask the league to put them on the road a certain week. Sometimes the league grants these requests. Sometimes the league does not.”

Speaking to the Post, Howard Katz, the NFL’s senior vice president of broadcasting and the leader of the group that puts together the schedule, said, “It’s a pretty complex puzzle we put together.”

Katz told the Post that Giants co-owner, John Mara had indeed placed a request with the NFL to have games switched that fall on the Jewish High Holy Days. He added that Mara does so every year when games are scheduled for Jewish holidays. He added that for the 2022 season the NFL was “not able to accommodate that request.

Of Mara, Katz recalled his sensitivity to the needs of Orthodox Jewish football fans. Katz told the Post of the Giants co-owner, “He makes the same request every year. He’s always been extremely sensitive to his Jewish fans and goes out of his way every year to remind us and ask us to avoid Jewish holidays.”

The Post reported that NFL scheduling is an intricate process that involves data input for   trillions of possible schedules for analysis. The restrictions of Orthodox Jewish fans were not given priority when the scheduling format was being created and therefore, the request made by the Giants not to schedule a game on Rosh HaShana was refused.

The NFL’s Katz made a point of telling the Post that on Christmas day which falls on Sunday this year, the NFL has scheduled a tripleheader of games. The Post opined that drawing a comparison of Christmas and the Jewish holidays of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur is not appropriate because observers of the Jewish holidays are prohibited from attending games on these days or even watching them on television. Travel on busses, trains, cares, etc is strictly forbidden as is turning on or off electrical items such as televisions and computers, among other things of that nature.

Moreover, observant Jews spend the entire days of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur absorbed in prayers which would prevent them from watching the game.

The event that prompted the Giants to become more cognizant and sensitive of the needs of Orthodox Jews took place in 1998 when the Giants played a home game on a Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys. That particular night happened to be Rosh HaShana and thusly, observant Jews were unable to attend or watch the game.

At the time, Mara told the Post that he hadn’t given consideration of Rosh HaShana when requests to the NFL were being submitted for accommodations. “It’s something we didn’t even think about,” Mara said at the time.

Since such time, the Giants have made it their business to honor their request that games not be played on the Jewish High Holy days.

This year, the Post reported that requests submitted by the New York Jets for games not to be played on these holidays were granted to them by the NFL scheduling committee.

The Post reported that in week 3 of the NFL season, the Jets “will play on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m against the Bengals at MetLife Stadium, allowing fans to be home in time for the start of Rosh Hashanah at sundown that evening.”

Katz told the Post: “Mr. Mara certainly would have preferred to have been on the road Week 3 or played a 1 o’clock home game if he had to play home. He certainly would have preferred that to a 4:25 game on Sunday afternoon or a Sunday night game or a Monday night game.”

He added: “It’s really tricky. Unfortunately some fans are going to get conflicted and I wish we could avoid all of them but we couldn’t. Whether it was in New York or somewhere else, we’re playing those games so our best schedule that we had, in our view, unfortunately had the Giants home on Monday night.”

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