Emotion

At around 11:30am yesterday, I mentioned to The Captain that I was worried that it was going to be very dusty in there. There, of course, being FedEx Field. We stood in the parking lot surrounded by tailgaters, many clad in burgundy or white Redskins jerseys, most of those bearing the number 21. Eventually we made our walk to the stadium. Upon our entrance, we were handed white towels with the number 21 on them in burgundy with a gold outline. The stadium filled well before halftime, and at around 12:45 the Sean Taylor tribute began. The jumbotron requested our silence. As the marching band played, people began to stand. We remained standing for the duration of the ceremony.

Emotion is a funny thing. It manifests itself in situations that you probably would not expect, and sometimes in the most bizarre of circumstances. The outpouring of sentiment around the DC area, around the NFL community, and around the country has reminded me that there is, indeed, good in this world. The Washington Redskins may have been opposing the Buffalo Bills yesterday, but even in our section there was a Bills fan with a picture of Sean Taylor pinned to his Buffalo jersey, and someone had the words “Bills fans praying for the Taylor family” screen-printed onto the back of his shirt. Pictures of Sean Taylor at various stages of his life came up on the screen. Video footage of him playing football in high school, college, and the pros was shown. It was the video of Redskins players and coaches talking about the kind of person Sean was and how much he’s going to be missed that did it. I wiped a tear from my eye, and looked at the ground for a moment before looking to my left and right. I was not the only one. Damn it was dusty in there. The tribute ended with video footage of Sean Taylor talking about how lucky he’d been to have the opportunities that he was given. I took a moment to compose myself.

It had been rumored before the game that the Redskins were going to do something else to honor Sean. On the first play of the first Buffalo offensive possession, the Redskins defense came out with only 10 players, leaving a very apparent hole where Sean Taylor would have lined up. Buffalo ran the ball, and there was no flag for 10 men from the referees.

The outcome of the game was not what we would have wanted, but it doesn’t really matter to me in the grand scheme of things. The Washington Redskins honored the memory of Sean Taylor tremendously and fans came together in support and recognition regardless of their affiliations. Even on Sundays some things are bigger than football.

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