The NFL is quiet today, as the nation continues to mourn the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on Tuesday. I expected the cancellation of this week's games, even though I have mixed feelings about it. The logistics of moving teams around on Friday or Saturday would have been difficult, and press reports suggest that the NFL players were strong(although not unanimous) in their view that the games should not be played this weekend.
It was almost unthinkable that the Packers could have played this weekend in Giants Stadium, just 10 miles or so away across the river from lower Manhattan. Indeed, it has come out that contingency plans were being made to play the Packers-Giants game in Green Bay, with gate proceeds being donated to the relief effort.
But the biggest factor probably was Pete Rozelle's often-expressed regret about not canceling the games on the weekend of President Kennedy's assassination. I don't know if Paul Tagliabue considered the cancellation of the games to be a close call, or a clear mandate. Certainly, in light of Pete Rozelle's comments, I think Tagliabue would have resolved a close call, if he perceived it as such, in favor of cancellation. Despite my mixed feelings, I feel that the Commissioner made the right decision.
My family and I visited the World Trade Center Observation Deck for the first time just four weeks ago. I was amazed at the massiveness of these impressive buildings, and at the beautiful views. I am amazed now that these buildings could have been brought down by the acts of fanatics wielding knives and razor blades. And I was repulsed by the pictures of celebrations by Palestinians in Nablus, and by reports of threats to the news agencies not to air those pictures.
Let us all pray for the families of the victims, and for the perpetrators of this crime to be brought to justice. The NFL will return next week, but it is safe to say that it will be a long time before our lives return to normal.