Giants O-coordinator Jason Garrett remembers 9/11 attacks

Sep 9, 2021, 3:15 AM | Updated: 3:20 pm

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett walked out to the patio of New York Giants headquarters expecting to talk about the season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

The first question wasn’t about either his offense or the Broncos’ defense. It was about something as stark for him on Thursday as it was on Sept. 11, 2001: The terrorist attacks that stunned the United States.

A backup quarterback and holder for the Giants at the time, Garrett spoke for nearly three minutes about the attacks that claimed almost 3,000 lives and led a ramped-up U.S. involvement in a fight against terrorism.

“It’s a tragic time in our country’s history and just having been here, the memories are really vivid for me,” Garrett said. “I can remember so many specific details of the day and certainly the week and the time to follow. It just was a really, really sad time.”

Garrett recently spoke with Kerry Collins, the Giants starting quarterback that season. The two marveled at how the area, the country and parts of the world came together after the attacks.

“I can remember we were living in the city at the time, and I can remember we were going to go donate blood, and literally they said, ‘We’ve had so many people want to donate blood, we do not need any more blood,'” Garrett said. “To us, that was always like this amazing thing, how everybody rallied around the cause after such a tragedy.”

The Giants, who had lost the Super Bowl to Baltimore in January, had played a season-opening Monday night game against the Broncos in Denver and lost. They flew back to Newark International Airport after the game, and literally walked past some passengers waiting to board United Flight 93.

Terrorists highjacked that flight 40 minutes after it took off. Passengers tried to retake the plane and it crashed in a field Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 44 people, including four hijackers.

Giants coach Jim Fassel, who recently died, team officials and players made many trips to New York City after the attacks. They visited Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers were destroyed. They spent time at firehouses and police stations and talked to some children who lost their moms and dads.

“At least you felt like you were trying to do something,” Garrett recalled.

The Giants didn’t play again until Sept. 23 when they went to Kansas City to face the Chiefs. That is never an easy place to play and Garrett said the fans made the Giants feel welcome. He remembered hearing a lot of Bob Dylan music being played, calling it surreal.

“This fan base in Kansas City that was always so behind their team was certainly behind the Chiefs, but you also felt their support for our team and for people in our area, and that was a great takeaway,” Garrett said.

He recalled hearing the national anthem and seeing teammates and others crying. It was extremely difficult to take a deep breath and then go play.

“Personally, for me, I held in that game for the first time, and I can remember the pressure of that,” he said. “Needing a field goal late in the game and Morten Andersen was our kicker and just making sure, ‘Hey, catch it and get it down. This is damn important.’ Good thing it all worked out.”

After the game Fassel had his team get close together in the locker room and team photographer Jerry Pinkus took a photo. A copy of the picture is in Garrett’s office. He has another at his home.

“We felt a real burden and a responsibility to have success for this area and for the people who were going through such challenging times, and I thought that moment captured it where we all kind of came together,” Garrett said. “It’s still one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever had in football.”

A golf tournament was held for Fassel recently and Garrett said many of the people who came to the dinner were policemen, firemen and people the coach had stayed in touch with at 9/11.

Looking back, Garrett stressed that the greatest thing was seeing people come together for a cause.

“It wasn’t about being liberal or conservative,” he explained, “it was about being an American and it was about being a human being.”


More AP NFL coverage: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The Meyer Shank Racing team, from left, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, Michael Shank, Colin Bra...
Associated Press

Meyer Shank Racing aims for 2nd consecutive Rolex 24 victory

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Michael Shank bookended last year’s sports car season by winning the most prestigious endurance race in North America and then the IMSA championship. In between, he expanded his IndyCar program and followed a scrupulous plan to build Meyer Shank Racing into an elite motorsports organization. Now he’s set to lead […]
15 hours ago
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan speaks at a news conference before an NFL football pra...
Associated Press

Final 4 NFL teams all feature offensive-minded head coaches

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Chris Foerster had spent nearly two decades as an assistant in the NFL when he first crossed paths with Kyle Shanahan long before he became one of the NFL’s most-accomplished play-callers. Shanahan was in his third year as an offensive coordinator in the NFL when Foerster joined head coach Mike […]
2 days ago
FILE - Car owner Bryan Herta in the pit area during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at ...
Associated Press

Herta wants to run Wickens in next year’s Indianapolis 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Bryan Herta wants to enter Robert Wickens in the Indianapolis 500 as early as 2024 — a year longer than preferred as work continues on the hand controls needed for the paralyzed driver. Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury in a crash at Pocono Raceway in his 2018 IndyCar rookie […]
2 days ago
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes stretches during an NFL football workout Wednesday, ...
Associated Press

Joe Burrow, Bengals go for 4-0 vs. KC in AFC title rematch

The Bengals and Chiefs have become familiar foes. When the teams face off Sunday in Kansas City to determine the AFC champion, it’ll be their fourth meeting in 393 days and a rematch of last year’s conference title game. The No. 1 seed Chiefs (15-3) dropped all three games, including a 27-24 loss in Cincinnati […]
2 days ago
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick reacts following an NFL divisional round playoff foot...
Associated Press

49ers-Eagles NFC championship matchup has old-school feel

Nasty defenses. Strong rushing offenses. Physical in the trenches. This 49ers-Eagles matchup in the NFC championship game Sunday has all the elements of old-school football. But don’t overlook all the playmakers at the skill positions on both teams. Philadelphia has running back Miles Sanders, wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas […]
2 days ago
FILE - Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich walks onto the field before an NFL football game a...
Associated Press

Panthers hire Frank Reich over Steve Wilks as head coach

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Frank Reich is returning to the Carolina Panthers as their coach, more than 27 years after starting the franchise’s first game at quarterback in 1995. The Panthers announced Thursday they’ve agreed to terms with Reich to become the sixth head coach in franchise history. An introductory news conference was set for […]
2 days ago
Giants O-coordinator Jason Garrett remembers 9/11 attacks