NEW YORK -- The New York Giants will visit the Washington Redskins and the New York Jets will host the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 11, marking the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.Because without football, we'd probably have forgotten 9/11 right now.
The first Sunday features several high-profile games, including Indianapolis at Houston and Atlanta at Chicago. But much of the national focus will be on Washington and New York, the two cities most affected by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"That stadium is going to be full of emotion, not only the people from the area but in the entire country," said Jets coach Rex Ryan, who will be matching wits with his brother, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. "The fact that it's the 10th anniversary of 9/11, that's where the focus should be, not me playing against my brother."
"For nearly 10 years, we have felt an obligation to use our platform to make sure none of us ever forget the tragedy and heartbreak and courage and heroism of Sept. 11," Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said. "That responsibility becomes even greater."
That's ridiculously unfair of me, of course. And I guess that sports are so tightly interwoven into our society that the major events of our collective lives are filtered through them. But it's been particularly noticeable in connection to 9/11. George W. Bush turned throwing out a World Series pitch in the attack aftermath into a legend of his courage and fortitude. (I can't find the video, but I recall the 2004 Republican National Convention featured a short video lauding the president's manliness for throwing that pitch so soon after the terrorists struck.) And some months later, the Super Bowl seemed to act as a national catharsis for all the pent-up emotion leftover from 9/11—including a Budweiser commercial with the clydesdales offering their condolences—that seemed all the more meaningful because the Patriots won. The Patriots. Get it?
It's possible I'm being incredibly churlish. But at some point the need to mourn a horrific terrorist attack through sports seems insanely trivial.