9/11/2001: How the NFL played a role

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There's no doubt there will be many TV viewing options today when it comes to commemorating the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

As a sports junkie, I would highly recommend an NFL Films broadcast from The Timeline series entitled simply September 11.

Here are a couple of teaser clips:

We often cite sports as a "welcome distraction," an escape from real world issues that can bog us down. But in one particular instance, sports fandom literally saved the life of one New York Giants fan.

Among them is the story of Tony Sichenzio, a passionate Giants fan who attended their game in Denver on Monday night, Sept. 10, 2001. As a result, Sichenzio wasn't at his Cantor Fitzgerald office on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center the following morning. He watched in agony as his co-workers and friends died on that day.

In the days following the attack, Sichenzio left then-Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi a voicemail message. He talked about his love for the team, saying, "My children still have a father because of the Giants."

When the message later was played for the players, there wasn't a dry eye in the Giants' locker room, Accorsi said.

Given the Giants headquarters in East Rutherford, NJ was in the shadows of Manhattan, players and front office staff alike were deeply impacted. The thick smoke arising from the collapsed WTC buildings could be seen from Giants Stadium. Also, there was a parking lot adjacent to the stadium which served as a park and ride for people who worked in NYC. In the subsequent days after 9/11, there were cars that were parked in that lot that fateful Tuesday morning but sat unclaimed. As such, when Giants' executives and employees came to work, they no doubt were haunted by the sight of vehicles owned by those who perished in the attacks.

May we never forget how we all felt that day.