NFL teams honor victims of 9/11 with messages of support, national anthem

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NFL teams honor victims of 9/11 with messages of support, national anthem originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Throughout the years, the NFL has found unique and respectful ways to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This year was no different as the league kicked off its first Sunday of the regular season on the 21st anniversary of the devastating events.

For New York teams, specifically, this day is particularly poignant.

The Giants are in Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans, while the Jets are hosting the Baltimore Ravens at Metlife Stadium.

Ahead of Sunday’s game, Jets head coach Robert Saleh touched on the significance of the anniversary for the city, franchise and his own personal career. Saleh’s older brother Robert narrowly escaped the South Tower, an experience that inspired the younger Saleh, who was working in finance himself at the time, to pursue his passion for football and coaching.

“I think it’s very personal for a lot of people and I think that passion is felt country-wide, not just in New York,” Saleh said Friday. “But it’s a little more important here and you know that [Sunday] means a lot more than just a football game to a lot of people in the stands.”

Included in Saleh’s pregame press conference was a plea to fans to show up early and actively participate in the day’s tribute.

“I would love if everyone sang the national anthem. Don’t just listen to it, just sing it,” he said “I think it’s the coolest thing when the stadium sings it. I think it’s going to be electric.”

His premonition lived up to expectations.

With the American flag stretched across the field at Metlife Stadium, the singer’s mic went quiet and fans from both the Jets and Ravens teamed up to sing the National Anthem.

Immediately following, a cacophony of “U-S-A” chants broke out.

This is the third time the Jets have opened their season at home on 9/11 in the 21 years since the terrorist attacks.

Across the Hudson River, the Yankees are hosting the Tampa Bay Rays.

Ahead of the game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone laid a floral wreath at the site of a 9/11 memorial in Yankee Stadium, honoring the victims, survivors and first responders from the attack 21 years ago.

Other teams around the NFL tweeted messages of support and memorialization as they prepare to get their season underway.