How Sports World, Teams Plan to Honor 20th Anniversary of 9/11

Teams across the country have tributes lined up for this weekend

USA Today Sports

The sports world will take some time to look back and recognize the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this weekend.

Between on-field tributes, ceremonies and performances, here is how various leagues and teams plan to honor the anniversary.

NFL Plans 9/11 Tribute Video, Helmet Decals for Week 1

NFL Media produced a tribute video that will be broadcast on CBS and FOX ahead of the 1 p.m. ET kickoffs on Sunday. Steve Buscemi, a former FDNY firefighter, will provide the narration as the piece highlights what the immediate aftermath of 9/11 meant to the country.

Following the tribute video, music therapist Juliette Candela, whose father died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, will perform the national anthem from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. 

Tributes will also be worn on the field and in the broadcast booth across the league in Week 1. Helmets will have a 9/11 ribbon decal, while lapel pins will be provided to coaches, team personnel, broadcasters and more.

Two games featuring New York sports teams will feature additional apparel tributes. Special NYPD, FDNY and Port Authority Police Department hats will be worn during the Denver Broncos at New York Giants game and New York Jets at Carolina Panthers game to honor first responders.

The NFL announced a continued commitment to Tuesday’s Children, an organization that aids “families who have suffered losses due to the events of 9/11, post-9/11 military service or other acts of mass violence and terrorism.” Select clubs will invite a Tuesday's Children family to their home game in Week 1, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will welcome the Cayne family to Thursday’s NFL season opener at Raymond James Stadium.

Yankees, Mets to Commemorate 9/11 Anniversary in Special Subway Series

Prior to Saturday’s Yankees-Mets game, former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine will throw out the ceremonial first pitch to former New York Yankees skipper Joe Torre. Both managers were at the helm of their respective teams in 2001.

Other former players, including Mets great Mike Piazza, will be in attendance. Piazza famously hit the go-ahead home run against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium on Sept. 21, 2001, in the first professional sporting event in New York City following the 9/11 attacks. MLB Network will debut its documentary, “Remembering the Game for New York,” about that game at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Both teams will wear first responder hats in batting practice and during the game, a reversal from MLB’s decision that previously did not allow teams to wear those caps once the game began. The Mets were forced to switch their hats prior to the start of their 2019 game, but Pete Alonso distributed custom, commemorative cleats that he and the rest of his teammates wore without getting the league’s permission.

Saturday’s game will also feature first responders on the field for a pregame ceremony, along with performances from the NYPD Cops and Kids Chorus and FDNY firefighter Regina Wilson.

The attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 changed everything and briefly sidelined sports. But, when they came back, they came back strong.

Navy, Air Force Among College Football Teams to Recognize 9/11 Anniversary

Navy and Air Force agreed to move their game from October to this Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.

It is the first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy game of the 2021 college football season. The trophy is awarded to the winner of the season series between Navy, Air Force and Army.

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said the team will welcome first responders to his team’s game against Indiana State on Saturday. The Wildcats have previously worn red, white and blue helmets and painted a patriotic logo at midfield in honor of the 9/11 anniversary.

A couple of other Big Ten programs also have plans to commemorate the anniversary. Ohio State will wear scarlet 9/11 helmet decals for its matchup against Oregon on Saturday. Michigan’s marching band, meanwhile, has also planned a “We Remember” halftime show for the Wolverines’ primetime game against Washington.

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