I’m in New York this weekend and our Sunday football happens to fall on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It is unique for me as we are broadcasting from NBC’s studios in Manhattan. There will certainly be a lot of emotion present. Already you can see the flags, banners, and other forms of tribute that will be on display all over the country, but that will be especially meaningful here in New York.
I can remember ten years ago like it was yesterday. Tuesday is preparation day for NFL coaches and I was in our film room at One Buc Place in Tampa when the first jet hit the World Trade Center Tower. We all stopped our work and watched the television coverage and it soon became apparent this was an attack and not an accident. Seeing all the events that would unfold in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, my thoughts went from grief and sorrow to wondering what the future would hold. Where was this coming from? Would there be any more attacks and how would our country respond?
It became obvious that we would not be playing football that weekend. The real question was what could the NFL and our teams do to help the people of America recover? Our thought at the time was to pull together, regroup, and go out and do what we do best, which was to play with passion and a sense of togetherness.
Fast forwarding to ten years later, our country has recovered very nicely. There are still painful memories of lives lost on that day, but there are more memories of selflessness, patriotism, and heroism that will be celebrated tomorrow. America has proven that we have the strength of character to move forward and to grow no matter what the adversity. I know the players of the NFL are looking forward to going out and playing their best in honor of those who lost their lives 10 years ago. And I am excited to be part of the group here at NBC that will cover everything for Football Night in America.