The blackouts that left Candlestick Park in the gloom during a much-anticipated Monday Night Football matchup also dimmed the spotlight that would have otherwise been shining on the 49ers after their 20-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rather than focusing on the team's success, talk turned Tuesday to the many failings of the 51-year-old stadium and the 49ers' plan to move outside of the city limits and build a new stadium in nearby Santa Clara, Calif.

The San Francisco Police Department said it never discussed evacuating the sold-out stadium even though the blackouts conjured nationally televised images of World Series fans streaming out of Candlestick immediately after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

"Any decision to end the game would've come from the NFL," said a police spokesman. In the end, the NFL let the game go on.

The 49ers and the city have battled for years over the run-down stadium, including complaints of leaks, dilapidated parking lots, and poor security.

Earlier this year, two men were shot in a parking lot outside the stadium. There were also numerous fights inside the stadium, including one in which a man was beaten unconscious in a bathroom.

The 49ers are planning to have the new stadium completed by 2015.

Battle for Big Apple

Outspoken New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is billing Saturday's Christmas Eve showdown against the New York Giants as a battle for the Big Apple, but the fellow tenants of MetLife Stadium are not biting.

"There's going to be a butt in every single seat to see it, whether you're a Jets fan, a Giants fan or just a football fan, I mean this is going to be a great game," Ryan told reporters about his 8-6 Jets going against the 7-7 Giants. "I never came here to be little brother to anybody, so it's on."

Ryan said his Jets are better than the long-established Giants, founded 35 years earlier, having reached the AFC title game in each of his first two seasons as coach while the Giants have missed the playoffs.

Both teams are coming off bruising defeats that did little to help their playoff hopes. The Giants lost, 23-10, at home to the Washington Redskins, while the Jets were overwhelmed, 45-19, on the road by the Eagles.

By Saturday, those stinging losses will be replaced by a chance to both gain momentum and stick a fork in the crosstown rival.

The Giants must now beat the Jets and follow that with a victory over the Cowboys on New Year's Day to claim the NFC East title.

The Jets hold the inside track to an AFC wild-card berth, but could be overtaken should they lose Saturday.

Heads-up decision

The NFL will require teams to place certified athletic trainers in the press box to help monitor head injuries, a result of the Browns' failure to test quarterback Colt McCoy for a concussion. The league will send a memo to all 32 clubs Tuesday or Wednesday to explain the new protocol. The trainer will be able to monitor the entire game without distraction to inform medical staff on the field of any potential head injuries.

Supe to go

The biggest draw in television is going mobile. The Super Bowl will be streamed online and to phones this season for the first time. NBC's broadcasts will be available on the league's and network's websites and through Verizon's NFL Mobile app.

- Inquirer wire services