These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear. The rescue workers who rushed to the scene; the firefighters who charged up the stairs; the passengers who stormed the cockpit — these patriots defined the very nature of courage. Over the years we have also seen a more quiet form of heroism — in the ladder company that lost so many men and still suits up to save lives every day; the businesses that have rebuilt; the burn victim who has bounced back; the families that press on. —Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, 9.11.11
With the offense not clicking to expectations and the defense allowing chunks of yards at a time, the New York Jets seemed down for the count. Down, but not out. Staring at the face of defeat, Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and the rest of Jets rallied together to overcome adversity and a 14-point 4th quarter deficit to rise up and defeat the Dallas Cowboys.
On a night devoted to the memorial and remembrance of September 11th, could there have been a better game metaphor to summarizing the collective events of our nation?
As the nation stood in shock at the horrific events that occurred that morning ten years ago, we were left at a crossroad — either succumb to the grips of defeat and roll over or rise up from the depths as one and take a tragic yesterday into a tomorrow filled with promise. Adversity builds a bond with those affected. As Americans that bond was fused for us all the moment the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Down, but not out.
As Jets that bond was fused following a costly interception to close out the third quarter. They couldn’t win the game by the offense alone, it needed to be a collective effort from everyone — from superstars to blue collar players to the back-ups. And rebuilding the foundation of a shaken up nation took the collective efforts from all walks of life — from the haves and have nots, from those separated by race or religion.
Ryan told his players that it was going to take a 53-man effort to pull off a comeback of this size. And he meant that literally. From newly signed off the practice squad Isaiah Trufant returning a blocked punt for a touchdown or the oft-maligned Joe McKnight blocking the punt to Darrelle Revis picking off Tony Romo late or Plaxico Burress mounting the comeback with a 26-yard touchdown.
Burress surmised a similar thought to a metaphorical feeling of the day and the game.
“What this day symbolizes, September 11th, 10-year anniversary. We kind of emulate what this city is all about, just sticking together, being resilient, [persevering] through everything that was going on. We kind of got off to a slow start on offense, but the second half we came out and made some plays. Defense did a great job getting some stops, a big special teams play, a blocked punt. [And] we were able to get the win.”
Perseverance. How fitting of a term to describe a game that stood for so much more than just a home opener. Safety Jim Leonhard, who has overcome a hellish leg injury ahead of schedule, saw a similar comparison.
“Rex came in and said it was a team win and everyone stepped up. The city stepped up. The city stepped up 10 years ago and this was really a celebration of what’s gone on in the last ten years. We were glad we could pull out a win. We kept fighting, just like they kept fighting.”
Down, but not out. The phrase was embodied last night. The phrase was epitomized 10 years ago.
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