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Friday, September 11: The Gameday That Didn't Happen

Posted by Matt Terl on September 11, 2009 – 10:39 am

One of the ways I’ll always remember that September 11, 2001, was a Tuesday is that I spent much of the night before in my then-neighborhood bar — Mick O’Shea’s on Charles Street in Baltimore — watching the Broncos and the Giants in the Monday night game of NFL week 1.

I was especially engrossed because I had someone on the Broncos in my fantasy league — probably Jason Elam, but I can’t be certain about that.

I remember Eddie McCaffrey breaking his leg, and I remember that whatever happened scored me enough points to win my matchup in fantasy football. This took a little bit of the sting out of the fact that the Redskins had been stomped on by the San Diego Chargers the day before, and I left O’Shea’s looking forward to the following week’s home opener with an optimism that — based on the Chargers game — was completely unwarranted.

The next day, Tuesday, September 11, 2001 happened.

At the time, because I am probably insensitive and definitely overly fixated on football, I was emphatically opposed to cancelling games after the attacks. I offered up all the rationalizations you’d expect, probably even including some version of the then-not-yet-cliched “If we _____ the terrorists have won,” but really I just didn’t want to wait a week — or more! — for the Redskins to have a chance to start winning.

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue wisely went another route, and Week 2 of the 2001 NFL season was cancelled, eventually rescheduled for the first weekend in January 2002, pushing the entire playoffs back by a week.

The NFL’s decision is a minor footnote to what was happening that day, and this is a David-Foster-Wallace-esque footnote to that footnote, but the image above is what would’ve been the cover to Gameday magazine for the Week 2 opener at FedExField, a feature on Darrell Green. (Click the picture to enlarge.)

By the time the game was actually played, Green had declared his intention to return for the 2002 season, and the focus of the headline was changed accordingly: Read more »

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